Perspective from a Non-innkeeper: The Reasons I Stay in a Bed and Breakfast

By:  Rob Fulton, CEO – Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals

*The opinions in this article are my own and do not reflect the positions of AIHP

Dear Country Living –

Please allow me an opportunity to respond to the recent article “Why I Will Never Stay at A Bed and Breakfast Again” posted last week on your Facebook page.  I have to say up front that I am the CEO of the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals (AIHP) – we are “the voice of innkeeping” and the national non-profit trade association that represents small independent lodging professionals throughout the country – many of which are bed and breakfasts. 

You heard from some of our innkeepers who responded to the article, all giving compelling reasons why a bed and breakfast experience is so different than how the author conveyed her experiences.  Two responses, one from Blessing on State Bed and Breakfast and the other from Historic Silver Thatch Inn stood out as exceptional counterpoints to the recent article in question.

I have spent twenty – two years of my professional career working in the travel and tourism industry and one thing I have learned is that every experience enlists a different response from every person.  Many of the responses to the article pointed out that both innkeepers and the author of the story are certainly entitled to their opinion. However, it is the kind of generalization the author conveyed in her story about why she’ll never stay at a B&B that may cause all readers – especially those who’ve never tried a B&B before -  to lump all bed and breakfasts into the characterization of the article.

Although I represent innkeepers and small lodging property owners– as a customer (guest) I wanted to offer my perspective from someone who is not an innkeeper, but has stayed in dozens of bed and breakfasts over the last twenty plus years, and will continue to make B&B lodging my first choice

Own It!

By staying in a Bed and Breakfast, I am supporting a small business.  The vast majority of Bed and Breakfasts are independently owned.

Unique!

Each B&B offers a unique experience.  I have stayed at a bed and breakfast at the beach, on a lake and at the top of a mountain.  The uniqueness and individual experiences areendless, and what makes the experience of a B&B both local and genuine. 

Local!

B&B owners love their community.  “They are the chamber of commerce of their communities.”  They support local organizations, businesses and tourism destinations.  They readily offer suggestions to make your stay more enjoyable.

Details!

I love their attention to detail.  From the personal emails before and after, to the coffee mugs, to the luxurious towels and the personal amenities, and of course – breakfast included.  The owners and staff care that you have a great local and personal experience.  Breakfast in bed? Simply ask.  Afternoon tea, cookies or refreshments – you’ll find it at many B&Bs, included in the price. 

Comfort!

Staying at a B&B is a more personalized experience. I have enjoyed sitting on the patio, or the front porch many nights sharing a glass of wine with other guests or the owners, talking about life experiences. This is the kind of lodging experience travelers simply can’t find at vacation rentals, hotels, motels or condos. 

The point has been made that not everyone is a B&B person.  I Agree!  We know that today’s travelers in general want a unique experience. B&Bs are by their very nature the epitome of unique.    I won’t buy into the argument that the author makes that all B&B’s are the same.  They simply can’t be when each is individually owned, styled and managed by a different person.  That’s what makes them fun and worth trying each time I travel.