As the weather warms – and it finally did after an April and May that were frostier and wetter than expected – our thoughts turn to summer vacations, outdoor activities, and out-of-town visitors. When it comes to those visitors from elsewhere, it turns out that 44.8% of us are comfortable hosting them in our homes. For how long? Evidently, for two to three nights, according to a 2021 study by product testing firm The Sleep Judge. And, of the 1,000 people surveyed, 53.6% are comfortable hosting even longer stays.
If you are hosting friends and family this summer – whether they’re staying in your home or at a one of our fine area hotels – it’s time to amp up your tour guide skills! Here are five tips to ensure your guiding services are right up there with changing the sheets, scrubbing the bathrooms, stocking up on groceries and grooming the pets (apparently 12.4% of hosts feel that’s important before guests arrive.)
1. Check Guests Preferences in Advance
With the vast array of activities in Rockford and Winnebago County, you could plan complete two- or three-day themed itineraries around nature, outdoor adventure, arts, boutique shopping, food, and more! But before you book a thrill ride at West Rock Wake Park, for example, make sure your guests are up for an adrenaline rush.
2. Create a Themed Experience
Again, the breadth of attractions and retailers in our area make it easy to get creative and imagine unique experiences for your guests. For example, for your culture-loving visitors, plan a day sightseeing all 24 large-scale murals throughout the county and finish with an evening of live music at The Norwegian, Mary’s Place, or Sinnissippi Park Music Shell. On another day, you and your guests could explore Rockford Art Museum, test your own skills at smARTy Pants Art Studio, and shop for souvenirs at Rockford Art Deli. The possibilities for themed itineraries are truly endless and you’ll find plenty of inspiration at gorockford.com.
3. Assemble a Welcome Basket of Locally-made Treats
Tap your top-level hospitality skills to wow your guests with a gift of locally made snacks and trinkets. Stock your basket with Mrs. Fisher’s Triple Mix Popcorn and Ole Salty’s Artisan Kettel Cooked Potato Chips, along with gift cards and snacks from Wired Café, Velvet Robot Coffee Lab, and Meg’s Daily Grind. Don’t forget cookies from Mary’s Market, plus Rockford-branded water bottle and other small gifts available from our lobby shop at RACVB.
4. Book a Table for Dinner
Dining out is the original Rockford adventure – we do food really, really well! From national chains that employ our neighbors and friends, to locally owned treasures, the Rock River Valley boasts hundreds of choices to satisfy your cravings. In fact, between food trucks, dine-in restaurants, and specialty grocers, our region offers a truly international food experience including Italian, Mexican, Greek, Turkish, Swedish, Norwegian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indian, of course, American and more. The team at RACVB does our best to keep the “Where to Dine” list on gorockford.com up-to-date, so check it out to discover your next dining experience.
5. Explore gorockford.com
Take the easy route to building your guest itinerary by visiting RACVB’s gorockford.com. You’ll find extensive listings of Things to Do, Events, Hotels, Restaurants and tools to help you plan, including our Visitors Guide, Maps, and Blog posts to keep you inspired. In fact, as you up your tour guiding skills, you’ll find that gorockord.com is an excellent resource for improving your knowledge of the region and all it has to offer you and your guests.
Need more inspiration and ideas? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, Flikr, and LinkedIn. Our @gorockford handle makes it easy to find us on social media, ensuring you have travel guiding tips at the ready. Enjoy!