Bed and Breakfast

Tourists of various nationalities chatting over breakfast at a B&B in Quebec City, Canada.

A bed and breakfast (or B&B) is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast, but usually does not offer other meals. Since the 1980s, the meaning of the term has also extended to include accommodations that are also known as “self-catering” establishments. Typically, bed and breakfasts are private homes with fewer than 10 bedrooms available for commercial use.

Overview[edit source | edit]

Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host’s kitchen.

B&Bs and guest houses may be operated either as a secondary source of income or a primary occupation. Usually the owners themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the room etc., but some bed and breakfasts hire staff for cleaning or cooking. Although some bed and breakfast owners hire professional staff, a property which hires professional management is usually no longer considered a bed and breakfast, but enters the category of inn or hotel.[citation needed]

Some B&Bs operate in a niche market. Floating bed and breakfasts for example are a concept originating in Seattle[citation needed] in which a boat or houseboat offers B&B accommodation. In resort towns that have are frequented by gay and lesbian tourists, some B&Bs that focus on serving that community have special discounts and group rates.

Regional differences[edit source | edit]

Australia[edit source | edit]

Despite the cultural similarities and a population more than twenty times greater, there are far fewer B&Bs in the whole of Australia than there are in just the South Island of New Zealand.[1]

Since the 1960s the average per capita disposable income of Australians has been greater than that of New Zealanders and this has mitigated the powerful incentive to let out rooms in their homes to travellers.[citation needed] Another factor may be that Australia has, apart from City States such as Singapore, the greatest concentration of city dwellers anywhere on the globe and these cities are amply supplied with budget hotels and motels.[citation needed]

United Kingdom[edit source | edit]

Little Langford Farmhouse, Salisbury, Wiltshire

B&Bs, and guest houses are a budget option compared to hotels. Concentrations of B&Bs exist in seaside towns where historically the working classes holidayed, such as Blackpool, England.

B&Bs are graded by local tourist authorities etc. and might be rated in a star system or as:

  • Deluxe: This might have additional furniture or Jacuzzis in the bathroom.
  • En-Suite: Includes a private bathroom with WC and washbasin, and a shower or bath or both.
  • Standard: Shared bathroom facilities in another nearby room. Usually there will be a washbasin in the room.

Ireland[edit source | edit]

Registered Irish B&Bs are star rated but the majority are not registered. Generally, B&Bs in Ireland are family owned & run with a small percentage being managed but still with the personal service expected in this sector. Breakfast can mean a cooked “Irish Fry” or continental style buffet.

China[edit source | edit]

In China expatriates have remodeled traditional structures in quiet picturesque rural areas and opened a few rustic boutique hotels with minimum amenities. Most patrons are tourists but they are growing in popularity among the Chinese.[2]

Cuba[edit source | edit]

In Cuba, which opened up to tourism in the 1990s after the financial support of the Soviet Union ended, a form of B&B called casa particular (“private home”) became the main form of accommodation outside the tourist resorts.

Hungary[edit source | edit]

In Hungary B&B is very popular. Usually is a small family-run hotel, an intimate ambience and a pleasant atmosphere. It provides an affordable alternate for the hotels. In Hungarian the B&B is called “Panzió” or “Szalló”.

Israel[edit source | edit]

In the patio of a guest house in Tamchy, Kyrgyzstan

The Israeli B&B is known as a zimmer (German for room). All over the country, but especially in northern Israel (Galilee, Upper Galilee and Golan Heights) the zimers has developed an extensive industry. Settlements belonging to private families and rural settlements are rented for a short period. This industry began to develop in the 1990s, when agriculture became less profitable, and many families with farms in community, kibbutzim, farms and individual seats decided to try their luck in the business of hospitality. In the last decade, there has been development of bed and breakfasts also in southern Israel in the Negev.[3][4]

Italy[edit source | edit]

In Italy, regional law regulates B&Bs. There is a national law “Legge 29 marzo 2001, n. 135″ but each region maintain a specific regulation.Each region can adopt different regulation but they must respect the national law of the Tourism (Law n°135 /2001). [5]

India[edit source | edit]

In India, the government is promoting the concept of bed & breakfast.[6] The government is doing this to increase tourism, especially keeping in view the expected demand for hotels during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.[7] They have classified B&B in 2 categories – Gold & Silver B&B. All B&B will be approved by the Ministry of Tourism who will then categorize it as Gold or Silver based upon the pre-defined criteria.[8]

Pakistan[edit source | edit]

The trend of B&Bs in Pakistan is quite widespread. Popular resorts like Murree, which attract many tourists from different parts of the country, have a number of such resthouses. The expenses can vary, depending on the quality of facilities. Most bed and breakfast facilities tend to expediently cater to families, given the high level of group tourism, and offer suitable overnight lodging.

