Posts Tagged ‘bed and breakfast’

Some Guidelines for Staying in a Bed and Brekfast or Inn

Monday, June 13th, 2016

by Linda Burchell Ard

Although staying in a bed or breakfast while traveling in Europe is pretty common, many American have never stayed in this type of lodging facility. During breakfast recently, I asked some guests from England and Germany what they would want to tell Americans about staying in a Bed & Breakfast or Inn.
They said B&Bs are a great way to travel and really learn about areas. The locals always know, among other things, the best places to eat, and the cheapest places to buy gas, and the highway construction areas to avoid. They can also recommend interesting local activities, historic sites and even fun shopping. The properties are well loved and so clean—and the breakfasts are freshly made and delicious. The innkeepers are usually very friendly and welcoming so it is like staying with family.
Then I asked, “How is this different from staying in hotels or motels?”
They said that sometimes, when you are in a hurry and are just looking for a convenient bed for the night, a motel might work better. But many hotel rooms look just the same and some are noisy or brightly lighted. The guestrooms are not relaxing and lack charm.
Feeling on a roll, I continued with, “Some people who haven’t stayed in Bed and Breakfasts are concerned that they might not know the right way to act in a B&B.”
The couple laughed at this question and the wife explained that her husband still didn’t know the right way to act. He just shook his head and agreed. Then, combining their wealth of experience, they clicked off a few simple suggestions:
• Remember that you are staying in someone’s home so you’ll want to be respectful.
• Ring the doorbell, unless directed otherwise, before walking in.
• If you arrived before check-in (usually 4 to 6 p.m.), your room might not be ready. Also, if you are going to be later than you had planned, just contact the innkeeper in case she/he has made plans for the evening or needs to run to the store.
• Every Bed and Breakfast is unique and has different policies so ask the innkeeper. There are often rules about children, pets, parking, smoking, use of alcohol, forms of payment, or cancellation.
• In most Bed and Breakfasts, there are “common areas” for the guests to use and enjoy as well as private areas reserved for the innkeepers, their staff and families. Such areas may be used for storage, office work, meal preparation or just relaxing. It is important to respect the innkeepers’ need for privacy.
I thought their advice might be helpful for other folks who have always thought it would be fun to stay in a Bed and Breakfast but never had the experience.
As I cleaned up the breakfast table, they were getting ready to pack up and hit the road again. Before they left, I got hugs from both of them and I wished them safe travels. They stopped to pat Buster, our friendly farm dog, and take a picture of the Inn. I bet that departing ritual doesn’t happen often at most motels or hotels!
Linda Burchell Ard and her husband Bob are Innkeepers and owners of at Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn, historical bed and breakfast located in the middle of a family owned working farm in Minden, NE. To learn more, visit “” or Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn on Facebook or email You can also check out wonderful Nebraska B&B locations at and enjoy the better way to stay.

It’s All About Delivering the Experience!

Monday, December 12th, 2011

It’s All About Delivering the Experience!

Customers want what they want when they want it. The idea is to bundle it all together and get them to pay for access to experiences they’d never have otherwise without your help.

Most Bed and Breakfast owners are experts in delivering that experience. Go to and get some advice from other B&B innkeepers and collaborate with each other!

Why the belle has no clothes at the rental marketplace ball

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Why the belle has no clothes at the rental marketplace ball

Posted by Special Nodes USA on 16 August 2011

NB: This is a guest article by Jay Karen, president and CEO of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.

Airbnb and the fast-growing number of rental marketplaces seem like the belles of the ball among travel-related web sites this year.

Some have grabbed the support of big hitters like Ashton Kutcher and there is clearly a lot of money kicking about with nine-figure cash investments.

But let’s take a moment and turn the lights on in the ballroom and take a closer look at some of these belles. After all, if we’re going to dance with the belle, we better know what we’re dealing with.


Propagating illegal activity

I’m not sure why the internet police haven’t been blaring the sirens on this one.

Nevertheless, there is no question many (if not most) of the lodging options that can be found on such websites are not complying with local laws.

