When someone brings up staying at a B&B on a trip out somewhere, the image you get is usually of a cute little place run by a nice retired couple who are really not in it for the profit. Well, that's not really how bed-and-breakfasts work these days. Take, Torlundy House, a leading B&B in Fort William Scotland, for example.
Ever since the Internet came along and allowed people to advertise their business, all kinds of people have begun to jump on board – people who wouldn't be in business if it wasn't very easy through the Internet to get a few customers.
These days, bed-and-breakfasts aren't really bed-and-breakfasts most of the time. For instance, AirBnB.com, the online service that allows you to book a room with any self-styled bed-and-breakfast anywhere in the world, often lists places that aren't even businesses. People with a spare room often put it up in the hopes of making a little quick money. A real bed-and-breakfast is supposed to be licensed; these places on the other hand, usually, are not.
Actually, if you have a room to spare and the need for a little extra change, AirBnB can be pretty hard to resist –it's a service that allows anyone to put a room up on a centralized reservation website. Bed-and-breakfasts have been changed forever.
The only problem is that if you're a guest at one of these places, you can hardly take the experience for granted. They'll be good sometimes, they'll be perfectly awful at others – it all depends on what kind of person you're staying in.
So okay, you decide to give these new style bed-and-breakfast a go. You are determined to have a great experience, and you check on Bed-and-Breakfast.com or any of the other review websites to see what guests before you have said. There are two things you notice – that the reviews are anonymous often, and that there are very few negative reviews to see where. The unworthy thought enters your mind that just maybe, the bed-and-breakfast owners wrote these themselves.
And you wouldn't be wrong. A lot of these reviews really are written by the owners themselves. Come to think of it, there aren't any regular reviews on these websites, ever. They are either wonderful ones or terrible ones. The negative ones apparently, are written by the competition.
You might feel sorry for the bed-and-breakfasts and what they must've gone through, through the recession. Why, you tell yourself, the big hotel chains had a terrible time during this time. Wouldn’t these little mom-and-pop places have had to just shut up shop?
No they didn't. Because when vacationers, through the recession, tried to stay away from the expensive chains. They went to the bed-and-breakfasts. The recession was actually very good to these businesses. Even so, don't expect them to be lenient with you when you cancel. Bed-and-breakfasts can be tough as nails about no refunds.
Even with all this business coming their way though, bed-and-breakfasts are hardly well-organized as an industry. For instance, they really have a star rating system for the services they offer. The AAA, Mobil and Select Registry – all of these try to rate B&Bs. But it's hardly a universal system. Try to go to a place that is accredited by one of these authorities, and you might come out on top.