History of the B&B Industry in the United States
The history of the U.S. B&B Industry began when travel for business and/or pleasure in the United States started in the 1700’s. Many coaching or stagecoach inns, common in England and the Eastern United States, typically provided stabling for horses and lodging for travelers. However, the accommodations were extremely modest (at best).
Once railroads were constructed, the convenience of railroads provided a huge boost in travel comfort, and hundreds of hotels were constructed close to train stations to accommodate growing numbers of travelers.
As the United States industrialized, more people had time and the discretionary income for travel. Summer escapes from the sweltering cities to cooler mountain or seaside villages became popular. Wealthy families summered in private villas or luxury resorts, while the working classes headed for boarding houses.
During the Great Depression in the United States, taking in boarders to help meet expenses proliferated. Homes located on state routes (this was long before Interstate Highways) often posted signs reading Tourist Home or Guests, where travelers could typically find a room for the night for about $2, usually including breakfast.
Travel to Europe boomed after World War II; a strong U.S. dollar allowed millions of Americans to discover England’s and Ireland’s B&B’s, and equivalent accommodations on the Continent. Throughout the 1980’s, the seeds for the B&B boom were planted.
Interestingly, although history of the U.S. B&B industry began with informal, inexpensive places to stay with shared baths and minimal amenities, they are now largely luxury accommodations with high levels of comfort, service, and luxury.
Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography