Nothing makes guests feel more welcome than a handwritten note or a bouquet of fresh flowers. And when guests have a memorable stay, they’re more likely to leave glowing reviews, tell their friends and family about your space, and even come back for another visit.
Delighting your guests with a warm greeting can make them feel appreciated, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money. From thoughtful notes to freshly baked treats, here’s how some hosts around the world have gone above and beyond in welcoming their guests:
1. Write a friendly welcome note
When guests are traveling, a personalized welcome can be the difference between feeling homesick and feeling at home. “I have a little chalkboard in each room that welcomes the guests, and I include their names each time,” says host Huma of London. “It's such a small touch, but they really love this.”
You can leave the same sentiment in a handwritten note. “I recently decided to start to leave a welcome treat with a card,” says host Trude of Edsberg, Sweden. In your note, you might include your favorite place to get a coffee or a fun fact about your area.
2. Give your guests a taste of your town
One of the best ways to help your guests get settled is to introduce them to the top spots in your neighborhood. “We have a local bakery that makes a cinnamon cream cake that I happen to love, and I brought one to the first guest,” says host David of San Antonio, Texas, who now treats all of his guests to his favorite cake.
3. Put your own baking skills to work
If you’re a great baker, consider highlighting your hospitality skills by making your specialty for your guests. “I started leaving a few homemade cookies,” says host Beth of Roraima, Brazil. “I get a lot of return business, and the cookies have been commented on multiple times.”
4. Get your guests involved
In addition to offering a sweet treat, host David of San Antonio, Texas, leaves wine for his guests. “There’s a hashtag: #takeabottleleaveabottle,” says David, who encourages guests to replace the bottle they enjoyed with a new one. Over the years, the collection has grown: “We have a wall with five different types of wine,” he says. The one-in, one-out idea makes this an affordable option. You could also try this with books!
5. Create a snack basket
“We realize that people come to have a good time,” says host Jerry of Atlanta. “A lot of times they come back home, and they have the munchies.” So he now stocks his kitchen with a basket of snacks like microwave popcorn, cookies, potato chips, and pretzels.
6. Customize your treat
Get to know your guests, and be aware of their needs. “We leave a treat at check-in,” says host Laura of Frederick, Maryland. “Sometimes it’s local cheese, chocolate, or baked goods. Sometimes it’s local beer or a bottle of wine.” She messages her guests about any dietary restrictions first: “Not everyone drinks or can eat cheese, so I ask.“
If your guests have kids, a packet of stickers or a few juice boxes can be a thoughtful surprise. “If there are children, I leave a lollipop or small bag of candy and a small box of crayons [with a] coloring book,” says host Ann of New York City. And if your guests are traveling with pets, consider having dog treats on hand to share with their furry friends.
7. Show off your local culture
If there’s something inexpensive that your region is known for—such as leis in Hawaii—consider leaving something small to delight your guests at check-in. “One of the biggest things that we provide here is Mardi Gras beads,” says host Jordan of New Orleans. Guests appreciate these souvenirs, which can help them remember their stay long after checkout.
8. Get a little help from nature
From fresh flowers to homegrown vegetables, guests love the great outdoors. “I pick a sweet little bouquet for the guest room from my garden,” says host Sarah of Sayulita, Mexico. Fresh fruit or vegetables from a garden can also work well. Don’t have a garden? Inexpensive flowers from the grocery store or local market can be a colorful way to welcome your guests.
9. Save money by buying in bulk
Stocking up on supplies can save you time and money, but you can still add your special touch. Host Karen of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, buys her cookies wholesale, “which provides us with a super low-cost biscuit,” she says. She also found a quick way to personalize the treats: “We bought a sealer, and we package and seal the biscuits with our own label.”
10. Celebrate special occasions
Whether guests are visiting during a birthday, anniversary, or holiday, you can help make their stay even more memorable. “We had one couple staying for New Year's, so we got them a bottle of champagne,” says host Damon of Atlanta. Host Jennifer of Ontario, Canada, also keeps the occasion in mind. “If a guest is here for a specific celebration—birthday, honeymoon—I leave a little something appropriate to mark their celebration,” she says.
Going above and beyond to welcome your guests is always appreciated but remember: Hospitality doesn’t have to cost anything. A handwritten note can still show your guests you’re thinking of them, which can make all the difference when they’re far from home.
We have been chatting through our door signs with guests for some time and have some pretty cool pics of them that were collecting for a little coffee table book were going to make. The photo above was from an instant booking last night. They arrived very late while we were sleeping, The Chinese characters were my attempt to write the guests name in their own language and they commented back, I look forward to meeting them later in the morning. The little things like a personal greeting are often what they comment about in the reviews. Fun stuff! John
I love this @Melodie-And-John0. The secret life of your door sign, I actually bet it would make a nice book! 🙂
I hope you had a nice time meeting your guests in the morning.
@Lizzie , I think I have about 50 pics of "instant feedback" replies now and growing, its good fun and a handy hosting simple communication tool that lets whoever is booked knows they are in the right place the second they see their name on the door no matter when they arrive. We have lots of extra late arrivals so its actually allowed my wife and I to sleep through the night with no worries much better than we might otherwise. BTW, I did meet them that morning, they are a very friendly young couple and they are welcome back to Bearpath Lodging anytime. Safe Travels, JR
We have a lit LED board that I put in the window near the front door so they know they are in the right place. I customize the little graphics with free clip art from online. Nice to know you're in the right place.
The first person who mentioned clutter was an extra ordinary 'full' person. Doorways are wheelchair friendly and other then her big person I saw no reason for it. Then she said that my phhotos had been enlarged. NO.
A year later a person did not mention to me clutter and I noticed he moved an empty kitchen top long with exactly nothing on it. If it was furniture then I could have negotiated with extra or not required items.
I stayed in Croatia, one doorway to toilet was tight for normal me. No room anywhere really. Did I complain no and I was there on my own. Rosies Place
I know the value for a safe, quiet, well located place to stay in NYC. We’re still cheaper than the closest hostel, every time Airbnb suggests we lower our prices we ignore them. If we can’t get at least a ‘roommates’ share for the room, then we’re not interested. We’d rather leave it empty at that point. I know that some people closer to us charge less, that’s their prerogative. But if our only competitors are people with one room to fill. Once the cheaper rooms are booked, then the last minute more savvy travelers will book with us. I really don’t believe that Airbnb understands the NYC market.
So true...I keep getting messages to lower my rates to get more bookings, I've hardly had an opening since I opened I've raised my rates. I live in small town USA not a tourist spot and people still come. I'm less than hotels so why lower my rate when I have a full kitchen and living room to offer with a private bedroom not all in one space. I just ignore their suggestions and as long as I'm getting bookings I will not listen to Airbnb suggestions. I put across my listing NO CLEANING FEE but I raised my rates to cover what I was charging so it's a wash but you'd be surprised how many people want to feel like they are getting a "value add" by not paying a cleaning fee.
I totally agree - I get fed up with these messages suggesting we lower our prices. We provide a very high quality of food & beverages for our continental breakfast which other hosts do not so we are not prepared to lower our prices.