Five things NOT to do while staying at a B&B

Top Five Innkeeper Pet Peeves…

I absolutely love the B&B/Inn experience, some might argue that I’ve become quite the authority after reviewing so many of them. Because I’m keenly aware that staying at a bed and breakfast is different than a hotel, I felt compelled to try and educate newbies as to some of the nuances of B&B lodging.

Let me begin by saying that if you’ve never stayed at a B&B or Inn, you’re really missing out on a remarkable lodging experience. Trust me, I’m fully aware of some of the common misconceptions, but let me tell you that most of them are not true.  Of course, each bed and breakfast is completely different…some might thrive in particular categories, where others may fall short.  Do your homework by checking online guest reviews and travel sites like Mike’s Road Trip and you won’t go wrong.

Before I tell you about the “Five things NOT to do at a B&B,” let me describe how a B&B differs from a hotel:

  • Most B&B’s are 3-5 rooms.  An “Inn” is often larger, maybe 8-12 rooms, however that’s not always the case as the term “Inn” and “B&B” are basically synonymous.
  • Most of the time the Innkeeper is the owner, you’re not dealing with some large corporation.
  • While the price of a B&B might seem higher than a hotel at times, the actual value is much greater.  Most B&B’s I’ve stayed serve a wonderful breakfast, so when you figure you won’t have to spend $30+ dining out, it’s a pretty good deal.  Many B&B’s offer evening snacks, free refreshments and many other items.  I’ve stayed at a few B&B’s where the in-room fridge is stocked with goodies…some even have a wine hour with appetizers, while others serve light dinner fare.
  • The accommodations at a B&B are almost always superior to that of a hotel…better linens, bedding, furniture, etc.
  • Amenities are also often more plentiful at a B&B, from better shampoo, lotions and grooming items, to games and libraries of books/DVD’s.
  • Innkeepers are usually excited to share with you all the wonderful places to visit, explore and experience while in their neck of the woods.  They are a wealth of knowledge, from great restaurants to wineries and tourist attractions—a built-in concierge if you will.

Again, bear in mind that each Bed and Breakfast  is completely unique, which is part of the charm and excitement of the experience.  Unless you’re staying in a really high-end resort, a hotel room is often pretty standard and boring.  At a B&B, each room is usually distinctly decorated, and most today have private bathrooms and entrances.


Now that you know some of the items that make a B&B special and unique, here are the top five things NOT to do while staying at one. I asked over 100 innkeepers to tell me what their top pet peeves are with guests.  Surprisingly, many had nothing but good things to say about their guests, but as you can imagine, many were willing to dish on their biggest guest aggravations.

  • Unlike a hotel where there is usually someone at the reservations desk, a B&B is run by a small business owner who has to juggle many things in order to make your stay as comfortable as possible, so the #1 biggest gripe innkeepers have with their guests is not arriving during the designated check-in time (that includes initial arrival, and the breakfast service).   Most B&B’s have a check-in time between 4-6pm, if you can’t arrive within the posted time, just give them a call to let them know so that they may plan their day.  While a late arrival may be acceptable, don’t ever expect an early check-in…the innkeepers are probably at the store or cleaning rooms.
  • The next biggest pet peeve are guests who do not respect the property.  It would be much appreciated if you treated the places you stay as if they where your own.  Don’t place throw-pillows on the floor, or not wipe your feet thoroughly before entering ,or shine your shoes with the expensive towels, or hang wet towels on finely crafted wood furniture.
  • Be mindful of the rules and regulations, some B&B’s are kid-free, pet-free and/or smoke-free zones. Read the rules prior to booking your reservation, that way your expectations will be met and so will that of the innkeeper.
  • Some people feel that if there are complimentary things available, i.e. cookies, snacks, wine, etc that they are entitled to over-consume, which often leaves other guests unsatisfied. The “rule of two (which I think I just made up)” is probably a good one to abide by…no more than two of anything in a given day. Also, unless you’ve been given permission, don’t raid the cupboards or refrigerator.
  • An Inn or Bed and Breakfast is typically a mom & pop small business, they simply do not have the resources or margins that a larger hotel might have.  You will frequently see discounted prices during off-peak periods and often a B&B will require a two/three-night minimum stay…the reason for this is that the expenses involved in running the property do not scale well for short stays. It’s customary not to negotiate prices with an innkeeper, unless maybe you’re staying for a longer duration. It’s not inexpensive to run an B&B, so be mindful that they do not have the same flexibility as a larger lodging property.

