The key to great hospitality

I recently did a coaching session with a client who is looking to start hosting on Airbnb. 

We were walking through some of the things I do to make my guests feel welcome, and we got to the part about bathroom extras. I like to leave a travel-sized bottle of shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel, plus a little bar of soap for every guest that comes into one of my spaces. I also have toothpaste and toothbrushes available if they forget theirs.

When I told her this, she seemed skeptical. “Do you even need to do that?” she asked. “Don’t most people bring their own toiletries?” 

She had a point. Most of my guests do bring their own toiletries, leaving my little bottles untouched. 

But looking at it that way misses the heart of the issue.

True hospitality is not about providing basic needs. It’s about how you make people feel

I’ve stayed in tiny, cramped homes with dirt floors and no running water. Yet those people made me feel so special, so loved, that I have yearned for years to return. On the flip side, I’ve stayed in very nice residences where the hosts were so cold and distant that the thought of coming back never crossed my mind.

So yes, it’s true that most guests don’t need little bottles of shampoo and conditioner. But almost all of them will appreciate the extra thought you put into making them feel welcome. They will appreciate how you made them feel

That’s the key to great hospitality.

Don’t look at it as a checklist of things to do. Think of it as a way to engage your guests in your space as creatively and thoughtfully as possible. That shift in perspective will create a drastically different experience for the people that you host!