Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Staying at a Bed and Breakfast - What to Expect (part 2)

This time I thought I'd talk a little about policies. Typically, a B&B has stricter cancellation, deposit and minimum stay policies. Why is this?

Cancellations: Cancellations greatly affect a small lodging establishment. When you book a room at a B&B, you book a specific room. That room has been taken off their inventory and has been saved just for you. Many other people will have looked at the room availability for that B&B and saw your room was not available, so they went elsewhere. When you cancel even 1 week ahead of time, it's often not enough notice for the B&B to be able to re-rent it. If that room goes empty, the B&B loses a significant percentage of their income for that day or days. If you are considering booking at a B&B, do your best to make sure that you are sure you'll be able to keep your reservation. Each B&B will have set their own policies for cancellations, so make sure you are fully aware of them before you book.

Deposits: Again, each B&B will set their own policy on whether they will charge a deposit before your arrival or whether you just need to provide them with a valid credit card.

Minimum Stays: Many B&Bs will have some sort of minimum stay policy. If a B&B is very popular, you will most likely see a 2 night minimum on weekends. What's up with that you might wonder?! There's a couple of explanations for this. Most people looking for a single night stay are interested in staying over on a Saturday night. Sounds great, right? Full on a Sat. night! Well, now think about the Friday, the night before. When planning your little getaway, do you look for lodging on just a Friday? Hmmm, probably not. Ouch, now the income for that little B&B just went down by 50% for that weekend because they can't rent that single Friday night stay. That's why most popular B&Bs will have a 2 night minimum. Here's a hint. If you're looking for a Sat. night stay only, call the B&B a couple of days in advance to see if they are full and if not, they may give you that room for just 1 night.

The bottom line is that hotels have a lot more inventory than a small lodging establishment, so their policies can be much more flexible and lenient. On the other hand, the experience and amenities you receive at a B&B in my opinion is so superior to a hotel, that it's definitely worth the adjustment of making your plans fit into the policies of the B&B.

in the next blog post, I'll talk a little more about the value of staying at a B&B. Stay tuned!

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