I hope this overview will help manage your expectations the next time you consider staying at a bed and breakfast…it can be a wonderful and unforgettable experience.

If you have any additional tips or suggestions of what not to do when staying at a B&B, please leave a comment below.  If you found this post to be helpful, please “like” it and share with your friends and family.

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30 Comments

  1. [Video] Five things NOT to do at a B&B | Top Five Innkeeper Pet … | Best1000
    March 19, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    [...] [Video] Five things NOT to do at a B&B | Top Five Innkeeper Pet … Tags: amenities, books, common, dvd, friends, knowledge, peeves, property, term [...]

  2. Rhonda
    March 19, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Wow – what a great post – very useful information, very insightful :)

  3. Mike's Road Trip
    March 19, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Hey, thank you so much Rhonda!

  4. Richard, Manager Fat Duck Inn. B and B Walla Walla Wa.
    March 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    The majority of our guests are absolutely wonderful and considerate.

    Travelers with less experience in dealing with Bed and Breakfasts will surely find your tips and movie very useful.

    Thank you for posting.

  5. Mike's Road Trip
    March 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Hey Richard, thanks for stopping by. Cheers, Mike.

  6. Jane Giesbrecht
    April 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Great post, Mike. The work load for InnKeepers is heavy, and any consideration we can give them while staying in a B&B may be the ‘one’ thing that keeps them from going crazy from the seemingly endless tasks in a day that makes us so comfortable.

  7. Mike's Road Trip
    April 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks Jane! Agreed. :-)

  8. Sebastien Lauzon
    May 9, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Great information for newbies Mike!

  9. Mike's Road Trip
    May 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Thanks Sebastien!

  10. Georgene Brunell
    May 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Thanks, Mike, for keeping me in the loop. I LOVE your website! I’m going to start working on mine SOON!

    Georgene

  11. Mike's Road Trip
    May 11, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Hi Georgene…thanks for stopping by and for the kudos! Cheers, Mike

  12. Victoria
    May 30, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    You hit the nail right on the head with your 5 things Not to Do, Mike. Thanks for posting this – some great information for those who are not so familiar with staying at a B & B (and maybe it will open the eyes of those who do frequent them)! From a very appreciative B & B owner!

  13. Mike's Road Trip
    May 30, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Hi Victoria…thanks so much for the kind comment. All the best, Mike

  14. Helen, Alligator Creek B & B
    May 30, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Great article. Number 1 is our number 1 peeve, too. Although we love running our little b&b and enjoy our guests we DO HAVE A LIFE OUTSIDE THE B&B, and if we’ve arranged our day around a particular arrival time guests arriving early or late are very frustrating.

  15. Mike's Road Trip
    May 30, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Hi Helen, thanks for stopping by and posting a comment.

  16. P.j.
    June 1, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Hmm, maybe it would be a good thing to have this video on autoplay whenever guests check in, ready to replay again & again. ;-)

  17. Mike's Road Trip
    June 3, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Lol…that might not be a bad idea. :-) Thanks for stopping by P.J.

  18. Mary White
    August 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Great post and video. First time B&B guests are always fun to speak with…they are so excited (and amazed) about the experience and value they discover at a bed & breakfast so articles like this letting them know what to expect (and not to expect) will hopefully encourage more of these happy travelers.

