How guesthouses can go the extra mile for their guests



How guesthouses can go the extra mile for their guests

The hospitality industry is a competitive and stressful one to work in. Customer and quality service is key, without it, no guesthouse stands a chance against its competitors. And it usually requires an “extra mile” attitude in order to stand out and grab business from other guesthouses.

We will be discussing a few ways in which guesthouses can go the extra mile for their guests and start building loyalty amongst their customers. If people enjoy their stay, they’re more likely to recommend, and positively review their guesthouse experience. Which is what every business wants from their customers, not only in the hospitality industry.


A welcoming gift

There should already be a warm smile to welcome guests to the venue and great service to check them in and have them assisted to their rooms. But if the goal is to go the extra mile, there needs to be something more.

Guesthouses could consider offering a local delicacy treat for guests as they arrive at the check-in desk. It will set the tone for the rest of their stay and give off a rather good first impression. Other welcoming gifts could include a “pamper package” with amenity necessities which guests can take to their rooms and use at their will. Another gift idea would be a branded wine glass for guests to take home after their stay or little chocolates on their bedsides as a surprise for when they walk in.

There are many different things guesthouses could do to warmly welcome their guests, just be sure to do something unique to welcome them.


Over-accommodate for the season

Winter is cold and summer is hot (obviously) and depending on where the guesthouse is in South Africa, winter is extremely cold and summer is ridiculously hot. For this reason, in order to go the extra mile, guesthouses need to over-accommodate for the season.


  • Winter: For winter, there should be extra blankets in the cupboard, electric blankets under the sheets and some kind of indoor heating system with a fire, heater or air conditioner. Guesthouses should search for proper winter bedding in South Africa and buy spare bedding sets for each room as well. The last thing guests should complain about is freezing throughout the night.   
  • Summer: In the summer, the beds don’t have to be as layered as they are in winter, although there should still be a bedding set. Guesthouses can over-accommodate in the summer with air conditioners, spare fans in the cupboards and access to the pool. But the most important of those is the air conditioning, especially in the hot and humid areas of South Africa.


Have “on the house” goodies   

Even if it is a self-catering guesthouse, there is still an opportunity to go the extra mile by offering “on the house” goodies. This could be complimentary tea, coffee and milk, a bottle of wine, a bottle of water or something similar.

The guesthouse branded mini shampoo, conditioner, body wash, towels and even toilet paper are also complimentary goodies that guests will appreciate. Mostly because many guests tend to forget these basics at home. The smallest thing will make the biggest difference in customer service so it’s in the best interest of the guesthouse to spend a little more on free goods for the guests.


Make it homey

Many travellers opt for a guesthouse because it’s like a “luxury home” experience. A home away from home where they don’t have to worry about cleaning up or tripping over kids’ toys all over the show.

It’s important for guesthouses to make their rooms homey, enough for guests to feel relaxed and comfortable, while still making it feel like a getaway space. That’s achieved through self-catering with complimentary goodies as we’ve just discussed. It’s also made homey by bringing in plants inside the guesthouse (especially if there is no private garden or outdoor area).


Provide a map of the local area

Guesthouses aren’t expected to provide activities, but it’s always a bonus if there is a reception lounge for guests only where they can enjoy a drink by the bar, complimentary WiFi and maybe a game of pool. But planning a guests trip for them isn’t part of the offering.

Now, in order to go the extra mile in that regard (without becoming a semi-tourism-company) is by providing a map of the local area. On this map, guesthouses should highlight a “you are here” area and pinpoint must-see sights or must-visit restaurants, wineries or activity venues. Guesthouses could even provide reviews and recommendations of the places highlighted from previous guests. This will provide them with all the information they would need to easily plan their own stay without the guesthouse having to open a tour-operator department.

The more a guesthouse does for their customers, the more business they are bound to have. Word of mouth is a strong marketing tool and one that starts with great customer service.