Hi. We've only been on Airbnb for a few months, and I'd really like to hear some of your positive stories about hosting. I'm interested to know what you've done (or heard of) that costs only a few pounds but has made a difference to your hosting.
I'd like to share something about parking. Our property doesn't have any, so I've made a map (https://drive.google.com/open?id=100IgpGQowDXhP71mMDLsoZ-p0bs&usp=sharing) that shows guests the options around and about. This was free (if you don't count my time) and all the data was from our local council.
Another, given to me by a host, is to have a pot by the door with a couple of coins in it and a note saying 'Parking money - have the first day on us'.
What cheap ideas have worked for you?
@Ben - we also keep change by the door in case someone needs some for whatever reason. We figured if someone wanted to steal something, better they take a handful of coins than something of value in our guest room.
We find that providing a continental breakfast is a good way to create value for the guests without costing too much money. The biggest expense is usually the fresh berries we put out because, for some reason, everyone loves berries even when they aren't in season.
Another cheap value-add is providing some nice chocolate in the room. We buy the pre-wrapped Ghirardelli or Lyndt truffles and put one out per person, per night. When you buy them in bulk they come out to about 25 cents a piece. We try to buy them when they go on sale and stock up.
Something we saw in another Airbnb was a "snack bag" with chips, bottled water, wrapped cookie and some gum. When I priced it in my head, it came out to about $1.25 - $1.50 per bag. The host had purchased a personalized stamp and inked each bag with a "Welcome to XX House" (funny I remember the bag but I don't remember the name of the listing).
We fold the toilet paper and napkins into cute shapes. I often find the TP origami laid nicely on the back of the toilet and everyone exclaims about the napkin folds at breakfast. Other than wasting a few sheets of TP, this costs nothing.
Like many hosts, we have a "toiletries" basket for people to use in case they've forgotten something. At the beginning we went through a lot of toothpaste until we bought a full-size one, then no one took it. Same with mouthwash, we put a sample-size originally and it walked away a lot and then bought a slightly bigger one and refill it. The one item that gets used alot are women's disposable razers.
Hope this helps!
Thank you for those great tips. I'm new to the Air BnB community and have asked several others the same question. I plan to put bottled water (sparkling and still) in the fridge. In addition to some of your suggestions.
Just thought of another idea: You can have winelabels made with something personal about you and your listing and buy cases of wine on the cheap. We have Trader Joe's here in the states that sells a pretty good $4/btl called Charles Shaw which everyone used to call "2-buck Chuck". Slap your personal label over the original, leave for the guests to consume while staying with you or take it back with them. That with a hunk of cheese and a few crackers would come way below the $10 mark and probably make a big impact.
I provide higher end hand soap/shower gel/shampoo/conditioner in the hope that they will not use caked soap and smear the shower and sink with soap residue + some other brands just in case. Kleenex (cheapest brand in a nice box) and nice, soft toilet paper.
Baby wipes and make up remover wipes in the hope that they will not ruin towels/face cloths.
Corn flakes/muesli/oatmeal/sugar/flour and other staples in the dry food drawer. Salt/pepper/spices/stock cubes/sauces/cooking oil/salad oil/vinegar.
Milk/juice/jam/butter/cheese/yoghurt/mustard/ketchup in the fridge when I am present myself (less when my daughter co-host). Maybe some ice cream in the freezer if I am in the mood.
Coffee capsules and a selection of teas. Usually there is some honey because I like honey in my tea.
Washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets and washing powder. In the land of no laundrettes, the washer and drier is very popular :)
I have never actually calculated what it may cost per person per night - I just provide what I myself would like to find in a self catering property - especially as I offer shorter stays.
I once left some chocolates - they disappeard, so obviously a hit :) Half a leftover cake from my birthday disappeared from the freezer, must have been another hit :) although I did not say they might eat it.
Positive comments have been left on the toileteries and the staples provided, but not often. I think the guests appreciate the whole package - they can see that I have taken care to meet the needs of my guests. They also often say "very well equipped for self catering".