Towns and cities across the country and around the world have local laws that prohibit homeowners – especially in residential areas – from using their properties as transient lodging for travelers of less than, say, 30 days.

In other words, it is permissible to be a landlord to a longer-term tenant, but it’s not okay to rent your house, apartment or room to folks night after night after night.

In many cases, such nightly tourism activity can disrupt the culture and atmosphere of a residential area or building (in the case of a condo building, where most of the occupants are homeowners).

It’s no secret that all kinds of questionable activity happens across the web, and the web companies do not bear full responsibility for the activity that happens on or on account of their sites.

In the US, the Communications Decency Act of 1996 does a good job holding websites harmless from the content that gets posted on their sites by site visitors or customers (look at Section 230).

But even a site like Craigslist came around to remove a section of their classifieds that was conspicuously advertising illegal activity. That only happened, though, after much public and legal pressure from a lot of powerful people around the country.

Getting back to rental marketplaces, why isn’t anyone crying foul on this one? Should a homeowner be required to show proof of compliance with the law before being allowed to list a room for rent (it might be happening on Oahu)?

Sure, but the inventory on such sites would likely fall to less than one-tenth of its current inventory. Who would pour hundreds of millions into a site with little inventory?

Licenses, inspections and taxation – oh my

Local authorities everywhere are in the business of ensuring the public’s safety. Regardless of your position on the “government-is-good or government-is-bad” spectrum, few will argue against making sure places of business that are open to the public deserve some kind of inspection or review process.

  • Do you like the fact that restaurants must be inspected? I do!
  • Do you like to know that hotels and B&Bs must follow local fire safety rules? I do!


  • How many of the properties on marketplace rental sites, which mostly appear to be in residential situations, have been inspected by fire officials?
  • How many have the proper business licenses to be offering over-night accommodations to the traveling public?

Many online reviews indicate hosts are offering food to their travelers too, as part of the overnight stay. Do you think the local health inspector checked out their kitchen or sanitary food-handling skills?

Now, let’s talk taxes for a moment. Some rental marketplaces are not collecting taxes on behalf of their hosts, and the host is not likely collecting taxes either.

I know some readers are thinking the following:

“Does Uncle Sam need to grab something from EVERYTHING people earn? So what if some guy is making a little coin on the side by renting a spare room and not collecting taxes?”

Short-term lodging is usually subject to both a sales tax and occupancy tax. Oftentimes, the occupancy tax is levied to help support all kinds of initiatives to stimulate more travel to the area. Is it fair that a host gets to benefit from the traveler’s dollars, but not put in his fair share?


I already addressed the safety risks involved in not being inspected by local health or fire inspectors.

But ever since the likes of Airbnb and others materialised a couple of years ago, I’ve been telling people that I am just waiting for a tragedy to happen at one of the places rented on their site.

Some creep is going to rent his apartment to an unwitting young lady, and something terrible will happen. It happened with Couchsurfing.

Little did I know it would be the other way around!  The traveler, in this case, recently vandalized an Airbnb property, triggering reams of publicity.

Now, I do not think it is fair to hold Airbnb, in this case, fully culpable for such a transgression. Crimes occur at hotels all the time, but should the hotel always be blamed, let alone the online booking engine where a perpetrator might have booked a room?

No. But, reasonable measures, policies and the law of large numbers exist to try and minimize the likelihood of crimes taking place.

I get the allure of these rental marketplaces from many angles. To the traveler, “staying at an Airbnb”, for example, might be seen as something different and exciting.

The photos on the various homepages are nothing short of amazing, so it is quite seductive. Hosts see it as a cool way to make money and meet interesting people, although this Slate writer certainly differs.

Investors see a new product in the pretty traditional market of lodging. Heck, I represent an industry that perfected the “stay in someone’s home” experience!

But, the tens of thousands of hardworking innkeepers over the years worked WITH local authorities to gain proper recognition as legitimate businesses, have paid our taxes, have gone through inspections, etc.

This isn’t sour grapes about an imposter trying to co-opt our bed-and-breakfast brand (can you see the furrow on my forehead?). It’s bigger than that.

