You’ve done it! Your house is listed on Airbnb. The photos look great. You’ve remodeled, fixed, cleaned, and you’re ready to grow that sweet rental income.
Well, if you’ve done any research into what’s going to take your listing to the top of your hosting platform, you’ve probably started to realize that it’s all about 5-star reviews.
Have you thought about guest welcome packs? Airbnb gift baskets are one of the best ways to get those reviews. Remember, first impressions are everything.
Airbnb Welcome Basket Ideas
How to get more 5-star Airbnb reviews? Make a great Airbnb gift basket.
Whether you’re vying to become an Airbnb Superhost, or you just want to get all your dates booked up, the way to hosting success is through 5-star reviews. And the journey to 5-star reviews is paved with extra details.
"My community has some great local products, and I include them as part of the continental breakfast I leave for each guest.” – Susan Pham, Superhost from Tacoma
A guest is way more likely to give a great review and tell all their friends to book with you if they’re pleasantly surprised from the moment they walk in the door. It’s really all about that “wow” moment.
This little bit of extra effort can be a key way to drive that organic word-of-mouth traffic that can leave your listing full for months to come. Marketing isn’t just digital. It’s important to realize that your guests’ actual experience of arriving and staying at your home is the cornerstone to powerful marketing. A gift basket takes the experience to the next level.
And generally speaking, the level of gift basket should scale with the length of the guests’ stay. A multi-night rental basket should be a bit more involved than a single night. A single night renter might even be impressed by a snack, shampoo, and soap. But your larger rentals, like 2 nights or more, will be surprised and grateful for a full basket that sets them up for an incredible stay.
How to impress Airbnb guests? Include interesting snacks
The best Airbnb guests gifts are snacks, hands down. Yummy foods are the key to your guests’ hearts. We recommend including non-perishable foods that can appeal to many types of people. Snacks like cookies, popcorn, chocolates, and crackers are all great options. The key to these snacks is that they’re flavorful and they have a longer shelf life than other foods.
Guests choose Airbnb over other options like a hotel because they want a special connection to the place they’re visiting – a little bit of flavor. So give them a story, something worth sharing, by including something special they can’t find at the convenience store. Airbnb trips are about new experiences. By including something flavorful in your welcome pack, you’re starting off their stay with a story.
And these more unique products often have more interesting and beautiful packaging! People choose and evaluate with their eyes first. Visual beauty is a massive factor in how guests choose which listing to stay at. This is short-term rental hosting. Aesthetics are everything! So make sure that the snacks you choose carry that same visual touch with them. If your home is beautiful, your snacks should be as well.
Choose ethical products
And for whatever foods you choose to include, it’s a good idea to make them interesting and ethical. Airbnb users trend young and millennial. This is the generation that wants products to align with their values. If you’re hosting near an outdoorsy area, somewhere where people are escaping out to the countryside, it’s a safe bet to include organic, vegan, non-gmo, and/or ethically sourced products.
“Our Consumer Technographics data shows that nearly seven in 10 US Millennials actively consider company values when making a purchase – compared with 52% of all US online adults. Older Millennials (ages 27 to 35) are particularly conscious of company values across product categories.” – Forbes
Values are everything to generations aged 23 - 35, so keep in mind your product choices and the companies that you support when you’re managing a listing that appeals to that age demographic. Millennials are also increasingly skeptical of animal products, so it’s a safe bet to choose snacks that lean towards vegan or vegetarian. That means cheese could be okay, but jerky and other meat snacks might not be the best idea.
Put toiletries in your Airbnb welcome package! Your guests might forget theirs.
There’s nothing worse than going to take a relaxing shower after a long day touring the city, only to realize *gasp* there’s no soap! We highly recommend you include travel-sized versions of basic toiletries.
This is one of the things that hotels always get right, and for good reason: guests will often forget to bring their own toiletries. Don’t be that host that leads to a disappointing shower. The extras matter, and in this case, putting a few toiletries in your gift basket is not just thoughtful but extremely practical.
[photo of a shower]
A good place to start with toiletries is soap, toothpaste, shampoo, and basic skin lotion. If you’re in a sunny area, then sunscreen is also a good idea. Basically, consider if you were taking a trip somewhere, and all you brought was a suitcase full of clothes and a toothbrush. This is not far off from the reality of many Airbnb guests.
And this should go without saying, but you should provide an abundance of toilet paper, paper towels, and extra trash bags. Those kind of products are less about the “wow” moments and more about avoiding the “oh no!” moments. That’s another critical factor to being a great host, but these products probably shouldn’t go in your gift basket.
Welcome gifts are great but don’t forget to leave a note for your guests
Every article on how to be a great host will tell you this one. A little personalized note can make a world of difference towards how your guests arrive and find the information they need.
A note can be as simple, as “Hi [guest name], welcome. Make yourself at home!” Or it can be as elaborate as a 30-page guidebook to both your home and the surrounding local area. While you probably don’t need to be quite as involved as to write a novel-length guide to your home, we definitely recommend putting a little thought into the first thing your guests read as they enter your home.
Some Airbnb hosts recommend restricting a welcome note to be just 1-2 pages at most. Something very long can be easily ignored. Airbnb Superhosts Brankia and Silvia from Croatia say, “Restrict your manual to [the] most important information with simple short sentences because not all of your guests will understand English very well (if at all).” They emphasize that you create a note that actually gets read, by only including the most important information written in a way that prioritizes readability.
There are some essentials you don’t want to skip in your note! A good note that is useful and gets read will include some combination of the following:
- A personalized salutation (write your guests’ names)
- The wifi password
- The house rules (and special features)
- Your phone number (for emergencies)
- Bonus points:
- Your favorite options for local coffee shops, bars, museums, and other attractions.
- A copy of that week’s local free newspaper.
- An ancient scroll leading to buried treasure (just kidding!)
Airbnb’s new guidebook feature is a way to supplement your note, too. If you’re someone who’s put a lot of time into curating local interesting experiences and places to go in your online guidebook, then you should mention the guidebook in your note. Your guests might have seen this feature already in their online booking process, but in the hustle and bustle of traveling, digital guides can be easily forgotten. A physical reminder might be just what they need to discover the cool spots you’ve selected!
Gift baskets are all about the intentions of the host
“We've always provided a gift box for guests & most guests really appreciate them... I got the idea after attending a destination wedding - the bride & groom had supplied gable boxes for each hotel room, I thought it was such a nice touch!” – Hosts Karen & Brian from Bragg Creek, Canada
Guests will remember the stays that stick out in their memories. So whatever you do, you want to be intentional about the experience of your guests. The key to 5-star reviews is in the “wow” moment of arriving at your vacation rental home. A welcome basket is one of the best ways to create that experience–consistently.