Helpful last-minute Thanksgiving tips for independent hotels

This year, 48.7 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more to celebrate Thanksgiving – one million more travelers than last year.  With more travelers venturing away from home, independent hotels will have more opportunities to deliver wonderful lodging experiences and capture greater holiday revenue.  However, alongside these opportunities comes the challenges of operating at near or full capacity and meeting the needs of your guests.  To help you enjoy a successful and less stressful Thanksgiving weekend, here are a few helpful, last-minute tips:

A refreshing check-in

After navigating traffic and racing through airports, many travelers will arrive at your front desk exhausted and anxious to unwind in their room as quickly as possible.  You can help them relax during their check-in experience by offering an assortment of refreshments in your lobby.  Items, such as fruit-infused water, tea, coffee, various food snacks, warm towels and hand cream, and for pet-friendly hotels, dog and cat treats, are small gestures that go a long way toward welcoming travel-weary guests.

Prepare for the unexpected

The unfortunate downside of holiday travel is that some travelers will experience the unexpected: flat tire, dead car battery, keys locked inside their car, lost luggage, food sickness, chipped tooth, etc.  In some cases, independent hoteliers can lend a helping hand, but when that’s not feasible, you can help by quickly connecting your guests with someone who can.

Preparing an “In case of emergency” list will save time and reduce stress when things inevitably go wrong.  In addition to standard emergency safety and medical contact information, list trusted car repair shops, towing companies, locksmiths, car rental agencies, taxis, 24-hour stores and any other businesses that can provide assistance to travelers in need.

Open (or closed) for the holidays?

Over the years, you’ve likely seen plenty of guests return to their rooms looking disappointed because their plans were curbed due to a businesses’ holiday hours.  Help your out-of-town guests avoid this by contacting some of your local area entertainment venues, such as museums, theaters, restaurants and bars, noting their Thanksgiving weekend hours of operation and then sharing this information with your guests before they walk out the door.  Taking a little time to be proactive on your guests’ behalf can result in their long-term loyalty and keep your independent hotel busy every year during Thanksgiving weekend.