It's the little things that count

Starting a thread on things we, as hosts, do/can provide to make our guests more comfortable during their stay. Full disclosure, I am not hosting as yet but plan to as soon as my space is ready.

Keurig thingy:

Picked up this slightly used one cupper model for $20 at the Goodwill store yesterday. People, apparently, love these things. The grocery store had almost a third of an isle dedicated to the pods that fit this machine. I will have just a medium brew on hand but will encourage my potential gusts to bring their own favorite when they visit.

It can heat just water for soup or tea, too.

Note: This brews in less than three minutes then shuts off. No wasted power and no hot pot for someone to get burned with and no pot to clean or break. Run a little vinegar and water through after they leave and you’re good to go.

Bathroom space heater:

All three of my bathrooms can be a bit cold in the morning even with the central heat running. They are the last rooms to fully warm up. Bed & Bath sells this 1500 watt space heater for $30 (with a 20% off coupon) designed specifically for bathrooms. Tap the large button on the top and it runs for an hour then shuts off. Has a safety plug with circuit breaker.

Throws out a ton of BTUs and heats up my guest bathroom to toasty warm in just a few minutes.

Did I mention it shuts off all by itself? I love that feature.

So what all do you offer that is not to expensive?

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I had a discussion on another thread about vanity/makeup mirrors. One can get them pretty cheap here. Given that I’m constantly wiping the mirror clean of smudges, it seems that people do use them.

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I was inspired by another thread on this forum when I read that personalizing a welcome message helped someone get better reviews. I bought these little labels from a craft store. They cost me about 25 cents each. I add my guests’ names for each visit and tie it onto a vase of fresh flowers. We get the flowers from Trader Joe’s, and one bouquet cost about six dollars for the week. Guests mention in our reviews how they love all the little touches, and we have even had some guests untie the welcome message and take it with them as a souvenir!


I also researched different towel folding techniques on YouTube, and now I do this little fan design for all my guests. I tuck a couple of fresh flowers (daisies, mums, or carnations last well for a day or so without water) into the fans made by the washcloths.

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Both touches are very nice, indeed.

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Here I go being a downer, but I just have to. All the little touches are wonderful except the Keurig, which is an environmental disaster. Those little cups are overtaking diapers as the number threat. Also, along with a dose of caffeine you’re giving yourself a dose of hormone interrupting chemicals.

I know it’s convenient, but there are alternatives that come close.


Maybe it’s me but the unfolded hems almost signal that the towel could have been used. I always fold the hems under, like they do in hotels.

I couldn’t agree more. I would never own one of these things. Although I did enjoy using the espresso one we had in our hotel room in DC this year. Even through I felt so guilty about it!

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Can someone translate for me as to whether the Keurig thingy is the same as Nespresso? If it is, I’m very glad to hear the downside as people (i.e. my daughters) are always urging me to put one in the apartment kitchen - now I have the perfect reason not to do so!

In answer to @Cresentwrench, we’ve been guesting rather than hosting in the last few weeks, and the small things I really missed were:

  • Instructions on how to work the various appliances (every microwave seems to be different)
  • mirror near a power point so female guests can dry their hair!
  • a vegetable peeler (we love mashed potatoes …)
  • a TEAPOT. Yes, we are Brits, and no, it’s not good enough to put a bag in a mug and pour boiling water over…

Little things we really appreciated were:

  • Local travel and style magazines (new)
  • sharp knives and a sharpener
  • an electric hand mixer (I was amazed to find this in one place we stayed when I decided to make a dessert with whipped cream)
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@Malagachica, Keurig is more like Tassimo in Europe. Nespresso capsules are 100% aluminium and can be recycled. There are also systems that use pods made of paper (Illy comes to mind and makes great coffee).

Regarding small things, if you get a lot of international guests, travel adapters are much appreciated.

Funny…I have all those things you just mentioned, and guests love them. Its
the ‘‘little things’’ that count.

Had to smile when I read this. I offer all the things you say your miss and all the things you say you appreciated - maybe because I’m from the UK too :slight_smile:

Oh jeez! Scrub but don’t peel the potatoes pleeeeze! You’re removing the best part! :))

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Very wonderful ideas. We started our Air with the idea of BED NO BREAKFAST since figuring out when people want to eat (or not), what they can or will eat is tricky and our space had a full kitchen and is self contained, we thought it alright to leave a coffee maker (Keurig and French Press) and eggs, muffins, milk and bread in the fridge for our guest to make their own meal. We always have fresh flowers and homemade chocolate cookies for our guests. Been very successful so far and am hopeful for a few more years until I don’t feel like hosting anymore.


That’s very nice Asheville! We do something similar and write a welcome card with their names on it:)

Other than that, I prepare the following:

  1. Local map and guide books in various languages

  2. plug adapters

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Nespresso’s pods are recycled by Nespresso. In my opinion, they’re environmentally better.

@J_Wang, I agree about the environmental impact of non-recyclable coffee pods, even though many people love them. In our kitchenette, we went with a mini coffee maker instead.

@konacoconutz, Thanks for your feedback! I’d love to see a photo of how you do your towels! That’s the first I’ve ever heard/read that people think towels hanging down look used. I do touch up the hanging towels with an iron so they look untouched (to me). I’d love to hear what others think about the bottom towel edges showing! Thanks!

Another cheap extra I provide is a set of two umbrellas. I had read a post here on the forum about a bad review someone got for not loaning a guest an umbrella, so I was inspired to get these. I got them for $6 each at Dollar General. I got the tall (not folding) kind, and they have a cute striped pattern on one and checkered on the other–my thought was that those design elements might make them less likely to get misplaced (or mistaken for others’ umbrellas) if/when a guest takes them out. Of course, $6 is not bad for my budget when people do fail to return them.


Well I have no problem loaning an umbrella to a guest. Usually, they get an old, almost broken one, though. I do run an Airbnb and not a 4* hotel, after all.

I am in total agreement with you @J_Wang. Environmental disaster and hormone disrupted. And let’s not forget that using one basically quadruples the cost of a cup of coffee.

I worry that these machines are so ubiquitous as to be expected by guests. There was one in the last Airbnb room I stayed in. But there will never be one in my house. There are plenty of alternative coffee machines that don’t have a glass carafe to clean/break and that will dispense a single cup of coffee at a time.

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@Asheville, I did the exact same thing. Read the thread on here about someone getting a bad review for not lending an umbrella and so added a pair of them to my Airbnb room. As it would be, it rained within the week and I had guests who used them. I put those mini ones that fold up small enough to fit in a woman’s handbag.

Things I would add to this thread:

A full length mirror hung on a wall or the back of a door.

A selection of pillows from flat to fluffy.

If you’re renting a guest room in your house, if there is room for a chair, that’s a really nice thing to have.

One cool thing I got at Bed Bath & Beyond is motion sensitive night lights. I love them because they only come on when you need them, so they don’t waste energy and don’t keep those who need total darkness awake…