We all know Thanksgiving is a busy travel time, but this year’s Thanksgiving might be the busiest ever.
The federal Transportation Security Administration says it expects to screen nearly 3 million people a day in the stretch between November 16 and November 25. That’s to say nothing of all the people who will travel by car this holiday and that can translate to a busy time for your bed and breakfast. It might be a stressful few weeks, but it’s also an ideal time to impress your guests and keep them coming back.
Here are some tips on meals, welcoming guests and innkeepers’ Christmas decoration ideas to make your guests feel more welcome this year.
1. Who are your travelers?
When you know who your travelers are, you’ll have a better chance at anticipating their needs. Some might be planning a romantic getaway, while others might just want a change of pace from hectic holiday gatherings.
Most holiday travelers tend to drive themselves, but a not-insignificant number will arrive via public transit. Ask each of your guests how they plan to travel. If you have the manpower, offer to pick them up at the airport or train station.
As for your guests who are arriving by car, make sure you make the final stage of their trip – parking – easier by having sand, salt and a shovel on hand to clear away your driveway and parking spaces in case bad weather strikes.
2. Offer activities
You can keep guests entertained by offering holiday-themed activities, whether it’s a shopping trip to unique local businesses or a chance to take part in outdoor winter sports and activities such as ice skating or sledding. However, many of your guests might be content to just sit by the fire and enjoy some hot chocolate, so leave that door open for them as well.
3. Innkeepers’ Christmas decoration ideas and other room preparation
It’s the holidays, so keep things light when you decorate your rooms. You can start by outfitting each room with wintry florals such as holly, red twig dogwood or classics like poinsettias or evergreens but be aware that poinsettias are poisonous if ingested by small children.
And even though we titled this section “innkeepers’ Christmas decoration ideas,” keep in mind that not everyone who visits you is going to be celebrating Christmas. You can make your B&B a more inclusive place by putting up a Christmas tree AND a menorah or opt for non-religious themed décor such as lights, garland and ribbons.
Finally, you can make your guests feel more comfortable in their rooms by offering them fluffy robes and slippers, and including a basket of things they might have forgotten to pack: toothpaste, shampoo, soap, floss, etc.
4. What’s on the menu?
Plan ahead if you’ll be serving guests a holiday dinner. Order your main courses – hams, turkey, duck, etc. – three weeks in advance. You can also prepare stocks and side dishes early and freeze them.
Lastly, if you have a coffee bar, include some festive touches such as peppermint tea, pumpkin spice and eggnog creamers and hot cocoa.
5. Local gifts
Impress your guests by giving them a – small – gift when they arrive. This can be something from a local business, such as hand-crafted soaps or artisanal chocolates. These business owners might even be willing to give you a discount in exchange for you promoting their brand.
Do you need help making your bed and breakfast guests feel at home during the holidays? Contact InnStyle’s sales team at 1-800-877-INNS (4667).