Bed and breakfast trends are important to recognize. This is especially true for those who own and operate inns. We share information found in the latest bed and breakfast reports, including statistics and estimated sales, as well as key business trends and industry opportunities.
For your convenience, we also include links to our related blog posts. Thus, B&B Consulting continues to help B&B owners, innkeepers, and investors stay on the cutting edge of the hospitality industry.
Barnes Report on the Bed and Breakfast Industry (2022)
Estimated Number of Establishments
The Barnes Report total for the number of United States bed and breakfasts is 3,039. They reported on the relatively high concentration of inns located in metropolitan areas, including the following estimates:
- Asheville, NC (84)
- Charleston, SC (8)
- Savannah, GA (40)
The estimated number of establishments in the following southeastern states:
- Florida (119)
- Georgia (72)
- North Carolina (127)
- South Carolina (28)
Estimated Sales in Millions
The Barnes Report for the total number of sales in the United States B&B industry (in millions) is 967.4 million dollars. Southeastern state revenues include:
- Florida (33.3 million)
- Georgia (28.6 million)
- North Carolina (32.5 million)
- South Carolina (11.5 million)
Thus, this tells us that the bed and breakfast industry in the United States is approaching one-billion dollars in estimated sales. Therefore, this indicates that the market is still strong for this hospitality niche. Moving on to bed and breakfast trends.
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Due to the ongoing pandemic, hoteliers may need to manage and provide customers with a more digitized experience through contactless technology. The trend towards digital and contactless services gained momentum in 2020. The widespread use of technology-assisted options, such as biometrics, contactless payments, and mobile check-in, has improved the customer experience when it comes to convenience in accessing their hotel rooms and efficiency in the hotel's investment effort.
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Meetings and Events
To increase occupancy rates and revenues, many B&B owners offer their facility for weddings, reunions, conferences, and retreats, if space and design allow. Some B&Bs host destination weddings, usually by renting rooms and grounds to the wedding party (for both the wedding service and reception). Conference room set-ups and other business amenities facilitate off-site meetings for local businesses and serve as an overnight retreat location for more distant businesses and other organizations.
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Agritourism, also known as "agritainment," is a growing opportunity for bed and breakfast inns. Farmers who want to hold onto their land, even if they no longer can make a living solely as farmers, have been turning to agritourism as a revenue source. Hayrides, demonstrations, and other events, as well as accommodations, are a good fit for rural bed and breakfasts.
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Special packages help B&Bs differentiate themselves from other lodgings and increase revenue per guest visit. Packages wrapped into a single price are popular options for many B&B guests. In addition to the overnight accommodations and breakfast service, packages may include dinner, sunset cruises, horseback rides, in-room massages, flowers, food and wine trays, day trips with picnic lunches, and special event tickets. Typically, B&Bs offer one or more of these packages, with the opportunity for guests to customize the special offering.
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A New Generation of Travelers
Some B&B owners are looking to court business from younger Generation X and Gen Y travelers, according to EHL Insights. Serving these growing consumer segments offers increased business opportunities, but it might also require some changes in how B&Bs operate. Gen X and Gen Y customers have different tastes in décor and food than older travelers and may require more electrical outlets and Wi-Fi connections for smartphones and other devices. B&Bs hoping to capture business from younger customers may need to upgrade their websites and ensure that content is optimized for mobile devices.
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Marketing through Social Media
Social media tools and websites can help bed and breakfast innkeepers compete more effectively with big chain hotels. Having a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram presence can increase a B&B's online visibility, while offering guests the opportunity to post comments about their experiences. According to SiteMinder, about 70% of travel agencies reported better interactions and relationships with their customers once they committed to a social media strategy.
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Although B&Bs have historically been concentrated in areas outside big cities, urban B&Bs are becoming increasingly popular. Urban B&Bs, located in cities like New York, Houston, and Nashville, primarily target business travelers who make up more than half of the lodging industry's profit. These accommodations typically offer free Wi-Fi, in-room data ports, and small business centers with printers, fax machines, and office supplies.
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Marketing professionals in the lodging industry are beginning to replace traditional advertising with effective content marketing. Companies are betting that fresh content, consistent updates of promotions, and rich media will draw in the guests. according to Hospitality Net. Blogs, social media, e-newsletters, webinars, and photo or video sharing encourage user interactivity and engagement and are eclipsing traditional paid media formats.
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Green Initiatives and Sustainability
Green initiatives become a trend among lodging companies in response to consumers' growing environmental concerns. Current green efforts affect the frequency of laundry operations, types of lighting, and packaging of bathroom supplies. Conservation efforts, such as washing linens only on customer request, reduce hotels' environmental impact and operating expenses. These improvements often have high initial costs but may help reduce a company's long-term energy expenses.
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Travel Demand Tied to Energy Prices
Fluctuating oil prices have a significant impact on business and leisure travel volumes and demand for lodging accommodations. Declining retail gasoline prices often contribute to upticks in domestic vacation travel by car and RV, and lower jet fuel prices drive down the cost of airline tickets. However, low energy costs can also negatively affect the lodging industry, especially within the corporate travel segment. Demand for hotels in major oil and gas regions of the US can plummet as falling prices prompt energy companies to scale back on production and business travel in those areas.
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Millennials represent a critical customer base for the hospitality and travel industries as they enter their peak earning period. Lodging companies are putting a larger focus on mobile applications, social media marketing, and high-speed Wi-Fi service to connect with young travelers, according to Kent State University. Many establishments are also catering to millennials by modernizing their bars, restaurants, fitness facilities, and other amenities.
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Mobile Marketing and Social Media
Many US social networking activities now occur on smartphones and tablets which elevated the importance of mobile marketing. The merging of mobile and social platforms presents an opportunity for marketers to reach consumers in innovative ways, according to Travel Tech Strategies. For example, lodging establishments may run contests or offer special perks for followers who tag themselves at company properties using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social platforms.
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Americans with the age 50 and older are a key demographic for the lodging industry. The Southern and Western US are popular destinations for domestic travel, while Europe, the Caribbean, and Mexico are top international destinations. More than half of baby boomers use travel review sites such as TripAdvisor when making travel plans, but they are generally more inclined to get information from hotel, airline, and car rental websites.
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Food and Beverage Services
Restaurants, bars, and other food and beverage segments are becoming more important for lodging operators looking to become competitive. Upscale casual-dining restaurants have become more popular, as have breakfast service, grab-and-go, and regional food options. Many new properties have incorporated food and beverage service into flexible lobby space and outdoor areas to promote social interaction, a key advantage that hotels have over rental services like Airbnb.
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We will continue to feature the latest topics in the hospitality industry, especially as it pertains to bed and breakfast trends. Rob Sales, along with his wife Jane, owned & operated several bed and breakfast inns. Today, Rob has decades of experience as a licensed real estate agent. Contact B&B Consulting if you are looking to buy or sell a bed and breakfast inn.