It is always a good idea to have some topics of conversation in mind if you regularly host guests at your bed and breakfast. Having a mental list of what to talk about means you will feel comfortable interacting with perfect strangers at any time. The biggest secret to being a good conversationalist is simply allowing other people to talk about themselves. Why? It is a subject they probably know well and are comfortable talking about.
Since they are likely to be out of town guests when they visit, this automatically gives you some conversation topics, including the reason for their stay at your B&B.
- Are you celebrating a special occasion(birthday, anniversary, reunion, etc.)?
- What attracted you to visit us in this area?
- Does our area have a leisure activity or event you will be participating in?
- Where else have you been on vacation?
- What was your most favorite vacation destination so far?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
People love talking about what they eat or want to eat. Think about the popularity of Food Network and online recipe websites! Inquire about their favorite foods including breakfast dishes. During the time they book the room is the best time to find out if they are allergic to any foods or on a restricted diet since you, or your staff, will be cooking for them. If you realize that question was never answered, take the first opportunity to ask.
- What is your favorite food?
- If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
- Where do you like to go when you eat out?
- Do you like to cook? If so, do you have a signature dish?
- Are there any foods that you would like to try?
If they bring up their family, then it is perfectly acceptable to have a discussion centered around that. Most people love talking about their family. However, we need to be sensitive to people who may have strained family relationships, family members who are ill, infertility issues, or some other personal struggle in their lives.
- Do you have any siblings?
- What is your favorite childhood memory?
- Did you have a pet growing up? Do you have any pets now?
- As a kid, how did you most like to spend your time?
Another topic of conversation could be about sports. Since there are so many different sports, it is a safe bet that they, or someone they know, have an interest in sports. They do not need to be a talented athlete to enjoy watching sports.
- Do you play or follow any sports?
- Who is your favorite athlete?
- How do you like to exercise?
- What is your favorite sports team?
Ask them about their technology and entertainment preferences. This can lead to lively discussions about favorites. Then you can mention (if it is available for them) that you offer a free Wi-Fi connection and/or a book, CD and/or DVD collection available for guests to borrow.
- What are your favorite TV shows?
- What kind of movies do you like?
- What was the last movie you saw?
- Who is your favorite actor/actress?
- What is your favorite movie of all time?
- What type of music do you like to listen to? Who are your favorite musicians?
- Do you like to read? If so, what kind of books do you read?
- What’s your favorite board game or card game?
Carefully ask about work, but try not to make it sound like a job interview. Remember that your guest(s) may be studying, retired, or “between jobs”. Also keep in mind your guest(s) may be traveling on business while they stay with you.
- What do you do for a living? Where do you work (or study)?
- What was your first job ever?
- When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
- What do you like best about your job?
- If money was no object yet you still wanted to work, what would be your dream job?
The key is to keep it light. The goal is to build rapport with your bed and breakfast guests. Stick to topics that are interesting and entertaining to talk about. Most people are looking for polite and lighthearted topics to discuss–it is wise to avoid controversial topics like politics and religion. Leave them with a great impression so they give you and your B&B a positive testimonial about your hospitality via your online guest book.
Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography