Hosting guests – what is the correct greeting? Do you consider a hug over-familiar, or a handshake too formal? How about a peck on the cheek. But wait, one peck or a French-style double peck? The Dutch greet one another with three pecks on the cheek, and the Greek favour a cheek-peck, back-slap combination. Maybe just play it safe with a wave?
Greeting anyone outside of your circle of close friends and family is an awkward business. And Summer is ripe with opportunities to get it wrong – think of all those barbecues, weddings and school sports days. With the Royal Wedding fast approaching, data from Airbnb predicts that 42,000 visitors will descend on the capital alone this Summer.
Research into the nation’s hosting skills has revealed that over 47 per cent of Brits feel stressed about how to correctly greet a guest. The survey revealed 40 per cent of us like a good old handshake best over a kiss on the cheek, just 5 per cent. Turns out 17 per cent of us think a hug is inappropriate.
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Unsurprisingly, only 2 percent of us would even contemplate greeting a guest with a bow or curtsey. Airbnb have helpfully teamed up with British etiquette experts Debrett’s to release the ‘Royal Etiquette Guide to Hosting’. This should help to clear a few things up…
1. Be on time
The Queen is said to be very punctual. Follow her example and stick rigidly to the arrival time agreed with your guest. Supposedly the clocks in the kitchen at Windsor Castle are set to five minutes ahead. This means food is always served promptly. Take heed and try this simple trick at home.
2. Meet and greet
Avoid a kiss-miss situation by taking your cue from your guest. If in doubt, go in for a solid handshake. By far the safest option.
Providing drinks and snacks will refresh guests and help make them feel welcome. Debrett’s suggest going the extra mile for overseas visitors, by sourcing British treats like shortbread, scones or regional cheeses.
Leave your guests instructions detailing Wifi login details, plus information on how to work the bath, shower and any appliances.
5. Give guests space
The royal wedding reception will feature more than 200 Windsor Castle staff. That includes chefs, butlers and porters, who will be on hand to look after guests. If you can’t rustle up a butler at home, try simply adapting your routine to that of your guests. Give them space and be sensitive to jet lag and time differences.
6. Friend of the animals
Apparently Meghan Markle’s first Christmas present to the Queen was a singing toy hamster that went down pretty well with the corgis. If your guests have pets, keep this in mind. Consider recommending local parks or walking services.
7. Share local secrets
An obvious one. Recommend local sights and share a few insider tips.
8. Provide room to groom
It’s always helpful to provide guests with those items you might normally find in a hotel room – a hair dryer, full length mirror, toiletries. Additional thoughtful touches, like an umbrella, wouldn’t go amiss either.
When saying goodbye to guests
1. Ensure a smooth departure
Research travel options to assist your guests with a smooth departure. It’s easy yet thoughtful to book a taxi, or track down train times.
2. Cuddle with caution
Adopt the same trepidatious approach when bidding your guests farewell. Take their lead. A royal wave might be the perfect send-off.
See Debrett’s full guide here.
Related: Are your guests secretly snooping around your house? Find out where the nosiest noses scout
Feel royally ready to host your guests now?
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