  19. Mike's Road Trip
    August 30, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Mary! Thanks so much for the kudos. I really enjoy staying, and, working with B&Bs/Inns. I’d love to chat sometime to learn more about BnBFinder…maybe there is a way we can work together? In the meantime, feel free to put a link to my post/video on your site if you think it would be helpful to your visitors. Cheers, Mike

  20. Gary
    August 30, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Mike,

    As an Innkeeper you hit the nail right on the head with these top 5. I would love to send all my first time guests to this link without sounding preachy or condescending, but it really would benefit every one of them. While I feel it is a gift that I get to host people, some guests are more like lumps of coal.

    If I could add one more thing that I find difficult is that the guests don’t have any idea what activities to do and expect me to play ‘Cruise Director’ for them, including drawing maps and arranging trips for them. If you finish out the Top ’10’ I am sure that one would be on there!

  21. Mike's Road Trip
    August 30, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Gary…thanks so much the kudos. And, for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and additional topic to add to the list. Where is your Inn? Cheers, Mike

  22. Elizabeth- Etheringon Mano b&b
    August 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Thank you!!! Is it bad that I am printing a copy for my guest lounge? These could not possibly be more accurate!

  23. Cindy Way
    August 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Hi! I stumbled across your post and enjoyed your info. We’ve been BnB owners for 10 years now and find the majority of our guests to be wonderful people. My pet peeve is the overly needy guest(s) who ask a million questions, then don’t listen and/or don’t wait for the answers..which means they ask the same questions over and over! We have an extremely informative website and we have a info sheet we give each and every guest at check-in. The answers to all their questions are right in front of them–but no one reads anymore!

  24. Mike's Road Trip
    August 31, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Hi Elizabeth! My pleasure. LOL…I hope by printing and posting in your guest lounge that it will help. :-) Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Cheers, Mike

  25. Mike's Road Trip
    August 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Hi Cindy! Why thank you very much. And, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Cheers, Mike

  26. Helen, Alligator Creek B & B
    August 31, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Number one sure is our number one, too – and for every B&B owner that I have contact with. You wouldn’t arrange to turn up at a friend’s house at a certain time and then arrive an hour or two early, or 3hrs late without phoning, but I think guests don’t realise how we value THEIR time and would never dream of not being there to greet them. Any plans to tour Australia??

  27. Mike's Road Trip
    August 31, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Hi Helen…thanks so much for adding your feedback. No, no plans at the moment…but if you have any connections at the tourism board, I’d love to reach out and see if I could organize a trip. :-)

  28. Bruce and Irene Noon of Casa Mediodia Bed and Breakfast
    July 17, 2013 at 1:32 am

    I appreciate your article and I think we are unique because we are off the grid, with lots of wildlife and we have solar powered or gas/lp powered refrigerators and we live in Mexico above a bay overlooking the Pacific Ocean on a “Banda” that sticks way out in the Pacific. In our situation, leaving the doors open and leaving the lights on when not in use are things that can lead to bugs or mice coming in to visit or loss of power by other guests. We sometimes feel like parents coming in behind, closing doors, but our guests are usually pretty happy when we tell them this will keep the tarantula’s out. Do you ever travel in Baja?

  29. Mike's Road Trip
    July 17, 2013 at 2:00 am

    Hey Bruce…thanks for stopping by. No, I’ve actually never been to the Baja…have always wanted to though. Is that an open invitation? :-)

  30. Bruce and Irene Noon of Casa Mediodia Bed and Breakfast
    July 17, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Mike,
    I’m not sure what that means exactly, but you are welcome to make a reservation anytime. We are actually in the process of building a second house and we will go from two to 5 bedrooms plus a kitchenette that can sleep 6 the first week of August (they are already booked the first week).
    Bring hiking shoes and a sweater for the cool nights! Around us we have a great cove with a little beach for privacy, or a huge beach on the North side of Punta Banda and of course the great La Bufadora waterspout with it’s concourse of vendors and artists.

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