The bottom line, for me, can be explained in an analogy: do you think it would be ok for any one person or any family to start inviting random travelers and locals into their homes for a homemade supper…charge for it…not collect any taxes…and never get inspected by the health department?

Sure, you could just say “Caveat Emptor!”, let the online reviews handle the inspection process and not care about safety or a level playing field.

Would you feel the same way if a friend or loved one bought into this and got incredibly (or deathly) ill from an unfortunate event?

There is not much any of us can do to prevent bad or ignorant people from committing awful acts, but we can support reasonable policies and practices to try and minimize it.  Allowing such sites to propagate possibly illegal and potentially unsafe situations is nothing short of enablement.

Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at internet law and start holding web sites more responsible for what gets posted or what kinds of transactions take place on their sites.

Holding sites completely harmless has in turn caused a great deal of harm to many others (anyone want to talk about the proliferation of libel within online reviews, but the absence of any recourse for justice?), but no one in the travel industry really seems to be talking about that.

Maybe rental marketplace sites that actually collect the room revenue should be required to ensure the legality of their host properties.

Short of that, the rental marketplaces is not much more than pimps for illegal lodging.  Anyone want to propose a new Communications GREATER Decency Act of 2012?

NB: Airbnb, for example, has consistently stated it complies with local laws in the areas in which it operates.

NB2: This is a guest article by Jay Karen, president and CEO of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.

10 Things to Know When Remodeling your Inn

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

10 Things to Know When Remodeling your Inn

1. Know what you have and know what you want:

A clearly defined objective is important when considering a remodel. Make a point to define the scope of the project entirely, and on paper. By taking this simple step, you might notice that an extra outlet or dimmer switch would go perfectly in a new area. Knowing exactly what you want goes a long way when attempting to determine the cost of the project in advance.

2. Know what it should cost in advance

Knowing what things cost, from materials to labor can save you considerable amounts of money as the project matures. Contractors are notorious for simply presenting a single figure as a “bid” or “estimate”. Without due diligence, one never knows if they are being taken advantage of when presented with an estimate. Hiring a professional estimator can help you generate an exact estimate.

3. Know who you are dealing with

This cannot be stressed enough. Before you even pick up the phone or try to contact a contractor, do a little research. There are several ways to find a good contractor. First, go to the Better Business Bureau website, ( and search the company name for complaints. Don’t stop there! There are many avenues that can be used to check up on someone, from independent Google reviews to searching the name of the contractor on your local county courthouse site.

4. Getting bids

After determining what the costs should be, the next step is to call several contractors and secure bids for the project. When you receive these single page bids with vague references to the scope of work, the real work begins. The very first thing you should do is ask the contractor for a line item estimate. This sets the stage for saving money, and ensuring the contractors knows what you want as well as you do. When every little task is detailed on an estimate, there is no room for interpretation. Your vision becomes theirs, and you get the added benefit of being able to force the contractor to explain how each tasks cost was determined. Your idea of what it should cost to add a light switch may be very different than what the contractor thinks you should pay for that light switch. You can generally find several items with room for pricing negotiation.

5. Negotiating a contract

You have your bids. You have selected your contractor. Now it is time to set the terms. Make absolutely sure that every little part of your planned project in clearly spelled out in your contract. Most professional General Contractors will have their own contract ready for you to sign. Be sure to have one of your own as well. Make sure that it spells out, in detail, the entire scope of the project in no uncertain terms. As our venues cannot afford to be closed down for weeks in order to accommodate the contractors, a deadline is also a must have in your contract. One can even add penalties for not meeting deadlines into the verbiage. A contractor that balks at such penalties is not one who is willing to stand behind their projected completion date. Never agree to pay cash in advance, and never advance monies for materials. If the contractor is determined that an advance be made for materials, go with them to pick up the materials and pay for them yourself. In your contract, creating a payment schedule based on percentage of tasks completed is the best way to protect yourself. The contractor may not agree with this clause, but it will open the doors for negotiation.

6. Don’t get milked!

When possible, be sure to hire on a completed job basis, rather than hiring hourly contractors. Keep in mind, most of your businesses are seasonal, and it is the same for the contractors. Finding that job that they can work hourly for the winter is a godsend to the contractor, and a money pit for the rest of us.

