Hello Airbnb Community,
I hope this message finds you all well! I am reaching out to seek your valuable insights and opinions on potential upgrades for my cottage. Currently, the cottage is equipped with a kitchenette consisting of a mini fridge, microwave, electric tea kettle, toaster, coffee maker, and dishes.
I am considering expanding the kitchenette into a full kitchen, which would involve adding a stove/oven, sink, additional cooking utensils, and a full-sized refrigerator. Additionally, I am contemplating the inclusion of a washer and dryer for added convenience.
I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and experiences on these matters, particularly from a financial perspective. Here is a question to guide the discussion:
- Based on your experiences, do you believe that adding a full kitchen and a washer/dryer would increase the occupancy and nightly rate enough to make financial sense and offset the costs associated with the upgrades?
Your insights, drawn from your experiences hosting or staying in similar accommodations, will be immensely helpful in assessing the potential financial viability of these upgrades.
Thank you in advance for your time and valuable input. I genuinely appreciate the knowledge-sharing and supportive community we have here.
Whether it’s financially viable depends on your clientele and your proximity to places to eat out. Have any of your guests expressed a wish that it would have been nice to have a full kitchen? Do you see other comparable places that do have a full kitchen, getting booked way more than you do?
Do you get guests who would tend to cook more at home if there was a full kitchen? For instance, families with kids are sometimes more inclined to cook at home, both for the cost factor vs. eating out, and the convenience. Whereas young (or any age really, who don’t want to have to cook on vacation), childless people might be more inclined to eat out, if cafes and restaurants are close by. They might not even cook much at home. But if your cottage is more remote, and in an area where guests would not have much interest in getting in the car to go out to eat, because it’s so lovely to just stay home and enjoy the environment, then a full kitchen might attract more guests.
And the washer/dryer question would also depend on the length of bookings you normally get and demographic of guests. Bookings of less than a week for a couple should be able to get by without the use of laundry facilities, but if you get longer bookings, or families with kids, I’m sure guests would find it convenient. I don’t offer use of my washer to guests of my private room homeshare listing, but if they stay longer than a week, I usually offer to throw some of their wash in with mine if they like. Shorter stay guests sometimes just wash a few things out by hand and hang them to dry. (I live in the tropics, so guests tend not to wear much clothes- light summer dresses and shorts rather than jeans and sweaters. They really don’t tend to have much in the way of laundry that they can’t wash out by hand.)
Be aware that with a full kitchen , you’ll probably have more cleaning time, and that if you put in a washer/dryer, don’t let guests wash any of the bedding or towels- they will just throw stuff in a hot wash without pre-treating stains, so the stains will never come out, and you’ll end up having to replace linens more often. You will also have a higher hot water bill, unless you only hook up the machine to cold water.
I agree with @muddy’s thoughts.
Whether and when you would recoup this investment depends on how much you invest, and on your market, which itself is subject to change. Sorry – I just can’t know.
Consider also that you’d likely recoup some value on eventual sale, and also that instead of, say, a range or built-in cooktop, you could put in a sink, and with enough counter space buy an air fryer oven (like the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer), which would replace several appliances. Then get a small induction burner, maybe also an InstantPot.
Of course, whether skipping the cooktop and oven is appropriate depends on the size of your cottage. If you typically get four or more people, I’d think you’d want the range or cooktop and oven. If 1-2, the air fryer/oven + induction burner would work. If 2-3, I’m not sure.
I’m not a financial expert but I do believe a full kitchen would add value to your cottage not only for bookings but also resale.
I rent out a whole house and noticed that guests use the kitchen often which makes sense when traveling with children. It’s so much cheaper and easier to make breakfast than to go out with three kids.
As for washer and dryer, I noticed that many guests use them. Some of them even wash the towels at the end of their stay : )
Are you booked at the occupancy rate you want, the price you want, and hitting your profit goals?
What’s your max occupancy? Is it likely to be families with kids who will want to cook in for time convenience or to save $$$?
Of course do the homework, look at properties similar to your planned renovated property, the price they are renting at, and calculate your payback period and your return on investment, taking into consideration any future time horizon for sale or ceasing your STR business.
There are also your personal reasons – resale value or housing a family member there in future – to consider in addition to business reasons.
FWIW,I have a bed/bath suite with a kitchenette similar to your description, and a ventless washer dryer. I get many positive comments on the washer/dryer, and have received no improvement suggestions re the kitchenette. The food prep equipment is rarely used other than to make coffee or tea given my guest demographic (only 2 persons max; they are not families who want to cook). I’m often directing take out deliveries down the drive to the suite.
When you say cottage – do you mean a lakehouse or something that, if equipped with a proper kitchen – might attract longer-term stays. Personally if I was doing a mountain/lake getaway, anything beyond a single weekend would need a full kitchen (except an outdoor grill would do instead of an oven)
Everyone has given you great advice. I will just say this. All of my Airbnbs have been standalone houses with anywhere from 2 to 4 bedrooms and two or more bathrooms and full kitchens.
The kitchens really do add to the cleaning time, and if you are hiring the Cleaning done, will add to the Cleaning expense a fair bit, especially if you get guests that cook a lot and leave a mess. You will also have to contend with removing cooking odors.
Personally, if I were just starting out with an Airbnb now, based on my experience I would stick to a small one or 2 Bedroom places with minimal kitchen facilities, such as you have now.
How well adding a full kitchen to your listing would work out depends on your area, the type of guests you get, and how many AirBnBs there already are in the area with that type of listing. If you add laundry facilities and a full kitchen, that changes the listings that will be your competition. You need to look at how much your competition would change, and if adding those things would increase your competition to the point you might get fewer bookings.
That’s an important point and one I’ve mentioned before. Hosts might think because other listings offer this or that, they have to offer the same in order to get more bookings, but the opposite could also be true. If there are lots of strs in one’s area, you need to offer something different than what others are offering, not try to copy what they’re doing. Guests may be happy to pay a lower nightly rate and a lower cleaning fee because they don’t care about all the bells and whistles other listings have. Some guests might not want to cook on vacation at all, and might not use the kitchen even if you had a great kitchen filled with every appliance anyone could want. They may not have any interest in a hot tub, so even if 20 places near you have hot tubs, they are more likely to book a listing that has no hot tub if it’s priced lower.
have to agree! we upgraded my 3rd listing, which is the semi-detached north wing of my home, and put in a kitchenette. Initially i allowed guests to use my kitchen, but I had the added stress of always keeping the kitchen clean (and my kitchen is huge), and some guests asked for tea/coffee facilities in their end. So we opted to do a simple kitchenette (still cost us $2k just to do the plumbing) with kettle, coffee machine, microwave, toaster, mini fridge. Now I have guests asking for frypans and a full size fridge! hard NO. I still offer the kitchen at my discretion for such guests, but I’ve actually had people bring their own induction cooktop and heat up a curry. !!
Maybe just supply a real stove or stove top and leave the smaller style refrigerator. Only put in washer dryer if it will be used by cleaning crew.