Should you provide a welcome gift?
The answer: it depends.
In working with hosts we are often asked if welcome gifts are necessary and based on our experience and listening to what others have to say on the subject, we can categorically answer: maybe.
First, most hosts provide basics, including coffee, tea, creamer, sugar, a few basic spices and maybe some condiments. These items are expected by most travelers. After that, there’s a wide range in how guests approach gifting. If you’re really just in the business of providing a no-frills bed to sleep in, and are pricing your space as such, a gift is probably not economically viable or even expected by your guests. But if you’re creating an experience for your guests, that you want them to remember and cherish, a gift is a beautiful way to set that tone early in their stay.
Some folks say they provide a few bottles of beer and some cheese and crackers, because that’s what they would do if friends were coming to visit. Other hosts say that because their rental is within walking distance of many eateries, they don’t feel the need to leave anything consumable. The reverse of this, is that if your unit is in a remote location — in the mountains or far away from restaurants and grocery stores, then providing a basket of goodies would be appreciated by guests. If you know guests are arriving late at night, after the restaurants are closed, leaving some chips and dip to snack on at night and a few pastries for the morning is a smart hosting move.
Another note about food: many people have food allergies and/or preferences that limit what they can/will eat. It’s important to let folks know what you are providing. If you are providing homemade goodies (so sweet!), a thoughtful and tactful way to address this is to include a recipe card – either written or printed. And you’ll get bonus points (from us, at least!) if it’s on a card that is branded with your property’s logo.
Beyond food and drink, there are other thoughtful gifts that your guests can take with them to help them remember their stay. A handmade soap that matches your brand or coffee mug with your home’s image are great small mementos. A branded water bottle that your guests can use during their trip is a way to discourage single-use bottles and makes a useful gift they can take with them. Keep in mind that folks travelling by plane won’t be able to pack large items or liquids – so just think carefully how what kinds of gifts are most likely to be well-received and appreciated by the types of guests you serve.
In conclusion, for the most part we’re “pro gift.” Gifting is just a really nice way to welcome someone in to your space and let them know you’re happy they’re there. It forms a relationship that is hard to do in this business, especially if you have self-check-in and don’t have in-person contact with your guest. If your profit margins and market will bear it, we say go for it!
HOW WE CAN HELP
We offer consulting services for folks in any stage of short term rental development. Contact us if you need support with:
- Operations planning – including how and what to gift!
- Decor & color choices
- Improving your listing to increase occupancy rates
- Marketing & communications
- Full STR Management (in Durham, NC)