When you own a bed and breakfast, you’re always hosting out-of-town guests. Which means you’re always thinking about how to make their stay more comfortable, more relaxing, more of a break from their everyday lives.
Here are 6 tips for making their stay a good one:
- Remember their stuff. It’s easy to look at a room and make sure that it has everything for your guests–bottles of water, recent magazines, an alarm clock, a candle–but if you’re not careful, you will ensure that they don’t have any room for their essentials, like medicines and make up and jewelry. A good rule is to never have more than one item on a small surface (like a bedside table), or more than three on a larger one (like a long dresser). Remember that there are other places to put things–leave magazines on the kitchen table in case they wake early, put a pitcher of water in the refrigerator, put fresh flowers in an entry table. You don’t have to shove a house full of necessaries and niceties into their guest room–spread things out a bit.
- Don’t make them feel like they’re in the way. I get that you don’t have a lot of room in your house or apartment, and I get that you may have to have clothing hanging in their closet, or sweaters in the bottom drawer of the dresser. Your guest gets that too. But if you come into their room in the morning to get a dress out of that closet, or a sweater out of that drawer, you’re just reminding them that they don’t belong in your house. So while you’re figuring out where they can put their bag, you should pack a bag yourself–take all the clothing you’ll need for a three-night visit. That way, you can give them their privacy, they won’t feel awkward and selfish for taking up your space, and you will still look smashing when you go out to eat.
- Make them feel at home. When guests first arrive at our inn, we try to give them a short tour of the inn’s hotspots–we show them our coffee bar and tell them to help themselves; we point out where they will eat breakfast, where they can get ice, where they can find reading materials; once in the room, we show them where the thermostat is, and how to turn on the jetted tub. We also make it clear when they can take care of themselves (making coffee, for instance) and when they should ask for help (getting our bikes out). Your guests want to follow the rules, so make it easy for them to figure it out. EXPERT TIP: Prop a pretty chalkboard in your kitchen, and use it for last minute instructions (like: Help yourself to orange juice and coffee cake!)
- Keep extra necessities on hand. We have what we like to call an “Oh Sh*t Kit” at our front desk, and it’s outfitted with all of the stuff that our guests may have forgotten to bring: aspirin, tylenol, toothpaste, band-aids, antacids, tampons, needle and thread, toothbrushes, fabric glue, etc. Keep a basket with these items in a centrally located closet, and tell your guest they’re available. Or, if your guest room is huge, and there’s plenty of storage, put it on a shelf in their closet, or on top of their dresser. They’ll appreciate knowing that it’s there, even if they never have to use it.
- Make it special. Your guests may not be celebrating an anniversary or birthday, but it’s a special day just because they’re staying with you. Celebrate that fact with a special something in their room–Hershey kisses on their pillow, bubble bath next to the tub, even just a nice note on their bed, saying that you’re glad they’re here. We’ve found that it’s the little but genuine gestures that are appreciated the most.
- Give them a way to stay organized and keep their room clean (not that they have to). Put a luggage rack in the corner of the room; place a pretty tray on their dresser for change, earrings, and other easily lost items. Run an extension cord with a charging station from a hard-to-reach outlet, and put the charging station where it’s easy to see. Provide a bag for dirty laundry, and line the trashcans so they can throw away anything without worrying about getting the inside of your trashcan dirty.
- Finally, be relaxed and carefree from the moment they arrive. It doesn’t matter if you spent the last two hours whitening the grout in the guest bathroom, when your guests finally arrive, look happy and celebratory. Being relaxed–about where they put their coat, about letting them go to the restroom before they hug everyone, about listening to their tales of horrible traffic–will help everyone relax and get along. Because the BEST thing you can put in your guest room is a happy and relaxed guest!