How This Ontario Bed and Breakfast Site
Came To Be
The idea for independent reviews of Ontario bed and
breakfasts arose back in 1987 because I couldn't find a guide that wasn't paid advertising
written by hosts. So I decided to write one. I wanted to give accurate and perceptive
assessments of Ontario's best bed and breakfasts. I traveled incognito to several hundred,
paid where I stayed, picked those that excelled and wrote a book about them. To remain independent,
I didnít charge hosts. Great for consumers. They could trust the book. And great for Ontario
hosts, who got a lot of extra business because of it.
But not so great for me. I did sell a respectable number
of books. But after two editions and three years, I was only making minimum wage. Since I didn't
leave my management job to so drastically lower my standard of living, what to do. I didn't think
I could increase sales that much. I could charge more but I knew the market wouldnít put up with
the price Iíd have to charge. Or I could give it up and get a real job.
The only viable option was to charge bed and breakfast
hosts. But how to stay independent? I decided to still travel incognito, pay for stays, and
select the best. The only difference would be that hosts would pay a modest participation fee
that covered some of the extra costs associated with researching, writing and publishing. I brought
out four more editions, the final one in 2000. Around that time I started an earlier version of
this bed & breakfast website to promote the book.
In early 2002, having made the decision to stop publishing,
I re-oriented this website to take the place of the book because I still saw a need Ė travellers
may be web-savvy but they face ever-increasing choices. Not only are bed and breakfasts multiplying
at a great rate, but thereís a plethora of advertising sites making it difficult to sift through the
You might wonder if hosts now have control over the
reviews, as for advertising. They donít. I make it clear that what I write is not an ad; it's still
my opinion. If hosts donít accept this, Iím fully prepared to refund their token fee. Most important,
no one can buy their way onto this site.
So I canít honestly call my reviews independent any more
Ė the operative word is selective. Iím still very picky.