Growing up in Florida, I was taught the value of hospitality, particularly "Southern" hospitality. When I think back to my childhood roots, many images come to mind -- sweet tea, front porches, Sunday dinners with friends and family, a meticulous table setting and comfortable surroundings.
Despite our modest means, my mother was a brilliant host. This was because her primary concern always centered on her guests. She always wanted the guests in her home to feel welcome, happy, and most of all, well cared for.
Making sure guests feel comfortable in your home is also good etiquette. Here are some quick, common sense tips to ensure your visitors feel right at home.
Pass the white-glove test. Check the guestroom, from top to bottom, for dust bunnies hiding under the bed or a lone spider's web hanging from the ceiling fan. Make sure the room is welcoming and not overly fussy. You want your guests to relax, feel at home, and enjoy their time with you. Coziness and cleanliness are key.
Provide nice linens. Everyone sleeps better on luxurious linens. Invest in a soft duvet or comforter and extra fluffy pillows. Make sure the sheets are crisp and fresh and add a touch of lavender spray to give your bedding a relaxing fragrance.
Do your homework. Whether you're entertaining a family member, longtime friend, or business associate, find out what your guests enjoy eating and drinking. It's always a good idea to to take into consideration any dietary restrictions or food allergies.
Introduce area attractions. A well-informed guest is a happy guest. Provide city transportation information, maps, and a handful of brochures on local places to see and activities to enjoy.
Give a house tour. Let your guests know where you keep some of the small amenities including coffee, tea and towels for the pool. They will feel more at home when they don't have to ask for things they may want or need. Discuss the thermostat settings and make provisions when necessary by providing extra blankets or a portable fan for the bedroom.
Provide Internet instructions. Ensure your guests' technology needs are met. Put a note containing Wi-Fi information and the password along with a list of television channels on their bedside table or desk. And make sure the television remote and bedside lamps are working.
Let your guests return the hospitality. If your guests want to help out during their stay, ask them to open the wine or set the table. Or allow them to pitch in for food or treat you to a nice restaurant.
Honor their privacy. Oftentimes, a guestroom doubles as an office or den. If that's the case, make sure to get everything you might need out of the room before your guests arrive. Prior planning will ensure that your guests have their own private, personal space.
Ultimately, if you treat your guests like you'd like to be treated, they will most likely remember their visit fondly and will make a point to return in the future.
Also on HuffPost: