Nothing makes guests feel more welcome than a handwritten note or a bouquet of fresh flowers. And when guests have a memorable stay, they’re more likely to leave glowing reviews, tell their friends and family about your space, and even come back for another visit.
Delighting your guests with a warm greeting can make them feel appreciated, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money. From thoughtful notes to freshly baked treats, here’s how some hosts around the world have gone above and beyond in welcoming their guests:
1. Write a friendly welcome note
When guests are traveling, a personalized welcome can be the difference between feeling homesick and feeling at home. “I have a little chalkboard in each room that welcomes the guests, and I include their names each time,” says host Huma of London. “It's such a small touch, but they really love this.”
You can leave the same sentiment in a handwritten note. “I recently decided to start to leave a welcome treat with a card,” says host Trude of Edsberg, Sweden. In your note, you might include your favorite place to get a coffee or a fun fact about your area.
2. Give your guests a taste of your town
One of the best ways to help your guests get settled is to introduce them to the top spots in your neighborhood. “We have a local bakery that makes a cinnamon cream cake that I happen to love, and I brought one to the first guest,” says host David of San Antonio, Texas, who now treats all of his guests to his favorite cake.
3. Put your own baking skills to work
If you’re a great baker, consider highlighting your hospitality skills by making your specialty for your guests. “I started leaving a few homemade cookies,” says host Beth of Roraima, Brazil. “I get a lot of return business, and the cookies have been commented on multiple times.”
4. Get your guests involved
In addition to offering a sweet treat, host David of San Antonio, Texas, leaves wine for his guests. “There’s a hashtag: #takeabottleleaveabottle,” says David, who encourages guests to replace the bottle they enjoyed with a new one. Over the years, the collection has grown: “We have a wall with five different types of wine,” he says. The one-in, one-out idea makes this an affordable option. You could also try this with books!
5. Create a snack basket
“We realize that people come to have a good time,” says host Jerry of Atlanta. “A lot of times they come back home, and they have the munchies.” So he now stocks his kitchen with a basket of snacks like microwave popcorn, cookies, potato chips, and pretzels.
6. Customize your treat
Get to know your guests, and be aware of their needs. “We leave a treat at check-in,” says host Laura of Frederick, Maryland. “Sometimes it’s local cheese, chocolate, or baked goods. Sometimes it’s local beer or a bottle of wine.” She messages her guests about any dietary restrictions first: “Not everyone drinks or can eat cheese, so I ask.“
If your guests have kids, a packet of stickers or a few juice boxes can be a thoughtful surprise. “If there are children, I leave a lollipop or small bag of candy and a small box of crayons [with a] coloring book,” says host Ann of New York City. And if your guests are traveling with pets, consider having dog treats on hand to share with their furry friends.
7. Show off your local culture
If there’s something inexpensive that your region is known for—such as leis in Hawaii—consider leaving something small to delight your guests at check-in. “One of the biggest things that we provide here is Mardi Gras beads,” says host Jordan of New Orleans. Guests appreciate these souvenirs, which can help them remember their stay long after checkout.
8. Get a little help from nature
From fresh flowers to homegrown vegetables, guests love the great outdoors. “I pick a sweet little bouquet for the guest room from my garden,” says host Sarah of Sayulita, Mexico. Fresh fruit or vegetables from a garden can also work well. Don’t have a garden? Inexpensive flowers from the grocery store or local market can be a colorful way to welcome your guests.
9. Save money by buying in bulk
Stocking up on supplies can save you time and money, but you can still add your special touch. Host Karen of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, buys her cookies wholesale, “which provides us with a super low-cost biscuit,” she says. She also found a quick way to personalize the treats: “We bought a sealer, and we package and seal the biscuits with our own label.”
10. Celebrate special occasions
Whether guests are visiting during a birthday, anniversary, or holiday, you can help make their stay even more memorable. “We had one couple staying for New Year's, so we got them a bottle of champagne,” says host Damon of Atlanta. Host Jennifer of Ontario, Canada, also keeps the occasion in mind. “If a guest is here for a specific celebration—birthday, honeymoon—I leave a little something appropriate to mark their celebration,” she says.
Going above and beyond to welcome your guests is always appreciated but remember: Hospitality doesn’t have to cost anything. A handwritten note can still show your guests you’re thinking of them, which can make all the difference when they’re far from home.
They pressure us to lower our rates, but their service charge to the guests remains the same. I loved this company when it was a Start Up, now it's all about the numbers and the image. There are over 6,000 vacation rentals in our small valley (those legally permitted, that is), so the market is extremely diluted.
Airbnb does bring great guests, but the cost of hosting is staggering.
That is a lodging Bubble looking for a place to pop. I know you wrote this in Feb but Holly Carp @Ginny33 , 6000 STR's in one valley is what brings down the rates, thats awful and unsustainable to be sure. I wonder if 3 months later a large chunk of STR's in the pool of 6000 moves to more LTR's. Of more people add 24 hour cool downs into their bookings, that will also limit the availability pool. Out of the bad may come some good, Hope all is well for you, JR
I leave home baked goods, a little snack basket since many arrive from tried traveling and haven't gone grocery shopping yet. I also use kids alphabet letters that stick to the fridge to write my welcome message which also serves as a toy for children since we are a family friendly booking place with toys, pack-n-play, high chair and rocking chair.
Although I have done special things like flowers and birthday cards, I find this very informative. I enjoy reading others ideas as well.
My guest is 3 days late. I don’t even know if he will show up at all. He booked first 2 weeks in March and I made sure with help desk that I was paid for the entire booking, even if he doesn’t show. Airbnb was good that way. What happens with our calendar? Does it have to remain booked even if the guest is not interested in the listing?
@Sandra126 Yes I did get paid, that was resolved, however Airbnb kept me online for hours - for a situation that was not my fault. I approved the booking on February 6th. The guest tried to make me say that I am canceling his reservation but I did not. The guy just wouldn’t show up for 3 days and was afraid to cancel himself. He probably found a cheaper place to stay and wanted a refund. He said he read my rules and agreed to everything. Apparently that was not the case. I only accept tourists - no locals, no students. Yet he is a local student. I have strict policies, no refunds. Sandra, sometimes the issue is not of a financial nature, but it is disrespectful how hosts are treated. That gets me more than any money. When people show no respect.
Just a quick question who does the refunds if s guest booked and cancelled suddenly ?
Looking forward to take in my first guests for Irish Town St Andrew.
@Lorna143 Hi, I just had an example where the guest cancelled. Make sure you call Airbnb and explain what happened. Also make sure you have a cancellation policy that suits your needs best.
All the best, Giuliana
There are many comments about serving wine. We found out that unless we have an ABC license, it is illegal for us to offer wine in the US.
Hello everyone, this is a great conversation, so many good ideas for adding that extra special touch to our listings!! I am new to hosting and since I started in July this year I have really enjoyed the experience!! I am glad I have taken the time to explore this site and discover all of the extra helpful information provided to us! I added note books to all of my listing where I write a personal welcome message to each guest and have a spot for them to leave a message about their stay or helpful tips for other guests to discover when they book their stay! All the guests that stayed with us this summer appreciated that extra touch and a few mentioned they look forward to reading through the guest book when they book another stay next summer! We have also exchanged baking and homemade dishes with some guests which all started with a conversation between my co host and one of our first guests that booked!! We love that we get to make our guests feel very welcome and look forward to coming back to our listings again!