(Note: Ms. Sunidhi, a student of the Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala has written a very good and user-friendly article on the process of becoming a Bed & Breakfast (B&B) host in India. It is a concept thta gives a good source of honest income for home-makers who have extra space to accommodate guests both local and foreigner. The bonus is cultural exchange and universal ecumenism. CCV thanks Ms Sunidhi and iPleaders for this excellent article – Isaac Gomes)
Bed & Breakfast, popularly known as B&B, refers to an accommodation where a traveller is provided with overnight stay and breakfast at a private residence. The traveller stays with the host family as a family member. B&B was prevalent throughout the world since the beginning of 21st century, but it became popular in India at the time when Commonwealth Games, 2010 was hosted by India.
The main aim is to provide a clean, hygienic and affordable place to tourists where both the Indians and the foreigners can stay, including an additional advantage for foreigners to stay with an India family and to experience and enjoy the Indian customs, traditions, culture and food. But with the passage of time, tourism has expanded leading to the shortage of accommodation and in the short run, this problem cannot be solved by constructing new hotels as it has a long gestation period. So, B&B became the most suitable solution due to short gestation period and needed for smaller investment.
B&B v. Hotel
The basic difference between the two is that:
- The traveller’s breakfast is already charged in the cost of the room in a B&B whereas a hotel charges extra money for breakfast.
- B&B provides more personalized services and a quality experience from check-in to check-out as compared to a hotel.
- B&B provides free parking to the guest whereas hotel takes extra money for the same.
- B&B has more stringent cancellation laws as compared to hotels because they have low inventory and high demand. So, they ask for a deposit or half of the cost to be paid in advance whereas hotel provides 24 hours before cancellation. Also, the hotel does not ask for any advance payment.
- Snacks & beverages are provided free of cost in a B&B whereas the hotel even charges for a water bottle.
- B&B provides home-made food, unlike hotels.
Incredible India Bed and Breakfast Establishment
It is an initiative by Union Minister of Tourism, India to promote B&B in India for a comfortable and memorable stay for both the Indian and the foreign tourists. It sets the procedure to register oneself as a B&B host and explains the guidelines to be followed while registering oneself as a B&B host.
The potential host has to fill an application form and send it to office of the regional director of India Tourism along with:
- Passport size photograph of the applicant(s) and Aadhar card number.
- Demand draft of Rs 5000/- for Gold and Rs 3000/- for Silver. (The Regional Classification Committee inspects B&B establishment and then according to the services and facilities provided by the host classifies it as Gold or Silver).
- Police Verification Report stating good reputation of the host and family members.
- Photographs of the premises (including Rooms, kitchen, lobby, bathroom, etc.) to be rented out.
- A self-declaration stating all the requirements have been fulfilled, and information provided in attached documents is true to his/her knowledge.
- Layout Plan of all the floors intended to be used as a B&B.
- Proof of Ownership
- Proof of Residence
- The family background note of the potential host.
All the documents should be self-attested by the applicant before sending it to the authorities.
The authorities scrutinize the application and revert in 30 days either with an approval or denial of registration.
The applicant should keep in mind the following guidelines before filing for registration:
- The applicant should be himself/herself residing in the same residence with his/her family.
- The applicant can rent out minimum one room and maximum six rooms. Each room can have maximum two beds for adults.
- The travellers shall be informed in advance about the charges and type of breakfast served.
- Once an applicant applies for classification he has to abide by the date set by the Regional Classification Committee and no deferment is allowed.
- The Regional Classification Committee does the classification by the number of services provided by the applicant and the quality of services provided by the applicant.
- The classification is valid for two years only.
- The B&B host has to maintain standards at all the times as the Chairman can authorize a surprise inspection any time without any prior notice.
- The rate of taxes on property, water and electricity, will not be charged at commercial rates.
- The application can be rejected for registration if the applicant is convicted of a punishable offense or is an undercharged insolvent.
- If the applicant has any grievance regarding classification or change of facilities, etc. he has to inform the authorities within 30 days of application.
- The applicant can neither maintain a front office nor indulge in any other commercial activity relating to tourism.
- No activity that violates the privacy of the traveller is allowed.
What is AIRBNB and how it works?
AIRBNB is a private online accommodation company that started working in 2008. It provides accommodation to travellers throughout the world and now it has started operating in India as well. It does not own any room of its own but has created a platform for those who have can and wish to accommodate travellers at their place. It registers hosts who provide accommodation to the travellers and helps the travellers find a place to stay in their desired city and location. It connects the host and the traveller and enables them to communicate and avail the service of a host by charging a service fee for the same.
How to become an AIRBNB host in India?
The applicant has to obtain a registration certificate from the tourism industry to become a B&B host in India (as explained above). Once the applicant receives the approval to become a B&B host, he/she can register with AIRBNB to become an AIRBNB host. It does not charge any registration fees, but it charges a ‘service fee’ just like commission levied for every transaction between a traveller and the host, completed through AIRBNB. Once the applicant registers with AIRBNB, it publishes the details (services provided, charges, etc.) of the host on its website as provided by the host. Also, the host has to follow the code of conduct set by AIRBNB regarding its responsibilities towards the guest and the standard of service. Hence, once the applicant obtains registration certificate, it becomes a legal establishment.