The Buy Local campaign has been gaining momentum throughout the U.S. for years. A stalwart mantra in many European and Asian countries, there’s a growing trend in the U.S. for locally sourced products fueled by Americans who are hungry for food, products and ideas that come from their own American communities. So resilient is the American taste for local offerings, national promotions supported by big business like Small Business Saturday and community cash mobs have developed to support it. Thus, when it comes to lodging properties, what could be more authentic than the inns and bed and breakfasts in the community? In the lodging industry, inns and B&Bs are the living legends of the buy local movement.
The Local Way To Stay
While hotels and motel chains provide a consistent design and brand, you’ve got to admit they don’t vary much from one community to the next. You’ll find the same lobby/guest room décor and design from one to the next community with little attention to the local flavor. They do serve a purpose for those who don’t delight in the element of surprise and authenticity or seek family accommodations for kids who like to spread out, but do little for those who seek unique experiences. And while AirBnB has taken the travel industry by storm, you just never know what you’ll get and how secure it will be.
Choose an inn or B&B in your travel destination and you’ll find a building that tells a local story. Maybe it will have historic significance and the owners went to great time and expense to preserve the neighborhood story. Maybe it will be a community building that has been gutted and renovated by local craftsmen and women with a modern, urban chic feel. One thing that you can be assured of, the innkeeper will have invested in the community labor force and regional economy to build and preserve the building for a one-of-a-kind accommodation.
According to Forbes.com contributor, John Guiffo, “A big part of travel is that feeling you get when experiencing something completely new, something you haven’t seen or done before”.Walk into an inn or B&B and John describes the kind of exhilaration travelers feel. It’s the discovery of something new and different; not available anywhere else. Each inn and B&B offers a sanctuary for authenticity, the preservation of local history, talent and personalized experiences.
Stroll from room to room at your local B&B and you won’t find two rooms alike. Whether they are themed around local legends like the rooms at the Deerfield Inn, named after historic personalities from Historic Deerfield, or named after the theme of the room like the Romeo & Juliet Suite or Jewel Box Room at the Castle In the Country in Allegan, MI, you will find uniquely unusual décor unlike any other place you’ve stayed. Choose Glasbern in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley and you will stay in a luxuriously preserved Pennsylvania Dutch barn that was saved from ruin and completely renovated using local Amish crafts persons. On the shore of Clear Lake in Northern, CA stay in one of nine antique cabooses saved averted from destruction and preserved as the award winning Featherbed Railroad Caboose B&B. In community after community, inns and B&Bs repeat the same story of local preservation, economic investment in the community and tenacious commitment to providing unique accommodations for those interested in buying local.
Innkeepers are dogged in their steadfast commitment to their communities. They provide their guests as many opportunities to buy locally as possible. Directories of local restaurant menus are provided at almost every inn and B&B coast to coast, so guests can dine locally. Also trust you’re your innkeeper will provide their well-honed insight into the best deals and meals too. In fact, many innkeepers partner with at least one or more restaurants to provide coupons or unique access to reservations for the inn and B&Bs’ guests, and plenty of inns offer their own dining rooms for a truly local dining experience. The same holds true for local retailers and attractions, as innkeepers often have insight into how to make the most of the local shopping and entertainment experiences. Innkeepers pride themselves on providing the kind of local knowledge you simply won’t find at a chain hotel and certainly not at a vacation rental where little or no local insight is provided.
When innkeepers are asked about buying locally, the majority will report that they make every effort to buy locally. In fact, so dedicated to the “Buy Local” mantra was AnneMarie Defreest, owner of the Inn at Round Barn Farm, she was among the founding partners in Vermont Fresh Network, a thriving organization throughout the state providing solutions to farmers and chefs to market their products. And guests benefit from this. Stay at an inn or B&B and you’ll be served a complimentary breakfast with eggs, meats, fruits and breads most likely sourced from within 10 miles of the inn, depending on the time of year. More than half of all innkeepers report growing flowers, herbs and some vegetables right on premise.
Next time it’s time to travel, your inns and B&Bs are simply the better way to stay if you’re dedicated to buying locally. Choose a B&B and not only will you be treated to unique hospitality from innkeepers who are harbingers of homegrown, but you’ll lower your carbon footprint just a little by buying locally, making your choice the better way to stay.
Shop Local on November 30, Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday
On Saturday, November 30, smaller is bigger as independently owned small businesses throughout the country join American Express in celebrating shopping small on Small Business Saturday. Celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, B&Bs throughout the country will join the Professional Association of Innkeepers International in encouraging travelers to shop and stay small at independently owned businesses. Look for more information on Small Business Saturday coming up soon.