As a host, your number one goal is to make your guest feel as welcome and at home as possible. There are many ways to accomplish this, but perhaps the most considerate is by creating a welcome basket your guests can enjoy throughout their stay. This welcome pack can help assure that your guest has everything they need. As expectations of guests increase with time, it is hosts that go the extra mile that get rewarded with 5* reviews, repeat guests and stronger performing listings.
An Airbnb welcome basket can contain anything you like – it’s entirely your choice what you put in and you can tailor the contents to whatever you think is appropriate. We also have some tied & tested ideas – let’s dive in.
What is a vacation rental guest welcome basket?
A vacation rental welcome pack is a selection of gifts that serve as a warm welcome to your guests. It can be a mix of necessities, specialty snack foods, or even essentials travelers forget most often. They include instructions on how to enjoy the rental and contain local recommendations (usually in a guidebook format). Welcome packs are a means of elevating the guest experience the moment they walk into your vacation rental.
Why should you offer a welcome basket for your guests?
A welcome pack not only benefits your guests, but also benefits you as a host. Your guest gets some items that will help make their stay even more enjoyable. Everyone likes free welcome gifts, right? They will have peace of mind, knowing that you’re a great host that cares.
And you, as the host, are more likely to make a great first impression and therefore earn positive reviews on your vacation rental. This improves your listing performance and therefore helps you stand out from your competition. More bookings = more revenue. It’s truly a win-win!
By the way, you can also include goodies from some of your favorite small businesses to drive more traffic to your favorite places. So even more people can benefit!
The hard truth: There’s no universal ideal guest basket
The reality of vacation rental welcome gift baskets is that they vary according to the property. You may have seen examples of nicely compiled packs on Pinterest, but do they fit in with your rental? There is no set way to create a guest basket, but the one you put together should match not only the space but also the season and your brand. If your guests walk into your space and are faced with a basket that clashes with the vibe of your property, you can bet they’ll talk about it and maybe even bring it up in their review. Stay true to yourself and your property!
3 pillars of a great vacation rental welcome pack
As you begin creating your guest’s welcome basket, there are three variables you will want to keep in mind. These variables will help assure that your pack is helpful, practical, and welcoming.
#1: Information, instructions, and recommendations
Most of your guests will be coming from out of town, so they will probably need a little help catching their bearings after they check-in after a long day of travel. They may be looking for a local restaurant or getting directions to a popular local venue. If you have amenities like a hot tub, they may even need simple instructions to turn it on. You can communicate all of this information in a digital welcome book (also called a digital guidebook). You can even add simple details such as wifi log in instructions.
Your guests will love their digital guidebooks because you help them by taking the guesswork out of their stay. Help put their anxieties to rest as they arrive in a new area. They won’t need to rely on Google to figure out what’s good. A digital guidebook will also help your guests take advantage of smart technologies in your vacation rental.
#2: Travel essentials, and home basics
It’s happened to everyone: you think you’ve done a great job packing everything you’ll need only to realize that you’re missing something really basic. Help your guests out by providing some of those commonly missed staples in your welcome pack full of vacation rental essentials.
As you assemble your basket, pretend you are packing for vacation. If you were traveling, what items would you bring? Your list would probably include these items:
- Travel-size toothpaste
- Spare toothbrushes
- Cotton swabs and pads
- A blow dryer
- Hand soap
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Hand and body lotion
- Mini first aid kit
- Hand sanitizer
- A face mask because, well, COVID lingers
Of course, that just covers the basics. To take your basket to the next level, include some luxury items like bath salts or bubble bath, aloe cream (especially if your rental is in a sunny climate), and single-use face wipes. Of course, not every item has to be a toiletry. Since so many people rely so heavily on their smart devices, including different types of chargers for iPhone and Android are also a great idea. If you receive international guests or business travelers, you should also include a universal adapter. When they forget theirs, you’ll be their hero. You could also include pantry basics:
- Locally roasted coffee and tea
- Milk or cream
- Basic condiments (salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard)
- Spices unique to the area
As a generous host, you will want to provide some of the basics for your guests. But you also don’t want to break the bank on giving away stuff they don’t need but will take with them. So instead, you can upsell these items via the Digital Guidebook Marketplace.
Vacations are wonderful, but they can also be a little stressful if you miss an important item when packing. Providing convenient items in a welcome pack for your guests will be something they appreciate and remember. If you save them from having to find a store and buying the items they didn’t bring, you’re going to leave a lasting impression.
