What to Look For When Researching Bed and Breakfasts

Let me start by saying that I design websites for bed and breakfast providers. I have been inside many establishments, photographed them from all angles, sampled the food, experienced the difficulty of finding them if they are off the beaten track and spent time with their owners.

Sometimes I’ve felt like The Hotel Inspector. Sometimes I’ve buttoned my lip and said nothing, sometimes I’ve politely voiced my concerns. If I’ve spotted something amiss it’s a pretty certain bet that guests will too and will be only too keen to say so on Trip Advisor or social media.

There’s a clue in that last sentence if you are researching Bed and Breakfast providers. Look them up on Trip Advisor. What experiences have previous guests had?

Were the owners friendly and helpful, or did they act like they didn’t want guests in their house?

Were the rooms and facilities clean and tidy? Was the location peaceful or were you looking onto a main road and a building site? Was the breakfast freshly cooked and generous?

Trip Advisor will tell you all this and more.

Take a look at how owners respond to negative comments. Remember, disgruntled guests and those who have to complain about the smallest thing are the ones most likely to post. Did their complaints seem valid and how did the owner respond?

I always tell my website clients that bed and breakfast customers shop with their eyes. Photos, photos, photos. Guests want to see what the place they are coming to looks like. What the rooms look like, what the shower rooms look like, what the view from their window will be, what the food looks like.

If those photos aren’t on a provider’s website, or they are grainy and out of focus, ask yourself why that might be? If the website hasn’t been updated in years, might that tell you something.

In general, you get what you pay for. A B&B that costs £45 a night for 2 people probably won’t be as smart or as spacious as one that charges £145 a night. Lower pricing doesn’t have to mean that rooms are dirty and facilities don’t work.

Look to see if the room(s) you are booking have their own en-suite facilities or have shared facilities. There seems to be an increasing trend in the UK for a roll top bath to be placed in the bedroom. If you are young and in love, you may be very happy to bathe together or to have your partner watching. But would you be so keen if you are two friends using the room as a twin room? Or parent and child sharing a room?

If you have pets – check that dogs are welcome. If in doubt, phone the owners and ask.

If you have young children, check that the B&B is child friendly. You don’t want to find that the establishment doesn’t accept children and have your holiday ruined. Respect those that don’t accept children – they may have had a bad experience, they may have elderly owners, they may specifically run a child free establishment.

Look to see if breakfast is included in the price. Some establishments will offer a “room only” rate. This may be what you want if you are staying just one night and have an early start. Or maybe you are one of those people that simply doesn’t eat breakfast.

Make sure you know what size the bed is. For some couples this isn’t an issue, but if one or both of you is tall, or a little on the wide side, you may prefer a larger size double bed – king or super king size.

Check what facilities are offered in the bathroom. Some will have a bath with over bath shower. If you have mobility issues you may prefer a separate, walk-in shower. Make sure you read the owner’s description and if in doubt, phone or email to check.

If you are a wheelchair user, or have another disability, again read the description carefully and if in doubt, contact the owner to ensure the establishment meets your needs.

Most B&Bs are happy to cater to special dietary requirements. Not telling the owner your special requirements until you sit down to breakfast leads to embarrassment. Most owners will want to meet your needs and will feel upset and embarrassed if they can’t – advance notice ensures that the food your require will be available when you want it.

Check the location of the B&B. You may want peace and quiet in an isolated, rural location. Or you may want to stay somewhere that is more easily accessible to the local sights and doesn’t involve a 10 mile drive up and down the valley to reach it each day. An online mapping service will usually give you a pretty accurate location and there may even be Street View so you can see the place where you are planning to stay.

What to Look for When Researching Travel Accommodations

The world travels constantly. At any given time millions of travelers are checking into rooms that were recently used by someone else. Kind of a scary thought isn’t it? Social media has participated in a major way to influence consumers to be far more informed about the quality of the accommodation they choose. Consumer sites like TripAdvisor, Google, and B&B.com to name a few provide quality information from consumer experiences that are regulated for true content before being published.

Of growing popularity are the small business entrepreneurs that own and operate bed and breakfast locations. The reason for emphasis on the individual business owner is that often they are also the operator and closely involved with daily procedures that affect the quality of accommodations the next guest will occupy. Small innkeeper entrepreneurs are a group that takes great pride in providing a service that will give customers a lasting impression. These consumers are more likely to take time to submit an honest review for future guests.

A bed and breakfast may utilize more locally originated suppliers to equip and supply the daily items used for guest comforts. Items like local, fresh in-season produce (strawberries, peaches, and apples, etc.) are amenities you won’t find at the large hotels. Often they employ high quality chefs to provide a multi course breakfast you won’t find anywhere else. In-room amenities are often provided for guests’ comfort and are equal to or exceeding premium hotels in much busier high traffic locations. B&Bs in their own, while likely costing a little more per night are a good value providing a quality breakfast; likely cooked fresh.

Consumers who are planning traveling accommodations will benefit by consulting several reviews from over a period of time; not just the most recent. Travelers leaving reviews often make comments of the quality of cleanliness, hospitality, and overall quality of their visit. While recent reviews are good, if they are consistently favorable this is a good indication that the facility is maintaining a good practice.

Many locations have convenient reservation services on the home page of their website. While this is efficient, taking a couple of minutes to speak with someone (like the owner or general manager) is also a good indicator of the quality. It’s OK to ask detailed questions if you want to know their housekeeping practices. For example, if guests have dietary preferences, by reaching to management in advance of arrival, often their needs can be accommodated, making their visit much more personable and memorable.