The concept of the Bed and Breakfast has been going on for centuries. During the great depression it was a way to provide an inexpensive place for travelers to stay while providing a small amount of income for the home-owner, usually called a “boarding house”. As time went on and hotels starting become more prominent, the “room and breakfast” lost its value, until Americans started visiting European countries where it was considered a higher-end experience with superior service and extra amenities that hotels couldn’t offer. Americans wanted the same higher-end lodging experiences here in the United States and the Bed and Breakfast niche was reborn with higher standards and expectations than previously held. Bed and Breakfasts around the world come in many shapes and sizes and are just as much about the guest experience as it is providing a place to sleep.
So what is a realistic expectation of a true bed and breakfast?
· Personalized service
· Unique location with period or location appropriate decor
· Quality bedding and linens
· Concierge service from the host
· Homemade hot breakfast prepared for each guest
· Less people than a large hotel
· Legitimate business practices including licensing, insurance, inspections, taxes, etc.
So, are all of these features really that important and worth paying more for? With the recent birth of “AirBnB” the boarding house concept made a comeback with individual home-owners making some extra money by renting out rooms; to provide an inexpensive place to stay without all the extra amenities that a true B&B offers. It’s fair to say there are probably some amazing AirBnBs out there that are doing everything right, but oftentimes the lack of extras from an unmanned, un-insured, not inspected rental can lead to a negative experience for the traveler.
This most important thing a traveler can do prior to booking is research the individual lodging establishments being considered. Do they have positive guest reviews? Does the owner live on-site or close by in case there is an issue with the room? Is there a cancellation policy? Sometimes a Bed and Breakfast will offer special discounts by visiting their website (do AirBnbs even have websites?).
Visit www.BBIM.org to find out which Bed and Breakfasts in Missouri go through an educational inspection process in order to provide the highest level of service to their guests.