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Increasing value for guests


I started doing this for our 2nd rental - left homemade jam (from fruit on the property), a handwritten note, and a bottle of wine from a winery that our house overlooks (on top of other things like bathroom toiletries, bathrobes, chocolates on the beds and a freaking amazing brand new pool and probably one of the best views in our town). Guest didn’t eat any of the food or drink or take the bottle of wine and still marked me down a star for value. I reached out to ask what we might have missed in terms of expectations when booking but never heard back. For added context: it would cost at least double if not triple for the same amount of guests to stay in a nearby comparable hotel (many of which were probably booked by the time she booked our newly listed home).

Can’t win 'em all I guess!

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Often hosts who are bending over backwards with homemade this and handpicked that give the guest the impression that they are simply trying too hard. It all smacks a bit too much of desperation to me.


I’ve never felt like this as a traveler! I stayed in one place where the lady left homemade jam and banana bread (on an island in the San Juan Islands) and then another that gave us “homemade” honey at a place in Tuscany, and stayed at another that left behind snacks and bottled water. All felt very authentic and we appreciated. At our place in Austin I would say 75% of our guests (almost all bachelorette parties) mention, either privately or in their public review, the bottle of champagne we leave for them. I suppose it all depends on the setting and situation though.

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The most memorable “welcome” that we got at a rental was a small sign that said “Welcome Tom, Kelly and Aislinn! Have a wonderful weekend!” It cost them -0-.

If they had given me a bottle of wine, I might not have been a drinker. If they had chosen coffee, I might have preferred decaf. (Neither of those is true BTW - I’d take both, hah!) But my point is, the sign was simple, personal, and 5+ years later, my husband still remembers it.

I’d raise my rates to get the picky-arse bargain hunters out and do something simple to welcome your guests. Maybe I’m blindly romantic, but I think most people just want to feel noticed and remembered. That might be the value(d) boost you are looking for.


Items such as bottled water, snacks, beverages and so on are pretty standard at most places.

Maybe in San Juan they have it easy and are able to leave home made goods for guests - here we’d need to have an industrial-grade kitchen, licences and regular inspections if were were going to cook anything for guests. (Plus if a guest was ill after eating them, there’s the danger that they’d sue).

Arrival snacks, fruit, wine, fresh milk and so on are fine as long as they’re unopened (fruit is okay if unpeeled) and our guests often mention them but if hosts have a budget listing, these things aren’t necessary. We get as many great comments about the vases of fresh flowers (from the yard) and the welcome card.

So for hosts who want to add value instead of increasing their prices, it’s very possible without spending time or money.


Some of the things I did to add value did cost money, some it quite a bit but it’s also adding value to my life or my home. For example I improved the front landscaping which makes a better first impression.

I remember reading here once an experienced host who was amazed that people regularly paint their baseboards. That doesn’t cost much but makes a place seem cleaner than a home with chipped, dirty baseboards. I added a chocolate on the pillow, bottled water re-using glass bottles and a breakfast bar. All white good quality sheet and towels and raised my prices to cover it. I haven’t been marked down on value since I raised my price.


Everyone knows the saying ‘you get what you pay for’. As you know, I am one of the most expensive rentals in our area (and definitely more expensive than a lot of local hotel rooms) and yet I never have a problem with the value thing either.

It’s all about perceived value. Most people seeing a room advertised at $20 a night will think ‘what’s wrong with it?’ The same people seeing a room at $200 per night assume that it will be a good place to stay.

I know I’ve said this a million times here but if people bought on price things like Ferraris, Rolex watches, designer clothing and expensive perfumes just wouldn’t exist. There’d be no such thing as first class or even business class on planes and we’d all be driving round in the cheapest possible cars and we’d never use makeup or hair products or have an avocado in the fridge or a bottle of wine in the rack…


Heavens yes on touching up the basboards and in fact regularly touching up chipped and stained paint all over. Nothing makes a clean room look dirtier than a grungy looking baseboard and chipped paint.



