Every so often, you might run into a guest that requires a long term stay at your hotel, even if you’re not marketed as an extended stay hotel. The definition of a long term guest varies, but generally, if you have a guest that stays longer for a week for reasons other than a vacation, it can be assumed that you have a long term guest.
To make the stay as comfortable as possible for them, consider making some additional efforts to help them feel welcomed. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Communicate your sustainability efforts
Now—this isn’t to suggest that short term guests don’t care about sustainability, because they do. However, long term guests are more likely to notice what you’re doing and want to know how they can support your efforts. Studies suggest that an increasing number of guests, especially those under the age of 25, are starting to prefer hotels that have sustainability efforts in place.
Guests will take note of efforts such as what materials the rooms are made of, what type of lighting you’re using, and if you have a recycling program. Communicate with your guests about other sustainability efforts you have in place.
This can be done in a variety of ways. Some hotels are going paperless and are choosing to publish information about their sustainability efforts on their website. Other hotels are placing laminated plaques on walls to educate guests. Making this information readily available could make a huge impact on eco-friendly guests.
Help make the suite homey
If your guests are staying in a room for an extended amount of time, it is only natural for them to want it to feel less sterile than a normal hotel room. They might ask you if there are ways for them to move additional furniture in (make sure to review any policies your hotel has in place—some hotels don’t allow outside furniture for safety and/or sanitation reasons). Or they might ask if there is any way the hotel can purchase them items such as a humidifier for health purposes.
Help them understand what their options are for making their room cozier. Help them move any allowed objects if needed. Also, chat with them about room cleaning.
Some guests will not want their privacy repeatedly imposed upon by cleaning staff. Ask them how frequently they want the space cleaned. Also, be sure to clarify what your cleaning staff will and won’t clean (for example, most hotels will not wash personal linens).
Understand the circumstances
Guests may or may not readily talk about why they need an extended stay. While you and your staff shouldn’t force a guest to disclose this information, you should be aware of some of the various reasons for extended stays. This can help you be more empathetic towards guests once they are ready to talk.
Sometimes it could be because of personal troubles. Guests could have recently lost their home, have bad credit that prevents them from renting a home, or trying to escape from domestic abuse.
Other times, it could be for more positive reasons. Maybe they have recently sold their house (you’d be surprised about how quickly investors such as sellmyhomefastchicago.house work!) and haven’t yet secured another home. Or maybe they travel frequently for work and staying in hotels is cheaper than buying a house.
Treat them like friends
While you should always be friendly towards guests, you might find that your relationship with long term guests is more personal. Some guests will not have a support network of friends and family in the area and may need someone to chat about their day with. Taking the time to ask guests how their day is going and make small talk could help a guest feel less alone.
Over time, you’ll learn their routines, what their likes and dislikes are, and snippets from their personal life. Your relationship with them might develop to the point where you feel comfortable enough to sit down to breakfast with them or enjoy a chat with them outside.
Remember that not every long-term guest will want to make friends. But for those that need a friend, you and your staff might be the only people they have.
After your first few long-term guests, you’ll learn the best ways to navigate making long term guests feel welcomed. It may also benefit you to look at what practices extended stay hotels have in place to replicate them within your own hotel.