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What it takes to be a good guest house host

First and foremost, it is imperative that guests should feel welcome and comfortable from the moment they arrive. Always great to have a welcome drink at hand, whilst you are greeting them with a friendly demeanour and a genuine smile.

As the guests arrive, remember of course the guests’ names. This can leave a lasting impression and encourage them to return or recommend your guest house to others.

On booking

When there is a booking from the client, a prompt response is required to provide all necessary information about the guest house, including check-in and check-out procedures, amenities, and nearby attractions.

Cleanliness and Maintenance:

It goes without saying that the guest house should always be clean, well-maintained, and in good working order. One should regularly inspect the guest rooms, bathrooms, common areas, and outdoor spaces, in order to uphold high cleanliness standards.

Attention to Detail:

Comfortable Accommodations:

It is essential to furnish guest rooms with comfortable beds, cosy bedding, adequate lighting, and to have ample storage options. A good night’s sleep is essential for a positive guest experience.


As a good host you need to provide essential amenities such as Wi-Fi, towels, toiletries, and a well-stocked kitchen if applicable. Consider offering extras like coffee, tea, snacks, and local guides. If not local guides, have the knowledge of what your guests can do during their stay with you. Be knowledgeable about the local area, including attractions, restaurants, transportation options, and events. Offer recommendations based on your guests’ interests.


It’s very challenging to know when you need to strike that balance of being overbearing with your guests. You need to learn to respect your guests’ privacy, while being available for assistance if needed. You need to give them that necessary space to relax.

Safety and Security:

As a host that cares for the safety and security of their guest, they should ensure that the guest house is equipped with the necessary safety measures such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and emergency contact numbers. Emergency contact numbers should be shared upfront with the guests should anything happen. Guests should feel secure during their stay.

Problem Solving:

If something goes wrong, such as a plumbing issue or a reservation mix-up, communicate transparently and find a quick solution. Things unfortunately do go wrong, however being authentic is the best way to resolve an issue.

Reviews and Feedback:

Online Presence:

It’s important to maintain a user-friendly website and a presence on well-known booking platforms. One has to have high-quality images and accurate descriptions in order to attract potential guests.

Cultural Sensitivity:

It’s vital to respect diversity, and to be welcoming of different cultures, customs, and backgrounds. This includes dietary preferences, religious observances, and personal boundaries.

Legal and Financial Aspects:

A good host also needs to understand the legal and financial responsibilities of running a guest house, including taxes, insurance, and any local regulations (Swartland) and the broader framework (South Africa).

Guest Satisfaction:

Being a good host involves creating a positive and memorable experience for the guests. Going the extra mile to exceed their expectations can lead to repeat visits and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

When guests feel genuinely welcomed and well-cared for, they are more likely to have those positive experiences. Satisfied guests are more likely to leave positive reviews, return for future stays, and recommend your guest house to others. Satisfied guests are likely to share their experiences with friends, family, and colleagues, which can result in increased bookings and a strong reputation for your guest house. When guests have a memorable and enjoyable stay, they are more likely to choose your guest house again for their next visit.

In a competitive market:

Repeat business is the key driver of stability and growth in the hospitality industry and it will take the good guest host to manage this. It will therefore take exceptional hospitality to help your guest house stand out from the competition. It’s not just about the physical amenities; it’s the service and experience you provide that will truly set you apart.

Online Reviews and Ratings:

We know just how much online reviews and ratings heavily influence potential guests’ decisions to come to the various guest houses. Positive reviews about your hospitality can significantly boost your guest house’s online reputation, leading to more bookings. Guests who have a positive experience are more likely to become loyal patrons and even brand ambassadors who actively promote your guest house.

Being a good host isn’t just about creating a pleasant experience for your guests, it’s a fundamental driver of your guest house’s overall success. It influences everything from guest satisfaction to revenue generation and brand loyalty. Prioritizing excellent hospitality is an investment that pays off in various ways and helps your guest house thrive in a competitive market.

In summary, good hospitality isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a core component of the guest experience. It has a direct impact on your guest house’s reputation, revenue, and overall success. By creating an environment where guests feel valued, comfortable, and cared for, you’ll not only enhance their stay but also build a loyal customer base that can sustain your guest house business for the long term.

Long-Term Success: Ultimately, being a good host contributes to the long-term success and sustainability of your guest house business. The loyalty of repeat customers, positive reputation, and steady stream of new bookings all contribute to your business’s growth and stability.