7. Unexpected obstacles

On any existing structure, nine thousand times out a hundred, a contractor will approach the owner with the dreaded unexpected “This is rotten! We have to replace the whole thing”. While partially honest, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, an easy (and cost effective) solution can be found. Be ready to use your awesome intellectual powers to come up with a creative and efficient solution to any of these issues that arise. Keep in mind that it is in the contractor’s interest to make the project as lucrative as possible and simple solutions like working around the problem area may not even occur to them.

8. Change orders

You just broke rule number one! Knowing what you wanted could have saved you a bundle. However, since you just cannot live without that unplanned covered porch with a built in gazebo, you should know that the cost will change, and the deadline will definitely change.

9. Keeping the job flowing

There is a difference between being a busybody and maintaining a presence. If you are the kind of person who simply cannot resist nitpicking every task on the site, take a vacation. Nitpicking comes when the contractor announces the project is completed. Showing up once a day to see how it is going, as long as the visits are kept short, is maintaining a presence. Anything more is being a busybody. If you notice something slightly off, but it will not affect the project as a whole, simply write it down. There is a good chance the contractor will make it right before the job is done. If not, address it at the end, so that the contractor can stay on schedule.

10. Completion: How to deal with the contractors once they have announced that the job is complete

Now, it is time to present your list of nitpicking observations. Thoroughly walk the site, and point out flaws to your heart’s content. Have the contractor follow you around and create a punch list. Make it clear that all of these flaws must be remedied before you issue your final payment.

If the contractor gives you problems, have a recorder handy, and make sure they know the conversation is being recorded. Most problems suddenly disappear as the sight of a small voice recorder.


Nicholas Miller has been with Timberwolf Creek Bed & Breakfast ( for 10 years, and has managed the inn for three years. Additionally, Nicholas operates as an independent insurance adjuster, and uses estimating software that is accepted as the gold standard of the estimating industry, whether for contractors or insurance agencies.

Farmers turn to agritourism to stay in business

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Farmers turn to agritourism to stay in business

By Marisa Agha
Special to The Bee
Published: Sunday, Apr. 24, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Sunday, Apr. 24, 2011 – 9:30 am

FALLBROOK – A winding road off Interstate 15 leads to rolling hills and a sudden sea of signs peddling fresh strawberries and tomatoes. Farmers’ markets spring from the roadside, signaling a rustic slice of Southern California life that is gaining commercial appeal.

In Fallbrook, about 50 miles north of San Diego, Andrea Peterson began farming her nearly 15 acres, which border Camp Pendleton, by planting mango trees shortly after moving here in 1979. Eventually, she sold at farmers markets and wholesale to restaurants and stores, adding baby lettuce, squash, raspberries, strawberries, sugar snap peas and tomatoes to her fields. By 2006, she needed to further diversify her business to help pay the bills. So, she decided to convert her home into a year-round bed and breakfast.

“It was a big, empty house with a mortgage,” said Peterson, owner of the Blue Heron Farm Bed and Breakfast. “It just helps. Anything helps.”

A growing number of farms in Southern California have looked to tourism in recent years to boost income.

“Farmers are strapped nowadays,” said Bob McFarland, president of the California State Grange, a farmers advocacy group in Sacramento that promotes agritourism. “They have to develop new sources of revenue.”

Agritourism involves farmers who turn to tourism to keep their farms thriving, and can range from pumpkin patches and picking your own strawberries to bed and breakfasts and wineries.

“It’s the new dude ranch – it’s where people want to come and experience a day or a weekend on the farm,” McFarland said. “It’s a great alternative to going into the city or going to a movie. It’s a different experience.”

California had 685 farms with tourism or recreational income in 2007, generating $34.9 million in revenue, up from 499 farms bringing in $6.6 million in 2002, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture census. Agritourism income nationwide rose during the same period. Several Southern California counties, including Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego, saw an increase in the number of farms offering tourism, the census found.

