We at BedandBreakfast.com are constantly dismayed at atempts by corporately owned hotels and motels to emulate the B&B brand. Bed and breakfasts have been offering fabulous beds with high thread count sheets, pillow selections, handmade quilts and so much more for centuries. Suddenly, hotels are catching on to the B&B secret. First came Heavenly beds, then pillow libraries and bath butlers, and then the complimentary breakfast buffet, which we all know consists of toaster waffles, packaged danish, and if you're lucky some lukewarm yogurt and an over ripe banana. Interesting that we read recently in a Hotel Interactive story that Hilton Gardens plans to launch Big Day breakfasts, hailing healthy alternatives. Guests will be offered brisket hash with fresh kale, grilled whole grain bread and poached eggs served with oven-roasted sweet potatoes. When is the last time you ate kale for breakfast?
The point is that B&Bs have a brand that chain hotels try but can't succeed in copying. While we know it's flattering that they try, it can't happen. B&Bs are independently owned, owner-operated small businesses, making them inherently and totally customer-friendly. Innkeepers are able to cater to the needs of their guests and make changes without corporate approval, and they do that on a daily basis. This is what appeals to inngoers -- the individuality and total customer-service orientation of B&Bs. Dietary restrictions, chemical allergies, TVs in or out of the rooms are no problem for innkeepers. More importantly, B&Bs have cornered the market on amenities and bonuses for guests. When is the last time you stayed at a hotel and enjoyed a complimentary bottle of water without opening a mini-bar? When we start reading the headlines on hotels offering free mini-bar offerings, we'll know they've pulled out all the stops.
BedandBreakfast.com recently surveyed more than 1,400 innkeepers across the USA and found some enlightening insight that even USA TODAY travel writers marveled about. The survey showed that 70% of B&Bs offer high thread count sheets, and over 85% have feather beds, down comforters, or pillow libraries for guests. More than 76% of B&Bs offer in-room TVs; 56% have complimentary in-room DVD or video players and fee-free movies. Nearly 40% have iPod docking stations and/or computers for guest use. Best of all, 94% of B&Bs make free afternoon refreshments, wine and cheese and/or evening dessert for two available to guests. In fact, our survey found that when you total up all the freebies and amenities, travelers find a $175 savings for a two-night B&B stay, when you add in the $50 Vacation Bonus BedandBreakfast.com is offering for booking two night stays online through BedandBreakfast.com Online Reservations properties. To read more about the survey and debunk some of the B&B myths, read the press release in the BedandBreakfast.com Press Room.
OK, we admit that we in the B&B industry are a little sensitive about our brand being "Hiltonized". We know we have a good thing going, but you know what Eleanor Roosevelt said about flattery..."I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall."