New host looking for advice re purchases

This is my first post. I am curious what others have bought for the items I list below. I hate to learn the hard way and hope to get insight so I don’t make a poor decision.

  1. Coffee creamer? Do I buy the tiny creamers you find in restaurants or a bottle? Where? Walmart, amazon, ostco, etc?
  2. Sweetener? How big a selection or just sugar? Again from where Walmart, amazon, ostco, etc?
  3. Pillow covers? I’m mainly worried about drool and other thinks that could ruin the new pillows (Ralph Lauren) I’ve bought. I’m afraid the final covers will be noisy.
  4. Mattress covers for my temperpedic beds. Same thoughts as above with pillow cases.
  5. Smoke co2 detector? I have a nest thermometer but thought the nest unit for smoke was to expensive. I got the thermostat for $40 so it was a huge deal.
  6. Chalk board for entryway notes?
  7. Alarm Clocks?
  8. Guest book?
  9. Security camera?
  10. Towels - Costco Look for them to go on sale?
  11. Makeup wipes?

Thanks I hope to contribute as I learn.

Welcome to hosting. We will be able to give you better recommendations if we know what city you are located in and whether you are hosting an entire house/apartment or a private room.

I bought Mini Moos and a large selection of sweeteners in individual serving packets (white sugar, brown sugar. Stevia, Sweet & Low, Equal, Splenda, Nutrasweet). I find that people who sweeten their coffee are loyal to their favorite sweetener. I bought all this at Smart and Final. I bought the rectangular containers that restaurants keep them in at a local restaurant supply store.

We bought the pillow covers that supposedly reduce exposure to dust mites. These go over the pillows, under the pillow cases.

We got our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at Home Depot.

We had an alarm clock in the guest room which I argued against because everyone seems to have a cell phone that they can use as an alarm clock. One night my husband accidentally set it to go off at midnight. We removed it from the guest room. No guest has ever asked for one.

A lot of this is down to host choice and guest preference. I’m in Australia with a whole house (1bdrm; 1 bath flat) and this is what I do…

See above answers…

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See above, I commented in bold.

It would be great if we could buy mixed boxes that have individual packets of white sugar, brown sugar and a few of the popular artificial sweeteners instead of buying a box of each.

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@EllenN I am sure someone will buy in a moment to sign you up for an overpriced sweetner-club. AirBNB hosts are, after all, a profit center for someone else. I have bought commercial sized boxes of stevia, sweet/low, and sugar in packets. The sweet/low was a mistake. Only one guest has used them. The others get used regularly.

For coffee, guests have a choice of whole milk or 1/2 & 1/2. I place some in a cute 8oz dairy bottle with a cow design. Each day, I provide about 4-6 os depending on how many people. Since I would never use a shelf-stable dairy product, I don’t ever have those in my house. [EDITED TO ADD: and for lactose intolerant guests, I have been know to make some almond milk. But I need three days notice for that.]

I do not use pillow covers, or the like.

Whiteboard at the entrance of the home for a welcome message, and a place to put a message during their stay. In the foyer, they get a cubby to store their keys, glasses, etc.

Both my rooms have clocks. The bedroom has an alarm clock which has a USB port for charging their devices.

No Guest book.

No security cameras.

Towels are fieldcrest from Target. Bought some years ago and have been very happy with the quality and price.

I offer make-up wipes, and white clothes from Costco in case they bring their own remover.

I do have shelf stable creamer for the guests even though I don’t use it myself. I drink my coffee black, no sweetener. I always say, “Like I like my men, strong, dark and bitter.” at which point my husband pipes up to point out that he’s got a lot of cream in him. Therefore, if I buy milk or half and half, I usually have to throw the spoiled portion out. I’ve had guests use every variant of sweetener and only their favorite one will do. I’ve even had two separate guests who had to have brown sugar; white sugar was unacceptable. I don’t like people dipping wet spoons in my supply of sugar, so I buy individual packets. I probably shouldn’t poke fun at peoples’ need for selection in coffee sugar. For baking, I have: white sugar, superfine white sugar, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, demerara sugar, light muscovado sugar, dark muscovado sugar, piloncillo sugar, liquid glucose and that doesn’t even include the honey and molasses collection.

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Coffee creamer? Do I buy the tiny creamers you find in restaurants or a bottle? Where? Walmart, amazon, ostco, etc?

I don’t get dairy or creamers specifically for guests. They can go to the store and get whatever the prefer. But my rental is a whole-house rental in a mountainous area almost all my guest do a big shop-up to get provisions after they get here.

Sweetener? How big a selection or just sugar? Again from where Walmart, amazon, ostco, etc?

I offer Sugar in the Raw, Truvia and Splenda in marked bowls on our counter. Walmart, usually. Sam’s Club when I belonged.

Pillow covers?

Yes on pillow covers and mattress covers.

Smoke co2 detector? I have a Nest thermometer but thought the nest unit for smoke was to expensive. I got the thermostat for $40 so it was a huge deal.

Yes, all Nest Smoke & C02 wifi in three locations throughout the cottage plus a wifi thermostat and camera. A must for me. That way I know when renters tip off the smoke alarm and from where.

Chalk board for entryway notes?

You can get easy chalkboard-like things at Walmart, but I have also painted boards with chalkboard paint - or I pick up vintage chalk boards when I see them. This one is chalkboard paint on a board. I recommend luan, though. It is smoother.

Alarm Clocks?

No, everyone has their phone.

Guest book?

I have a 3 ring binder with page protectors where I keep my Handbook and folks leave notes in the empty page protectors.

Security camera?

Yes. Nest. Outside in my garage monitoring the walkway.

Towels - Costco Look for them to go on sale?

Get a towel in an easy to supplement color like white or beige. That way you can buy them from wherever you want, when you want, as needed.

Makeup wipes?


Since we always have milk and 1/2&1/2 in the fridge, putting some in a bottle for their fridge is not an effort, nor does it waste product. We have had a few longer term guests that really wanted no-fat milk, so I bought them small containers for their use during their stay. In one case, they used the whole quart; in the other, I had to toss about 1/2 for a grand total loss of $1.09. Since both groups stayed for 8 days, the cost certainly wasn’t out of scale for the income those nights produced.

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Hey Ellen thank you and everyone else for their reply.

I am hosting an entire home. It’s an 1800 square foot A-frame on 5 acres in the North Georgia mountains within 8 miles of 6 vineyards, the site of the first major US gold rush, many festivals, and a medium sized university. Im also about 55 miles north of Atlanta. I hope this puts my questions in perspective. I hate making uninformed decisions and it looks like this is where to get honest advise.

Thanks again all.

It sounds beautiful. If you’d like to post a link to your listing, I and I’m sure others here would like to see it.

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@HiddenHaven. For a whole house, you really can decide what YOU want to provide. I think it is in your best interests to provide ways for people to remove makeup, especially given your location– an area of the country where most women are wearing some kind of product. Assuming that there is a supermarket nearby, everything else is optional. Then your listing simply needs to accurately outline what a guest will find upon arrival so that they can bring provisions that will make them comfortable. I would then re-state this in your pre-arrival email so that they don’t “forget” that they are responsible for providing their own food, condiments, etc.

Here’s what I’ve bought -

I just share whatever I already have. I don’t offer extra anything. They seem happy.

Definitely offer more than sugar.

Yes definitely, and a water proof mattress pad. Look for one with a terry cloth or other surface so it doesn’t sound like a diaper lol.

just get the regular ones, not high tech.

Chalk board - sounds cool. I just have a set of signs I designed that have arrows directing them to their room and providing WiFi info.

nope. Most use their phone.

not sure - some will say yes, others no. I didn’t, seems another way for them to think up criticisms.

Yes, at the entry doors & the room door, and some public spaces if you won’t be present.

Ikea all the way. I love their towels. They never wrinkle and always look good.

Nope. they can bring their own. I’ve never had a problem with people wiping makeup on the towels, but you never know. I may get these yet.

I would definitely think about providing a blow dryer, extra toothpaste, small hairspray cans, an iron and ironing board, and perhaps little shampoos or something - the most practical things. Those are the items often forgotten or confiscated by the TSA. The ironing board is something at least 2 guests have asked to use. :slight_smile:

I do think that one should state if their spaces are “whole house” or shared/private room when stating what they provide. I do think what we provide is informed by this information.


My listing isn’t live yet…I’m doing a rehab but hope to have it live on AirBNB by February. For now I’m dolling it out to family and friends. a picture is attached.

I’m kind of pervious. The house is unique in that this is a rural place and many of the homes are either small county home or gigantic vacation homes owned by city executives from Atlanta. When I go live I’ll update this for all to see.

Hope it looks inviting, I’ve really enjoyed the place.

Your place is lovely and inviting looking. The view is wonderful.

Ellen - others,
A few more pictures (not many inside yet) of my place and the surrounding area. If you think any of these pictures should be in my airbnb listing please let me know!

Agreed. I find that a very large percentage of this forum does not discuss stuff relevant to my hosting experience. I’m clearly in the minority here and yet I know the majority of hosts in the Catskills are like me. We host our weekend and retirement homes. In many cases - not at all unusual - we consider our Air properties our real homes. We rent in the city and own in the Catskills. Some weekenders have a second property just for income, but it’s rare.