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Love is all you need. But sometimes a nice bunch of flowers or a few sweet-smelling shower gels wouldn’t go amiss in your listing. When you’re a host you don’t have to welcome your guests with rose petals or towels in the shape of swans (although if you’re an origami expert, go for it!) But the bare minimum – toilet paper, towels and clean sheets – won’t make you memorable. Here are a few ideas for creative, fun ways to enhance your listing and make your guests’ stay a whole lot more enjoyable.
You don’t need to go all Four Seasons on your guests and provide champagne – your version of the welcome basket can be as simple and charming as a bottle of wine, a few locally made chocolates, a pair of comfy socks or slippers, and a handwritten note inviting your guests to kick back and relax.
Take down the 100s of pictures of you and your dogs (too many family or personal photos may alienate your guests or make them feel like they’re intruding) and hang some local artwork or landscape pics from your travels. Photos of must-visit places in the local area, with a little label beneath telling guests where to find the location, make great conversation pieces.
A vacation is the perfect time to try something new – give your guests the chance to find their creative side by leaving a basket of art supplies in the living room. You may even end up with a gift from a talented guest that you can add to your wall! Don’t forget to ask them to sign it.
Getting lost in a new city is not everyone’s idea of fun so provide a few local guidebooks to ease the transition from newbie to local. Try to find something a bit different by looking at ones from an independent publisher or a small press. Add a map of the local area and mark the best places for coffee, cheap evening meals, people-watching, boutique finds, fresh air, and more.
Tasty and juicy local fruit fresh from the market gives your guests something to snack on and a flavor of the local area to boot. You’re also setting your guests up for a healthy stay so pat yourself on the back.
While we’re talking wellbeing, how about leaving a yoga mat or a few fitness DVDs in the living room? While working out may be low down on some travelers’ lists, others will appreciate the opportunity to continue with their healthy habits while in town on business or a longer leisure stay.
On the other hand, vacations are all about indulgence, right? Bring on the baking, and leave out a plate of fresh-out-the-oven butter cookies, a chocolate cake in the fridge, or a couple of cupcakes on the kitchen table.
Nothing makes a guest happier than finding a USB or spare iPhone charger when they’ve just discovered theirs is still at home plugged into the bedroom wall. Well, nothing apart from finding those butter cookies on the kitchen table…
Do you have a talent that others will love to learn too? The little extras don’t need to be things – your passion and expertise could also make a big difference to guests’ stay. One AirBnB host in Buenos Aires offers tango classes and Spanish classes in the rental price. OK, so maybe your place doesn’t have its own tango room but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn a cozy corner of the living room into a reading nook, offer walking tours of local architectural highlights, or provide a listening guide to your mammoth collection of Andalusian folk music.
Little extras don’t need to be a big expense. Add an umbrella, some ear plugs, a few favorite novels, and a packet of the kind of coffee you can’t start the day without, and you’ll live in your guests’ memory as the best host since baked cookies.