Some worry that turning farms into tourist attractions takes away from the rural character of the family farm. Though agritourism is relatively new in San Diego County, there are basic questions asked to measure how a proposal will change land use, said Rich Grunow, land use chief for the San Diego County Department of Planning and Land Use.

“Will there be adequate parking? Will they introduce noise to the neighborhood?” Grunow asked, adding that the county soon will consider writing regulations.

Broadening their farming business came of necessity for the Tanaka family of Orange County.

George Tanaka was a farmer who opened a roadside fruit stand in Huntington Beach after World War II. His son, Glenn, continued the business in the 1970s.

But by 1998, the family was not making enough money selling its wares.

Now, grandson Kenny manages Tanaka Farms, about 30 acres of strawberry fields in Irvine that draw thousands of visitors every year through tours, the chance to pick fresh fruit and vegetables, and cookouts.

“Without the tours, it’s pretty slow,” Kenny Tanaka said. “We’re kind of lucky to still be here.”

Beyond a sampling of strawberries or spinach, patrons often seek an education.

The agritourism movement also springs from Americans’ increasing curiosity about the origin of food, how it is made and the people of a seemingly bygone era, said Penny Leff, statewide agritourism coordinator for the UC Small Farm Program in Davis.

“People are fascinated by meeting the farmers and the person directly connected to growing their food,” Leff said. “And people want their children to know, too. Now, most people don’t know farmers and ranchers.”

UC’s Small Farm Program lists between 700 and 800 farms on its online directory, Leff said. Most are small to midsize farms seeking to diversify, she said.

Peterson knows that the bed and breakfast also helps showcase her farm’s fresh fruits and vegetables.

“There’s a much bigger interest in locally, organically grown produce,” she said. “People are much more aware of what they’re eating now.”


© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more:


Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

 Tourism is Nebraska’s third largest earner of revenue from outside the state after agriculture and
 Travelers spent almost $3.8 billion in Nebraska during 2009 on trips away from home with
overnight stays in paid accommodations and on day trips to places 100 miles or more away. Annual
spending in Nebraska on these trips has increased by over $2.1 billion since 1990.
 Jobs attributable to travel spending in Nebraska totaled 45,300 in 2009.
 Each dollar spent by tourists in Nebraska is respent in the state to produce an additional $1.70 in
business and income, creating an overall economic impact of $2.70.
 Nebraskans and visitors to Nebraska together made 18.7 million trips in the state in 2009 to
destinations 100 miles or more away from home. For trips by visitors, the leading states of origin
were, in order, Kansas, Iowa, Colorado, Missouri, South Dakota, Illinois, and Minnesota.
 The average nonresident traveling party visiting Nebraska by highway during the summer consists
of 2.4 persons who stay 2.2 nights in the state and spend $435. Over a third of the nonresident
traveling parties go to attractions or events, and for each attraction or event visited, they average a
half-day longer in Nebraska, spending an additional $100.
 Among the nationally recognized and/or best attended Nebraska attractions in 2009 were: Agate
Fossil Beds National Monument (12,700), Arbor Lodge State Historical Park (120,000), Ashfall
Fossil Beds State Historical Park (22,000), Boys Town (100,000), Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical
Park (47,056), Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area (476,806), Durham Museum (150,000),
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park (1,120,200), Fort Robinson State Park (335,046), Golden Spike
Tower (36,000), Harlan County Lake (505,934), Hastings Museum/Lied Super Screen Theatre
(61,759), Homestead National Monument (66,000), Indian Cave State Park (146,515), Henry Doorly
Zoo (1,561,279), Joslyn Art Museum (177,037), Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area (892,815),
Lauritzen Gardens (160,000), Niobrara National Scenic River (68,058), Platte River State Park
(697,894), Ponca State Park (835,500), Scotts Bluff National Monument (67,235), State Capitol
(92,470—tours only), Strategic Air and Space Museum (132,600), Stuhr Museum of the Prairie
Pioneer (67,284), and University of Nebraska State Museum (68,482).
 Over 60 percent of the nonresidents visiting Nebraska during the summer stay at hotels or motels.
The state has over 28,000 hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast rooms, which had an average annual
occupancy rate of 53 percent in 2009 and offered the nation’s 7th lowest average room costs.
 The total budget of the Nebraska Travel and Tourism Division in Fiscal Year 2009-10 was
approximately $5.5 million, compared to an average of $13.5 million among all state travel offices.
A one-percent lodging tax provides much of the revenue for the Division “to generally promote,
encourage, and attract visitors to and within the State of Nebraska and enhance the use of travel
and tourism facilities within the state.”
 At the end of 2009, 74 of Nebraska’s 93 counties had lodging taxes to collect revenues for promoting
local travel and tourism. Including the highest concentrations of hotels, motels, and campgrounds in
Nebraska, these 74 counties have almost 98 percent of the state’s total commercial lodging sales. In
addition, at least 10 Nebraska cities have occupation taxes on lodging sales, with most using the
proceeds for attraction development.

