How can we gracefully trace the many lives and travels that may pass through our homes and businesses without a trace? How can we capture these special, fleeting moments?
For many, the answer lies in creating a unique, tailored, and artistic guestbook experience for your guests. Each guest’s entry offers insights into their most-treasured adventures, and helps turn cherished moments into lasting memories. In addition, they can serve as a valuable resource not just for you — but for future visitors to your home or business.
For example, consider the historic guest book that featured prominently in the renovation of a 200-year-old hotel in Pitlochry in Scotland — showcasing signatures from Andrew Carnegie and William Gladstone. Meanwhile, a guest book at the small Peploe's Restaurant recently made headlines for its inscriptions from artists and politicians like Ronald Reagan, John Lennon, Elizabeth Taylor, and Walt Disney.
Though we won't all boast a signature from Andrew Carnegie, each guest book — like every home, hotel, business, and guest — is entirely unique. We'd like to help you get the most out of your guestbook, so you can use it as both a sentimental heirloom and a historical record. Let's take a look at five amazing uses of guest books — and how you can make each work for you.
1. Tailor your Guest Book to Help People Share Unique Adventures
We travel for so many reasons. To broaden our horizons, to understand different ways of life, and to reconnect with family and friends far abroad. One of the most powerful drives for travelers is that desire for adventure and exploration. If guests are staying at an Airbnb on the coast of Maine, they want to discover the most amazing seafood experience in miles. Guests at a resort in Kauai want to find remote beaches and tranquil waters. Adventurers in the Rockies or near the National Parks of Utah want to find the toughest trails, the greatest views, and the most rewarding summits.
If you have guests coming from miles around to stay with you — whether it's a resort, a restaurant, a hotel, or a home — then you know that they're gathering incredible experiences each passing day. And this is one of the most incredible aspects of a guest book: that people can not only celebrate their experiences — but share them with future guests. Here are some questions you could ask in your guestbook:
- What was their favorite adventure, trail, beach, or hike?
- Did they wind up exploring somewhere unexpected?
- Did they meet someone during the trip that changed their perspective?
- What happened when they went off the beaten trail to explore?
To give your guest book a creative twist, offer your guests the space and the direction to share a favorite adventure — and remind them that they're building up a community of adventure for years to come.
2. Guest Books Convey Creativity & Artistry
We truly believe that a guest book can serve as a creative outlet for expression. If you searched through the guest books of the world, you would find poems, sonnets, and limericks. You would see beautiful handwritten messages from the heart. You might even find the lyrics to a song or a simple sketch that conveys more than words can say.
We all know the old cliche that a picture is worth a thousand words. For some of your guests, the written word simply doesn't convey their feeling adequately. If you want to offer a tailored creative outlet for your guests, think about encouraging multiple modes of artistic expression. You might want to consider investing in a beautiful, quality guestbook with rustic wood covers and unlined pages — then encourage your guests to contribute however they see fit.
Does a sonnet express a guest's sensation best? Can they tell a brief imaginative short story about their experience? Can they create a drawing or a sketch that captures a moment? Can they create a beautiful inscription that shows off their artistic handwriting? Allow your guest book to be a conduit for creative expression, a personalized glimpse into their experiences, and you'll be surprised at what your guests are willing to share and contribute.
3. Guest Books Help us Personalize Experiences
More than anything, guest books help us understand what made a visit special for our guests. By working towards personalization and improving communication, we can help elevate their experience. Use your guestbook to find out what worked for guests during their stay. Treat every signature, inscription, and message as an opportunity for celebration and growth. And feel free to tailor entries by asking questions:
- Meals. If guests came to your home, hotel, or restaurant, what were their favorite meals? Did they have a favorite beverage or cocktail at the bar?
- Memories. Did they have a conversation that they'll never forget? A quiet moment in the garden over coffee, an epiphany over dinner?
- Service. What simple touches made their stay with you exceptional? Did they enjoy the recommendations you provided?
- Sharing. What would they like future guests to know? Do they have anything remarkable to share?
These messages, no matter how simple, accomplish so much: they help you hone your strengths as a host or a business owner; they highlight remarkable experiences; and they allow guests to feel like they're contributing to something greater.
4. Guest Books can be Incorporated with Social Media
In our increasingly digital age, guest books represent a traditional way of communication. They're a treat for all the senses, especially when created with handmade paper and beautiful covers. Although we celebrate guest books for their traditional nature, we also love the idea of melding the old with the new. Think about the engagement you could drive up on Instagram or Facebook using your guestbook as inspiration. Here are a few ideas:
- Add a check box notation in your guest book and ask guests if you can share their story on Instagram or Facebook. If they check "yes," then take a photo or extract a quote and put it straight on social media as a way to drive up engagement.
- Encourage guests to take a pic of their positive entry and put it on their own social media site, tagging your establishment in the image.
- Slip a business card with social media information into the pages of your guest book, so they're walking away from the experience with a way to engage further.
Integrating your guest book with social media is a great way to increase online engagement among your visitors — and show prospective guests how many fun experiences await!
5. Children's Contributions: Guest Books Can Create Family Heirlooms
One of the most beautiful stories we've heard came from a grandmother who'd kept a special guest book for when her grandchildren visited her cottage. Before they left after spending a few days, she'd ask them to write down something significant about their visit — their favorite moment, a funny memory, a new friend they'd made. As the children grew older and eventually reached adolescence, then adulthood, her guestbook filled up with memories and notes.
After some years, these collected stories of her grandchildren's early years became an important family heirloom. It helped capture many of the small, fleeting moments that take place on a visit. Moments so seemingly insignificant that we fail to remember them as time goes by. By allowing children to contribute to guestbooks, you can create a written tapestry of memories. If you decide to make this a part of your practice, we recommend having two guestbooks: one for adults and one just for children.
Make Your Guest Book Unique — Just Like your Guests
With an imaginative approach and a beautiful, high-quality guest book, you can start capturing these unique moments. Check out our collection of gorgeous guest books for inspiration, or reach out to us if you have any questions, ideas, or stories to share.
Did you get any ideas from this? We encourage readers to post comments.