Since the advent of Airbnb in 2009, it has become more and more confusing for travelers to understand the difference between a traditional B&B and an Airbnb. Our home, the Americus Garden Inn Bed and Breakfast is a traditional Bed and Breakfast. Allow us to explain the differences to assist you in making the best decision for your lodging needs.
Anyone can list a room or property for rent on Airbnb, which is an “OTA” or online travel agency specifically for home-sharing. A traditional bed and breakfast is a private entity governed by state and local lodging laws, inspected by the fire marshal and the health department, and required to have appropriate business liability insurance, which is extremely expensive. Airbnb is simply a “platform” for rooms or houses to rent, and listed properties are not required to follow the applicable laws for tourist accommodations. Adding to the confusion, a traditional B&B can offer their property on Airbnb, Expedia, Travelocity, etc. We have chosen not to list on any third-party online travel platforms for several reasons. Most importantly, it removes the personal connection between guests and proprietors. They also charge a hefty commission which increases the cost for the guest.
In a traditional B&B, the owners are usually the innkeepers, and they live onsite, as we do. When you choose to stay at a B&B, you are reserving a room in a home with lots of common areas for all guests to enjoy. The innkeepers are your hosts and your concierge. We pride ourselves on providing personalized service and attention to each and every guest. Most B&B guests enjoy meeting other guests and conversing over breakfast. At an Air property, you can be totally anonymous and may be renting a room or an entire house for a vacation rental. If you prefer solitude, an Airbnb might be the better option.
A full breakfast is complimentary at a real B&B. Here at the Americus Garden Inn, we serve a 3-course served breakfast in the dining room between 8 – 9:30am. Our licensing only allows us to serve breakfast to overnight registered guests as a complimentary meal. We also have complimentary refreshments available at all times including coffee, tea, hot cocoa, hot cider, soft drinks, snacks, and fruit. At an Airbnb, unless specifically mentioned, you are on your own for breakfast and snacks.
Due to the personal nature of a traditional bed and breakfast, it is customary for the innkeepers to greet guests during a specified check-in time. For the Americus Garden Inn, it is 4 – 7PM. Upon arrival, we personally orient our guests to our home with a tour including the history of the house. As we have no employees or staff, between checkout and check-in, we are attending to everything necessary to prepare for incoming guests. That is why we cannot accommodate check-in before 4:00PM. For the safety and security of all guests, we must have this face-to-face time with all registered guests. With advance notice and an additional charge, we will accommodate check-in after 7:00PM but no later than 9:00PM. After 9:00PM, we do not receive guests and our cancellation policy applies. Due to insurance requirements, only registered guests are permitted on premise. This is true for many traditional B&Bs as they are not public facilities, rather, they are private homes. Airbnb properties are often unoccupied with remote or auto check-in at any time. For those on a questionable schedule or wanting a place to visit with other people, an Airbnb or a hotel may be a better fit.
Cancellation policies vary from property to property. This is true of B&Bs, Airbnbs and hotels. Always read the policy carefully. If you are unsure about your plans, you might want to consider travel insurance, regardless of where you stay.
What are the costs involved in a stay at a traditional Bed and Breakfast? As noted above, breakfast is included in your stay. The only additional costs are taxes, which should be the same for any lodging property in a specific area. Here in Americus, there is an 8% sales tax, 7% local hotel tax and $5/night state of Georgia hotel tax. At an Airbnb or a hotel, there may be additional fees including a service fee, a cleaning fee, a parking fee, a resort fee, plus the taxes. When you factor in all of the complimentary amenities at a traditional B&B, the rate is usually extremely reasonable for the level of service provided, especially if you book direct.
We hope this helps define what makes a traditional bed and breakfast special or different. If you haven’t tried a B&B, be aware that every bed and breakfast is as unique as the owners. When you stay at a bed and breakfast, it is nothing like a cookie-cutter hotel. So, if you are looking for a special place, offering personal attention and service, we would love to see you.