#3: Consumable items
Imagine your guest arriving at your vacation rental after spending a great deal of time traveling. They’ve probably been snacking on airplane nuts and pretzels. Yum. Finding delicious treats when guests arrive at your vacation rental will be a welcome relief from that bland food they’ve been eating. Think of leaving them some fruits, baked goodies, maybe a slice of cake, etc.
Consumable items are another aspect that shows you care. These snacks and small treats will be a delightful and appreciated surprise. Guests know it’s not something you have to do, so they’ll appreciate that you had the forethought to give them something welcoming and comforting.
If you want to step it up a notch, skip the big chain grocery stores and source your consumable items locally. This will boost the guest experience by providing local products to taste. It’s also a great way to promote local businesses and play your part in being eco-conscious.
What else should you include in your vacation rental welcome basket?
Just like any other aspect of your welcome pack, there is no defined set of snacks you should include but here are a few points to consider.
The local goods produced in the area around the vacation rental
Is your vacation rental located in an area that’s known for something? Then leave snacks or consumables made in the local area. For instance:
- Florida Keys: Key lime pie or treats based on Key limes
- Napa Valley: A bottle of wine and a local cheese
- Up-state New York: Treats made from maple syrup
You can also add a gift card or vouchers for your guests to try these items. Talk with local restaurants and shops to provide discounts to your guests.
Tours and experiences
You can make it even more exciting and memorable by offering your guest experiences related to your area. If there is a local winery or brewery that offers tours or packages, consider including a voucher for one of these experiences. Again, not only will you be providing excellent services to your guests, but you are also helping to promote your area.
Other tips for your short-term rental welcome pack
While building a welcome basket has a lot of variables, some tips can help you best utilize it to attract more guests.
- Align with your property branding: As you create your basket, ensure that everything you include lines up with the branding of your property. If you’re going for something more rustic, maybe leave something like granola and trail mix. You can even get fancy and leave custom-colored hard candies to match your decor.
- Make it seasonal: Whatever snacks you leave in your vacation rental, keep them seasonal. Guests shouldn’t feel like you’re just trying to get rid of last season’s treats. For example, if it’s around the winter holidays, peppermint sticks and hot chocolate are great options. In the summer, stick to light and fruity snacks, even fresh fruit from a local orchard. In the fall, think “Pumpkin Spice Latte” and design your snacks around that theme.
- Personalize according to the guest: As you communicate with the guest during the booking journey, you will end up finding out more details about their trip. Maybe they’re here for a special occasion: such as a couple celebrating their honeymoon, a group of friends for a birthday, or a small family trip. You can be a little thoughtful about what you add in there based on what you think their needs and wants are. A personal touch goes a long way.
- Align with your listing price: Be sure your snacks are proportional to the nightly rate. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you don’t want to come across as cheap if you’re leaving dollar store snacks for a higher-end luxury rental. On the other, if your nightly rate is considerably lower, you don’t want to blow much of your earnings on snacks and gifts. Keep your nightly rate in mind when choosing appropriate gifts. For those operating mid to high-priced properties, you’ll have to spend a bit more and buy brand-named instead of generic. It should also be standard for a guest to find a bottle of local wine in a vacation rental priced $200 a night and up.
- Communicate it up front: Be sure you mention your welcome pack in your listing. The welcome basket doesn’t have to be a surprise. Mention it in your listing to give your guests another reason to book with you. If they’re deciding between similar properties that are all around the same cost, they’ll go with the rental that offers that little something extra.
- Take pictures of the basket for your listing: Mentioning the welcome pack is one thing. But letting your guest see it will make them even more excited to book with you. However, don’t be too close when taking the photo – leave an element of surprise as to what is included!
- Add a handwritten note: It’s nice to feel personally greeted. Leave a handwritten, personalized note to express your excitement that your guest is there. Add their names, and yours, and sign off with your signature.
- Use it as a marketing opportunity: You can add souvenirs as a welcome basket gift that will help your guest remember their stay. Fridge magnets, postcards or a bookmark are cheap options, and you can also use this as a marketing opportunity by including branded goodies.
- Finally, remember that first impressions are very important. Present your Airbnb welcome basket in a visually appealing and attractive manner. Find a container like a basket that is attractive and present it in a way that is exciting for the guest to look at. A cute little tote bag works too. Lastly, place the basket somewhere where your guests will easily see it like a kitchen counter, table, or another entryway surface.
It may seem like a small gesture, but a welcome basket can really elevate your guest’s experience. As an Airbnb host, making a great initial impression can mean the difference between a 4* and a 5* review. Take some time as you’re prepping your rental property to think of the best welcome pack. You may even end up getting superhost status by going the extra mile.