Bed and breakfast (typically shortened to B&B or BnB) is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast. Bed and breakfasts are often private family homes and typically have between four and eleven rooms, with six being the average. In addition, a B&B usually has the hosts living in the house.
Bed and breakfast is also used to describe the level of catering included in a hotel's room prices, as opposed to room only, half-board or full-board.
In China, expatriates have remodelled traditional structures in quiet picturesque rural areas and opened a few rustic boutique hotels with minimum amenities. Most patrons are foreign tourists but they are growing in popularity among Chinese domestic tourists.
In India, the government is promoting the concept of bed & breakfast. The government is doing this to increase tourism, especially keeping in view of the demand for hotels during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. They have classified B&Bs in 2 categories – Gold B&Bs, and Silver B&Bs. All B&Bs must be approved by the Ministry of Tourism, who will then categorize it as Gold or Silver based upon a list of pre-defined criteria.
The Israeli B&B is known as a zimmer (German for 'room'). All over the country, but especially in northern Israel (Galilee, Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights) the zimmer has developed into an extensive industry. This industry began to develop in the 1990s, when agriculture became less profitable, and many families with farms in moshavim, kibbutzim, farms and even in cities decided to try their luck in the business of hospitality. In the last decade, there has been development of bed and breakfasts also in southern Israel in the Negev.
In Italy, regional law regulates B&Bs. There is a national law "Legge 29 marzo 2001, n. 135" but each region maintains a specific regulation. Each region can adopt different regulations but they must observe the national law on Tourism (Law N° 135 /2001). 
There are numerous B&Bs found in seaside towns, the countryside as well as city centres.
B&Bs are graded by VisitBritain and the AA on a star system. 3, 4 and 5-star establishments have a higher standard. A majority of B&Bs in the UK have en-suite facilities.
There are approximately 17,000 B&Bs in the United States.
In January 2003 Tourism Queensland conducted a review of current research to gain a better understanding of the Bed & Breakfast (B&B) market:
Key needs that must be met for people staying at bed and breakfast style accommodation include: pampering and personalised service in an attractive location in an attractive house, opposed to more 'standard' hotelrooms.
The following attributes are also appealing:
- Homely or wholesome atmosphere (older segments) or luxurious/heritage surrounds
- Home style meals
- Area for conversing with other guests
- Ability to tap into local knowledge of attractions and activities in local area.
Guests at B&Bs were asked to identify the features and factors which motivated them to choose the establishment they were staying at. The friendliness of the host was the most important factor, followed by easy access to other places, the site being the most appealing place in the region. Usually B & B´s are privately owned, therefore very different from standard commercial hotels.
Bed & Breakfasts provide mutual benefits for both the visitor and the operator. Visitors have the opportunity for a relaxing break in a homely environment. Operators have the opportunity to develop a profitable business, make new friends and contacts, understand the cultures and lifestyles of others, and to educate guests about their way of life.
Income and leisure time have changed so that shorter breaks with greater choice of leisure activities are sought by travellers. Changing work patterns have increased the popularity of shorter breaks that minimize the absence from work and the effect of absences on workflow and involvement. Bed & Breakfast holidays tend to be short break holidays and could benefit from the increased popularity of short breaks, sought by people who aim for authenticity and personal service.
According to a study by Michigan State University:
The profile of B&B guests confirms widely held impressions that this is a middle-aged, well-educated, (moderately) high income, professional market. On the last reported B&B trip, couples comprised two thirds of the travel parties.
Eighty-two percent of those sampled are married, and about half (44 percent) have children living at home. Average age for a travel party (respondent and spouse/partner ages are merged) is 40 years, with 60 percent under this age. This indicates that many B&B guests are at a mid-point in the traditional family cycle, when raising children is a primary activity. Newlyweds and "empty nesters" account for a smaller proportion. In fact, only 9 percent of the market is attributed to adults over 59 years of age.
Education levels are high, with the largest response category being completion of a college degree (31 percent). In addition, another one third had some graduate school or an advanced degree. It follows that the occupational profile is dominated by professionals and managers. Note that several categories such as business, health, education, and science are large enough for B&B's to consider promotion aimed specifically at these segments.
The unique touches that distinguish a B&B are clearly a primary reason for selecting this lodging option. Words like "charm", ambience", "quaintness" and "atmosphere" were often used by respondents to describe this intangible appeal. The importance of the "getaway" aspect demonstrates that B&B's have been well positioned to take advantage of shorter, more frequent weekend trips preferred by many two-income families. The lure of B&B's as a more personal alternative to the standard hotel/motel experience was reconfirmed by the 10 percent who called this the single most important reason for staying at a B&B, the most frequent response to this open-ended question.
