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Almost everyone loves a good surprise. Not one that catches you off guard in a negative way, or one that embarrasses you, but one that makes you feel good or that helps you remember a really great experience.

As an innkeeper you have the ability to surprise your guests on many levels. Creating opportunities for surprises is pretty much up to your imagination. To get those creative juices flowing here are some suggestions:

When you know someone has travelled to your property for a special occasion (anniversary, birthday, etc.) surprise them with a complimentary bottle of wine and flowers in their room on arrival. Some places charge for this service, which is a nice option for those who choose to pay for it, but think of the nice surprise when it’s totally unexpected. Think they’ll remember your kindness and generosity? You bet!

On a smaller, but no less memorable scale, when you track your guests’ special dates (again, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.) and send them a card, they’ll remember and appreciate your kindness, and the fact that you cared enough to make a note of it. And you’ll be closer to staying “top of mind” with them when they plan to travel again.

We all know some guests are much more interactive and personable than others. When you’ve had the opportunity to get to know those guests who are willing to play and what they enjoy, making a mental note about their preferences (that you enter into your guest database as soon as possible) and later acting on that knowledge is a wonderful chance for a memorable surprise. Consider this: a guest raves about a particular breakfast dish you offer. When that guest returns, you make sure to serve that dish one day of their stay and mention that you remembered they enjoyed it. Talk about a lasting impression! Someone they had seen only once or twice in their life remembered something they enjoyed and delivered. That’s a “Wow” in anybody’s book.

Similarly, if a guest mentions a favorite artist or performer or play, and that exhibit or presentation is coming to your area in the future, sending a quick email to that guest letting them know will very likely encourage them to make a return trip. The best part is this effort takes mere seconds out of your busy day and will likely result in a new booking and a loyal guest.

Aren’t surprises fun?