Looking for less expensive places to stay when traveling on business? All you need to do is access the Internet and you’ll find thousands of listings for B&Bs.
These are no longer exclusively delegated to Mom and Pop country homes that have a few extra rooms where cityfolk can escape from downtown pressures. You know the type: rooms with four poster beds, lots of country prints and a delicious breakfast served with homemade breads and jams. The host family generally hovers and serves as guides with a vast amount of information about the area that they’re delighted to share.
There’s a new trend. B&Bs in major cities are mushrooming and many of the owners are doing their best to cater to business travelers. Some business travelers think they’re the answer. Others wouldn’t go near them.
For example, one road warrior says he always shies away from them for work related travel because he needs a certain amount of anonymity. The management consultant explains, “During breakfast, I don’t really want to chat about homemade scones. I’ve got to get my mind/notes together for that day’s meetings.”
Others are converts who opt for B&Bs over hotels even though they might not be substantially less expensive than inexpensive hotels or motels.
But, there are certain requirements and an increasing number of B&B owners are willing to supply them. The economy is tough for everyone.
Here are a few things people cite as priorities when opting for B&Bs:
2. Easy access to public transportation
3- Free WiFi
4- Use of a printer and a photocopy machine
5- Good beds
6- TV’s in the room with English language channels
7- Good showers with lots of hot water
When it comes to breakfast, some business people say they prefer having the option of self-service and being able to carry it away rather than sitting down at a communal table.
24-hour-a-day access to the premises without disturbing others.
Being able to book on-line and pay with a credit card.
Some people do appreciate the coziness of B&Bs plus the ability to connect with others. One friend stays at them when she’s attending conventions. She’s willing to walk up to 20 minutes and likes returning to a smaller place after she’s spent the day being jostled by too many people in a convention hall. She’s quick to say it’s nice to be able to have a drink in her temporary home’s living room and relax. In addition, she’s met some nice people.
The B&B concept is growing in popularity. Ten years ago, there weren’t any in Central Paris. Now there are hundreds.
What’s your take?
Karen Fawcett is president of BonjourParis.