Customers were for the most part satisfied with their most recent B&B experience, with 80 percent giving the experience an ... excellent" rating and another 17 percent calling it "good". Over 90 percent would both consider a return visit and recommend the B&B to friends and family.
According to this study, many bed and breakfast visitors make use of evaluations, given by other guests. This system of independent reviews is one of the fastest growing consumer content oriented sites on the net.
Another study suggests that people trust online reviews posted by previous guests:
People are willing to pay up to 99 percent more for services after reading positive online reviews about them, according to new research.
The study, conducted in October by comScore and The Kelsey Group, found that online, consumer-created reviews have a big impact on prospective buyers. The researchers said 24 percent of those who eventually pay for local services -- such as restaurants, bed & breakfasts and automotive shops -- read online reviews before making a choice.
The study showed consumers were so trusting of online reviews, they were willing to pay at least 20 percent, and up to 99 percent, more if a company was rated excellent or five-star than if a business received a good, or four-star, rating. The study was based on 2,078 survey respondents, including 508 who used online consumer reviews.
Professional critics, and owners of companies that receive less-than-excellent online reviews by laypersons, might question the ability of regular people to adequately judge a service. However, the comScore/Kelsey Group study found that 90 percent of the people who trusted consumer-written reviews found the critiques to be accurate. In fact, noted the researchers, "reviews generated by fellow consumers had a greater influence than those generated by professionals."
The study included specific bed & breakfasts among others services. At least 75 percent of those using online reviews for nearly every category of business included in the study said the amateur field reports significantly impacted their decision. Eighty-seven percent of those in search of hotels said the reviews played a big part in their choice.
The take-away message for service providers, according to a statement issued by The Kelsey Group's research director, Steve Marshall: "With such a large percentage of review users subsequently purchasing, it's vital that local service providers have a positive presence on these review sites."
The fact that one-in-four of those contacted said they use reviews should come as good news for those in the online consumer review space, said Brian Jurutka, senior director at comScore Marketing Solutions. "That's a sizeable chunk", he said. "This helps them in having discussions with folks looking to advertise; it says a sizeable portion of the online population is going to be visiting these sites."
A study by the Journal of Travel Research stated:
While the hedonic price model has been used to evaluate willingness to pay in a variety of markets, its use in the tourism industry is limited. This research note highlights the usefulness of the hedonic price technique in this industry by evaluating willingness to pay for specific characteristics of bed and breakfast accommodations. Heterogeneity in price and amenities offered by bed and breakfast accommodations enables us to generate estimates of willingness to pay for specific characteristics. Using data on price and amenities collected from bed and breakfast accommodations, the findings show a willingness to pay for specific characteristics such as sunny balconies, a five star Champagne breakfast, and a room furnished with antique treasures...
A 2007 study on Prince Edward Island
The vast majority of visitors to B & B are pleasure travellers. The most important reasons why travellers choose a B & B are personalised service and hospitality, price and value ratio, physical element, atmosphere, image and location.
According to Time magazine:
Americans have a wide array of lodgings to choose from when they take a vacation: high-rise hotels, rustic resorts, motels by the bay. Yet more and more people are flocking to bed-and-breakfast inns, the most old-fashioned homes away from home. Just 20 years ago, there were only 1,000 B and Bs, as they are nicknamed, scattered throughout the country. Today there are more than 28,000 serving more than 50 million guests each year.
What's the appeal? Bed-and-breakfasts, often situated in elegant, historic homes, tap into everyone's fantasy of living another life. Many have been lovingly renovated with period decorations, inviting visitors to step back in time. Others carry a theme throughout the house. Since on average they have only seven or eight rooms, they offer peace and quiet, a rare commodity in the average home.
The hosts, who nearly always live on the premises, provide plenty of coddling. They will recommend local attractions, help with dinner reservations, often provide an afternoon tea or glass of sherry--and, yes, prepare a delicious homemade breakfast.
Prices at bed-and-breakfasts, which average $104 to $133 a night, depending on the region, rival the rates of good hotels. While some 10,000 B and Bs are private homes in which the owners offer a room or two, most are serious businesses, complete with websites and toll-free numbers.
The clientele tends to be couples, most of them affluent and well educated. Most are tourists or people who are in town to visit family or to celebrate a special occasion. Bed-and-breakfasts are popular with many foreign travelers, mostly from Britain, Germany, Canada, France and Australia, who have grown up going to B and Bs in their own countries.