Photo: Beverages being enjoyed on Toba's B&B front porch
You are planning a trip and google keeps suggesting hundreds of accommodation ads, so where do you stay? In todays day and age we have adapted to planning our trips at our fingertips, anywhere and anytime. There is no need to worry about dropping the pen cap in between the seats while you cross off routes on your paper map. Now the question remains, where are you going to stay during your next vacation?
There has been a shift where people head to AirBnB when booking vacations and we are here to inform you that although there are similarities, Bed and Breakfasts are quite opposite at times. We got into the Bed and Breakfast business in 2017. The names sound similar B&B and AirBnB, yet one distinguishing factor is we are a a licensed accommodation or a regulated accommodation which differs B&B's from AirBnB's (there is more information on this point further down).Throughout this blog you will notice that we've explained certain things from our view rather than a compare/contrast blog. It is now important for us to answer the question that we get asked a lot... yes, we book both Bed and Breakfasts as well as AirBnB's when we travel :)!
Some differences: While Airbnb's main focus is on renting out private homes or rooms in homes, our mother-daughter B&B is a historic home that has been converted into a large guesthouse. It becomes important to note that the amenities offered by these two types of accommodations differ. While most Airbnb listings offer a little more than a bed and bathroom (and perhaps some breakfast foods), many B&Bs include personalized experiences, access to common areas, outdoor spaces such as gardens/porches, delicious breakfast, home-like feeling, sightseeing recommendations and areas where people can sit outside together during warm weather months and chat amongst other travellers or hosts.
Traditionally B&B's tend to be more connection based where you are able to relax, get taken care of, connect to locals and be pampered with the convenience of daily house keeping, breakfast and no responsibility of chores. You truly are on a vacation. Whereas with AirBnB's you are often responsible for your dishes, garbage, cooking etc. The cost difference between these two types of accommodations can be small at first glance--but when you consider all these extra features being provided by one type over another...well...you'll see why choosing wisely matters so much!
Photo: Breakfast at Toba's B&B
Here is a little bit about our story at Toba's Bed & Breakfast. We viewed this house in May of 2017 and opened our doors for guests in April of 2018. At this time AirBnB was around but not as common as it is today.We immediately had to learn that B&B's need to go through additional steps in becoming licensed accommodations. With our experience in the B&B world, we have incurred additional fees, inspections, rating systems and check ups to make sure that we comply with Canadian regulations such as Canada Select, Bed and Breakfast Canada, the local tourism associations etc. With an AirBnB these regulations have not been part of the process. Though rules are changing, in the past it has been that anyone can open up the spare room in their house and rent it. No inspections, no safety precautions that have been standardized but instead the host marks off items they offer on a generalized checklist to notify what they do and do not have.
While learning about these two it is also important to touch on location. This is a major factor in deciding whether to stay in a licensed B&B or Airbnb. If you're looking for proximity to attractions, privacy, security, and convenience, it's hard to beat the former as they are often near main tourist attractions. Now with AirBnB's you can often find unique off grid experiences or seclusion. This is another thing to consider when doing your research. A tip, if you want more freedom and flexibility when it comes to check-in/check-out times, then Airbnb might be more up your alley. With B&B's often times the hosts are quite busy and on a tight schedule to get the house ready. At least for us, there have been days we have spent 8 hours cleaning between checkout and checkin. On average we usually take 4-6 hours which means checkin/checkout is pretty firm.
Photo: The Prairie Suite, a queen room offered at Toba's B&B
A few things to consider on what makes B&B's different from other types of accommodation. Often times there are on-site services. Toba's B&B offers 5 star hospitality which is noted by those who frequent our establishment as we live on the property. We also have an onsite healing and holistic business for ultimate relaxation. When needed we can help with transportation, sightseeing recommendations and more. Overall, we are here for you to make sure you have the best time exploring the beautiful South Shore.
In conclusion, the best part about B&B's is that you can have your own space and privacy while still enjoying the company of others. You get taken care of in a way that often leaves you feeling lighter. An AirBnB you often have to be more self sufficient, having your own place to yourself but also being responsible for aspects of it as well. Or using a spare room in someones home where for us it has often felt like being a roommate. If you're looking for something that's more intimate and personal than what Airbnb offers, then a B&B may be perfect for you to try out on your next trip! As always, thank you very much for taking the time to read this. Any questions or comments please do not hesitate as we love hearing from you all.
Kelly & Cathy
Photo: Cathy the mother from the mother-daughter operators taking a stroll on Hirtles Beach at sunset.