Carriage B&B Hinto Panzio in Transylvania, Odorheiu-Secuiesc (Szekelyudvarhely), Romania

Romania[edit source | edit]

While exploring Romania’s countryside, smaller cities or traditional villages, visitors can stay at a bed and breakfast (usually called “Pensiune”). Bed and Breakfast in Romania are rated with daisies, from one to three, three daisies being the best rating. A Bed and Breakfast offers clean and inexpensive accommodations as well as the opportunity to learn about the day to day life and culture of rural part Romania especially in Transylvania where B&B is more popular. Visitors will have the chance to try fresh, organic farm products.

Netherlands[edit source | edit]

Bed & Breakfast in the Netherlands literally means what it says, namely ‘bed with breakfast’. In the Netherlands, it is also often referred to as lodgings with breakfast, a guestroom or guesthouse. Bed & Breakfast is a small-scale type of accommodation, which is available to guests for a short stay. Nearly all bed & breakfasts are established in a residential home and are run by the owners of that particular residence. There are approximately 5,000 bed & breakfasts in the Netherlands.[citation needed]

New Zealand[edit source | edit]

A Centre of New Zealand Bed and Breakfast

The front yard of the Dupont at the Circle B&B, located at 1604 19th Street, N.W., in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Snow continues to pile up during the Second North American blizzard of 2010.

As in the USA, bed and breakfasts in New Zealand tend to be more expensive than motels and often feature historic homes and furnished bedrooms at a commensurate price.[citation needed]

Spain[edit source | edit]

Bed and breakfast were only available in Spain since 21st century. In the earlier days, there is the same thing like bed and breakfast in Spain, known as “Habitacion con derecho a cocina” which means “ room along with use of the kitchen area”. In Spain, Bed and breakfast offers are provided by hotels, hostels, apartments, houses and Inns. Normally Bed and breakfasts flats or houses consist of 5-7 rooms but as they are not really regulated and people are free to provide their houses as bed and breakfast to pay for some of the bills. This particularly resulted in degeneration with bed and breakfast standards. However the proprietors of the apartments and houses are doing the work with regard to business keep the things ideal.

Sweden[edit source | edit]

Bed and Breakfast was more or less a direct import from the British style B&B. The B&B isn’t evenly spread over the country, most are in southern province of Skåne or near one the three larger cites, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. Some breakfast hotels and other minor hotels trying to profit from the name also call their accommodation B&B.

No laws in Swedent restrict such advertising; the only restriction is from the authority of traffic (Trafikverket), they only give permission to put up the Bed and Breakfast sign by the local road if the owner lives in the same building as the guests. If the proprietor has less than eight beds, no permissions from the police office is required to run public accommodations, but from eight beds and over certain standard as to fire-safety and food-safety apply.

On a Swedish B&B using the kitchen is not allowed for guests. Standard is usually nice but sometimes with en-suite bathroom or sometimes a shared bathroom in the corridor. Most people in Sweden speak and understand English, but in small establishments it often can be tricky to pay with Visa card or Euro. You find Swedish Bed and Breakfast through local or regional tourist organizations or the owners web-homepage.

United States[edit source | edit]

Many B&Bs in the United States try to create a historical ambiance, with old properties turned into guesthouses decorated with antique furniture.[citation needed] For example, the Holladay House in Orange, Virginia is an 1830s Federal-style brick building that has been converted into a bed and breakfast. Likewise, in the southern Vermont village of Arlington, the 1847 home of Martin Chester Deming was converted to The Arlington Inn with 16 bedrooms. In the last ten years, B&B and Inn owners have been launching upscale amenities to improve business and move “up-market.” It is not uncommon now to find free wireless Internet access, free parking, spa services, or nightly wine and cheese hours. Due to the need to stay competitive with the rest of the lodging industry, larger bed and breakfast inns have expanded to offer wedding services, business conference facilities, and meeting spaces as well as many other services a large hotel might offer.

The custom of opening one’s home to travelers dates back the earliest day of Colonial America. Lodging establishments were few and far between in the 18th century, and apart from a limited number of coaching inns (a few of which survive as inns today), wayfarers relied on the kindness of strangers to provide a bed for the night. Hotels became more common with the advent of the railroad, and later, the automobile, and most towns had at least one prominent hotel.

