Guests have come to expect vacation rentals to provide great amenities.
Nice towels. Hotel-sized shampoos and soaps. And, of course, the amenities you specifically rent a vacation rental for: cookware, dishes, and silverware.
Your guests will either be delighted to find certain amenities are available, or disappointed to find they’re missing. Those emotions can affect your reviews positively or negatively – and naturally, you want your reviews full of glowing reports that you’ve thought of everything to make your guest’s stay as comfortable as possible.
So what should you stock, and where can you find those essential amenities without breaking the bank?
We’ve put together a compilation of the most important items to keep stocked in your rental – and some places where you can find them for a bargain.
Toiletries make washing up after the day easy for your guests, but they are often either forgotten at home or are difficult to travel with due to airline regulations. Toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, soap, cotton balls, and q-tips are inexpensive to provide and simple to restock between guest stays.
Where to Buy
The key to saving money on toiletries is finding them in bulk. Attractive, nice-smelling hotel-sized shampoos and conditioners can be purchased by the hundreds for as little as $30 – $40, while cotton balls and q-tips can be bought by the thousand while staying well under the $20 mark.
The majority of vacation rentals provide towels and sheets, but where do you find soft, attractive linens that will stand up to use over time? It’s worth investing in slightly higher-quality materials, as you’ll replace them less often, and your guests will rave about them. We highly recommend choosing white towels and sheets, as a little bleach will keep them looking brand-new for years!
Where to Buy
Shop the sales and read the reviews thoroughly. You can find towels as cheaply as $15 for a set of 6, but you’ll sacrifice quality – and your guests’ good favor. We’d recommend spending a few extra dollars now to get those good reviews: this set is just $27 for 6 towels, and the reviews rave about their beauty, durability, and plushness. Target has comfortable, durable sheet sets at an excellent price – these were even picked as the best budget option by Sweethome. Stock extras, but do yourself a favor and shop at places that are likely to keep the same brands available over time so that you can replace or add on to your collection when necessary.
These are the little items that guests need often, but are easy to forget to throw into their suitcase. Travel-sized toothbrushes, toothpastes, razors, combs, and nail clippers are easy to stock and show you have truly prepared your rental with your guest in mind. These items aren’t expected – but a guest who left their toothbrush behind will be sure to rave about your thoughtfulness when they find a travel-sized one ready for them in a bathroom drawer.
Where to Buy
You may be tempted to buy these items one at a time as needed – you’ve seen the bins at every grocery store offering small items for around $1 apiece – but you can save a lot of money buying sundries in bulk from a dollar store. For example, if you buy your toothbrushes in packs you can get as many as 144 toothbrushes for $24, keeping your rental well-stocked throughout the year without putting too much of a dent in your wallet.
Dishes & Silverware
The right dishes and silverware will easily stand the test of time and use. You’ll want to stock all of the utensils a vacationer might need to enjoy a meal, including steak knives, butter knives, spoons, forks, and measuring tools. For dishes, invest in break- and chip-resistant dishes such as Correlle and Pyrex. They look like standard plates and bowls, but are even more durable than plastic, saving you replacement costs.
Where to Buy
Big box stores offer great deals on dishes and utensils – especially if you browse their online selections. An entire set of Correlle dishes can be found for less than $25, and a 20-piece set of flatware can be purchased for less than $10. For flatware, check out Ikea: they have 20-piece flatware sets for as little as $8, and they’ll be easy to replace if your guests mislay a spoon.
You’ve given your guests a beautiful kitchen, so making sure they can cook in it is essential. A decent set of cookware, including pots, pans, casserole dishes, spatulas, and cooking knives will let you guests whip up a home cooked meal without having to worry about the logistics of navigating an understocked kitchen.
Where to Buy
When it comes to cookware, you’ll tend to find your best bargains when you purchase complete sets. Online retailers feature a wide variety of sets that include everything a cook could need, often for as little as $50. If you’d like to provide a higher-quality set of cookware that will need to be replaced less frequently, check out Costco. They often have excellent cookware sets for around $200 – and they stand the test of time.
Touches of Luxury
Luxury items aren’t necessary, but they can make an enormous difference in the way a guest views your rental. Bathrobes, slippers, and sleep masks give your rental a resort-like feel – and can be found for less than you’d expect. Make an investment in luxury touches, and you’ll reap the rewards in rave reviews and the ability to command a higher nightly rate over time.
Where to Buy
When you’re looking for robes, keep your eye out for sales at department stores. Often, major retailers will discontinue a line, giving you huge discounts on quality pieces that will stand the test of time. Since slippers are more difficult to clean for reuse, consider going the disposable route. A 10-pack of soft, comfy slippers can be as inexpensive as $18.00, and sleep masks can also be found at the Dollar Tree for $1 apiece if you buy in bulk. That’s $3 a head to give each of your guests an amazing stay – and since not every guest will use all the items you provide, you’ll actually wind up spending less.
Great amenities lead to rave reviews, so put yourself in your renter’s shoes and think of what made the difference for you between an average stay and an amazing one. Remember the little touches that made you feel like your host really cared? If you still remember it, your guests will too – and they’ll make sure everyone else knows your vacation rental stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Want to provide your guests with the perfect stay every time? Evolve gives owners the ability to provide a professional-level booking experience without sacrificing their own time. Click here to learn more about how we help owners earn more income with less hassle.