What to offer depends on what kind of property you offer, how much you charge and what kind of guests you have.
Right now it is hot, so my guests of this morning commented on the ceiling fan and the fact that I have thicker/thinner duvets according to season/temperature.
As I offer our second home, there may be more than guests on a short holiday may need, but it has to meet our needs too.
@Ben guests love this pockets with sorted leaflets .
They also love our clip board with printed list of hand picked street festivals and events currently going on in Zagreb. it all cost next to nothing except our time and effort to find informations and print them. But it helps our guests to have fun without spending time on research where to go and what to do. So they appreciate it very much.
And of course a ton of city maps, city guides etc... which we pick up in tourist office on all languages.
@Branka & Silvia I also provide leaflets with tourist info, but never thought of arranging them in this way. That's a great idea! Unfortunately, a recent guest threw them all away when she left. I don't know why, but I guess she thought I trudged all over London, which is huge, collecting them for every single guest individually! So, I'm having to start again.
One thing guests always love is the little chalk board welcome signs with their names written on. It's such an easy simple thing to do but most guests comment on it and it makes them smile. You can buy fancy expensive ones, or cheaper versions. I think I bought one for around £3-4 that is quite pretty.
For about $10, I provide a bottle of Texas wine for our guests to enjoy. For $4, I have a candy dish filled with chocolates. Fresh flowers in the room are a nice touch and cost about $5. My husband and I work as volunteers for a Fiesta event. We are given passes so I share them to our guests, no cost. I like to bake so a plate of muffins or fresh cookies from the oven make a nice extra. I receive coupons to local restaurants so I make those avaiable to guests. If you have time, offer to take them to a local market or shopping area. Provide brochures from local attractions to guests, no expense to you. Set aside 30 minutes to visit with your guests and tell them about your city and ask the same of where they live. What would make you feel welcome and at home in a new city?
I am so glad you mentioned the wine. I plan on doing that, too. I have my first guest coming soon, so I asked them what kind they preferred (white or red). They preferred sparkling water, so that is even easier. They were thrilled that I asked. I hope that made a good first impression.
I have tourist maps and leaflets for guests like @Branka & Silvia and like to ask if they need help navigating public transportation. If you are from a big city and are used to taking subways then no problem, but if not, then the first couple times it can be a bit overwhelming. Also like @Linda And Richard we ask if guests want to join us the next time we (Henry) goes grocery shopping. It's a good way to show them every day life as a "local". And because my guests are usually long-term, I always make sure they get to experience the wonderful world of "Korean Food Delivery" at least once or twice :-)
We keep our refrigerator and freezer stocked with water. Our houses are only used for short term rentals so the refrigerators would stay empty (except for the condiments) which would cause the compressor to run much more than normal and increase our electric bill while shortening the lifespan of the appliance. So we keep a case (about 40 bottles) of water in it to help keep the temperature stabilized Our guests appreciate the water as water can taste awful in different places around the world if you are not used to it.
For my last couple of guests I've been leaving a little plate of cranberry scones which appear to be going down well. A kilo bag of instant mix costs around $4 and I just make a small batch an hour or so before the expected arrival. Thinking of doing away with the fruit as nobody Is touching it. Maybe it's a seasonal thing. :)
Nice thread btw 👌
@Ria, yes I am also thinking about stopping the fruit bowls after having to throw away two full ones this week that the guests didn't touch.
Fresh flowers are probably a better use of that money. Guests will often comment on how pretty the flowers are even if it's a really inexpensive bouquet. One of my local supermarkets often discounts the flowers while they are still quite fresh, e.g. a £10 bouquet is reduced to £2. If you know how to treat cut flowers, these can last many days longer. When they really discount them, I buy several bunches and arrange them together for something really show stopping.
I would also love to use more cut flowers from my garden, like these ones:
Unfortunately, the erratic weather we've had in London this summer means I don't have as many as usual.
We have a chalkboard in our studio where I write each guests/couple's name in advance. When you open the door, it's the first thing the guest sees. It's a hit! Chalkpaint is over $10, but once you put it up, it stays, indefinitely!