We all think of our homes as our sanctuary, and we’ve created our spaces within according to our taste. As with receiving any guests to your home, the space alone will not make them feel welcome. It is the warm greeting, personal tour of the house and those small extra special touches that will make your guests’ feel at home and their visit memorable.
Everyone has their own way of making their guests feel welcome and comfortable in their home.
These are some of our ideas you can implement to provide an extra special stay to your guests.
Small touches go a long way:
- Coffee, tea, sugar and milk – Stock –up on some basics so your guests don’t have to run to the nearest shop the moment they arrive.
- Juice or fresh /bottled water – On arrival, your guests could be quite parched after a long flight. Fresh juice or water is a refreshing way to be welcomed into the home. Many foreigners aren’t aware that you can drink our tap water. Have bottled water at hand for them at least for their first day.
- Fresh fruit – provides a quick snack if they’re on the go, or have an early morning.
- Cereals – providing cereal is nice especially if they arrive late in the afternoon, and don’t have time to go to a shop on their first day.
- Toiletries – Shampoo’s, shower gels and moisturiser add a very special touch. I once had two guests stay who had forgot to pack their shampoo, so for them this was a treat on arrival.
- Lighting – Besides a well lit room, I’ve found that having a bedside lamp goes a long way to providing that home-away-from-home atmosphere. Also, with loadshedding, it’s a nice gesture to prepare your guestroom with torches or touch lights. They’re relatively cheap, but at least your guests will have light when the power cuts unexpectedly. (Have some extra batteries on standby too.) I’d stay away from the candles as accidents can happen!
- Guest Guidebook – I created a guest guide book that lives in my Airbnb guestroom. It includes highlights of the neighbourhood, wifi instructions, house rules, emergency numbers and activities that I enjoy around the city. I also visit Cape Town tourism and collect city guide books, pamphlets, flyers and suggestions and leave those for my guests to peruse.
- Décor – once you’ve started receiving guests regularly you can start adding décor additions to your space. Add a more homely feel by adding paintings and photographs to your walls. Scatter cushions, carpets, throws and fresh flowers.
- Cleanliness / cleaning – Although this would seem an obvious one, the cleanliness of your space could make or break a visit. A quick once over of your space every day will go a long way to ensure happy guests for their entire stay, and good reviews. The kitchen is one of the areas of your home where your guests will spend a lot of time in. If you can concentrate on only one room of your house make sure this one is it. Wipe down the surfaces after making coffee. Wipe down the fridge door, inside of fridge and the microwave door (and inside).
- Fresh linens / towels – Although there will be fresh lines on the bed, and I recommend providing your guests with towels for their stay too, I like to change their bedding and towels at least once per week.
- Fridge and Pantry space – If your guests are going to be cooking, they’ll need somewhere to keep their perishables and other grocery items. I like to provide a shelf in my pantry cupboard and in the fridge just for my guests. I also welcome them to use my spice cupboard. Items that they’ll only use a few times during their stay is seen as an unnecessary purchase by guests, so rather provide that to them.
- Going the extra mile – Find out what your guests like and stock your fridge or their room with some of their favourite snacks as a welcome gift. Some hosts go as far as finding out guests’ favourite beer or wine and gift this to them on arrival.
Besides the list above, I also like to introduce my guests to some South African basics like Ouma rusks and Rooibos tea as one example. It’s a nice conversation starter, and I’ve had a few guests who didn’t know what ‘rusks’ were on their arrival, but they left with a packet on their journey home! I also like to place chocolates on the bed for guest’s arrival.
What do you do to make your guests feel special? Please share it with us, we’d love to hear!