The most important bed & breakfast (B&B) etiquette rules. The appropriate behavior for staying in a B&B. Avoid embarrassments and be an ideal guest.
What bed & breakfast etiquette is
Bed & breakfast etiquette is the set of rules to stay at a B&B. It includes the appropriate way to book, check in, check out, and the appropriate behavior.
As a guest, know bed & breakfast etiquette rules to avoid any embarrassment.
As a host, B&B etiquette helps you manage your guests’ expectations.
General bed & breakfast etiquette principles
Bed & breakfast etiquette for guests is based on three main principles.
- Match our rights as guests with the appropriate expectations and good manners.
- Respect the B&B staff and property.
- Respect the other guests.
Bed & breakfast etiquette rules
1) Bed & breakfast booking etiquette
Before the booking, it is perfectly acceptable to send messages or requests to the bed & breakfast. A single message is preferable to a long sequence of requests.
Ask for the information that you need to make an informed booking. Such as information about the accommodation, how to reach it, or the area.
However, it is against bed & breakfast etiquette to ask for superfluous information. Such as any information that is already present on the B&B website or listing. Or general information about the destination that is commonly available online.
It is ok to ask for small customizations. Such as requesting a non-smoking room. Keep in mind that most bed & breakfasts are small, family-run businesses. Thus, be reasonable with your requests.
2) Bed & breakfast check-in etiquette
Normally, the bed & breakfast staff will be present to manage your check-in. They might ask you for your tentative arrival time. Try to be punctual. Notify your B&B in the case of a significant delay. Such as if your plane or train is late.
During the check-in, feel free to ask for any additional information. If there are other guests waiting, keep it short and ask only for necessary information.
Notify the bed & breakfast of any malfunction or incident in your room. If your room has a relevant issue, ask for a room change.
3) How to manage your belongings in a B&B
Keep your belongings in an orderly fashion. In most bed & breakfasts, the staff cleans your room daily. Make sure that your items do not impede the room cleaning.
Never leave your items in the common areas of a bed & breakfast. Even shoes or wet umbrellas should be kept in your room.
Store valuable items in a safe. If a safe is not available, leave them at the reception or bring them with you.
If a valuable item disappears from your room, discreetly complain to the staff at the reception. However, you should do your best to prevent that from happening. Before complaining, check your room multiple times.
4) How to dress in a B&B
In the common areas, be neat and dress appropriately. Do not venture into the hallway barefoot, or in underwear or pajama.
5) Respect the bed & breakfast staff and other guests
Respect the bed & breakfast rules.
Be kind to other guests. Apply basic etiquette principles in the common areas. Avoid conflict with other guests. If a conflict arises, do not escalate it. Talk to the bed & breakfast staff instead.
Respect the time for breakfast. Do not expect to receive breakfast after the time limit. However, you may ask in advance for an exception. A B&B usually can offer a light breakfast if you need to leave earlier.
Eating and drinking in your room are usually allowed. However, avoid making a mess in your room. It is preferable to eat in the common areas.
Do not smoke in a no-smoking room or bed & breakfast.
It is a good norm to limit noise and music. Keep the volume of the TV under control. Even more at night and early in the morning.
In many B&Bs, it is forbidden to invite other guests to your room. Before you do so, ask the staff whether it is allowed.
If you break something during your stay, notify the staff. Usually, bed & breakfasts do not charge you for normal wear and tear, such as breaking a drinking glass.
Use the “do not disturb” sign to ask for privacy. It is perfectly acceptable to refuse room cleaning even for multiple days.
6) Bed & breakfast etiquette for kids
The same bed & breakfast etiquette rules for adults apply to kids.
As a general rule, in a bed & breakfast, your kids should respect the same rules as if they were at home.
Some bed & breakfasts are for adults only. Check the bed & breakfast rules before booking.
7) Bed & breakfast etiquette for pets
Some bed & breakfasts allow pets on their premises, others do not.
Check the bed & breakfast rules before booking. If pets are not explicitly mentioned, you should make an inquiry before booking.
When pets are allowed, you should follow the bed & breakfast rules during your stay.
If the B&B does not allow pets, do not get upset. Book another accommodation.
8) Bed & breakfast check-out etiquette
Respect the time for the check-out. A small delay is acceptable, such as 10 or 20 minutes. Over 30 minutes is rude.
Leave your bed & breakfast room in order. You do not need to clean it up. Simply, do not leave a mess behind.
Do not take any bed & breakfast items with you. Taking toiletries that you opened and used is acceptable, such as a small soap or shampoo.
Some bed & breakfast check your room before you leave. Be patient and do not be offended if they do.
When you leave, you can tip the staff. Leave the tip in your room or at the reception. If you leave the tip at the reception, it is polite to place it in a small envelope. Tip between 5% and 20% of the booking rate.
Bed & breakfast etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst bed & breakfast etiquette mistakes.
- 7/10. Leaving your room in a mess.
- 6/10. Not limiting noise or music.
- 5/10. Checking out over one hour late.
- 4/10. Not keeping your belongings in order.
- Industry Overview Bed and Breakfast: sba.ubc.ca