What is a Bed and Breakfast…and what’s the difference between a Bed & Breakfast and an Airbnb rental – in relation to our Sheffield Tasmania accommodation?
A traditional Bed and Breakfast (B&B/BnB for short, originally known as a Guest House) is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast, like our Sheffield Tasmania accommodation.
B&Bs are often the owners’ family home and typically have between four and eleven rooms, with six being the average.
In addition, usually the BnB host lives within the house, having a separate area for themselves from their guest. At times you will find the host will be in the same areas.
B&Bs are usually private, family-owned small businesses, therefore very different from standard commercial hotels like your Sheratons, Hiltons, local motel type venues, where staff are employed to service guests’ needs 24/7.
BnB hosts normally have no staff and provide the service themselves; this being greeting guest on arrival, up early prepping and cooking the breakfast each morning, housekeeping and maintaining their property themselves.
As many don’t have additional staff, some B&Bs have strict arrival times e.g. between 3pm and 8pm (as they also need to cater for their own needs).
Departure times may also differ from hotels, as it takes hosts longer to clean rooms depending on the number of rooms they have to clean, and/or complete or arrange for repairs on their property.
Of course, the BnB can be contacted for arrival times outside these and the owners will do their best to accommodate you wherever possible.
In a B&B, the guests have more opportunity for a relaxing break in a homely environment, either near beaches, or on farms where they can meet the farm animals or go for walks etc.
A lot of B&Bs have established gardens for you to sit and relax in with a wine and cheese platter without a large number of other guests in the same areas.
Instead of the McDonalds saying, “Do you want fries with that?” the traditional Bed and Breakfast saying might be, “How would you like your eggs: scrambled, fried or poached?”
Most B&B owners will at least provide either a Continental breakfast of fresh fruits, cereals, fruit juice, and/or pastries…and the majority of B&B owners will take time and effort to create a home-cooked breakfast.
They’ll likely have homemade sauces or relishes from vegetables grown on the property, homemade jams and marmalades from local fruit and berry suppliers etc.
In some B&Bs, there may be an extra cost for a traditional cooked breakfast, which includes freshly laid henhouse eggs, homegrown tomatoes, or locally sourced sausages, for example.
A question that is often asked; what is the difference between a B&B and an Airbnb?
In short, the difference is that Airbnb is a lightly regulated home sharing internet site that lets anyone list any type of accommodation for rent, while a Bed & Breakfast is a regulated small accommodation provider subject to local and state regulations/laws.
Think of a traditional B&B as a small hotel with a few extra perks. The host is the owner, has personal touches like homemade biscuits, cakes, breakfast is provided, and some may do an afternoon tea if baking for themselves.
There is no certainty of the type of breakfast you will receive from an Airbnb property, you may get cereal and bread to toast, while it is likely it is provided, you will possibly be cooking it yourself.
In traditional B&Bs (as with our Sheffield Tasmania accommodation), you have a room, most have own bathroom and some you will have a shared bathroom with another guest. With an Airbnb, it’s more likely you’ll have the whole unit / house / shack to yourself.
The original founders of Airbnb helped students find a blow-up air bed in somebody’s San Francisco lounge room back in 2008.
Nowadays, it’s getting harder to delineate the difference, with the term B&B, Bed and Breakfast, and Airbnb being interchanged at will by pretty much everyone – guests, news sites, radio presenters and politicians.
Any confusion between the two isn’t helped with some traditional Bed & Breakfast owners listing their properties on the Airbnb site to compete with Airbnb.
Owner-manager hosts of B&Bs are there to welcome guests and share local knowledge, are accredited with the State’s Tourism Authority’s (many Airbnb properties are not accredited) and, finally, often provide a full cooked breakfast.
While most accommodation providers in Australia use the three largest online booking platforms / agencies (Booking.com, Expedia, Wotif) to promote their businesses, they are all foreign owned (e.g. United States, Singapore).
Every booking with these platforms means a percentage of the cost paid goes from Australia to the overseas economy tax free.
In 2022, over $5 million was taken by these online booking agents, with them not having to pay taxes on this income, compared to the B&B owner who has to pay GST taxes on their income made hosting guests from these agents.
The accommodation owners are charged anywhere from 15% to 25% per booking. For a small business this is a lot!
Imagine if that amount was taken from your weekly wage what it would mean for your after-tax income.
OTAs have their place and bring in business to the accommodation sector, but book directly with your accommodation provider to get a direct booking discount.
This way, you’ll be supporting the Australian economy, with the savings being spent in the local area supporting other local small business.
We look forward to seeing you and making your stay special. Make sure you start your day with a fabulous breakfast at a traditional Bed and Breakfast – you just can’t beat it!
To see more of our blogs in our very own Sheffield Tasmania accommodation at Glencoe Country B&B, click here.