Offering a guest suite to potential residents and/or their families is a cost-effective way to make them comfortable within a senior living community. With so much potential exposure, your guest room needs to shine! Use our steps below to keep potential leads and family members comfortable and happy:
1. Do not use old furniture from around the community, buy new. Years ago I stayed in a community’s guest room, and the moment I opened the door I was hit with the smell that reminded me of a thrift store. The furniture was not in terrible shape, but it was slightly mismatched and I could tell it was collected from prior residents. This is mainly an issue with upholstered furniture, but wood and MDF (what some inexpensive furniture is made of) can also give off an odor as they age. I understand that budget is often an issue, but trust me and do not skimp on this. Guests will notice and feel that they are only as important as your old, cast-off furniture. Buy a new, matching set.
2. Keep it spotless.
Housekeeping needs to clean the room after each and every time it is used. Towels and bedding need to be laundered, all surfaces wiped. Then, have someone spot-check the room before a guest arrives to make sure no one disturbed the room in between stays. I include this step because I had this happen when I was setting up a model apartment. I pulled back the existing bedding to find pillows covered in human hair. The door was kept locked, so we figured out that an employee was using it as their napping spot! Avoid embarrassment by giving the room a once over before guests arrive.
3. Comfort is key.
You want to show guests that you care about their comfort. Make sure the sheets and bedding are soft and warm. Keep additional blankets and pillows in the closet (always have at least 2 pillows per occupant). Provide good quality towels that are thick and fluffy. Make sure the thermostat is readily accessible.
A television is also something I suggest for a guest room. People like to watch to unwind, and often keep it on during the night for the background noise.
4. Avoid guest embarrassment.
No one wants to ask for embarrassing things. Keep a plunger and brush set next to the toilet (nicely displayed). Store some feminine products in a cabinet or lidded basket in the bathroom. Have additional toilet paper and air freshener available.
5. Anticipate needs.
Every time I travel, I forget something. Think about common things that people forget when they travel. Use a basket or container for common travel-sized toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, toothpaste, disposable razor, etc.) Keep a couple phone chargers in a desk or nightstand drawer (Apple and Droid). Make sure an outlet near the bed is available for charging. Frame the WiFi password and display on a desk or entry table. Have an alarm clock on the nightstand.
Make sure there are enough hangers for the occupants and the length of their stay. Keep an iron and ironing board in the closet (or offer to press their clothing if you have this capability).
6. Think local.
Giving suggestions on local events and attractions showcase more reasons why your community is such an amazing place to live! Get a binder and print out a list of popular local attractions, landmarks, and restaurants. If there are events in the community you would like to invite them to, make sure to mention at check-in and include details in the binder. The binder is also a great location for a map of the community and where key areas and amenities are located.
7. Have a hospitality mindset.
When I stay at hotels, there are certain things I always expect. And when a hotel goes above and beyond that, I am forever grateful. A small or single-cup coffee maker with cups, sugar packets and creamers is a must for a guest suite. A basket with bottled water and snacks is a nice added touch when travelers arrive tired and hungry (bonus points for local treats!).
If your guests feel like you’ve thought of every potential need while staying a weekend, they’ll realize you will do the same in your community for your residents. Keep these points in mind to give your guests a stay they will not forget, and that will hopefully lead to a signed contract.