During the Great Depression, tourist homes provided an economic advantage to both the traveller and the host. Driving through town (no Interstates then), travellers stopped at houses with signs reading Tourists or Guests, indicating that travellers could rent a room for the night for about $2. The money generated needed income for the home owner and saved money for the traveller.

After World War II, middle-class Americans began travelling in Europe in large numbers, many experiencing the European-style B&Bs (Zimmer frei in Germany, chambres d’hotes in France) for the first time. Some were inspired to open B&Bs in the U.S.; tourist home owners updated their properties as B&Bs. The interest in B&Bs coincided with an increasing interest in historic preservation, spurred by the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976 and assisted by two crucial pieces of legislation: the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and the Tax Reform Act of 1976, which provided tax incentives for the restoration and reuse of historic structures.

Through the 1980s and 1990s, B&Bs increased rapidly in numbers and evolved from homestay B&Bs with shared baths and a simple furnishings to beautifully renovated historic mansions with luxurious décor and amenities. The next big change started in the mid-1990s when the Internet became a major marketing force, making it affordable for innkeepers to promote their properties worldwide. Email marketing, in particular, serves as a useful tool for the Bed & Breakfast industry, for it proactively builds relationships with the existing guests after their stay. In addition, online reservation software has helped bed and breakfasts to capture more reservations and stay in touch with a rapidly changing technological world. At present, travellers research and book B&Bs online, checking out detailed photos, videos, and reviews. B&Bs are found in all states, in major cities and remote rural areas, occupying everything from modest cottages to opulent mansions, and in restored structures from schools to cabooses to churches.

Regulations[edit source | edit]

Regulations and laws vary considerably between jurisdictions both in content and extent and in enforcement.

The most common regulations B&Bs must follow pertain to safety. They are usually required by local and national ordinances to have fire resistance, a sufficient fire escape plan in place, and smoke detectors in each guest room. Kitchens and equipment used to serve meals are also often required to be monitored for hygienic operation, but there are significant national and local differences.

In Hawaii, it is illegal to open a new bed & breakfast on Oahu as of 1989.[9] The reason for the moratorium is to force home owners with extra room to rent out their extra space to low income residents who otherwise cannot afford housing on crowded Oahu.

Professional and trade associations[edit source | edit]

Many inns and bed and breakfasts are members of professional associations. There are international, national, regional, and local associations, all of which provide services to both their members and the travelling public. Many require their members to meet specific standards of quality, while others simply require a lodging establishment to pay dues. These associations also facilitate marketing of the individual B&Bs and provide a stamp of approval that the business in question is reputable.

While various local governments have regulations and inspect lodging establishments for health and safety issues, membership in a state/provincial/national bed and breakfast association can indicate a higher standard of hospitality. Associations sometimes review their members’ properties and tend to have additional standards of care.

In the US for example, each state has an innkeeping association (usually non-profit) that exists to promote the industry and tourism. Within those state associations, many city and regional bed and breakfast associations can be found. Many state, city and regional associations, have inspection criteria that often exceed government requirements for safety and cleanliness.

In Australia, the industry is represented by the Bed & Breakfast, Farmstay and Accommodation Australia Ltd (BBFAA).

In the British Isles the national approval boards set up by governments are far more stringent than others,while in Ireland there is an association that will only use the national tourist board’s approved members (Almara Accommodations Dublin)

Studies[edit source | edit]

Tourism Queensland study[edit source | edit]

In January 2003 Tourism Queensland conducted a review of current research to gain a better understanding of the Bed & Breakfast (B&B) market:[10]

Key needs that must be met for people staying at bed and breakfast style accommodation include: pampering and personalised service in an attractive location in an attractive house, opposed to more ‘standard’ hotelrooms.

The following attributes are also appealing:

  • Homely or wholesome atmosphere (older segments) or luxurious/heritage surrounds
  • Home style meals
  • Area for conversing with other guests
  • Ability to tap into local knowledge of attractions and activities in local area.

Guests at B&Bs were asked to identify the features and factors which motivated them to choose the establishment they were staying at. The friendliness of the host was the most important factor, followed by easy access to other places, the site being the most appealing place in the region. Usually B & B´s are privately owned, and therefor very different from standard commercial hotels.

