The Appeal of Intimacy: B &B’s Make a Come Back

Bed and Breakfasts Make a Come Back: What’s the Appeal?

Not so long ago we reported on the study that most travelers avoided Bed and Breakfasts as a destination or place to stay.

The reasons primarily had to do with lack of familiarity with the B &B culture, and the apparent preference of younger travelers for the anonymity of a hotel as opposed to the intimacy of Bed and Breakfasts.

One very savvy inn owner explained that younger people really don’t want to eat breakfasts with strangers and are uncomfortable with the friendliness innkeepers bring to their jobs.

Now comes a report in Travel Daily News suggesting that the B & B experience is appealing to a growing number of travelers.

It seems that one out of every eight travelers , or 13% of American leisure travelers, stayed at a B & B at least once during the previous year.

The figure jumps to 17% among travelers with annual household incomes of $125,000 a year.

But in what must be an answer to every B&B market’s dream, a huge eight out of ten or 79% expressed a strong interest in staying at a B&B in the coming year.

Whether they will or not, is up to the marketers. It’s their travel cohort to lose.

What’s the lure?

According to the YPartnership/Harrison Group’s 2011 Portrait of the American Traveler, it’s simple. The B & B experience appeals because “of the distinctive ambiance and the unique, authentic experience (travelers) enjoy during their stay.”

Industry leader and B & B marketer, Marti Mayne of a Better Way To says that the Y-Partnership study is in keeping with the ongoing research conducted by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International and “This study,” she says, “and many others confirm that inn-goers seek the added value offered at inns and B&Bs.”

Specifically, the appeal breaks down this way. Innkeepers take note:

• Two-thirds (64%) said they want the private, less crowded, quiet atmosphere of a small inn or B & B
• More than half, and this is very important it seems, think B&Bs do a better job of providing a sense of local culture
• Personalized service and home cooked meals account for a satisfaction rate of 54%

Interestingly, when compared to hotels, respondent said the B & B experience was “more romantic.”

It would have been helpful if the report gave the ages of the respondents because we always wondered if the intimacy of the B & B experience discouraged, say, lots of “intimacy” during a stay.

And it’s worthwhile to note the study did not include business travelers which might skew the results.

But business travelers almost never stay at B & B’s. They are differently-motivated, so it makes sense not to include them.

The home-grown knowledge of the innkeeper is clearly a big plus in choosing a B & B experience. So are the friendly staff, complimentary breakfasts and the unique architecture of each B and B, something missing in most look-alike hotels that seldom reflect the local environment or culture.

What about the claim that most guests want to be by themselves and not socialize?

Not so says the report. Fully 2 in 5 travelers, 42%, looked forward to socializing with other guests.

Again, no age is given on the study, but regardless, the B & B industry is apparently doing something right.

I admit to be very partial to a B & B stay because each is such a different experience reflecting the personalities of the owners.

Sometimes it works. Other times, not so much.

But those are the chances of travel .


About New Media Travel

New Media Travel (NMT) produces sound-rich, 1 minute Travel Video PostCards transporting visitors instantly to a destination; timely travel blogs on travel trends posted to major web sites like Travel Weekly, Technorati,, and Audio PostCards. NMT provides Social Media services like Foursquare lead generation, etc
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