Inns Magazine Issue 3 Vol. 18 Fall Escapes 2014 - Page 28

Two Inns experts, Mary Hughes,

Editor of Inns Magazine and

Mary White of BnBfinder.com field

questions from Innkeepers and travelers.

I love staying at B&Bs. I enjoy the distinct personality of each one, and I can’t resist the delicious breakfasts! I travel a lot

for my job, and whenever I have a choice of where to stay, I pick a bed & breakfast. Hotels are fine, but I find them all about the same, whereas each B&B offers a unique and meaningful experience. I find B&Bs online and I’ve had a few reliable sites bookmarked for years. Recently, a new site called AirBnB has started popping up – do you know it? What is the difference between the B&Bs that I am used to and the properties on AirBnB? – Shelly, Hartford, CT, USA

Hi Shelly - That is a terrific question and one that many travelers have been asking lately. Because AirBnB uses “BnB” in its name, visitors expect it to be a bed & breakfast website. However, the name is very misleading, because for the most part, the properties listed on the site are not traditional B&Bs. By this, we mean that they are not licensed and insured businesses, do not pay taxes, and most do not follow the local laws and standards to which bed & breakfast owners are held. Rather, AirBnB simply lists rooms or apartments that individuals are offering as lodging.

As you’ve noted, sites like AirBnB have gained a lot of momentum recently. There are pros and cons, and people have been weighing in on both sides. The best article we’ve seen so far is "AirBnB: Friend or Foe?" written by Peter Scherman and Rick Wolf of The B&B Team. Peter and Rick are experts in the B&B industry, and they present a balanced portrayal of the “sharing economy” in which sites like AirBnB operate. They sympathize with folks who are trying to make a little extra money from a spare room, but point out that many AirBnB “hosts” are running short-term rentals as an ongoing business activity, often in violation of their own leases. Peter and Rick simply advocate for a level playing field that preserves opportunities for traditional B&Bs to promote themselves, and that ensures AirBnB properties follow the same rules and regulations as similarly-sized properties that are licensed as bed & breakfasts. Following the law is not only essential in business; it also ensures the safety of all guests.

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Inns E-Magazine / Fall 2014