Modern inns are taking on Airbnb

(Credit: iStock, painter Eduard von Grützner)

A crop of innkeepers are increasing the cool factor of once-stuffy bed and breakfasts to compete against Airbnb.

“Bed-and-breakfasts were getting a bad rap for the doilies,” said Heather Turner, marketing director for the Professional Association of Innkeepers International. “The modern B&B doesn’t look like grandma’s house.”

There are about 17,000 B&Bs nationwide — a number that’s on the upswing as mid-career professionals get into hospitality, trading in things like needlepoint pillows for free Wi-Fi.

Take Linda Smith, who bought Rachael’s Dowry Bed and Breakfast in Baltimore, for $1.2 million in 2016, after working for 30 years in telecommunications. Opening a B&B fulfilled a life-long dream, she said, and the secondary source of income “exceeded my expectations.”

Of course, she’s also had to teach millennials B&B etiquette — like not leaving a greasy pizza box on an antique dresser. “Some guests are high maintenance,” she said. “I have to make them understand I’m not their waiter, I’m their host.” [WSJ] — E.B. Solomont

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