Optional Services (Tours, Pickup, Rental Bikes etc)

This is a broad topic, but have any experienced hosts here provided/introduced optional services such as transportation, area guided tours, bike/boat rentals, meal deliveries/catering etc to their guests?
What services did you provide or introduce, what was the cost and benefit (i.e time spent vs. extra money etc.) to you and would you consider adding it as an standard option in your listing?
Since airbnb does not yet have a standard platform to sell these services, how did your guests book and pay?

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Looks like no one wants to answer so I assume not so many hosts provide extra services to their airbnb guests.

So, I will try to share our own experience.

We are in our second season as airbnb superhosts in Moscow, Russia.
Just after a few of months after we had started we added airport/train station pickup and bicycle rent. A lot of people actually want to start their trip with a safe / no worry ride when arriving to a new city. Bike rentals are not popular here, but it’s because I rent my own expensive bike and I don’t promote it extensively and traffic is quiet chaotic here and can look dangerous and not a bike-friendly for newcomers.

We always try to learn from our guests and we quickly realised was that travellers staying with us, come to our city not to stay at a luxury apartment but to experience the city life (may be at vacation destinations are different).

Our guests like to spend time with us:

  • walk with us, exploring Moscow,
  • cook with us dishes, representing Russian cuisine,
  • visit local markets
  • learn how to drink Russian Vodka.

Finally we’ve ended up building and presenting to our guests a portfolio of Experiences they can order:

  • Cooking Experience, combined with Markets Tour
  • Half and Full day (Walk Like Locals) Walking tours (4 hours / 7 hours with lunch)
  • Full day Countryside Car tour
  • Moscow Architecture Car & Walk Tour (and on-demand tours)
  • Vodka Tasting

So my point is: always look at what your guests are eager to do during their stay and try to understand if you can monetise it, providing extra value for them.

Now we are working on adding

  • Photo Session tour,
  • Photo Walk,
  • Foodies tour.

For some guests who ask for something special we develop a specific multi-day program with exclusive tours (like Moscow for musicians or Jewish Moscow).

It’s always important to beta-test all new activities: when developing a new tour give your guests a chance to participate for free (but they pay for expenses) and they have to provide a constructive feedback in return.

So far our record bill came from a couple who stayed at our airbnb guest room just for one night and ended up paying for our extra services 10 times more (sic!), than we received from them for the room.

Right now our income from tours and transfers is about 30-35 percent of total and we hope we can do 50% next year which means double income. Of course for every tour you need to do the math. We ended up with the next formula:


We give our guests two options to pay:

  1. some pay in cash,
  2. but most of our guests are happy to pay through airbnb resolution system: we add a new request and they just need to push the button in the email Airbnb sends them.

So, we’ve ended up with an umbrella of tours and now we try to reach every our airbnb guest after they book with a consistent promoting message (but not pushing to much). For example, If someone arrives for a weekend we suggest a program with a 2-3 separate experience and more than 50% actually agree with our suggestions.

And we’ve just wrapped this business with a legal status and now try to add our tours to online tour platforms (like Viator, Vayable and more), but it’s like more for the next season 2017.

And when Airbnb finally delivers an Experiences Platform which they hinted they can finish around the end of this year, we want to totally own it in Moscow!

About Tokyo: I’ve personally would really like to take a Cooking Class or have a “cheap eats” foodies tour around Akiba with my host and it can definitely be a decision maker when choosing an airbnb to stay in Tokyo.

Will be happy to answer any questions

Here some photos about how we do it:
instagram: @ippobnb

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We will add bikes rental next summer to our place and consideration to have a spa in the basement as an extra possibility for guests.

Thanks @Anton and @sylvainbg!!
Really helpful answers. Anton, that sounds awesome. So, how do you drink Russian vodka? I guess it’s different from how we drink it here in Japan?
Anyway, so with a total hands-on approach and a lot of commitment some people do a tremendous job of adding value to their airbnbs.
Unfortunately, our situation (we both have full-time office jobs with meetings, biz trips etc) does not allow us to spend a lot of time guiding guests. Maybe we would prefer a platform where we can easily recommend and take a commission from optional services…

Anton, do you now use Air BnB Experiences as the platform to promote your tours business to your guests- or do you rely on your own communication with guests to set up tours?

John, I do both! If I have an opportunity to add my guests to a (already) booked Airbnb Experience, I will go for it, otherwise I will promote both my own tours and Airbnb Experiences to my guests.

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We do sometimes pick ups but other than that
We didn’t offer anything. I was thinking about it like do tours but my accomodation is on a budget side and when I considered cost of gas and a whole day catering to guests and driving them around I have to charge quite a bit. I am sure my kind of guests won’t pay it

There have been several topics here about this and every time I’ve said the same thing so excuse me for repeating myself :wink:

Laws are different everywhere, and in the USA they vary from state to state. but here we were legally advised NOT to offer any additional services or equipment. Oh, we certainly thought about it because we’re on the water and close to the beach - perfect for bikes, kayaks, paddleboards etc. And being totally familiar with the area, tours would be easy to do too.

But the ramifications are too great and wide-reaching.

We concentrate on what we’re good at - hospitality - and leave the extras to companies that are licensed and insured.

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