A bed and breakfast (or B&B) is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast, but usually does not offer other meals. Since the 1980s, the meaning of the term has also extended to include accommodations that are also known as “self-catering” establishments. Typically, bed and breakfasts are private homes with fewer than 10 bedrooms available for commercial use.
Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host’s kitchen.
B&Bs and guest houses may be operated either as a secondary source of income or a primary occupation. Usually the owners themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the room etc., but some bed and breakfasts hire staff for cleaning or cooking. Although some bed and breakfast owners hire professional staff, a property which hires professional management is usually no longer considered a bed and breakfast, but enters the category of inn or hotel.
Some B&Bs operate in a niche market. Floating bed and breakfasts for example are a concept originating in Seattlein which a boat or houseboat offers B&B accommodation. (Source: Wikipedia)
If you are outgoing and enjoy meeting & hosting a variety of travelers here are a few things to consider when investing in a B&B. B&B properties tend to be more work and expense intensive, generally offering upscale amenities and fewer economies of scale due to the limited number of rooms. An owner will have less flexibility for their own personal time or vacations and back-up innkeepers will need to be carefully selected to ensure continuity of expected service levels. On the upside, owners often develop lasting friendships with guests and can enjoy terrific (free!) word of mouth advertising and strong repeat clientele. A congenial and social personality is a must!