How to Make Overnight Guests Feel Welcome: 7 Easy & Helpful Tips
I think it’s lovely having guests stay over with you. Okay let's caveat that - lovely provided they are reasonable guests. It’s heartwarming to know that people have chosen to spend time with you even when they could afford to stay in a hotel or other accommodation. One of the things I’ve come to love is actually having guests over - and you’re likely to catch me running around at the very last minute to make our guests relatively comfortable. And many times it’s the little things; which you can do whether or not you have a little space or a big space. Admittedly having a bigger space may be better but nonetheless hosting guests in such bigger space could still come across as impersonal and they could still not feel welcome.
So whether they’d be sleeping on the couch and sharing a bathroom, a mid size or make shift guest room or have a whole separate suite with chef and maids at their beck and call, I believe these tips will hep them feel very welcomed, and help you be a good host too.
1. Have the WiFi password ready
Obviously I’m being funny with putting this at top spot. But WiFi is so essential, and guests are likely to ask for it in the first few sentences. If you’re not available to welcome them and hand it over directly, consider writing it out somewhere visible such as a mini chalkboard. I really love this poster - you can write the password in pencil (in case you need to change it) and place the poster in a nice little frame.
2. Write a List of Helpful Information and Contacts:
If a guest is staying for more than a weekend and you haven't taken time off, chances are they’d need to venture off their own while you face your regular activities during the week. Having a handy list with recommendations for them is always helpful – including where to eat, tourist activities, means of getting around, bus stops and taxi numbers. Also, don’t forget any emergency numbers!
3. Prepare a Welcome Basket
A welcome basket is exactly what you make of it – there are no hard and fast rules. This would depend on your guest and how well you know them. It could essentially be a few little things nicely arranged with a welcome card. So some crisps or their favourite snack, water, fruits, face towel, facial mask, socks, mints, lip balm, hand lotion, cotton pads and cotton buds, magazines or a book etc. You could get a really cheap wicket basket or bowl and arrange the items nicely. If you're feeling fancy, you could wrap it up and tie it nicely. Fresh welcome flowers are a nice touch too!
4. Make the Bathroom Comfortable (as much as you can)
There’s something so warm about comfy bathrooms. And I know that sometimes there’s not so much you can do (you can’t build a bigger bathroom), but little things can make a difference. Consider ensuring that there’s a mirror, a trash can, a place to hang towels (and possibly some clean guest towels). If you could, purchase some mini toiletries and have these set up as well in the bathroom (or here’s a chance to use those from the hotels that you stock up on). Above everything, make the bathroom as clean as possible.
5. Hang Some Photos of Them
My mother in law visited recently and it took her a good few minutes before she noticed I had printed some of the photos of her and her grandson (from her last visit) and placed them in a frame. But when she did notice, she was so excited and absolutely loved it. And she’s asked to take the photos back with her. I think that’s something you could do as well to make guests feel at home. It could be one photo of them by the beside or a few photos like I did. I got this frame, which simply hangs the photos with a peg. So based on who may be visiting, it’s very easy for me to print and hang a few photos!
6. Cook a Good Meal
Don’t underestimate the power of a good welcome meal, particularly if one has been fed airplane food or has generally travelled for a few hours. So if you can, consider a warm home cooked meal to welcome your guests. If cooking ain't your thing, take outs and restaurants are fine – it’s the thought that counts. But that said, be thoughtful. If your guest is vegetarian don’t suggest the most popular steak house, and if they only eat fish, consider stocking up on a few fish options in the house. Ask also about allergies and food intolerances. I know food can be a touchy subject for some, but if your guest can have access to your kitchen / pantry and can make their own meals – then that’s a helpful bonus they may appreciate.
7. Test Out the Guest Space First
If you’re going to have guests over a while, it’s helpful to test out the waters yourself by actually living in the guest space for a night or two. You may realise that the couch, air mattress (these are great for space saving!) or sofa bed is not as comfy as you thought and those blankets do not really reach your legs. That said, do try to get some decent beddings and pillows - not the ones you'd never use yourself. You could also realise you require a socket plug / extension cord to charge your phone or a night lamp to do a little reading before you sleep off, or a jug of water when you wake up. It's also probably not very obvious - but space to put up their suitcases, a luggage rack or a small stool, some extra hangers and a clear table space for their little items would jump at you when you test the space. If you were reasonably comfortably living in that space, then your guests are likely to be fine... and even if they aren’t, you’d have a clean conscience!
If you managed to do all or most of this, any right thinking guest should feel very welcome, pleased, and be of best behaviour. Also generally - be kind and warm to guests but still allow them their privacy.
These are general tips, but I guess some people do go the extra mile as my son’s god parents claim they’d throw him a welcome party the very first time he visits! They’re probably kidding, but yeah you could always throw a welcome party for guests too.. or a leaving party when they leave!
Do you host over night guests often? How do you make them welcome - any tips?
pS: what are the things you really dislike that guests do while visiting?
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