Different locations, different needs

I’m in the process of finishing up getting my new listing ready, with my goal to take photos and set up the listing at the top of January. I’ve been reading old threads here about do/don’ts and different amenities, but I’m wondering about the variance between locations and what amenities/needs the different properties have.

What kind of setting is everyone listing in? I’ll be listing a large (5 bedroom, sleeps 12) house that is in a private community and has access to a private beach ~5 minute walk away. There’s a cute town a short drive/bike away, but the reason people will be renting from us are to take advantage of the beach and lagoon my property is on, as well as the outdoor spaces.

For this reason, I’m wondering about things this house might need that a home not on the beach won’t (examples: we got some lawn games, provide beach towels/chairs, splurged on really nice outdoor furniture, and are getting a grill, a kayak, and possibly a ping pong table before the rental season begins).

But I’m also thinking about things that we won’t need because we’re on the beach, and that’s what people are coming to town for. Do we need, for example, a bedside clock in each bedroom, if people are likely not setting alarms (and could just use their phones)? I know many people say full-length mirrors in bedrooms are a must, but this is not an area where people are likely to be dressing up to go out, so do they matter?

Normally I’m not the type to try to cut corners, but I’m wondering: as I spend extra money for all those “beachy” items that will make this a reall great beach rental, are there things I have on my list that might work at my home in the city, but are completely silly in this home type?

What are the things I’m likely to think I need, but really don’t?

Also, because I’m curious, what are the things you do/don’t need for your specific type of rental/location? What do, say, ski lodges need to think about that urban apartments don’t?

I just have a single room attached to my home. My primary guest is the road tripper stopping in my town along the interstate. I’ve gotten a good slice of folks here for work, military guys from the barracks getting a room, people visiting family and I allow pets. So I don’t have a lot of special things, I go with practical. That said I’ve bought 80% of what is suggested by my guests or if someone has a persuasive argument here.

So for example a guest said a bench for the shower would be nice so I got a bamboo one that fits perfectly in an out of the way spot in the bedroom. Someone asked for a clock but I have one (lol), then they said the numerals were too small. They were just one of those folks who can’t admit to a mistake.

If I were in a large upscale house such as yours I would have at least one full length mirror and one alarm clock. The clocks are inexpensive and there are really cool ones with chargers or aux inputs. You might consider an Alexa or google home. I’ve been in two Airbnbs this past year with them and I really enjoyed using them. Make sure you have an iron and ironing board, umbrellas as those are also things I expect in a large home and which are difficult to carry with me.

Think about 2 things.

  1. Why do guests come here and what do they need for that? You’re already on top of this.
  2. What kind of guests do I want to attract?
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We rent out two individual bedrooms and baths in our home. We get travelers who are here for work, for family, for vacation, and just traveling through. We are in the Midwest in a quiet suburban neighborhood. People do vacation here, although we’re not in a typical vacation or tourist location.

We provide laptop workspace in each bedroom. One room has a full-length mirror (because its bathroom doesn’t). The other bath has a full-length mirror (so its bedroom doesn’t). I think at least one full-length mirror is a must. If there’s only one, then I’d put it in a “public” spot where any guest could use it.

Both our rooms contain clocks, nightlights, and charger stations. Both rooms contain small Vornado fans for white noise or extra air circulation. Even though our house has excellent air conditioning, many guests use the fans.

Both rooms have a surface that’s appropriate for a suitcase (a luggage rack in one; a redwood bench in the other).

Both have nightstands on both sides of the bed (an early guest suggestion). One nightstand in each room has a lamp. The small desks also have lamps, and there is ceiling light. Both rooms have some drawer space.

Both rooms have closet space for hanging clothes. The closets also have shelf space.

Our bathrooms each have a hair dryer, as well as shampoo and shower gel. We leave drawers available for guests in each bath. We provide toothbrushes, toothpaste, and a few other sundries on request.

I could go on—and on!

Our houses are used for resort style living. I don’t have full length mirrors in either one, and no one has mentioned anything. Most likely for the same reason, people are living and dressing casually, so they don’t need them.

I often find the alarm clocks unplugged, or under the bed, so it’s possible the alarms aren’t necessary.

When using vacation rentals in city centers we often find shopping bags or carts are provided. Here we are a bit more spread out, so instead we provide golf carts. A short golf cart ride will get you to the super market or dozens of restaurants.

When we rent in northern cities often stand alone fans are provided in lieu of air conditioning. Since we have ac and ceiling fans we don’t have movable fans.

Reusable shopping bags are a great addition to any rental.

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Yes, we are definitely including an Amazon Echo Dot, since people like to play music. We’re using the dot because we are going to connect it into our good speakers, where our record player will also be plugged in. We’re including about 15 of our favorite records in case anyone wants to mess with that, but we assume more people will want to tell Alexa to play what they like.

