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Top 5 Things NOT To Do at a Bed & Breakfast

Secret Pet Peeves of Innkeepers Revealed!

Are you new to the etiquette of staying at bed-and-breakfast? Each one is unique and no two are the same. First, how is a hotel different from a B&B?

  • Most “B&B’s” are 3-5 rooms. An “Inn” is often larger, some are 8-12 rooms.
  • Usually the Innkeeper is the owner, you’re not dealing with some large corporation.
  • While the price of a B&B might seem higher than a hotel at times, the actual value is much greater. Most B&B’s serve a wonderful breakfast, so when you figure you won’t have to spend $30+ dining out, it’s a pretty good deal. Many B&B’s, offer complimentary wine, cold and hot beverages, local snacks, free wireless, free parking and other perks.
  • The accommodations and amenities at a B&B are almost always superior to that of a hotel…better linens, bedding, furniture, etc. At our B&B, we have the Hertzog Home Spa Collection, our own small batch, luxury spa line of lotions, soaps, shampoos and more for purchase. (
  • Innkeepers are a wealth of knowledge, from great restaurants to wineries and tourist attractions—a built-in concierge if you will.

Again, each Bed and Breakfast is completely unique, which is part of the charm and excitement of the experience. Unless you’re staying in a really high-end resort, a hotel room is often typical and boring. At a B&B, each room has distinctive, thoughtful decor. For example, at Hertzog Homestead, all suites have their own theme (romantic, historic, contemporary and Amish), as well as our treasured family antiques, private bathrooms and entrances and a private Amish made breakfast overlooking farmland views.

DRUMROLL PLEASE… Here are the top five things NOT to do while staying at a B&B. This list was compiled with the help of Mike Schbic of Mikes Road Trip and my fellow innkeeper friends in Lancaster County, PA:

1. SHOW UP BEFORE CHECK IN TIME: Unlike hotels where there is usually someone at the reservations desk, a B&B is run by a small business owner who has to juggle many things, including setting the “stage” for your arrival. Check-in time usually between 4 PM – 6 PM. If you can’t arrive within that time, mention it at time of booking your reservation or text/call to let us know, so that we can prepare an express check-in. While a late arrival may be acceptable, arriving early and expecting check-in without notice does not give us time to adequately prepare for your visit. Often, innkeepers are at the store or cleaning rooms and thrown off by not having the “stage” set for you.

2. TREAT IT LIKE A COLLEGE DORM ROOM: The Innkeeper probably lives here. Be kind to the property as if is your own. Don’t shine your shoes with the Turkish towels, or drape wet ones on finely crafted wood furniture. Drying your underwear on the ceiling fan may also be a bit too much! (Yes, this happened.) Although the Innkeeper is honored to serve you, our guest, and does not expect gratuity… if you find yourself at a B&B that has a small tipping envelope in your room, it is customary to leave the housekeeping staff your appreciation in the envelope, on the day you check out.

3. DON’T TELL US YOU HAVE DIETARY RESTRICTIONS: Gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian? No problem! Simply let us know in advance. Most B&B’s prepare certain breakfast dishes the day before. Share any dietary restrictions at the time of booking your reservation, so we can adequately prepare alternatives and have time to shop for ingredients.

4. DON’T BOTHER REVIEWING THE B&B WEBSITE: Its always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the vibe of the B&B through their website. Be mindful of the rules and regulations, some B&B’s are kid-free, pet-free and/or smoke-free zones. Read the rules prior to booking your reservation, that way your expectations will be met and so will that of your Innkeeper. Please don’t just show up with your elderly cat or screaming toddler in tow. (Yes, these scenarios have also happened.)

5. THINK OF THE B&B AS A CORPORATE BUSINESS. A Bed and Breakfast is typically a mom & pop small business, so we simply do not have the resources or margins that a larger hotel might have. You may see discounted prices during off-peak periods but it’s customary not to negotiate prices with your Innkeeper, unless maybe you’re staying for an extended period of time.

I hope this overview will help manage your expectations the next time you consider staying at a bed and breakfast…it can be a wonderful and unforgettable experience!

Kristen Hertzog is a Performance Coach and Co-Owner/Innkeeper of the award-winning Hertzog Homestead Bed & Breakfast in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Now in its 15th year, Hertzog Homestead also includes a rustic barn event venue and quaint spa cottage offering holistic options.

By Kristen

As a performance coach, I have helped bring clarity to C-level executives under pressure, analyzing their need and helping them craft solutions. I advised for-profit multi-million dollar companies and non-profit organizations in development, branding, and employment issues.

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