Hospitality 101 and beyond
What is that, even? Do we know anymore?
I think that in our rush rush disposable frenetic world, we don’t even stop to think about hospitality. And we wouldn’t know how to create it because we don’t stop long enough to think about the fact that it’s missing.
But when we go someplace and experience someone’s hospitality, it kind of points up the gigantic lack of it in all other areas of our lives.
We can come away from that experience with a couple of different responses. We can go, Wow, that was an amazing experience and I would like to re-create that. Or, Wow, that was an amazing experience and I could never ever re-create that! Or, Wow, that was an amazing experience and the closest I could get to experiencing that again would be to go to a Bed-and-Breakfast or a super fancy hotel.
I actually don’t think a super fancy hotel comes close to the experience, though. I mean, you have the maid that turns down the bed twice a day and puts different pillows on it and stuff like that. You have the hotel restaurant that charges $18 for a bowl of oatmeal, served maybe with a smile. You have the pool boy that comes out to offer you drinks.
But that’s not the hospitality I’m talking about.
This is what I’m talking about . . . .
Your bed has a book on it just for you that pertains to your life situation. With the book is a pair of new comfy socks because your host knows it’s chilly in the house. And there’s a hand-written welcome note with the socks and the book.
Your room has empty table- and shelf-space for you to put your stuff. There’s a stack of magazines on the table, and two bottles of water.
There’s an extra blanket at the end of the bed. Your host shows you how to turn on the various lights and warns you that that Mickey Mouse lamp will say something when you turn it on. She shows you how to close the blinds and assures you that if the chain falls off, it’s not your fault because it has a mind of its own.
You have a bathroom that’s across the hall but it’s all yours. It’s spotless. Big perfect puffy white towels are ready for you. The shower has a rack that holds shampoo, conditioner, body wash, puffs, a sponge, and an embossed round soap.
There’s a basket on the sink counter, and it holds stuff in it that’s just for you: a skin exfoliator, a little tube of toothpaste, a shower cap, a little jar of night crème, a thing of deodorant. All brand new, in case you forgot yours.
This is just your room and your bathroom. When you walk in and experience this—see the book and socks on the bed, the water bottles ready, the basket of emergency toiletries in the bathroom—you know your host was thinking about you way before you even arrived.
He or she thought about what you might need and actually went out and bought it. And then arranged it all to be ready when you got there.
That’s part of the hospitality thing. A host who has anticipated your needs and gone out of his or her way to provide for those needs before you arrived.