What is your opinion about welcome gifts?
We are typically hosting tourists that comes to enjoy Copenhagen for a couple of days, which also means that we don't have any repeat guests.
We provide coffee, tea and other basics if our guests wants to cook. Our appartment is super well situated in the center, modern with an "upmarket" feel, and we generally get good ratings from our guests (avrg 4.9) on over 100 stays, which we of course are happy and proud of.
What would be the pros and cons of providing a welcome baskets of some snacks? Is it worth it or just an unnecessary expense?
@Jan271 we will be going to Copenhagen in May so I'll have to check out your listing!
We leave a treat at check in. Sometimes its local cheese, chocolate or baked goods. Somes its local beer or a bottle of wine. I message the guests prior and customize it to their preference. Not everyone drinks or can eat cheese, etc. So I ask.We are not in a very highly touristed area so I like to do something special for each guest.
Is it a good idea? Some guests really appreciate it. Others just seem to think it's part of what they are paying for. It's what I would do with friends or family staying so i try to do the same for my guests. It helps to make a good first impression.
I am in the "unnecessary expense and hard to manage" camp. I tried a gift basket for a while but it became too expensive and tricky to restock when people would pick and choose what they wanted out of the basket. I spent more time than I wanted at the store.
We are a middle market listing that books mostly families for 4-5 and sets of couples. There are 35 restaurants just around the block. What works for us - we leave yogurts from the store, frozen muffins, butter and eggs. I also have tea, coffee, and cream. I will leave fruit and crackers if they have kiddos. If I happen to have some local beer in my own fridge, I leave them a few bottles.
We provide a little welcome gift basket of snacks & drinks. Guests definitely enjoy & appreciate it! It doesn't have to be expensive but has a huge impact on guests that travel from afar & arrive late & hungry 🙂
I also have an apartment well located with everything close at hand.
Apart form from coffee and some basics (sugar and salt) that I leave in the apartment as a gift... I offer a very simple welcome gift, just a snack - 2 cans of soda and a small package of wafers.
Usually the guests appreciate it!
I think it is not necessary (nor a good idea) to provide a basket with lots of things because each guest has its own preferences and they can buy what they like in the supermarket or they can go for a meal in a restaurant or snack bar.
A small gift from my point of view is a little help, a basket of thing is kind of "too much" or maybe even inconvenient.
Anyway, if my listing it was too far from supermarkets and shops, maybe an welcome basket would be a good idea. However it is not my case.
We're restricted by City Regulations in our ability to provide food to guests - that requires compliance with food safety and food handling codes, and special licensing. We are also prohibited from providing alcohol to guests.
Usually, like @J-Renato0 , I will direct guests to the local supermarket, and local restaurants and coffee shops. I do think it's nice, though, to be able to offer something to a person who has travelled a long way, or come in late at night, and may want a "convenience" snack. That doesn't have to be expensive.
With allergies and food restrictions being so widespread, it's hard to know what can be provided that most people can eat. Prepackaged items have all the ingredients listed.
My guest space doesn't have a full kitchen, only a microwave for convenience. Since the vast majority of my guests are short-stay, in town for events and festivals, I don't think most of them miss cooking for a couple of days.
I have a small refrigerator for folks to keep perishable items they purchase at the grocery store, but I throw all leftovers away after they leave.
I try and keep my prices on the lower end, to compensate.
@Michelle53 makes a good point.
I wonder how many hosts have checked the legal restrictions in their location regarding providing food/drink, especially alcohol, in paid for accommodation. You may need a license to do so. You may need to undergo safety inspections (especially I imagine if you are serving a cooked breakfast). You may not be allowed to do any of this at all. What happens if something goes wrong and a guest has an allergic reaction or food poisoning?
As for me, I provide tea, coffee, sugar, honey, hot chocolate, oil, salt/pepper, condiments, toiletries etc. Guests have full use of the kitchen but I don't provide any food. There are several supermarkets within a 1-5 minute walk from the house, including a 24 hour shop next to the tube station, and a number of cafes/restaurants/bars very close by. Plus, these days, it's so easy to order food via Apps etc. No one is every going to be stuck without food.
I have tried a few other things with varied success:
1. Welcome chalk board with guests' names on it. This costs nothing really and is by far the most popular and commented on touch.
2. Christmas/birthday cards. If guests are celebrating a special occasion like an anniversary for example, a nice bottle of wine or fizz as well. These are almost always really appreciated, though seldom mentioned in reviews.
3. I do leave a little basket of toiletries and useful stuff like sewing kit, nail files etc. in each room. These occasionally get used, but guests are more likely to use the full size bottles I leave in the bathrooms. Still, those that use them seem to appreciate it.
4. Magazines in both English and the guest's language (which I pick up on my own travels). Many don't notice, but some guests are very impressed!
