Bed & Breakfasts in Italy: The case of the Emilia-Romagna Region
Alma Mater Studiorum
Università di Bologna
School of Economics Management and Statistics
Second Cycle Degree Programme in Tourism Economics and Management
Relatore: Manuela Presutti
Anno Accademico: 2015/2016
1.4.2 - Great Britain
“Bed and Breakfast. TWO AND SIX.” was written on the sign outside British homes to describe the services that were offered (bed and breakfast) and the price (2.6 shillings), which corresponded to 31 pence, to those who were looking for a place to overnight. Few words that left no doubt about the product: those who chose to stay knew what they were going to get.
Today in the United Kingdom the bed & breakfast has become an institution; like in Ireland, staying in a B&B gives a real touch of the country and its habits at an affordable price. The accommodation structures are varied: houses or apartments located in pretty villages, in city centers, close to the sea or in the countryside. They can also be luxurious manor houses or small family-run hotels. As in Ireland, the support and control by the national tourism body is constant and highly articulated. In fact, the British Tourist Authority, together with the English Tourist Board, provides B&B addresses (listed by regions and tourist areas) for free in the local and foreign offices.
Bed & breakfasts can be booked through the branch offices of the local Tourist Information Centers, the headquarters of associations, the specialized agencies or directly. The main publications that are available for free inside tourist offices are marked with the Lancaster rose, which means that the structures were surveyed, classified and inspected by the people of the Tourist Board in charge for that. There are also specific publications for B&Bs in the countryside, such as Stay on a Farm.
You can also find brochures and catalogs of private associations. Associations select and collect the accommodation structures (at the local or national level) based on precise standards, such as a good quality/price ratio; the lists give a brief description of the house, with location and accessibility, a photo, and some symbols that describe the salient features of the B&B. Regarding classifications, in addition to those specific of who prints the brochure, there must also be the official ones established by the Tourism Council.
Bed & Breakfasts are considered Guest Accommodation together with guesthouses (pensioni), inns (locande), and farmhouses (agriturismi). The classification assigns from one to five diamonds. The highest score takes into account the overall quality (in terms of cleanliness, services, hospitality, standard of the rooms and bathrooms). The Tourism Council-VisitBritain also awards special prizes (Gold and Silver awards) to those structures that stand out, for example for the unique garden with unusual plants, the historic building, the opportunity to enjoy organic food, etc. Today the B&B industry in the U.K. consists of about 25.000 businesses – less than in Italy - and it has an estimated worth of £2 billion.