Very few business travelers consider staying at a bed & breakfast when traveling for work and they are really missing out! The average B&B offers so much more than a place to sleep and breakfast the next morning. More and more, they are expanding their offerings to include hosting events, fundraisers, cooking classes, and to entice the mid-week business traveler. Following is a list of five reasons why businesses should consider sending their employees to a bed and breakfast for their next trip:
- According to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII), 94% of B&Bs have private bathrooms for each room. It used to be that many times, guests had to share a bathroom with other guests which could not only be inconvenient, but embarrassing. Not so anymore. Innkeepers have recognized the need to offer private bathrooms along with private bedrooms so the instances of shared bathrooms are few and very far between. As an innkeeper, I am still surprised at the number of calls I receive where the caller is asking if my rooms have shared or private bathrooms. This is obviously a perception that can be laid to rest for the most part, but if the traveler has any concerns, most B&Bs have websites with room photos and descriptions which should indicate if a bathroom is private or shared.
- The 2009 PAII B&B Industry Study also indicates that 93% of bed & breakfasts offer FREE high speed (wireless) internet access. Many hotels still charge for internet access, but I don’t know of one bed & breakfast that does. At a hotel, if you want free internet, you have to wait in a line to use one of the few, highly-sought-after computers down in the lobby, sometimes floors and floors away from your room. How convenient is that?
- Not every business traveler is looking to hang out in the hotel bar when not working. For that person, the average bed & breakfast offers not only internet access in common areas, but games, free movies, a guest refrigerator with either free or reduced drinks, free snacks, magazines, and books. These personal touches in the bed and breakfast really go a long way to making the traveler feel welcome and valued during their stay. In many cases, special requests for something can and will be handled free of charge by the innkeeper.
- When traveling in an unfamiliar city, it can be nerve-wracking and time consuming to figure out where things are. The average innkeeper is intimately invested in the city and is happy to speak with the traveler and point out favorite restaurants and attractions. They carry a large selection of brochures and maps and in many cases can give personal recommendations on must-see places. At a hotel, good luck getting recommendations on anything. There’s a good chance that the front desk personnel aren’t even familiar with the immediate area because they live no where close to the hotel.
- Finally, let’s talk about breakfast. As the second part of the bed and breakfast equation, the breakfast part is quite important. Every business traveler has different needs when it comes to breakfast and every B&B can work around those needs. Although every B&B has a different set up and schedule for their breakfast, just because the full breakfast is served at 9 am doesn’t mean that the business traveler has to miss out. Speaking for my Inn, some business travelers can stay for the 9:00 breakfast, but many have to leave before then. I would never send a guest away hungry unless that is their preference. I keep a breakfast room stocked with continental breakfast items including oatmeal, milk/cereal, fresh fruit, bagels/cream cheese, and coffee. Not only is there a one-cup coffee maker upstairs for guests to help themselves to 24 hours a day, but there is a second coffee pot downstairs in the Breakfast Room with 24 hours access. In addition, I always ask my guests who are leaving early if there is anything special I can have for them to take like muffins, OJ, etc. Most B&Bs will offer the same type of option as well.
While I covered just 5 reasons for business travelers to stay at a bed and breakfast, there are more. Consider the fact that parking at a B&B is most likely more convenient than a hotel. A B&B may even have space for small meetings. Invite your business comrades over to the B&B to get away from the office. The Innkeeper maybe able to set up a catered lunch for your group. I definitely recommend coordinating any onsite meetings with the Innkeeper first, but what a nice way to get out of the office for a couple of hours without distractions and noise. Lastly, many B&Bs offer access to or assistance with sending faxes and making copies (small quantities). Check with the Innkeeper to see what business services they offer. Most are FREE of charge, unlike the average hotel.
The average nightly rate at a B&B is around $150/night, but that varies widely by location, time of year, and room. Bed and Breakfasts WANT mid-week travelers and may offer a corporate discount or some other type of business traveler perk. Don’t assume out of hand that the bed & breakfast is too expensive because you will be surprised with the value you get for the cost. By the time the hotel has nickel and dimed you, you will probably have just paid as much as you would have by staying at the local B&B. However, you would not have gotten the friendly, knowledgeable service you would have received from the small historical house around the corner.