Southwest Florida is a popular destination in the winter. The balmy climate and waterfront locations have lured vacationers for years (Thomas Edison certainly hosted many notable guests at his Fort Myers Winter Estate.) Below are a few etiquette tips to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward when hosting guests in your home this season.
1. CLEAN UP. This should go without saying but it’s important to dust, vacuum and tidy the rooms. You may be accustomed to certain smells in your home as well so be sure to clean litter boxes and empty trash bins. A neutral odor is usually best.
2. PREFERENCES. It’s always thoughtful to stock the shelves and refrigerator with a few of your guest’s favorite treats. Know their preferences for basic items (creamer for coffee, soft drink and alcohol choices, snacks).
3. THINK AHEAD. In some ways you’re like a hotel. What needs might your guests have? Toothbrush, pillow preferences, allergies, hair dryer, shampoo, lotion, fresh towels, comfortable bed, blankets, fan, alarm clock, etc. It’s also nice to have fresh flowers (as long as your guest isn’t allergic to flowers), water, perhaps maps of the area, and maybe even a chocolate for the pillow at night.
4. ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES. Be thoughtful of your guests’ arrival as well as departure. Consider the time of day and how tired they may be from their travels. Make them feel welcome and be considerate of their time. It’s extra nice to have a little keepsake for them to take with them. It could be something as simple as a refrigerator magnet or a small package of candy. If they’re flying, make sure it will fit in their suitcase and is easy to pack and travel with.
Before your guests arrive, make sure you’ve determined a departure date. If you’ve implemented all these tips, and even more, you may be named “The Ideal Host” and your guests may never want to leave.
Suzanne Willis is the founder of Willis Consulting & Communications in Naples, which specializes in contemporary business, social and children’s etiquette.