Cheap and easy. Almost all of my guests have mentioned them in the reviews.


For what I would describe as standard rate stays (€50 to €80 per night), we don’t provide anything beyond the basics, tea, coffee, bottles of water etc, and none of these are exotics! Instant coffee, packet of ground coffee and British tea bags.

During our peak periods (€250+ per night), we put in a selection of local produce such as jamon, cheese, homemade bread, butter and jam. A basket of fruit, a few beers, a bottle of local vino and some fruit juice. €15, maybe €20 tops, and it’s tax deductible!

So far, during peak periods, we’ve only been hit twice with 4* for value - and to be honest, it was probably about right. Neither set of guests were here for the events that pushed prices up, they’d bought flights without checking accommodation prices and were pretty shocked when they started looking. A hard lesson learnt. Fortunately, both left 5* overall :slight_smile:


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Totally up to you, but providing a 5 star experience really is not about you is it? It’s about the guest, making them feel welcome, and not just another number like they might feel like in a hotel.

However you choose to make sure that happens is fair game. For me, that’s a $.05 card and $1 snack in a reusable welcome basket that says, “Thanks for coming, Jack. You’ve probably had a long drive, here’s a small snack to welcome you here.” Others do that in different ways.

As a traveler myself who stays in every hotel chain in the world, I’ve seen some (Westin) that go out if their way to make you feel welcome, while others that just think they’re renting four walls and a ceiling. That difference is tangible and is the difference is the difference between a 5 star stay and a 3-4 star stay.

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providing a 5 star experience really is not about you is it?

It’s about staying in my lane. I am not a hotel and not a Bed and Breakfast, so not trying to imitate one.

Sticking to our competencies doesn’t mean I am not considering the guest experience. If that were the case, I wouldn’t be here trying to learn.


Shortly after these comments, I found this example in a listing. It is cropped enough to anonymize the offending party while illustrating the point. Here we have not only chipped paint, but what appears to me to be a trip hazard in carpet that needs to be stretched and retacked (if not ripped out and burned) (okay that’s just my impulse around carpet haha) and a badly water stained lampshade.


What!! NEVER refrigerate an avocado silly.



Now I am off to hardware store to get paint mixed… My hall entry doorway gets beat up by luggage I am guessing. Been putting it off.



I have paint-shamed you, have I? :rofl:

You’re welcome. :wink:

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That seems like the kind of place you glance at and think it’s fine for a budget listing but then you get there and it all adds up to 4 stars. I wouldn’t notice the water stain in the pic unless you pointed it out. But I’d notice when I got there.

Paint touch up should be in regular rotation along with things like washing light fixtures and blinds.


It’s not a budget listing, though.

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Same here. (That happens a lot when my husband chooses the place, though he’s getting MUCH better at it.) Unless something is truly gross, if the place is substantially as it’s pictured/described in the listing, I won’t ding the host. Shame on me for not picking up on it. :stuck_out_tongue:

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When I have guests checking in I pretty much do whatever I would routinely do. If I’ve been at the beach, I might still be in my cover up with beach hair, if I’ve been mowing or working in the yard, I’m sweaty and covered in grass and weeds. If I’ve showered and opened a bottle of wine and pulled out appetizers, I offer to share and have my guests join me on the patio. Had a guest leave a wonderful review about how casual and comfortable my greeting was and they loved my happy hour offerings. Flash forward to a guest who needed an early check-in at noon which I was able to accommodate. First words out of her mouth were “well I guess we don’t rate the happy hour treatment others have received.” I politely explained I don’t usually start day drinking at noon and would be happy to put something together for later.She says thank you They come back around 6:00. Wine and appetizers are out and she says, “oh, we don’t drink but thank you.” And went to shower. No good deed goes unpunished. I guess what I’m saying is you need to do what you are comfortable with because you can never predict what a guest is expecting.

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