Seven Tips to Make Holiday Travelers Feel at Home

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According to an article in the Insurance Travel Preview, Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of the busiest travel days of the year. People who may not take an extended summer vacation hit the roads and airways to visit friends and relatives and share the excitement of the holiday season. If you are in the hospitality business, making your hotel or restaurant feel more like home can make the experience even more enjoyable for these holiday travelers. This is also a perfect time for management to take an active role as host of their property and make the holidays brighter for their staff.

1. Make the lobby say, “Happy Holidays.” A decorated tree, some spiced cider alongside the coffee service and a fire crackling in the fireplace make the first impression warm and cozy. A plate of holiday cookies at the front desk is a favorite with the kids and parents alike.
2. If you have a restaurant, offer some of the “comfort foods” that are enjoyed during the holidays, or items that make it feel more like home. Pot roast, meatloaf, turkey and dressing are some popular items. Macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a new favorite with the kids…pasta with butter and parmesan cheese.
3. Provide a list of holiday events or activities in your area that families and singles can enjoy. Your guests may want some time to explore the area, enjoy a concert, craft show, theatre production or the annual tree lighting ceremony in the town square.
4. Is your city known for its amazing display of Christmas lights? Does the downtown have a special day or evening of shopping with music, ice skating or other activities. Savannah, Georgia has “Holly Days,” a weekend where they close off the main shopping area downtown for ice skating, bring in a snow making machine, and offer special shopping discounts and extended hours.
5. The holidays are a great time for General Managers and the rest of the management team to come out of their offices and play host to the guests that are visiting their “home.” Have some fun with it--wear a Santa hat, stand in the lobby during the busiest check-in time and greet guests with a handshake and a hearty, “Ho, Ho, Ho!”
6. Managers can be a role model for staff by staying positive and be complimentary. Everyone is stressed at this time of year. Some are busy with family, parties and other activities. Some are lonely, without family or friends to celebrate with. Some are dealing with difficult financial, personal, family or health situations. Look for things that staff are doing right and let them know about it.
7. As much as possible, hold off on layoffs, pay freezes and other negative actions that can add to the stress of the holidays. Let your employees enjoy the season without the added burden of unemployment or an uncertain future.

Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a freelance writer, blogger, and workplace consultant. Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in "Training" magazine, "Training & Development" magazine, "Supervision," "Pulse" and "The Savannah Morning News." You can read her blogs at, and on the web at


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