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What’s the Difference Between an Airbnb and a Regular B&B?

Key differences between Airbnb and regular B&Bs. From atmosphere and experience to pricing and amenities, discover which accommodation option is the right choice for your next getaway.


By Karolyn Hutson

Published on June 14, 2023

You’ve probably come across two popular options: Airbnb and traditional Bed and Breakfasts (B&Bs). But what’s the difference between the two, and which one is the right choice for you? We’ll delve into the key differences between Airbnb and regular B&Bs, helping you make an informed decision for your next getaway.

Understanding Airbnb and a B&B

Before we dive into the differences, it’s important to understand what Airbnb and B&Bs are and what they offer.

What is Airbnb?

Airbnb featuring homes and shared spaces for rent directly from hosts
Airbnb featuring homes and shared spaces for rent directly from hosts

Airbnb is an online platform that connects hosts who want to rent out their homes or spaces with guests looking for accommodations. It offers a global reach, with properties available in almost every corner of the world. The variety of spaces on Airbnb is vast, from private rooms in shared apartments to entire homes and even unique accommodations like treehouses or yurts.

What is a Bed and Breakfast?

A Bed and Breakfast, often referred to as a B&B, is a type of hosted accommodation that typically offers a room in a family-run property and includes a homemade breakfast in the morning. B&Bs are known for their intimate, homely atmosphere and personalized service.

Atmosphere and Experience Differences

One of the most noticeable differences between Airbnb and B&Bs is the atmosphere and the overall guest experience.

Atmosphere in Airbnb

Airbnb accommodations often provide a residential feel, as you typically rent someone’s home or a part of it. This can offer a level of privacy that some travelers prefer. Many Airbnb hosts also offer self-check-in, allowing guests to arrive at their convenience without the need for personal interaction.

Atmosphere in B&Bs

Savor the included homemade breakfast at a traditional B&B
Savor the included homemade breakfast at a traditional B&B

B&Bs, on the other hand, B&Bs are known for their homely and personalized atmosphere. As a guest, you’ll likely interact with the hosts and possibly other guests, which can lead to a more social and immersive travel experience. Hosts often live on-site and are available to offer local insights and assistance, adding a personal touch to your stay.

Pros and Cons

Airbnb and B&Bs have advantages and disadvantages like any accommodation option.

Advantages of Airbnb

Airbnb offers flexibility and a wide range of options to suit different travel needs and budgets. From private rooms to entire homes, there’s something for everyone. Plus, with properties worldwide, you can find an Airbnb in almost any destination. Many hosts also offer weekly or monthly discounts for longer stays.

Advantages of Regular B&B

Regular B&Bs offer a unique charm and personal service that can be hard to find in other accommodations. The included breakfast is a major perk, often homemade, and a chance to taste the local cuisine. B&Bs are often located in residential areas, offering a peaceful and authentic experience.

Disadvantages of Airbnb

On the downside, the quality and experience of Airbnb can be inconsistent, as it largely depends on the individual host. Some guests may miss the personal touch and on-site assistance that a traditional B&B provides.

Disadvantages of Regular B&B

As for B&Bs, they can be more expensive than Airbnb, especially when considering the cost per night. Some guests may also find the close interaction with hosts and other guests less appealing if they prefer more privacy.

Pricing and Value

The cost and value of Airbnb and B&Bs can vary greatly, depending on a variety of factors.

Pricing in Airbnb

Airbnb offers a wide range of pricing options, making it accessible for different budgets. You can find everything from budget-friendly private rooms to luxurious entire homes. Many hosts also offer discounts for longer stays, which can make Airbnb a cost-effective option for extended trips.

Pricing in B&Bs

B&Bs, on the other hand, often have higher rates than Airbnb. However, it’s important to remember that these rates usually include a homemade breakfast and a high level of personal service. For some travelers, the unique experience and personal touches at a B&B offers great value for the cost.

Safety and Regulations

Safety and regulations are important considerations when choosing your accommodation.

Safety in Airbnb

Airbnb has a number of measures in place to ensure guest safety. This includes a rating system where guests can rate their hosts and vice versa, helping to build a community of trustworthy users. However, neighborhood safety can vary because Airbnb properties are often located in residential areas.

Safety in B&Bs

B&Bs often have overnight staff and security measures such as cameras, providing an added level of safety. They also typically have high guest ratings, as they are smaller and more personal, allowing for closer attention to guest satisfaction and safety.

Privacy and Interaction

The level of privacy and interaction can greatly differ between Airbnb and B&Bs.

Privacy in Airbnb

Airbnb offers a range of options when it comes to privacy. You can rent an entire place, where you’ll have the space to yourself, or opt for a private room in a shared property. Many Airbnb listings offer self-check-in, allowing for minimal interaction with the host.

Privacy in B&Bs

In a B&B, you’ll likely interact more with the host and possibly other guests. While some people enjoy this social aspect, others may prefer more privacy. However, most B&Bs offer private rooms, and the level of interaction can often be tailored to your comfort.

Amenities and Services

The amenities and services offered can also vary between Airbnb and B&Bs.

Amenities in Airbnb

Airbnb listings often come with a range of amenities, from fully equipped kitchens to laundry facilities. However, the specific amenities depend on the individual listing. Some Airbnb listings might also offer self-service check-in and check-out, adding to the convenience.

Amenities in B&Bs

B&Bs often include a homemade breakfast in the room rate, which can be a major perk for many travelers. They may also offer additional services, such as local tours or activities, which can enhance your travel experience. However, B&Bs may not offer the same level of self-service as Airbnb, such as access to a full kitchen.

Choosing the Right Option

Ultimately, choosing between Airbnb and a B&B depends on your travel needs and preferences.

Consider Your Travel Needs

When choosing between Airbnb and a B&B, consider your travel style, preferences, and needs. If you value privacy and self-service, Airbnb might be your right choice. If you prefer a homely atmosphere, personal interaction, and included services like breakfast, a B&B might be more suitable.

Evaluate Costs and Amenities

Also, consider the cost and amenities. While Airbnb might offer a wider range of prices and options, B&Bs often include additional services in the room rate. Evaluate what’s included in the price and what amenities are important to you to determine which offers the best value for your needs.
In conclusion, both Airbnb and B&Bs offer unique accommodation experiences with their own advantages and disadvantages. By understanding the differences and considering your travel needs, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect accommodation for your next trip.

Written by

With over six years of short-term rental hosting experience, Karolyn has helped hundreds of guests have an enjoyable experience. I love writing and am passionate about real estate, hospitality, and photography. Karolyn holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and enjoys sharing her experiences to help others.