Can the impersonal techno-sprawl of the Internet deliver the
personal touch associated with the B&B crowd? Up to now, the
answer to that question would have been no.
This week, though, two developments indicate that those
gingerbread-clad houses run by apple-cheeked couples have skipped
ahead a century. Stowe, Vt.-based startup Inntopia launched an
online booking system for small hotels and Internet hotel
reservations bigshot WorldRes bought up Golden Colo.-based BedandBreakfast.com.
With a huge pool of properties to choose from, these two deals
look like the beginning of a trend. And, for the proprietors of
these quaint little hostels, I'm glad. But it seems like the end of
an era. No more glossy brochures? No more "when we spoke on the
phone you said your husband likes pie, so I baked one"?
What's next? An Internet-investing seminar before supper
followed by a friendly game of Doom?