The smallest touches can make all the difference, and nowhere is this truer than in the hospitality industry. Whether you’re inviting friends to stay in your own home or welcoming customers to a holiday property, your thought process should be the same: try to anticipate all the things your guest could want before they arrive, and be considerate of their individual needs. Taking good care of your customers like this is also great for business – there’s nothing like a few positive reviews or word-of-mouth recommendations to drum up bookings!
Aside from the obvious steps of making sure the place is clean and tidy before anybody arrives, think about what they might want as soon as they get through the door – possibly after a very long drive in a car full of kids. Easy-to-find tea and coffee-making facilities, complete with a fresh bottle of milk in the fridge will certainly be appreciated, and providing decaffeinated coffee and herbal tea options is a considerate touch. It’s up to you whether to provide a few basic foodstuffs such as bread, eggs and cereal, but they could be a lifesaver if your guests arrive in the middle of the night and need something to eat!
Another handy thing for holidaymakers is a shoebox or pinboard full of leaflets for local attractions, maps of the area and taxi numbers, along with a recent phonebook. Some guest houses even make a scrapbook of their favourite things to do in the area, which people can look through and even add to themselves. These may be accompanied by a guestbook, where visitors can tell you how they enjoyed their stay.
Don’t forget that your guests may need a few things to do for rainy days. Board games, books and DVDs all cost very little – you can get a great selection for next to nothing just by spending a few hours in charity shops – and these will certainly be appreciated by anyone who has kids to entertain. Go for a wide selection to suit all ages.
As most people don’t pack their bathrobe in their suitcase to take on holiday with them, a couple of plain white ones hung up in the bathroom is a great little touch, along with bubble bath or bath salts to help them unwind on their holiday. Holidaymakers usually bring their own toothbrushes and toothpaste, but it doesn’t hurt to keep some unopened spares in a drawer in case they’re needed. Similarly, most people don’t pack an alarm clock with them, so provide one in the bedrooms so they can wake up when it suits them.
Finally, there are a few all-purpose bits and pieces that always help to make a house more welcoming. Fresh flowers in a vase in the entrance hall; stationery and writing paper complete with a book of postage stamps, as well as a written guide to operating the TV or DVD player, are all thoughtful touches that show your guests you care!