The secret to getting 5 star reviews? Making your guests feel special.
Airbnb hosts are now required to supply the essential amenities to all guests: toilet paper, towels, soap, and linens. An easy way to take your hospitality to the next level is with the addition of a welcome basket. Most of you have heard this advice before, but it can be difficult to know where to start. You want items that are inexpensive, universally appealing, and easy to restock during turnovers. Through trial and error with my own guests, I have compiled a list of 11 items for your Airbnb welcome basket that are guaranteed to give you the biggest bang for your buck.
11 Easy Ideas for what to put in your Airbnb Welcome Basket
1. Sweet snack
There is a reason hotels leave a chocolate on your pillow. A lot of people have a huge sweet tooth, especially kids. Some examples are: chocolates, packaged cookies, suckers, hard candies, etc
2. Salty snack
You will need something salty to balance out the sweet snack. These are usually a bit more substantial as far as snacks go, so they will be a welcome relief after a long day of traveling. Some examples are: chex-mix, chips, crackers, goldfish, cheez-its, etc
3. Breakfast items
This could be part of your DIY breakfast. This should be something easy for your guests to grab and go, that they can take with them on their adventures. Some examples are: granola bars, muffins, fruit turnovers, cereal bars, etc
4. Breath Freshening
It doesn’t matter how long you have been on the road, we are all victims of travel halitosis. Most guests don’t want to unpack their suitcase right away to find their toothbrush, so they love the convenience of a breath freshening treat. Some examples include: gum, hard mints, soft mints, tic tacs, altoids, etc
5. Bottled Water
Something about cold water is just so refreshing after a long day of travel. If you include water in your welcome basket for the aesthetic effect, be sure to have extra stored in the fridge so it is chilled for your guests’ arrival. Even if the water in your area is perfectly safe to drink, the taste of tap water differs by region, so your guests might not be used to it. You can easily kick this extra amenity up a notch by including flavor packets.
6. Something your city or state is famous for
Is there something your hometown or state can claim as its own? For example, Koolaid was invented in Nebraska, which is why we include Koolaid flavor packets that guests can add to their water bottles.
7. Small souvenirs
Local kitschy souvenirs are a great hit with guests. They can keep them to remember their trip by, or take them home for friends and family to enjoy. Keep it small and affordable, like a keychain, sticker, or magnet.
8. Coupons for local restaurants and attractions
Coupons only count as an extra if it is more than what your local tourism center already offers. This one requires some upfront leg work, but could be the most valuable part of your welcome basket. This could be especially beneficial if you make arrangements with local businesses to get a commission in exchange for bringing in customers.
Since these are pretty gross to reuse in between guests, why not give them new ones? One our Airbnb Babes tribe members recommends this approach, and says people LOVE having a free loofah. It’s the little things, I guess!
We get all of our marketing materials through Vistaprint and its sister site, Promotique. Airbnbbabes users can get $20 off their first order by clicking using this link: airbnbbabes.com/vistaprint .
These marketing materials are cleverly disguised as gifts. Obviously your logo and website are going to be on here, but the goal is to provide some value. If the gift is purely promotional, people feel like you are trying to sell them something (not a pleasant experience). One way to provide value is to pick an item that is super functional, like a pen or travel mug. Another way is to make your city the main focus of the item, so it’s more like a mini souvenir that just happens to have your logo and website. You can accomplish this by including pictures of local landmarks, funny sayings, interesting facts, etc. No need to reinvent the wheel on this, either. For inspiration, go to a local souvenir shop or your city’s tourism department, and imitate the popular designs. Your guests will feel special, and you will increase your occupancy…win-win!
We have always provided pens for our business travelers and for people to use to sign the guest book, but of course people kept walking off with them. Well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Now when they take our pens, it could land us additional bookings.
The nostalgia or novelty of postcards depends on your age. Either way, it is something most people don’t do any more. Consider this option if you are targeting families. A previous guest said they had quality family time writing postcards to their grandparents at home. And the grandparents loved seeing writing from their grandkids!
These can be used around your property to protect your own furniture, and then the guests can take them home. It is also a surprisingly collectible item – I have several friends who collect coasters from their vacations.
Can you ever have enough koozies? These will always be functional, and this is another keepsake that people collect. And think about where you use koozies…typically in a fun, party setting, with lots of other people around. All it takes is one friend asking a previous guest about their koozie, and you get another booking!
6 Things to AVOID putting in your Airbnb welcome basket
The items in the above list share some common characteristics. The key to picking items for your welcome basket is to stick to things that are universally appealing, are available to buy in bulk, fall within your budget, have an actual impact on reviews, and go beyond your basic amenities.
Not everyone can or should drink. I grew up with a close family member who struggled with alcohol addiction his whole life. As a host, you get people from all different backgrounds and walks of life, and you don’t know what they’ve been through.
2. Perishable food items
This seems common sense enough. You can’t buy them in bulk and have them on hand for last minute bookings, you have to eat them or they go bad. This results in constant trips to the store. And when guests don’t eat them, you have to throw them away, which is unnecessarily wasteful.
3. Items that are too expensive for your listing
You want to keep the price of your welcome basket comparable to your nightly rate. We only charge $60-100/night (especially during slow season), so it wouldn’t make any sense to drop $20 on a welcome basket. If you have a luxury listing, guests will expect the higher end extras. Don’t let a unnecessarily extravagant welcome basket eat into your profit margin.
4. A handwritten thank you note
I did an experiment where I wrote a thank you note for every guest we had for three months. The results? Not a big impact. We still got four stars from people for no reason, and only one or two people specifically mentioned it in their reviews. For the amount of time it took, not worth the investment.
5. Basics that should already be included in your listing
A welcome basket is not the place for stuff you should already be supplying. You don’t get bonus points for putting towels in a pretty basket, they are still just basic amenities.
Take a cue from the airplanes that are putting more restrictions in place for this salty snack. Even though only 1% of the population suffers from serious peanut allergies, Epipens are just too expensive to waste on a welcome basket!
**Don’t forget to take a picture of your welcome basket to add to your social media!
My Personal Airbnb Welcome Basket
So after reading that list, I am sure you are dying to know what is in my own Airbnb welcome basket…
We will mix it up a bit depending on the season and what is on sale. Currently, our welcome basket comes together at $2.75. With the pens and postcards doubling as advertising, it’s a pretty good deal.
What are some things you have included in your welcome basket? Comment below!
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