Personalized items for sale or free?

In another thread shopping bags with your own Logo Artwork were mentioned. I was considering getting a run of tee shirts for Tiny Tiki Retro Hideaway. Then while hiking (with guests) I thought how cool to get reusable aluminum water bottles printed permanently with Logo!
Has anyone here actually had made or done themselves any personalized items for guests to buy or for free, like maybe " stay 4 nights get a free item of your choice" could be marketing gimmick?? btw we have not had a 4- nighter yet…

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I have had local area photos for sale in my STR for 4 years not a single taker but lots of compliments. (I sell them at craft fairs so I know they have a market.)

Your space is so unique it might be workable.
But here’s my experience: When my family group stayed in a unique Airbnb with a distinct theme, including interactive art installations(!), there were logo Tshirts in one of the closets. We were told we were entitled to one due to length of stay. At first we were like “Ooh, free thing!” then in reality nobody actually wanted another Tshirt. There were a LOT of Tshirts in that closet, which I assume got rolled into the rental rate but hadn’t turned out to be big attraction.
What I do occasionally is give a logo mug from my county government, as a memento for guests who are celebrating a special occasion.
Sales of locally-sourced goodies from my “souvenir shelf” aren’t frequent, but appreciated by those rare guests who need something to take home. And I can always use them myself.
I don’t think a water bottle would be the deciding point in my booking with you over someone else, therefore probably not cost effective. You can leave marketing postcards, if you want to be remembered for rebookings, for a lot less.


I love your idea! It would be a nice momento for guests and, like you said, free publicity.

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We have free postcards:)

Yes we have quite a few items including t-shirts (for me to wear at meet and greet time), coffee mugs, postcards with a photograph of the property etc.

Once in a while a guest asks if they can buy a mug or something and I tell them that they can take it - they only cost a fraction of the profit we’ve made on the stay. :slight_smile:

One that guests like is the personalised notepaper and envelopes - like the stuff you get in hotels. I found an original letterhead from the 1950s and we had that copied. It’s a nice but weird touch in this day and age. One apartment has a bureau and the other has a desk - we put the notepaper and envelopes in there.

We don’t charge for any of it but the cheap stuff, the notepaper etc., does get taken as a souvenir. Our idea is that they’ll find it in a drawer at home in a years time and think ‘that was a great vacation - we should go again.’


I was just looking online for a royal blue long sleeve tee in cotton with 1 color print about 9x4 on chest is 30 bucks… tee%20shirt%20pie%20blue%20tiny%20tiki

I like the note pad idea. I printed my own business cards, and got the post cards; they are almost gone, but the name has changed…

Try Queensboro. They have good prices on basic tees and sweaters, they even make dog shirts. Excellent customer service!

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Thank you! I just went over there and the prices are closer to 17-18 bucks, but they do not really offer small amounts which in reality I’d have to start with less than 8, for sure!

I don’t think I’d do the T-shirt thing but I have thought about pens and notepads. We have business card magnets and they went well. I like the postcard idea. With our mountain view picture and photo quality, I bet they would go well!

We have post it notes with the address of their particular rental. They can use it for making lists, writing notes, or grab them to hand out to folks they meet on the golf course if they’d like to invite them over for drinks.

Other hosts don’t even let someone who isn’t a guest step onto the property without advance permission. This is one of the unique challenges of airbnb for both hosts and guests.


I think something personalized that is small and they can take for free is a fantastic idea. I priced out the personalized shopping bags and it was expensive for a small bag and 1 color logo. Over $90 and that was because of the one-time setup fee of $60.

@jaquo I’m going to look into getting pens and notepaper because I love notepaper and pens (Hi, I’m Bella’s human servant and I’m a pen-aholic). Mugs are inexpensive, too. :slight_smile:

I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but I have to look at this from a business perspective.

What do you expect to get out of this expense?

My husband and I have run our own small biz for years. We considered many types of “premium” giveaways; we tried a few.

Unless this is something you simply want to give as a gift to your guests, spending money on premiums doesn’t make sense. There is always little or no payoff. People may take the pens or the tee shirts or whatever, but I can’t imagine how it would increase your business one iota.

The problem is that there’s no connection between the tablet or bag or pen and the process of making a decision about staying at an Airbnb.

I think a far better approach is to do as several hosts have mentioned on the forum. Get email addresses. Stay in contact that way. Send a newsletter. Send a funny holiday note. Build a relationship.

It’s more work, but a relationship is a lot more likely to influence a future decision than a pen.


This is the fascinating part of reading this forum, finding out how different people run their homes.

My homes are in a senior resort community. In the high season the minimum rental term for my homes is one month. I have seen longer minimums for the season, but not shorter. For that month that is the renters home. Their name is on the light post. They can host friends and relatives. They are responsible for all cleaning and laundering of linens for their guests. At the end of the month we come in and should only have to launder the master sheets and towels.

People come back, usually to the same place, year after year. While here they join clubs, participate in activities and make friends that look forward to seeing them the next year. Between our two homes we are only ordering two signs this year, the rest of the months are return folks.

So yes, having people you just met come over for drinks on the lanai is quite common, and a big part of wintering here.


Don’t forget to check with local embroidery places.

Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. When comparing prices, make sure the company is not going to charge you a setup fee (a one time charge to convert your logo to their format) or a logo fee (a per-item charge added on top of the regular pricing). This is why I order from Queensboro - no hidden charges.

…By the way, I don’t have shirts for the Airbnb, these are for the employees of my regular business.

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I run a web and software development company when I’m not doing AirBnB, so I get the cost of acquisition and that’s why bags aren’t going to happen. However, I do think that $1 pens with the name of the house and a link aren’t a bad idea. People take pens.

I do mailing lists for my business and my clients’ as well, so I’ve developed that and am getting ready to send my holiday cards. :slight_smile: Services like mailchimp are free up to a certain number of emails. Fortunately, I have my own server, so that’s not an issue.

I will test out the mugs and pens at a cheap cost and see what happens. Branding is all about small touches everywhere, consistent with the message you want to send.

But there is and that’s why for as long as any of us can remember, there have been companies creating promotional items. We use them because they work.

This has been proved to me over and over again.

People buy (or acquire) souvenirs of their holidays - this has always happened. If they are in their chilly apartment in cold and rainy New York (or wherever) and they have a permanent reminder of their stay with me, then they do book. Absolutely definitely.

Guests have told me in the past that the postcard has been stuck to their fridge or attached to their pinboard or framed on a shelf, they think about their stay here every time they use their mug etc.

If those repeat guests and referral guests bring me thousands of dollars of rental money then, just like any other form of advertising and promotion, it’s worth it.


Aha, really depends on your clientele, doesn’t it? I have a wide variety of non-repeat visitors in my urban location – business, tourists, people passing through who want to be near the airport. The repeat visitors are returning business people (the hotel down the street charges over $200 per night) and those visiting family. Once they glom onto my place, they don’t need a promo item to trigger a return. I can see where a vacation spot Airbnb would benefit.

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Our situation is like yours. For anyone who stays with us, if they come back to our city, they stay with us again.

I collect email and/or Facebook info for our guests. We stay in touch. They remember us. I think they’d probably remember, even without those prompts. But they definitely remember when we’ve gotten to know each other.

I also keep notes about nearly every guest. Their dogs’ names, kids’ names, husband’s/wife’s name. And details about what they’ve told us about job, vacation, home, etc. When someone comes back, I reread the notes.

Feeling welcome and comfortable is probably the number one criterion in someone returning to stay.