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Many Bed & Breakfast Inns Closing Due To Low Occupancy

According to Smith Travel Research, hotel rooms now stand at close to 71% occupancy. B&Bs, which depend less on weekday business travel, have occupancy rates closer to 41%.

With such occupancy rates, plus the costs to maintain the business coupled with rising interest rates it has been more difficult for innkeepers to pay the monthly mortgage and still earn a profit by renting rooms to seasonal and weekend guests.

So change is underway...and the traditional bed and breakfasts which have thrived for decades by promising to make guests feel like family are closing down. The dynamic is playing out across the country.

Behind the vanishing inns is a simple equation: Many B&Bs are worth more as properties than as businesses. The California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns says seven of its members sold their properties last year, each to buyers planning to convert them into private homes.

The Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) reports that the number of rooms in B&Bs and country inns decreased 11% in 2004 and now number 148,000. PAII was formed in 1988 and the trade organization estimates that the country�s 20,000 inns generate some $3.4 billion in business. Interest in B&Bs grew with the 1980s TV show �Newhart,� whose main character traded a career as a New York writer to become the proprietor of a Vermont inn.

Given the number of B&B rooms and their low occupancy rate, here�s a market the barter industry could help by providing a much-needed assist.

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