Making our guests feel welcome!
September 6, 2009 1:37 PM   Subscribe

How to make the out of towners feel welcome?

Looking for interesting ideas for a welcome gift to put in the out of towner's hotel rooms on our wedding weekend. We do not want to do the typical bag of snacks, bottled water etc. Bonus points for anything that helps us support local St. Louis companies. Price range $5-$25. All ideas welcome.
posted by rglass to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
a map of the area with interesting things marked on it?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:47 PM on September 6, 2009

I received a welcome gift with a really detailed list of recommended restaurants in the area, and thought that was really nice. They listed different cuisines and price ranges, and included personal favorite dishes to order.

Another welcome gift included passes to the mini-golf place next to the hotel. That was whimsical and fun, but I didn't actually use them. You could do something similar, like gift cards to a local coffee shop or passes to a museum/zoo/other local attraction.

(Don't knock bottled water, though. If you have your guests drinking alcohol and dancing until they stumble back to their rooms, it's really, really nice to include some bottled water (and maybe even aspirin/tylenol) in the welcome gift. No potentially-germy hotel glasses to worry about, no wandering the halls looking for the vending machine: nice bottled water right there to bring your drunk, dehydrated self back to life.)
posted by Meg_Murry at 1:56 PM on September 6, 2009

We put the following in our wedding weekend gift bags for our visiting guests: a local map, a list of our favorite restaurants and points of interest that were near their hotel (with directions), toys for guests with kids, and a snack from a local eatery (I know you don't want to do this, but if you have a local chocolatier/cookie shop/other food item that is popular with the locals, your out of town guests will dig it).

We got simple laminated maps for the less adventurous folks and more detailed city guides for the people we knew would be more open to exploring. We toyed with the idea of putting discounted museum tickets in the bags, but didn't want to make people feel like they HAD to go somewhere, so maybe if you can get your hands on some coupons for discounted tickets to local attractions, that would give them more options.
posted by bedhead at 1:58 PM on September 6, 2009

The fact that you're doing this at all is very kind and thoughtful. The gesture would be taken as a happy surprise for which your guests would be grateful no matter you gave them.

Some ideas -- bottles of your favorite local microbrew, nice coffee from a non-Starbux joint if there is a coffee maker in each hotel room, a copy of the local newspaper especially if it has a decent "weekender" section.

Really, I would be blown away if my hosts made a personal gesture like this, I would be completely happy with snacks and soft drinks - but that's just me.
posted by contessa at 2:03 PM on September 6, 2009

A map of Metro stations with some exciting things pointed out at each - the Delmar Loop, what there is in Forest Park (and the fact that it's all free!), the Museum of Westward Expansion, etc.

I'd suggest telling people to check out City Museum! And/or see if the Cards will be playing and get a big bunch of bleacher seats?

Fitz's rootbeer? Schlafly or Anheiser Busch products? Butter Cake? Toasted Ravioli? Crappy pizza (sorry)? Maybe check out somewhere like 10,000 Villages/Plowsharing Crafts (on the Loop) for cheap, kind of funky knick-knacks.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:59 PM on September 6, 2009

I think actually snacks are a great idea since the last thing guests want to do is wander around an unfamiliar city while they are dazed and peckish. I agree with everyone's suggestions about local food -- that makes it fun as well. Do make sure you cover all possible dietary issues if you DO give your guests food (e.g. be aware of peanut allergies, diabetes, vegetarians/vegans, etc.). Possibly some basic first aid-y things can be good, too -- I always carry allergy medicine and chapstick when my husband and I go anywhere, for example, because those are two issues he always has after flying/staying in hotel rooms. Small packets of painkillers, bandaids (I like the Sesame Street ones best) and hand lotion might be nice, as well.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 3:41 PM on September 6, 2009

I was just in St. Louis for a wedding with my wife, and our out of town bag got the following things:

A bottle of water.
Gooey Butter Cake (apparently, a St. Louis favorite)
A Jack-in-the-box antenna ball (apparently, also, a St. Louis institution)
A map and schedule of activities.

I thought it was thoughtful, awesome, and delicious (especially the cake... oh GOD, the cake).
posted by SNWidget at 5:23 PM on September 6, 2009

List of people you trust who might be available to babysit during the weekend.
posted by CathyG at 5:17 PM on September 7, 2009

Map, local rec's (especially for breakfast places), water, snacks. These are always gratefully used, IME. Other stuff I've gotten/seen includes travel toothbrush/paste, brochures from local parks (lovely gesture but didn't use them), local honey/jam, fresh flowers for the real VIPS like grandparents.

Remember that your guests will be traveling, and may just be pretty worn out. The local recommendations are good in case they're energetic travelers, but many will just want to crash the first night, and water/snacks make that easier.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:21 PM on September 7, 2009

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