Everyone running short-term lets wants guests to feel special to encourage repeat visits. Gifts are a way to do that, but of course you don’t want to go over the top and spend all your profit. They are also a great way to improve guest review scores, which are critical to driving your property’s listing higher in the search results on websites such as Airbnb.
If you are considering offering your guests a welcome gift we have put together five ideas for gifts that will contribute to a “feel good” factor without breaking the bank.
1. Personal hamper
It should go without saying that good Airbnb property management includes leaving a basic provisions pack. People don’t want to arrive at the end of a long and potentially troublesome journey to find that they have to go out and shop.
But have you thought of leaving a hamper of special goodies, locally sourced if possible, as well? It only has to be three or four items – cheese, pickle, marmalade, that sort of thing. If the costs look a bit daunting, try doing a deal with a local delicatessen to give you a decent discount as long as you leave a discreet leaflet or business card in the hamper to encourage your guests to shop there.
2. A bottle of something different
Leaving a bottle in the property is a good idea but champagne or another sparkling wine, while probably very welcome, is a rather uninspiring choice. Recently friends were pleasantly surprised by a bottle of sherry left in a room as a gift. It wasn’t their usual tipple but they enjoyed it and mentioned it to everyone, which is partly the point.
As with most of these ideas, try to select something that’s meaningful, probably something very English. You could fit it to the seasons, choosing Pimms for summer, mulled wine for winter and so on?
3. Mini teddy bear
Small teddy bears with backpacks and other themed outfits were doing the rounds a few years ago but a lot of people still collect them. Small teddy bears with backpacks and other themed outfits were doing the rounds a few years ago but a lot of people still collect them. You should be able to find them in tourist gift shops in the centre of London; pick one with a picture or legend of an attraction near you.
Or perhaps there’s another small soft toy that is evocative of your area? It would be a cute reminder of a stay that will travel far and wide.
4. Chocolates – make them special
Chocolates are always a good bet although try being more adventurous than Milk Tray. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a local chocolatier who can make up small boxes for you, look at websites that personalise goods and buy bars or boxes of chocolate with the name and logo of your special hideaway.
5. Vouchers for local restaurants and pubs
This is another one that involves striking up good relationships with local businesses. Do the rounds looking for a restaurant or pub (or more than one if possible), which will give a discount or special offer to your renters. Two points about this – firstly make an effort to make the vouchers a bit special. Use decent stiff paper or thin card and get someone who knows what they are doing to design them.
Secondly put unique numbers on the vouchers and ask the restaurateur or landlord to keep them for you to pick up. This makes it harder for them to be copied (yes, some guests will do this!) and allows you to demonstrate to the owner that the deal is working.
6. Branded gifts
Another one that could be tricky to get right, branded gifts with your contact details could work well as long as you avoid the ubiquitous pens and USB sticks. On the other hand you don’t want to spend so much money that it outweighs the benefit.
Look for something that visitors would find useful such as an underground map, water bottles or a cool bag. They can work out at a few pounds each if you order enough. How about boomerangs or frisbees if there’s a large garden and you often accommodate families? It’s amazing what you can get these days!
Make it obvious
Finally, one point worth making is that if you’re leaving gifts that look a bit personal – the mini teddy bear for example – make sure you leave a note, or put something in your instruction pack, to let people know that it is a gift and that it’s OK to take it.