The holidays are a warm and wonderful time of the year, and you want your guests to know that you're welcoming them with arms wide open. Part of that welcoming includes putting on a beautiful show for the holidays with decorations and environmental additions that really bring together the feelings of warmth and family. Over 54 million people will be hitting the road over the holiday season to spend time with friends and family or simply to get away from all the hustle and bustle of their busy year, according to AAA—more than any year in recent history. This means that your hotel has plenty of opportunities to welcome weary travelers with the comforts of home that will have them sharing their great experiences with their friends. Here are 5 tips to help make your hotel cozy before the holidays get in full swing.
1. Improving Your Guest Experience
There are many simple ways that you can improve the experience of your guests—from a friendly staff at check-in, to ensuring that they have all the amenities that they need to be comfortable in their home-away-from-home. The holidays tend to bring up all kinds of last-minute needs, many of which can be supplied through a sundries market or through your front desk. Items such as special holiday drinks or snacks are always appreciated, such as eggnog close to the winter holidays and small items that could be offered as last-minute gifts. Everything from the decorations in the lobby to the way guests are greeted with a friendly "Happy Holidays!" can help set the feeling of the season and improve the overall guest experience. Upbeat, lively Christmas music always adds a special touch and often brings a smile to the face of weary travelers.
2. All the Comforts of Home
When you stay overnight with a friend of family member, they may leave you a thoughtful (albeit small!) gift on your pillow as a gesture of welcoming. Why not adopt this same idea for your hotel? The gifts do not have to be large, as even a few chocolates or hard candies with a festive wrapping may be appreciated. Another small token that guests may enjoy during the holidays—that won't make them step outside their diet—is a small, decorated bottle of hand sanitizer. With all of the germs floating around during the winter season, it's always thoughtful to help people stay well when they're on the road. If leaving a gift isn't in your budget, what about a small upgrade that's available upon request?
3. Deck the Halls
Holiday decor doesn't have to be overboard in order to be appreciated. Creating an ambience in your lobby and central areas such as a restaurant or spa can be easily accommodated by introducing fresh greenery or poinsettias, too. Small touches can have a big impact on the hearts and minds of travelers, and a pop of red, green, silver or gold whimsy may work wonders for the positivity of staff and guests alike. Find decorations that complement the overall look and feel of your hotel in a subtle way, but look for ideas that will surprise and delight your guests. Ideas could include an oversized "gingerbread" family made from a wood cutout or a hidden elf peeking around a corner. Have fun with your decorations! If you have a fireplace, now's the time to take full advantage of the ambiance that the burning fire will add to your hotel.
4. It's Santa Time!
If your hotel has a large number of children booked in the few weeks leading up to Christmas, why not schedule a special time for Old Saint Nick to make an appearance? This can be a big draw for groups who are looking for a family-friendly place to stay, and could be the differentiating factor that ensures you get the business—instead of a local competitor. Having one of Santa's helpers come hand out small candies to children for a few hours on the weekend may be just what you need to bring in additional revenue, too.
5. Fun and Games
If your hotel generally hosts an evening event, why not look for a holiday theme? Creating an ugly Christmas sweater party out of your evening cocktail hour is inexpensive, and you can even have a door prize for individuals who attend to add to the fun. Anything you can do to get guests involved will provide them that feeling of being extra special—even when they're on the road. This type of engagement will not only help book rooms during the holidays, but will also provide you with the ongoing positive comments and reviews that will help your hotel thrive.
Creating a festive mood during the holiday season doesn't have to be expensive or over-the-top. A few simple games, some classic decorations and a staff who radiates the happiness of the season will have your guests coming back year after year. Be sure to stock up on food service, janitorial and safety supplies before the holiday rush!