1. Fruit basket. Very rarely eaten and ended up in the bin, so I've stopped that.
2. Breakfast cereals in labelled jars in the guest cupboard. Rarely used.
3. One Christmas/New Year, I went to extra efforts and left not just cards, but mince pies, shots of liqueur, Christmas crackers etc. This was a colossal waste of time. Only 10% even acknowledged them, while the rest either consumed them and said nothing, or simply threw it all in the bin. Some didn't even bother to open the cards. This actually left me with a rather bitter taste in my mouth so I didn't bother with that again! I also tried birthday presents for long-term guests, but they didn't even acknowledge them. So, now I just stick to cards for birthdays and Christmas and save the presents for the one off special occasions, such as an engagement, big anniversary etc.
@Jan271 I started leaving a few homemade cookies. Homemade cookies seem to be rare in Brazil so they are usually a big hit. I like to think it's something that sets my space apart from the pack. I get a lot of return business and the cookies have been commented on multiple times. Beyond that I have the regular stuff of coffee, tea and condiments available.
I’ve only received a welcome gift once or twice when I was a guest. One was a few bottles of water. The other host left a refrigerator full of breakfast items, frozen pizza, fruit. It took me a few minutes to figure out it was a gift- I was floored and impressed. We were a family of 4 traveling overseas and it was much appreciated.
As a host I provide coffee, tea, condiments - but I don’t consider this a gift. My welcome gift is bottled water, small OJ, small milk, 1/4 stick butter, bread, eggs, bacon, local cookies. If there are children I leave a lollipop or small bag of candy and a small box of crayons/coloring book.
I don’t think it costs me more than $20.
I usually leave my guests milk, juice, and free range eggs from my own hens. Sometimes, if I have been baking I will gift them some chocolate brownie, which is usually appreciated, but I always leave the ingredient list along with it, in case of allergies etc.
I provide a choice of teas and coffees, condiments, sugar, sauces, as standard. I thought every host did? No?
@Jan271Like many other hosts here, I keep basics in our listing (coffee/teas, milk, water, some sparking water, butter, cereal, oatmeal and snack bars). I leave these things in the cupboard or fridge for every guest, but I don't consider these a "gift". They're just things that I would personally like to have when I travel. The logic behind it is: if people get in late and are unable to shop for groceries, or if they are just staying a night, then they don't have to rush out the door in the morning to have a snack.
If a guest is here for a specific celebration (birthday, honeymoon) I leave a little something appropriate to mark their celebration.
I dislike the idea of a "Welcome Basket" full of goodies for every guest, though. I think that unless your listing is very high end and such a gift would therefore be expected, welcome baskets give guests unrealistic expectations for all subsequent stays, which does a disservice to us all, really.
I like to let the value of my listing shine through in quality (fixtures, soft furnishings, personal touches) and cleanliness. There's just something about welcome baskets that feels like a bribe to me. Only my opinion and perception, though.
@Jennifer1421 I agree. I also find the Wecome Basket concept to be over-the-top, unless it's some high-end, expensive listing. I've even read posts here where hosts said their guests complained because they hadn't provided a welcome basket, since they got one in the last Airbnb they stayed at. So you are quite right about setting up expectations which are detrimental to the hosting community in general.
I get those Airbnb "compliments" of Thoughtful Touches and Outstanding Hospitality, so obviously a welcome basket isn't necessary to achieve that.
I pick a sweet little bouquet for the guest room from my garden, and guests share my kitchen and are welcome to coffee and tea, oil and condiments, and I usually pick them up from the bus station when they arrive. If they've come off a long flight and haven't had a chance to eat, I'll make them a snack so they don't have to run right out to a store or restaurant. If I hosted a private suite or separate dwelling where guests had their own kitchen facilities, I might leave a few snacks, like granola bars and chips and dip for the same reason.
@Jennifer1421 I'm not really sure I understand the point about welcome gifts doing a disservice. Since I'm not able to provide a cooked breakfast due to local food laws, would someone offering a cooked breakfast to guests be doing a disservice to those of us unable to do it ?
It certainly seems to me that folks who can offer their guests services that some hosts are prevented from offering due to local ordinances have an advantage, but it also seems reasonable that one might compensate in other ways.
@Michelle53What I meant was the idea of leaving an actual "gift basket", on top of the regular snacks/breakfast foods/drinks/coffee that folks might keep on hand in their listings to make their guests more comfortable.
I think such offerings (as I said, unless it's a high end listing) do both hosts and guests a disservice, by setting unrealistic expectations. As @Sarah977 mentioned above - a guest was disappointed by not getting a welcome basket after having received one at a previous stay. So neither the guest nor the host, who didn't provide one, ended up being satisfied with the experience. It may well have been the case in that instance that the listing was priced reasonably, but a guest's perceptions of what to expect are altered by their most recent past experience (recency bias).
I'm not saying that, as in your case, hosts shouldn't offer any extra hospitality - especially since they're unable to offer a few food items. We all want our business to succeed and to do so, we must find ways to stand out from the pack. I do think, though, that some hosts (at least from what I've read) really go over the top in an effort to garner those 5-star ratings. It's those instances I was referring to...where the gifts either feel like a bribe, or where they seem like a justification for a higher than average price.
Does that make any sense? It's early and I don't think my coffee has totally kicked in yet 🙂