People use home-sharing sites like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) to save money on travel. But many of these sites' users aren't necessarily penny-pinching so much as they're hoping to get more for less. A few key kitchen additions can help side hustlers stand out in a sea of marketplace listings. (Want to get started now? Learn how to become an Airbnb host just in time for Christmas.)
Here are items Airbnb hosts should consider keeping in their kitchen. Note: We've saved the bigger investments for last and noted options for hosts that aren't renting their whole home.
1. Salt & pepper
Basic condiments can go a long way, given some guests will skip a grocery store run and others won't want to shell out for salt, pepper, sugar, ketchup and mustard alongside snacks and meals.
2. Corkscrew or bottle opener
Travelers commonly avoid paying for pricey bar drinks by picking up a bottle of wine or case of beer at the local liquor store. Have a corkscrew and/or can opener available so your guests can readily get those goods open.
3. Coffee maker
American coffee consumption is at a six-year high, according to the National Coffee Association, with 64% of people drinking a cup of joe each day. Cater to most guests' love of caffeine and keep a coffee maker front and center.
Make it easy for your guests to use the aforementioned coffee maker by supplying some mugs or insulated paper coffee cups. Score brownie points by providing some grounds or K-Cups, too.
Most guests will visit a local eatery while on vacation — meaning they might bring back a doggie bag (or two). Have a small supply of forks, knives and spoons available — plastic can work in pinch — so guests can enjoy leftovers.
If a kitchen is a big selling point of your space, consider including some dishes and basic cookware (pots, pans, spatula, etc.) as well.
Appeal to fans of the hotel efficiency by providing cold storage, along with some cabinet space, when possible. If you're renting out a guest room, consider freeing up some shelf space or investing in a mini-fridge to attract more econo-travelers. (Psst: If you're trying to travel for less, we've got easy tips for saving while on vacation.)
This good old appliance is a worthwhile investment, whether you're listing your whole house, a private room or shared space. Some guests will want a place to heat up food they've brought, while other might want to nuke restaurant leftovers as a midnight snack.
Airbnb hosts set house rules, so you can ask guests to tidy up after they use the kitchen. You also have the option of charging a cleaning fee to guests. In either (or both) cases, make it easy for guests to clean up after themselves by providing access to a dishwasher. Many frequent home-sharers like to do a little maintenance before checking out, given hosts can review them, too.
If you don't have a dishwasher, be sure to have a dish rack, along with towels, sponges and dish soap for your guests.
Remember, any place you plan to rent, even for short periods of time, should have adequate safety devices, like smoke detectors, and be properly insured. Chances are, your renters or homeowners insurance will need an upgrade, so call your agent before any guests stay at your place.
If you plan on doubling-down on your home-sharing hustle in 2019, here's a complete checklist for Airbnb hosts.
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