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This has given me convulsions of terror. Your house sleeps parties of up to 12 guests. That is enough people to party whilst abiding by your potential “no parties” house rule.

No WAY would I leave my favourite records in situ. They will be ruined swiftly. Even though someone might not like them, just the opportunity of PLAYING with vinyl will happen.

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I’m in a suburban area and get all sorts of guests - one night bookings for the stopover on a road trip folks, house hunters (booming area), vacationers, people coming for family gatherings. I have a pool and am driving distance to several great beaches and destination areas.

I offer coffee and teas for the mornings (I now buy bananas or some fruit, too and am going to offer breakfast for a fee to folks who don’t want to go to our new cute local diner). I stock sugar, Stevia, and ask about what type of milk they like in their coffee.

Space in the cabinets, space in the fridge, a tray with all sorts of travel mugs, insulated mugs, and plasticware to use by the pool.
Pool towels
Desk space
High speed wi-fi
power strips with surge protectors
lots of hangers and big closet space
luggagge rack
laundry hamper
take out menus
beach chairs
tissues, toiletries
iron, ironing board
hair dryer
cleaning supplies in case they need them
picnic supplies (paper plates, napkins, plastic cutlery)

I don’t have a full-length mirror, but I am going to put one in. I think that I’d like one even for casual resort type areas. I just need to figure out where it should go. I’ll ask my current guests, they’ll have good ideas.

I like the idea of dedicated reusable shopping bags, I’m just concerned that they’ll “walk” at the end of a visit and at $5 each, it’s not worth asking for the money back.

@mallory are you a new host? Because you want to offer so much to your guests, I’m afraid your enthusiasm will be tempered after a while.

Do what you need to do but remember that if it can break, it will.

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I have all of the usual stuff that everyone else has mentioned, but none of that is specific to my location.

I am in the deep South so we have very hot, humid weather most of the year. I provide bug spray and sunscreen for my guests to use outdoors. For the rainy weather we get here, I have two doormats outside of the front door (one at bottom of steps, one in front of door) and one inside, and I have a rubber boot tray on order that I will set inside the door. I warn people about the little lizards that live by the doors so hopefully they won’t squash too many in the doorjambs. I also have a birdfeeder and leave a container of birdseed that guests can use to refill the feeder if they want. I provide a large covered outdoor seating area. I also have monthly preventive pest control service.

These are the only amenities I can think of that are location-specific for me.

I forgot about the bottles of bug spray that I keep in handy places for guests. That and sunscreen. I warn about lizards (Bella likes to bring them in to play) and most folks seem to find them fascinating. Even when the cat is running around the house with one in her mouth…

Wow. I would be too. I have lots of them. Free from Doctors Without Borders, The New Yorker, the 5k, given away at a music fest, given to me as gifts, left at my house from the xmas party and more. The ones at Trader Joe’s are $2 aren’t they? And Marshall’s has them cheap. Don’t get the $5 ones.

Being whole house rentals in a senior resort, the number of amenities we supply that wouldn’t make an iota of sense elsewhere is too long to remember. However, I was doing final walk-thru of one of our places to get ready for incoming guests and found a little lizard inside the house. I had to call my husband at home to bring the butterfly net, and we caught him and let him go outside. As soon as I got home I ordered a net for each house, just in case a guest runs across one of the cute critters inside. Talk about something you don’t need in the city…


Do you have liability insurance for unsupervised kayak rentals? Bicycles and kayaks can be real liabilities. I would never rent either for that reason. Check your insurance policy!


If you do, you MUST include a warning in the listing that they are there and are a potential listening device, just as you need to mention security cameras.

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I have a ton of Lilly Pulitzer bags and they’re $25 a pop. I don’t subscribe to things that get me free bags, so I’ll be hitting up Marshall’s and the outlets and checking prices. Last one I got from Marshall’s was $5… Maybe I’m a bad shopper?

It’s a great idea and I use mine all the time. Never thought of supplying them.

What a great “unexpected extra” thoughtful touch that won’t get mentioned in the listing but will “wow” the guests. You folks are awesome!

Ha! I have a plastic “shoebox of life” to capture the frogs and lizards that Miss Pesky Paws brings in for show and tell. I point it out to guests and the men try not to laugh and the women always look concerned. I get it - what’s a nice Catholic girl from NYC doing in Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom???

I just bought a Trader Joe’s bag in NYC. I checked the receipt and it was 99 cents.

I’ve found that my local St. Vincent de Paul & Salvation Army thrift shops often have plenty of the advertising giveaway reusable bags. Right now my guests can go shopping with Holiday Inn Express bags (from a travel show) and show how smart they are. :wink: I guess if I was really smart I’d order a hundred with “Nordling House B&B” on them.