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B&B -- It also stands for Bed and "Business"

Business travel can be a less-than-appealing venture. Early morning flights. Crossing time zones. Days packed with meetings to justify the cost of travel. And, at the end of the day, an anonymous hotel room that is indistinguishable from hundreds of other hotel rooms.

Bed and breakfasts, frequently thought of more as places for a romantic getaway weekend, can also serve as a welcoming haven for the weary business traveler who wants a change from their usual accommodations — and more business travelers appear to be taking advantage of the home-like qualities bed and breakfasts have to offer.

“My guesstimate would be a 10 to 15 percent of [business traveler] occupancy,” said Patti Dusbabek of Holly Lane Gardens Bed and Breakfast on Bainbridge Island. “There are also trainings that take place on the Island and I receive a number of guests for those trainings.”

“Although the majority of our business comes from wedding, vacation and getaway travelers, we have seen our business and military traveler bookings increase markedly in the past year — perhaps by as much as 15 percent,” said Kimberly King, who owns the Green Cat Guest House B&B in Poulsbo with her husband, Ken Grantham. “We are near a couple of big industrial parks — like Twelve Trees which is across highway 3 from us — but also many more bookings from the Bangor and Bremerton bases. We have some established clients in the area, and our business continues to grow.”

The “homey” nature and intimacy of most bed and breakfasts — from the innkeepers knowing each guest by name to being able to relax after a busy workday in a tranquil garden or cozy living room — can have a strong appeal for weary travelers who spend time away from their actual homes on business.

“The atmosphere at Holly Lane Gardens creates a very inviting place for people to work through whatever it is they are working on,” said Dusbabek. “In the winter they can enjoy a pleasant fire in the inside fireplace; in the spring, summer and fall they can enjoy interactive recreational activities to give ‘break time’ from the conversation — or at least a little relief. There are many rooms and considerable property here so there is plenty of room for private conversations, breaking off into small work groups, etc.”

But a warm, homey feeling is not always sufficient to accommodate a business traveler’s needs, and so many of today’s bed and breakfasts have updated their “get away from it all” image to provide business travelers with the amenities they need to do their jobs.

“We have adapted our house to the business and military traveler by offering wireless web, office services, any time check in and accessibility,” said King. Our house also features a fully equipped guest kitchen for those travelers wanting to eat in at lunch or dinner, and we do provide breakfast with the rate.”

“We have implemented many things that not only attract the business traveler but the recreational traveler as well,” said Brent Ewald, innkeeper at Illahee Manor Bed and Breakfast in Bremerton. “Free wireless high speed internet access, late night check in, continental ‘to go’ breakfast for those who cannot attend our 9:00 am, three-course breakfast, and a single occupancy Sunday through Thursday business rate that closely follows the U.S. Government per diem rate for this area.”

We have wifi,” said Hillary Renfer of Foxbridge Bed and Breakfast in Poulsbo. “We also have high speed internet and a fax machine and printer. We ask our guests if the 3 to 6 p.m. check-in time works with their schedule and if not, we arrange our schedule around theirs. [And] the option to invite their clients to breakfast with them is available by prior arrangement.”

Bed and breakfasts can also provide the business traveler with a sense of security that can’t be found in a larger hotel or motel setting.

“Many of our military and business travelers are professional women,” said King. “Many women feel more comfortable in a bed and breakfast situation than in the relative anonymity of a hotel or motor hotel.”

“Safety is a concern for people in this day and age,” acknowledged Renfer. “A bed and breakfast is so much like home with all of its safety aspects. After all, they receive our house key upon checking in.”.

Maura Hallam Sweley's picture
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