Part 2 – Airbnb and Holiday Rental Tips

In this second part of my top tips for holiday rentals and guesthouses, I would like to share with you my room-by-room checklist of amenities that can help make a warm and lasting impression for your guests and ensure those rave reviews that are key to the business’ success.

What room amenities to provide

As a host, you are not just providing a roof over your guests’ heads, but you are also shaping their experience. We need a clear idea of your target market and what your direct competitors offer in order to know just what to offer (see Part One).  The better we can put ourselves in the minds of our guests, the better we can pre-empt these needs. It is incredibly helpful to pack an overnight bag and stay in each room you are offering to assess any issues that need addressing, fine tune which amenities can be approved upon and which are surplus to requirements.

Keys

An eye-catching keyring is helpful. Fluorescent key holders can be a godsend for late home-comers and those dark winters evenings. Even if keys are handed out in person, a Key Safe may give further peace of mind for you and your guests, allowing the keys to be kept on-site while they explore the area. Be sure both the Key Safe and door lock are well lit (Solar powered or sensor lights are helpful) to aid those dark evenings. It is probably best not to have any reference to your property on the keyring should the keys fall into the wrong hands.

Images: Catriona Archer and Pinterest

In the Hallway

  • If your property offers a hallway, a bench is a welcome bonus to greet your guests and encourages them to take their muddy shoes off at the door.
  • People won’t necessarily predict the English weather! Add a couple of umbrellas, and perhaps even some inexpensive rain-macs and wellies.
  • Is part of your accommodation’s USB that there’s a pool or lake nearby? if so, perhaps include some bathing towels.

Images: Catriona Archer and Pinterest

In the Kitchen and Dining Room

Depending on your type of accommodation and length of stay, this may include:

  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector (and throughout accommodation).
  • Fire Extinguisher and Fire Blanket.
  • Appliances including a fridge, kettle, microwave and toaster. These should be chosen to be as easy to use and as easy to clean as possible.
  • Offer separate recycled and standard bins if possible, and be sure they are clearly labeled so as to make your life easier when in comes to changeover days. There are lots of creative and stylish ways of labelling these – from laminated card to waterproof stickers.
  • A simple-to clean coffee machine is a welcome addition. When choosing the make, consider the coffee pod price and availability in your area. Less expensive pods can be bought in most supermarkets, such as LOR pods for Nespresso machines or Nescafe pods for Dolce Gusto machines (other brands are also widely available). Or perhaps you prefer to supply a cafetiere and packet of fresh ground coffee. Be sure to include any filters and other supplies required. (See Welcome Pack).
  • Salt, pepper and cooking oil. Some condiments are often supplied or gained over time.
  • Dinnerware: Two sets of cutlery, dinner plates, side plates, bowls, mugs, Tumbler and wine glasses are recommended per person. This way one set can be washed at any given time. It’s worth buying extra dinnerware, especially glasses and mugs, and have them stored away ready for when breakages occur.
  • Egg cups
  • If an oven is provided as part of a kitchenette, protect the oven trays with tin foil at all times, making for easier on changeover days.
  • Plenty of tin foil.
  • Baking tray and earthenware baking dish.
  • Pots and Pans – Selection of 3 sizes, with lids is usually adequate. Nesting pans are helpful to minimise storage. Pans with glass lids are more effective when cooking.
  • Mixing/serving bowls: At least two or three nesting bowls are both versatile and use less storage space. I often style the kitchen or dining area with at least one large decorative bowl (for fruit, salad or perhaps a hot pasta dish).
  • Set of cooking utensils, including at least a hand whisk, spatular, selection of mixing and serving spoons and cooking tongs.
  • Large sieve, grater and colander.
  • Chopping boards: At least 1 large and one medium sized dishwasher-proof anti-bacterial chopping board should, suffice. Alternatively, chef-style coloured boards that are clearly labeled for each food type.
  • Set of kitchen knives: At least one large knife, one small, one perforated medium and a bread knife. These should be sharp and kept safely in a drawer divider or knife block. (Though beware: I recently stayed in an airbnb whose knives were so sharp, they should have had a warning sign!).
  • A few tupperware containers in various sizes. Preferably ones that stack easily, to save on space.
  • Large tray. Be sure this is easy to clean and in-keeping with the overall look of the accommodation!
  • Well padded pot holders and dish towels. I tend to veer for a plain, mid-to-dark colour for longevity. Be sure to wash and replace these as required.
  • Paper kitchen towel.
  • Use protective place mats for furniture throughout the accommodation. Be sure however to select the right size and style in order to avoid spoiling the overall look and not to over-clutter surfaces.
  • I would suggest avoiding the use of real candles if at all possible throughout the property. Not only are they a fire risk, but the damage from burns and spills is an unnecessary maintenance cost. Simple quality white battery-operated candles are widely available in all sizes. A well designed room should have plenty of other types of atmospheric lighting instead.