Bed & Breakfasts provide mutual benefits for both the visitor and the operator. Visitors have the opportunity for a relaxing break in a homely environment. Operators have the opportunity to develop a profitable business, make new friends and contacts, understand the cultures and lifestyles of others, and to educate guests about their way of life.

Income and leisure time have changed so that shorter breaks with greater choice of leisure activities are sought by travellers. Changing work patterns have increased the popularity of shorter breaks that minimize the absence from work and the effect of absences on workflow and involvement. Bed & Breakfast holidays tend to be short break holidays and could benefit from the increased popularity of short breaks, sought by people who aim for authenticity and personal service.

Michigan State University study[edit source | edit]

According to a study by Michigan State University:[11]

The profile of B&B guests confirms widely held impressions that this is a middle-aged, well-educated, (moderately) high income, professional market. On the last reported B&B trip, couples comprised two thirds of the travel parties.

Eighty-two percent of those sampled are married, and about half (44 percent) have children living at home. Average age for a travel party (respondent and spouse/partner ages are merged) is 40 years, with 60 percent under this age. This indicates that many B&B guests are at a mid-point in the traditional family cycle, when raising children is a primary activity. Newlyweds and “empty nesters” account for a smaller proportion. In fact, only 9 percent of the market is attributed to adults over 59 years of age.

Education levels are high, with the largest response category being completion of a college degree (31 percent). In addition, another one third had some graduate school or an advanced degree. It follows that the occupational profile is dominated by professionals and managers. Note that several categories such as business, health, education, and science are large enough for B&B’s to consider promotion aimed specifically at these segments.

The unique touches that distinguish a B&B are clearly a primary reason for selecting this lodging option. Words like “charm,” ambience,” “quaintness,” and “atmosphere” were often used by respondents to describe this intangible appeal. The importance of the “getaway” aspect demonstrates that B&B’s have been well positioned to take advantage of shorter, more frequent weekend trips preferred by many two-income families. The lure of B&B’s as a more personal alternative to the standard hotel/motel experience was reconfirmed by the 10 percent who called this the single most important reason for staying at a B&B, the most frequent response to this open-ended question.

Customers were for the most part satisfied with their most recent B&B experience, with 80 percent giving the experience an .. excellent” rating and another 17 percent calling it “good.” Over 90 percent would both consider a return visit and recommend the B&B to friends and family.

According to this study, many bed and breakfast visitors make use of evaluations, given by other guests. This system of independent reviews is one of the fastest growing consumer content oriented sites on the net.

ComScore study[edit source | edit]

Another study suggests that people trust online reviews posted by previous guests:[12]

People are willing to pay up to 99 percent more for services after reading positive online reviews about them, according to new research.

The study, conducted in October by comScore and The Kelsey Group, found that online, consumer-created reviews have a big impact on prospective buyers. The researchers said 24 percent of those who eventually pay for local services — such as restaurants, bed & breakfasts and automotive shops — read online reviews before making a choice.

The study showed consumers were so trusting of online reviews, they were willing to pay at least 20 percent, and up to 99 percent, more if a company was rated excellent or five-star than if a business received a good, or four-star, rating. The study was based on 2,078 survey respondents, including 508 who used online consumer reviews.

Professional critics, and owners of companies that receive less-than-excellent online reviews by laypersons, might question the ability of regular people to adequately judge a service. However, the comScore/Kelsey Group study found that 90 percent of the people who trusted consumer-written reviews found the critiques to be accurate. In fact, noted the researchers, “reviews generated by fellow consumers had a greater influence than those generated by professionals.”

The study included specific bed & breakfasts among others services. At least 75 percent of those using online reviews for nearly every category of business included in the study said the amateur field reports significantly impacted their decision. Eighty-seven percent of those in search of hotels said the reviews played a big part in their choice.

The take-away message for service providers, according to a statement issued by The Kelsey Group’s research director, Steve Marshall: “With such a large percentage of review users subsequently purchasing, it’s vital that local service providers have a positive presence on these review sites.”

The fact that one-in-four of those contacted said they use reviews should come as good news for those in the online consumer review space, said Brian Jurutka, senior director at comScore Marketing Solutions. “That’s a sizeable chunk,” he said. “This helps them in having discussions with folks looking to advertise; it says a sizeable portion of the online population is going to be visiting these sites.”

Journal of Travel Research study[edit source | edit]

A study by the Journal of Travel Research stated:[13]

While the hedonic price model has been used to evaluate willingness to pay in a variety of markets, its use in the tourism industry is limited. This research note highlights the usefulness of the hedonic price technique in this industry by evaluating willingness to pay for specific characteristics of bed and breakfast accommodations.

