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This summer we’d like to offer a few simple add-ons for guests (fresh eggs and produce from our bountiful garden, pie from the best farm around, bouquet for special occasions, an extra cleaning for long stays, etc)
What’s the best way to charge folks without pissing off AirBnB? And also letting them know about add-ons before check-in? We’ve heard charging guests “off-platform” can cause issues…
Thanks all! Your advice is always so spot on. Edit: asking advice on how to do add-ons not if we should.
I don’t think guests like add-ons in general. Would feel like a hotel with all the extra costs. Most of the time its better to have a high enough price that extras are included. We provide a lot of extras eggs, butter, pancake mix syrup bottled water pasta sauce etc and usually its is not taken or eaten, and even if they took or used everything it is only 22$. But knowing that we provided it for free without asking, I think makes guests happy.
@gypsy We also provide complimentary extras for guests. But I don’t think offering a big basket of fresh produce, eggs and bouquets for a reasonable cost makes it feel like onerous hotel fees! Guests are staying on our little homestead, we are in a rural area known for farm stands. For longer stays we also want to offer optional extra cleaning services…
Disclaimer: I’ve been closed since January and haven’t used it in awhile but unless things have changed, it just charges them. It’s the same as if you used it to charge for something they had damaged. When you make the request it asks what the charge is for and then the guest has to accept it.
There are plenty of topics here where I’ve said that to me, selling add-ons is tacky so I won’t go into that again.
But if you want to, there’s no reason why you can’t have a
menu, a price list, in your rental showing what you sell and the prices. Make it attractive and say on the list why you are sharing these local items with your guests if they should wish.
You or your co-host can point the list out during the house tour and this will make it feel less like a commercial venture and more that you want to share the bounties of the locality with guests if they wish.
Depending on the length of stay, I’d leave a little produce in the rental as a freebie, point it out to the guest during the house tour and say ‘oh, and if you’d like more eggs/produce from our garden, there’s a list over there showing what we have and the prices…’
Don’t worry about that. Airbnb has done its job by introducing the guest to you and processing the payment. Add-ons and repeat stays are now yours.
By the way, I wouldn’t charge for weekly cleaning. It’s nice for the guest but it’s more for your benefit so that you’re keeping an eye on things on a regular basis and making sure that the rental is in good shape.
I also think it’s tacky when it’s having things in the rental that hosts have signs or notes about that tell guests they can purchase or order those things, like a mattress or something, because the host gets a commission if they sell something.
Local food available for purchase is different to me. Everyone has to eat, so they are going to be buying food somewhere anyway. If I were a guest, I’d be happy to find out the host had their fresh farm eggs for sale or had a neighbor who made fresh pies to order.
What you suggest is exactly how I’d do it if I was offering food for sale. Just a sheet in the unit with a price list. The guests can call or text to order.
Yes I love this idea! Unfortunately right now with covid precautions we have contactless check-ins. Being in a high risk group, it’s not personally worth the risk just for greeting folks in person (sadly!) Hopefully this will change and we can start meeting guests in person
Food or alcohol add-ons can be an issue for licensing. Regulations can vary by city/county/state/country.
We can’t charge anything for food, or we would have to get a much more expensive B&B license (one that we couldn’t even qualify for, as we have no parking lot and a number of other limitations). In addition to the B&B license, we would then be subject to kitchen inspections.
We can give guests food and nonalcoholic beverages. We do that when we provide breakfast. That doesn’t require us to have the B&B license, inspections, etc.
We also can’t give or sell any alcoholic beverages without risking even more licensing problems.
We’re the same. I had a rose-coloured-glasses idea once of providing vegetarian meals and going for a niche market until I realised that I’d have kitchen inspections - that’s scary.
I provide arrival snacks and breakfast items for the first morning (so that guests don’t have to shop for their first couple of meals) but everything is in the manufacturers’ packaging except the apples and bananas. That way, I’m well in the clear.
That’s interesting as there’s vacation home management businesses that do “pantry services” without any issues. Also, who is really going to bust a gardener selling produce? There’s farm stands everywhere lol
I know there must be other places but it doesn’t seem to be common to have these laws about kitchen inspections for STR and even if there are laws, it often only applies to prepared food. And sometimes it only applies to selling the food (as opposed to free food), so it’s best to double-check your local laws but garden goods and eggs are typically treated differently than cookies or sandwiches anyway.
A few years ago I and some other hosts here got free mattress. One of them was a $1200 mattress. I gladly but the referral card in the room. People raved about the mattress but I never got a referral fee. But as you know I have lots of business and all good reviews so it was worth it.
This isn’t a whole lot different from people putting price tags on the artwork, etc. in their listings, although I expect guests would take advantage of it much more. Airbnb just doesn’t provide a great way to support it. If they did, they’d want too big of a cut.
Personally, I would make the produce and flowers a separate business and not take any payments through Airbnb. Set it up to accept cash and low-fee payment options like venmo, zelle, etc.
As for the extra cleaning for long stays, you really should factor it into your nightly rate and weekly/monthly discounts. You can make it optional/upon request, but you might want to require it weekly or biweekly to avoid “surprises”.
You realize they will then go buy bacon, then grease up your kitchen and stink the place up right before leaving. I know this, I was giving eggs to my guests with a love note about how they were laid by chickens with names. Bit me in the ass.