Top 20 Summer Destinations for B&B Travelers

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Recent PR & Marketing Efforts issued a news release on April 11 announcing its Top 20 Summer Destinations for B&B Travelers, which was picked up by nearly 250 media outlets.  You can view the release here:

Help us promote B&Bs by sharing this link on Facebook, Twitter and your email newsletters. Blog: If you have any great high-quality photos, deals, or recipes to share, email them to Emily Gerson for consideration. You should also email her if you’re interested in participating in an innkeeper Q&A feature on the blog.

Change photos often; add video too: We know we say it over and over, but we repeat our photo mantra each month because it is such an important part of promoting our members. Media are always on the lookout for timely photos. Photos from your listing pages are often linked to releases posted in the Press Room, also visited by media worldwide. Most importantly, timely photos on your page motivate consumers to book. Now that winter is almost here, replace the summer photos with visions of winter. Update video footage to reflect the season; don’t be afraid to add photos with people enjoying your inn!

Not sure how to post photos? Click here to log in to your Home Base on, click Photos under Free Member Benefits, then upload photos following the easy instructions. Don’t forget! If you have high-resolution photos or videos, please post them on When the media wants high-res photos and videos, we look for them on, so be sure to post yours soon.

Recipe: Rosemary-Peach Martini from BnBFinder

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Recipe: Rosemary-Peach Martini

Do you have rosemary growing in your garden? Have we got a recipe for you! Actually, it’s the Murski Homestead Bed and Breakfast in Brenham, Texas, that has the recipe. This signature rosemary peach martini is a popular cocktail prepared in its various culinary courses and workshops.


  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. peach syrup
  • 1/2 oz. rosemary simple syrup*
  • 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon
  • ice

Put all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice and shake

Strain into Martini stem

Garnish with fresh lemon slice and serve immediately

*Rosemary simple syrup: heat 2 cups of water, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 6 (4 inch) sprigs fresh rosemary. Bring to boil, cover, turn off heat and let steep 20 minutes. Strain syrup and store in refrigerator in clean sterilized bottle.

Ideas for Your Inn

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Ideas for Your Inn

This beautiful vase will wow your guests this holiday season. Display anywhere it will get the most attention!

You will need:

15-inch oversized glass vase
20 frosted glass ornaments
5 yards wired ribbon
White Floral Tape
20 count set craft lights with white wiring
2 packages Crystal Fiber

What you do

Start with a 15-inch oversized glass vase that has enough volume to contain the ornaments, lights and crystal fiber.

Wire Up the Ornaments: Remove the caps from all the frosted ornaments. Insert one clear light into each glass ball and secure it with white floral tape.

Put in the Crystal Fiber and Arrange the Wired Ornaments: Layer some crystal fiber in the bottom of the vase, then layer several glass ornaments on top of the fiber, placing the cord towards the center of the vase so it is not visible from the outside. Add some more crystal fiber and more ornaments alternatively and use some of the fiber in specific places to hide the wire.

Tie on the Wired Ribbon, Plug in Your Lights and Enjoy the Results! Use enough ribbon to tie full bow with multiple loops. Wired ribbon is great for shaping and arranging the loops for a more pleasing effect. Now you are ready! Plug in and enjoy your wintery new Crystal Reflections vase!

Design by Rita Fleehart

This tip courtesy of

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