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The bed and breakfast - a global phenomenon

The bed and breakfast - a global phenomenon

A bed and breakfast can come in many different guises, but the aim of the owner should always be the same; to provide a warm welcome, a comfortable place to stay and a hearty breakfast to begin the day.

Bed and breakfast

the history of the bed and breakfast

Bed and breakfasts have been around for a very long time, however the term ‘Bed and Breakfast’ probably originated in the United Kingdom after the Second World War. In the 1940s many people from overseas needed places to stay, so local people offered rooms in their homes and served breakfast to those overnight guests.

In America it was another 20 years until bed and breakfasts were established. According to the California-based Professional Association of Innkeepers International, in 1980 there were around 1,000 bed and breakfasts/country inns that hosted 1 million guests. At the turn of the millennium, that figure had grown to 28,000 properties hosting 50.5 million guests!

The internet has certainly made it much easier to find and book bed and breakfast accommodation. Websites such as Airb&b list accommodation in tens of thousands of different cities across the world. It has never been easier to rent out a room to a stranger!

So, what are the differences between the bed and breakfast industry here in the UK and those overseas?

overseas bed and breakfasts


Oz has fewer bed and breakfasts than the South Island of New Zealand!


In Hawaii, it is currently illegal to open a new bed & breakfast on Oahu. This is to force home owners with extra room to rent out their extra space to low income residents.


B&B is very popular in Hungary and is referred to as a “Panzió” or “Szálló”.


The Indian government classify B&Bs in two categories – Gold & Silver B&B. However, there is an even bigger unregulated market in this vast country.

A good friend of mine was travelling around India and ended up staying with a family for a week in an unofficial B&B in the South East of the country. After a week my friend asked how much he owed. He was given the simple reply, “Whatever you can afford.”


In Israeli a bed and breakfast is known as a ‘zimmer’.


Regional law regulates B&Bs, so what is deemed acceptable in one part of the country may not be tolerated elsewhere.


According to Wikipedia there are around 5,000 bed & breakfasts in Holland. With 18 million bikes in the Netherlands, (more than one per head of the population) be sure to install a bike rack if you’re thinking of opening an establishment here…


In Romania an excellent bed and breakfast will be rated with 3 daises while an inferior establishment may only have 1 daisy. Flower power!


The authority of traffic in Sweden only give permission to put up the bed and breakfast sign by the local road if the owner lives in the same building as the guests.

Well that’s a quick look at the world of bed and breakfasts. I’m off to make some beds…



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