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Pets, Electronics, and Robes! Oh my!   Some clients and friends would not dream of having you stay anywhere except at their home. Or you may end up there because of weather conditions that cause your flight to be cancelled. While this arrangement would not be my first choice, if you find yourself as a houseguest, be gracious.

If this is a planned stay, you will arrive with a hostess gift. A hostess gift is mandatory, and the following should be considered before picking one out:

  • Stay away from gifts of wine unless you know that your client is an avid collector and you have had a sommelier (a knowledgeable wine professional) assist you with the selection.
  • You can always arrive with a box of very good chocolates, a gourmet selection of herbs and spices, a handsome serving tray, or monogrammed linen cocktail napkins.
  • You may also want to send a gift of flowers after your visit. Some visitors send these prior to the visit.

If you are conducting business with your host(s) during the day, take this house visit out of the business context in the evening. Give your hosts as much space as possible. Take a walk or read a book in your room. Be sure to pack a robe that provides appropriate coverage should the bathroom you are assigned be in a hallway and not connected to your sleeping quarters.

Let your hosts know in advance that you are taking them out to dinner or to lunch. If invited to do so, join in on family or group activities, such as walks and games. It’s very important that you remember to be kind to your hosts’ children and pets. Also important is remembering electronic etiquette during your visit with the following guidelines:

  • Remember that cell phones and other electronics are just as annoying in a private home as they are in public places.
  • Ask permission before logging on to your host’s computer or WiFi, and limit your time online.
  • Never have either personal or business telephone calls forwarded to your hosts’ home. Use your cell phone, which is, of course, set on vibrate.

If your hosts have a staff, I know you will be cheerful and respectful. Tipping is discretionary in a private home and is based on extent of service. You may telephone or e-mail your hosts to let them know that you have arrived home, and you may thank them at that time. This electronic communication does not replace your thank-you letter. Since you are hardly ordinary, you will absolutely handwrite your thank-you letter or note right away.


Excerpts of blog taken from the book: Hospitality Management – People Skills & Manners on and off the Job.

Copyright © 2015 Lyn Pont, PhD


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