When you are traveling for business or pleasure, do you ever give much thought to the behind-the-scenes activities to go into making your stay at a bed & breakfast enjoyable, relaxing & safe? Probably not! After all, isn’t that why you’re handing the proprietor your hard-earned money – so you don’t have to worry about security details?
When you are making your next reservation at a Texas bed & breakfast, one way to take the guesswork out of the equation is to simply look for the Texas Bed & Breakfast Association “seal of approval” on the establishment’s website or brochure. A relationship with TBBA ensures the establishment has successfully completed a meticulous inspection process that guarantees not only comfort, but safety, cleanliness & professional expertise of the owners & their employees.
TBBA quality assurance standards address seven areas to which each inn must adhere:
- The first area deals with legal issues, including commercial liability insurance, proof of compliance with State of Texas Tax regulations, proof that permitting ordinances for local, county, state and federal agencies have been met & proof of a food manager’s certification if the inn serves food.
- Safety & maintenance measures ensure the establishment complies with all applicable safety codes & that the cleanliness & upkeep of the inn reflects only the highest standards.
- Administrative & professional aspects guarantee the property is operated chiefly as a bed & breakfast and open on a consistent basis, with limited closures throughout the year. This section also ensures that all TBBA members act with integrity.
- The Association expects each inn’s website & marketing materials to accurately reflect the property’s amenities in an accurate manner, including room descriptions, rates, applicable policies (cancellation, pet, smoking, firearms, etc.) & clear instructions regarding booking procedures. In addition, a TBBA hyperlink or logo must be included on all materials.
- The inn should place a high degree of attention on making each guest’s stay a personalized & inviting experience.
- TBBA stresses cleanliness as an integral element in both guest rooms & common areas.
- This final section details general requirements, such as participating in bi-annual inspections by TBBA staff & the professional development of owners & their employees.
Failure to meet any of these requirements will result in the Inn losing its TBBA accreditation.
Ship Shape from Stem to Stern
The seven areas listed above seem fairly straightforward, but you should be aware of all the intricacies that backup those steps – particularly to inspection process. As an owner, this is perhaps the most important aspect of my TBBA membership, as it is my way of demonstrating my commitment to my guests’ comfort & safety every time they stay at Woodrow House.
The inspection checklist includes almost 60 points covering six categories (safety-hygiene, administrative-professionalism, kitchen & food management, exterior, guest rooms & common areas & bathrooms). All 12 items noted in the safety & hygiene section are mandatory:
- Posted information in each room will include emergency procedures, exit diagrams, location of first aid supplies, evacuation information, house policies & after-hours emergency contact numbers.
- First aid equipment is available to all guests.
- Fire extinguisher in kitchen area, on each floor & in any room with an open flame.
- GFI electrical plugs per federal, state & local codes.
- Emergency lighting provided in the event of an outage.
- Exterior lighting for all parking, porches & walkways to ensure safe passage after dark.
- Pool/hot tub well maintained & meets all applicable codes.
- Hazard/precaution signs posted at pool, hot tub & waterfront.
- Properly mounted & maintained smoke detector in each guest room used for sleeping. Also recommended for hallways, stairwells, dining areas, laundry, kitchen & common rooms.
- Carbon monoxide monitors installed per federal, state & local codes.
- Stairways & hallways safe & in good repair, treads, clear of obstacles & adequately lighted. Handrails provided where needed.
- Pest control plan in place.
I encourage all travelers booking accommodations in Texas to review the entire inspection document on the TBBA website: http://www.texasbb.org. It can be found under the Prospective Innkeepers section on the landing page.
If you decide to stay at a bed & breakfast in Texas, take just a few extra minutes to ensure that you have selected a property that has been full vetted & can guarantee you will not only sleep well, but that you will be safe & secure when you & your family are at your most vulnerable – look for the TBBA logo! Then you will know you have made the best lodging decision.
Texas Bed & Breakfast Association
PO Box 1647
Brenham, Texas 77834
Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast
David & Dawn Fleming, Owners/Innkeepers
2629 19th Street
Lubbock, Texas 79410
(At corner of Boston Avenue
across from Texas Tech University)