Images: Catriona Archer and Habitat

Cleaning products

  • Hand soap dispenser (Liquid soap can be bought in bulk and filled during changeover).
  • Washing up liquid, and brush/sponge.
  • Dishwashing tablets (If required). At least one tablet per day.
  • All-purpose cleaner.
  • Extra bin bags.
  • Carpet cleaner.
  • Cleaning cloths.
  • Rubber gloves.
  • Extra Lightbulbs.
  • Broom, dustpan and brush.
  • Floor mop and bucket.
  • Hoover (If not brought on-site on changeover days)

In the Bedroom

  • When buying Roman Blinds or curtains, go for ones with black-out lining to ensure that even your most sensitive of guests receive a good nights sleep. Sleeping eye masks might also be a thoughtful addition.
  • A good night’s sleep is intrinsic to your guests’ experience. Go for the best quality mattress you can afford based on your nightly rate. At least, offer a single pocket sprung mattress with topper, or splash out on a memory foam mattress such as Simba and Eve. A waterproof protective fitted sheet is a must. Always buy a spare.
  • Bedding: A 200 thread count for bedding is a good general benchmark. When it comes to bedding choice, it’s best to stick to white as this can be bleached and boil washed. I would suggest only using patterned or coloured bedlinen if there is a very good reason to do so: For example, if it ties-in with a very strong overall scheme.
  • Pillows: I tend to go for one firmer, anti-allegy pillow and one feather pillow per person on the bed. Zip-close pillow protectors on each (Buy spare protectors  for changeover days).
  • Bed throw – machine washable. This is a great styling tool and also helps protect the bedding.
  • Extra blanket and pillow in wardrobe, ideally stored in a zip-sealed protective bag.
  • There are mixed feelings on whether T.V.’s should be located in the bedroom. Obviously this depends on your specific property type and preference.
  • Full-length mirror. This could also be situated in the hall if preferred.
  • Hair dryer.
  • Bedside table and lamp per person.
  • Be sure there is an easy-accessible plug socket either side of the bed for phone alarms and iPads.
  • Dresser and/or shelf for personal belongings.
  • Depending on the average length of stay, a full wardrobe and chest of drawers may not be required: Sometimes some wall hooks and a luggage rack is all that is required for overnight stays.
  • Matching wooden hangers – check for (and remove) any rogue hangers left by guests.
  • A glass and small decanter or bottled water by the bed is a thoughtful touch. If you choose to add a bottle of water, simply buy an inexpensive brand and fully remove the label!
  • Wastepaper bin.
  • Perhaps a Laundry bag or basket if you attract longer stays.
  • Box of tissues in a decorative box. A simple wooden or plastic re-usable tissue box cover is a nice touch.
  • Pen & tear-sheet note pad.
  • You may also wish to consider white fluffy bathrobe and heavy socks for the deluxe experience.
  • Plug-in heater and/or fan.
  • Safe for Passports and valuables (optional).

Images: Catriona Archer and Pinterest 

In the Lounge

  • A phone/laptop charging station.
  • Various plug adaptors for those traveling from abroad.
  • Consider a small desk or workspace.
  • Books add a homely touch to the styling of a room. Often, a sign encouraging guests to take or swap is welcomed.
  • Perhaps a few magazines (only a few – Be sure to keep these relatively up-to-date).
  • Playing cards.
  • Basket of children’s games, (Personally, I’d avoid coloring books and crayons to minimise damage and few children like using a book that has been partly used by a previous guest).
  • A blanket and a few decorative cushions on the sofa. (No need to go overboard with the cushions – There is the Service turnaround time to consider!).

Images: Catriona Archer and Pinterest

The Bathroom

  • Install a shaving plug socket if possible in the bathroom. Alternatively, an adapter could be left in the bedroom for recharging electric toothbrushes and shavers.
  • Bath Towels (2 per guest: 1 large, one small).
  • Towel hooks or rail.
  • Plenty of toilet paper.
  • Magnified makeup mirror.
  • Individually wrapped mini soaps or opaque soap dispenser at shower, bath and basin (Clear dispensers can look messy when not full).
  • 2 x plastic beakers by the sink makes a thoughtful addition for toothbrushes.
  • Shampoo and conditioner: Either individual 20ml bottles or in larger wall-hung dispenser.
  • Body wash – Either individual 20ml bottles or in larger wall-hung dispenser.
  • Shower shelf or hanger (for toiletries).
  • Shower cleaning squeegee – preferably attached to the shower wall.
  • Pedal bin with lid and liner.

If supplying an ensuite bathroom, I find it better to leave the towels there rather than the bedroom if possible. Keep towels plain and fluffy (this is not the time for pattern). I tend to stick to white so they can be bleached if necessary, however if you choose to add an accent colour for the hand towel or wash cloth, I would, suggest a neutral shade.

Toiletry Pack 

For a truly luxurious feel, perhaps include some or all of the following:

  • Cotton buds and cotton wool.
  • Emergency nail kit.
  • Emergency sewing kit.
  • Individually wrapped shower cap.
  • You may also wish to add an emergency holiday kit of sample-size toothpaste, toothbrush, disposable razor and female hygiene items.

First Aid Kit 

  • Better safe than sorry: Don’t forget to include your contact details, along with that of the Emergency Services and local Hospital on the lid as well as in the House Manual.
  • Absorbent compress dressings.
  • Sterile gauze pads.
  • Triangular bandages.
  • Roller bandages.
  • Adhesive bandages.
  • Adhesive cloth tape.
  • Antiseptic wipes.
  • Antibiotic ointment.
  • Hydrocortisone ointment.
  • Instant cold compress.
  • Non-latex gloves.

Images: Catriona Archer and Pinterest

I hope this is helpful and I wish your business every success! For more information on interior designers in bath see my portfolio or contact info@catrionaarcher.com