Part of having a vacation is finding oneself in an environment that appeals to our sensibilities. By definition, sensibilities is defined as “the ability to appreciate and respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences; sensitivity.”
Bed and breakfasts are as variant in decorative taste, architectural style and the environment the inn seeks to project to its guests as the inn owners that purchase them.
As in most business models….competition is a big driver in the market. The differences in this competition is numbers. For 2013 stats, according to American and Hotel Lodging Association, there are approximately 53,000 hotels. In the US. there are approximately 17,000 inns according to Professional Association of Innkeepers International.
In hotel land, guests trying to choose a place to stay often do so based on hotel brand, many are seeking favorable price points. In choosing a bed and breakfast, a guest is already in search of a more personal, intimate environment. When competition is intense, everyone must bring their A game if they hope to thrive in business. We really can’t compete in numbers, but clearly excel in experiential.
We have owned our inn for 17 years this June. In that time, there have been several recurrent themes floated for choosing bed and breakfast properties over a hotel. The most recurrent of those themes is cleanliness. I am not saying hotels properties are not cleaned to be completely clear. Based on their number of rooms, rate of turn over and occupancy, it would be completely impossible to clean them to the degree bed and breakfasts are cleaned. Even frequent hotel stayers often report taking the bedspread off the bed as soon as they enter the room in the knowledge that they are likely not changed unless there is a incident of significance or they are overtly soiled.
In 2015, I am of the opinion that the trend in general is toward a more minimalist decor but minimalist is not necessarily devoid of personality. In hotels, each and every room in the establishment is, save size variations, the same. Repetition is rampant. The carpet, the spreads, the sheets, the linens, the mirrors and the lamps in 301 also exist in 315. You won’t find that in anyone’s bed and breakfast. The rooms have been decorated with care and your inn owner picked every single piece in your room. It was chosen personally and only for your specific room not a collection of rooms all across the country.
Another theme is connection vs. anonymity. Now, lest I scare you. Connection does not mean that your innkeeper is going to stalk your every movement and repeatedly engage you in unwanted conversation leaving you bleary with the onslaught of it all. Connection does mean that your innkeeper knows if you are a solo traveler or with a companion, also if there is a special occasion, or if there is anything awesome you wanted to do while in town she knows and has planned for that. Enquiries have been made as to whether you have any special requirements or allergens needing to be either removed from your room or not put on your plate in the morning at breakfast. This innkeeper is connected to the value of your stay and will work diligently toward achieving your best experience while in her home. An innkeeper is mindful of you. You are not one of 300. Our properties are not that large and the reduction in number becomes meaningful in guest experience.
Give a bed and breakfast a try. Give your vacation a value added bonus. You deserve it.