What Is A Bed & Breakfast?
More often then not, the term Bed and Breakfast is used to describe a type of unique lodging experience, in contrast to a specific business classification. Although the term is specifically defined in some codes and laws, over all, it covers a wide range of lodging categories. Below is an array of terms that are used to better specify types of business groups which better determine local and state rules and regulations. In general, they do share the common traits of generous hospitality with personal attention to guests, architecturally interesting or historic structures, individually decorated rooms and close owner involvement in business. The ESBBA organization proudly highlights and features a wide range of members which offer this unique BED and BREAKFAST experience with a high focus on quality, safety, clean and comfortable relaxing surroundings.
Definitions & Distinctions Used to Distinguish B&Bs*
Bed and Breakfast: A small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast, but usually does not offer other meals. Typically, bed and breakfasts are private residential homes with usually 1-5 bedrooms available for commercial use.
Bed and Breakfast Inn: Like a B&B except may host events such as weddings, small business meetings, etc. Room numbers normally range from 5-30. The distinction between a "bed and breakfast" and a "bed and breakfast inn" is not readily apparent, except with regard to building usage.
Bed and Breakfast Cottage: A detached building affording privacy and seclusion to guests, with owner providing minimal services. Breakfast is either delivered to the room, taken with others in a central dining room or placed prior to arrival (or upon daily cleaning) in the cottage kitchen facilities. Owner is usually available for questions. The light personal touch and memorable B&B decor further distinguish this genre from the vacation rental/condo.
Bed and Breakfast Hotel: These are 30+room historic properties offering breakfast. The historic structure, perhaps decorating components and the breakfast provide the B&B feel.
Country Inn: Limited service. Guest rooms are decorated with an at-home feeling, and specialized décor may include antiques. May lack some modern amenities such as TVs or phones. Offers a dining room which reflects the ambience of the inn. A business offering overnight lodging and meals where the owner is actively involved in daily operations, often living on site. At a minimum, breakfast is served. They normally serve at least one meal in addition to breakfast, and operate as restaurants as well as overnight lodging accommodations.
"Most bed and breakfasts and inns in New York state typically fit into three basic categories: Private Home B&Bs, B&B inns, and country inns. Private Home B&Bs typically operate in a private residence, have one to four guest rooms that may accept up to nine guests, and serve breakfast to guests only. B&B Inns operate either in a private residence or lodging facility, have 5 to 24 guest rooms, and serve breakfast to guests only. Country Inns typically operate in a lodging facility with 5 to 24 rooms and have full-service dining for both guests and the public. B&Bs and inns that do not fit into one of these three categories (e.g., a B&B with four rooms and dining facilities for both guests and the public) are categorized as "Other B&Bs and Inns" in this report." (New York Bed And Breakfast And Inn Industry Study, 1993)
* Definitions adopted from various sources including Professional Association of Innkeepers International, PAII (Wikipedia.org groups the above groups into one of Bed and Breakfast)
Laws, Codes, Rules, Regulations, Inspections: Local & State regulations are based on several parameters and are often linked to the size. Each Owner/Innkeeper must choose their size level and study the appropriate local and state regulations. Some factors to look at and keep in mind. Due diligence research is recommended, and it can help focus your business goals.
- Maximum Numbers of Rooms/Guests
- Fire & Safety Codes
- Age of Building, Historic Significance
- Location - Residential vs Commercial
- Kitchen Level - Residential vs Commercial
- Parking Criteria
- Suites vs Guest Rooms
- Hosting of Events
- Level of Construction/Restoration
- Applicable zoning laws are met and the appropriate Certificate of Occupancy
- Appropriate levels of Insurance applicable to the category of facility
- Facility has been inspected by either a State B&B Assn or a Local Health Department
- Facility is in possession of current State and Local Occupancy Tax Registration Certification