7 Ways to Host Houseguests Like A Bed & Breakfast
How much should I clean? What about entertainment? Do I have enough food? Is the guest bed too lumpy? These are the questions swirling around your head before your houseguests arrive. Although there’s a lot to think about, if you do the following seven things, your guests will likely enjoy their stay and feel right home. Take a deep breath—you’ve got this.
1. Offer a welcome note (and cookie or cocktail)
Airbnb host Johnny Emus, who regularly puts people up in his historic home in Westchester County, New York, is a big proponent of written greetings. Along with an official welcome, include essential info, like the WiFi password, channel guide, how to work that tricky bathroom faucet, and any house rules, such as smoking and outside guests. Put the letter alongside a tray of rosemary lemonade or oatmeal cookie to sweeten their arrival.
2. Make a cozy bed
It’s the first B in bed and breakfast—make sure it’s comfy. Invest in at least four pillows—two medium or firm and two soft—for each bed. You’ll also need at least three sets of freshly-laundered sheets and several throw blankets. Take a nap on the bed before guests arrive, and pick up a mattress topper, if necessary. And if you’re using an air mattress, opt for one with features that closely resemble the real thing, like a plush pillow top and raised height.
3. Load up on towels
You’ll need a towel strategy, seriously. Plan to use at least three sets per person. “Put one set out; have the second ready as a spare, and the last one waiting to become the spare,” Emus explains. A backup bath mat wouldn’t hurt either. Make sure extras are easy to find in clear plastic bins or baskets.
4. Add local touches
Like a B&B, your home should reflect your neighborhood. “Our particular house is an old colonial, so it’s decorated to honor and respect that, which is reflective of the local vibe,” Emus says. That could mean hanging art from a regional artist, displaying wildflowers native to your area in a pretty vase, or placing a book by an area author on the coffee table. And because you’re a local, make sure to put out items that have meaning to you, so you can talk about them genuinely.
5. Nail breakfast
You kind of have to get this meal right. Before guests arrive, find out any dietary restrictions or allergies, so you can shop accordingly. Serve continental options for light eaters and a satisfying meal, like orange and ricotta pancakes or scrambled eggs with smoked salmon. Offer plenty of coffee, tea, and fresh fruit. Stock up on travel-friendly snacks, like nuts and crackers. Although you’re not providing lunch and dinner, be ready to suggest a variety of local restaurants, and place takeout menus in plain sight.
6. Keep it clean enough
In a perfect world, your home would pass the white glove test. In reality, these low-stress cleaning shortcuts will get the job done in an afternoon. Make the freshness linger by setting up a diffuser in the bedroom and bathroom. Or try flameless scented candles that flicker like the real thing and come with a smart remote that turns them on and off. And don’t worry about things staying super-tidy. “I don’t hover or go around cleaning after the guests unless requested,” Emus says. Instead, he suggests putting out flowers from your property or a local florist to freshen up the space and bring the outdoors in. See? Clean enough.
7. Step back
“Guests need to be able to treat the space as their own,” Emus says. Unless your visitors want to spend most of their time with you (hey there, Mom!), the best thing you can do is to get out of the way. If you’re comfortable, hand over a spare set of house keys, so they can come and go. But getting the keys back from your mom might be tricky.