How to stand out as host : it's a fine line
To be successful I learned is by having the best advice and the best workers you can get - I am talking business here.
I also learned from a successful businesswoman that she always tried to accommodate to guest's needs wherever she could.
Of course within respectful boundaries. That could be extra woollen blankets in winter time, to a spa in the back yard - all depending on your ability and suitability.
I am not allowing pets on my premises other than my own. No, I even don't allow for a rabbit inside. A prospective guest was adamant to have it with her. Well, what to do if rabbit chews on the electric chords, or escapes and my dog will like it...Oh dear. Luckily she cancelled before I could reply.
One couple has requested allergy free cushions. Ok, that should be easy to solve.
One couple arrives after 10 pm. Yes, can do (occasionally) (guide them in the pitch dark from the highway to unit)
At the moment hubby is levelling the driveway and filling up potholes with the digger. Holes often appear on gravel roads. Just as nice to arrive on a smooth path. (Yes, we do have water to hose down the mud from your car if need be)
Having local knowledge is important to guests and requested most of the time, which of course you can also provide in the form of magazines and booklets. But face to face contact and sharing I have found proven beneficial to get an impression of your guests at the same time and giving them the latest updates and show them what they would love to go to or suits their interests.
Living around the corner gives me the opportunity to advise guests when needed (or even bring someone to hospital) We have no public transport here, since we live isolated. I can share a list of other situations but hosting is a serving job. If you have a hotel I am sure you have things and people in place to offer the same.
I would love to treat everyone like family, but some come here for business and then it is a different story. Some simply want to be left to there own devices and they feel completely happy by themselves. And that is fine too.
And I also would love to have shared dinner with guests in our house if we click at a time and day I choose myself.
A friend of mine offers guests dinners every day since she cooks like a master- chef, but after every peak season, she's absolutely exhausted so that's a big price to pay I think.
Some guests don't speak our language and I want to be sure that we understand each other and they like to get the chance to express themselves. At these moments you need to spend extra time so there are no miscommunications.
And then there are people with issues. Some are in need of little help and all is fine. Some need more than that. Some need clear boundaries, and some need professional help, short term or longterm, whether that is a good friend, police or a doctor all depending on the seriousness and the length of stay.
I am grateful for the no-smoking agreement here since that eliminates a lot of trouble to start with.
What I do love is to have the ability to communicate with my future guests before arrival, to touch base and stretch my so-called sixth sense and I can prepare myself mentally and or practically.
I do advice co-hosts to have assistance or a good friend to help distinguish light from darkness when needed. Things happen!
Hosting can be challenging when we are facing vulnerable situations. They are inevitable and it is an art to eliminate and solve them in a friendly and professional way so our reputation as a host or that of the hosting groups is not hurt, and the guest feels like he can come back. (sometimes, no thank you)
And one really important thing: Give yourself time off to recharge your batteries if you can afford it. I block days when I need some breathing space. I start again refreshed, all the washing done and find myself much more capable to deal with the daily tasks and the more difficult situations.
Hosting is a people related profession and a physically challenging one in my opinion. We cater to guest's need appropriately. How we do that is different every day.
It's a fine line.
I wish you all a very successful and enjoyable time with lots of happy guests that smile when they come and smile when they go.