Heterogeneity in price and amenities offered by bed and breakfast accommodations enables us to generate estimates of willingness to pay for specific characteristics. Using data on price and amenities collected from bed and breakfast accommodations, the findings show a willingness to pay for specific characteristics such as sunny balconies, a five star Champagne breakfast, and a room furnished with antique treasures…

Prince Edward Island study[edit source | edit]

A 2007 study on Prince Edward Island[14]

The vast majority of visitors to B & B are pleasure travellers. The most important reasons why travellers choose a B & B are personalised service and hospitality, price and value ratio, physical element, atmosphere, image and location.

TIME magazine[edit source | edit]

According to TIME magazine:[15]

Americans have a wide array of lodgings to choose from when they take a vacation: high-rise hotels, rustic resorts, motels by the bay. Yet more and more people are flocking to bed-and-breakfast inns, the most old-fashioned homes away from home. Just 20 years ago, there were only 1,000 B and Bs, as they are nicknamed, scattered throughout the country. Today there are more than 28,000 serving more than 50 million guests each year.

What’s the appeal? Bed-and-breakfasts, often situated in elegant, historic homes, tap into everyone’s fantasy of living another life. Many have been lovingly renovated with period decorations, inviting visitors to step back in time. Others carry a theme throughout the house. Since on average they have only seven or eight rooms, they offer peace and quiet, a rare commodity in the average home.

The hosts, who nearly always live on the premises, provide plenty of coddling. They will recommend local attractions, help with dinner reservations, often provide an afternoon tea or glass of sherry–and, yes, prepare a delicious homemade breakfast.

Prices at bed-and-breakfasts, which average $104 to $133 a night, depending on the region, rival the rates of good hotels. While some 10,000 B and Bs are private homes in which the owners offer a room or two, most are serious businesses, complete with websites and toll-free numbers.

The clientele tends to be couples, most of them affluent and well educated. Most are tourists or people who are in town to visit family or to celebrate a special occasion. Bed-and-breakfasts are popular with many foreign travelers, mostly from Britain, Germany, Canada, France and Australia, who have grown up going to B and Bs in their own countries.

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. ^ Private Stay Accommodation Directory, “Australia“, accessed 4 April 2007 shows 43 pages for Australia as a country and a combined total of 51 pages for various regions of the South Island of “New Zealand
  2. ^ Mike Ives (August 13, 2013). “From Outsiders to Innkeepers in China’s Sleepy Countryside”. The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  3. ^ Mirovsky, Arik, There’s gold in them thar hills…,, retrieved 2009-04-05 
  4. ^ end, week, Everything about zimmers…, Roy engel, archived from the original on 6 June 2011, retrieved 2011-06-13 
  5. ^ Bed and Breakfast in Europe
  6. ^ Guidelines For Approval and Registration of ‘Incredible India Bed And Breakfast’ Establishments (MS Word Document)
  7. ^ Delhi tourism department promoting B&B in Delhi.
  8. ^ Ministry of Tourism B&B criteria in Delhi.
  9. ^ Legislative concepts, regulation & permitting of vacation rentals & B&Bs on Oahu
  10. ^ Bed & Breakfast Tourism, Tourism Queensland, January 2003, retrieved 2009-04-05 
  11. ^ Koth, Barbara A, Assistant Extension Specialist; William C. Norman, Ph.D. candidate (6 June 2002), The Minnesota Bed and Breakfast Market: A Guest Profile (Research Summaries), University of Minnesota Minnesota Extension Service 
  12. ^ Aun, Fred (3 December 2007), ComScore Study Reinforces Online Reviews’ Impact on Offline Sales,, archived from the original on 6 November 2009, retrieved 2009-10-04 
  13. ^ Monty, Ben (2003), “Hedonic Pricing and Willingness to Pay for Bed and Breakfast Amenities in Southeast Wisconsin”, Journal of Travel Research (La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, University of Wisconsin—Whitewater) 42 (2): 195–199, doi:10.1177/0047287503257500 
  14. ^ Significant research of bed & breakfast and country inns, The Association of Prince Edward Island, Tourism Research Center: At the University of Prince Edward Island, 2007 
  15. ^ Marchant, Valerie; Witkowski, Tom; Benson, Jyl; Monday, Harriet (18 November 2002), “Bed, Breakfast And Beyond”, TIME magazine (Time-Life), retrieved 2009-05-04 

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Bed and Breakfast, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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