This is the latest in our series, First Time at a Bed and Breakfast?
People considering a B&B for the first time usually have lots of questions about what to expect. They also have lots of questions about what is expected of them! A Bed and Breakfast is not a hotel, but does that mean that you should act differently than you do at a hotel? There are a few differences that you should take note of.
Acting with courtesy and respect should, of course, be your guide wherever you’re staying. That goes for your innkeeper as well. They should treat all of their guests as they would like to be treated when traveling, respecting their privacy and doing their best to fulfill guest requests. At the very least an innkeeper should ensure a safe, clean and comfortable place to stay. They should also ensure that their policies and expectations are clear and stated on their website and/or in their rooms. Inn policies usually involve things like check-in and check-out times, smoking (almost always prohibited), cancellations, or whether children or pets are allowed. When you make a reservation at a B&B you make a commitment to abide by those policies!
Most of the differences between behavior in a hotel and a Bed and Breakfast have to do with size and the fact that you are probably staying in someone’s home.
When making a reservation by phone, remember that not all inns are large enough to have front desk staff. The person taking your reservation most likely is the same one waking up before dawn to prepare your breakfast! It is considerate to not to call late in the evening or during the time that your host is serving breakfast to his or her current guests.
This is also why check-in and check-out times may vary from a regular hotel. It is especially important at a B&B to try to let your innkeeper know what time you are arriving. They plan their day according to their guests’ arrival and departure times. Late arrivals can be difficult for an innkeeper since they start their work-day so early in the morning. Of course, sometimes late arrivals can’t be helped, so be sure to call the innkeeper if you are unavoidably delayed or your circumstances change. They will appreciate it tremendously! Be sure to check out by the designated time as well. This not only allows the housekeeper time to prepare your room for the next guest, it allows your innkeeper the time to do whatever errands need to be done outside the inn before check-ins arrive! Many inns will allow you to leave your car there while you continue to enjoy the area on your last day. They may even allow you to leave your bags in a storage area for pickup at a designated time later in the day.
Read the inn’s cancellation policies carefully. When you make your reservation you are agreeing to them. Unlike a large hotel, B&Bs cannot easily absorb the cost of last minute cancellations or no shows. They may have turned down many reservation requests in order to ensure that a particular room is there for you. They can’t shuffle people from room to room as they show up, like a hotel where all the rooms are identical. Beyond the financial burden of a “no show”, the innkeeper may have skipped important events or waited up late at night for a guest that doesn’t show up or have the courtesy to call. Innkeepers have their own lives including errands and responsibilities, including those to their families and other guests.
Look for our next installment on the dos and don’ts of staying at a B&B: Do I need to leave a tip?