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Splurge or Save: Which property amenities are worth the money?

Whether opening for the first time or going through a refurbishment, getting your property amenities in order can be a big investment. How do you decide where to spend your budget?

Bedding? Toiletries? Furniture? Splurge or save, what are your best tips?

127 Replies

7
Katerinka12

I am surprised that no one mentioned Professional photography. It definitely worse the money. It's not that expensive nowadays and simple calculation: good pictures can easy bring you 1dollar more per day. 365 dollars per year are far more than services of Airbnb professional photographer anywhere in the world.

In addition to that, I would like to suggest spending some money on items that will make impact both on pictures and visual pleasure. Some ideas are:
1) nice (made to order) headboard
2) paintings or ar least some pictures or prints, or even empty frames (that's good "start of a conversation"!)
3) wallpaper or unique paint to make an accent (since headboard is not an option for me now due to long time production, I am using wallpaper to decorate)
4) small "human" touches. I have read this advise of Russian photographer, who specializes in hotel photography. Its cheap, makes room cozy and influences the human psychology (invites to book!).
Teapot on the table (so warm and homey!), elegant kitchen towel (I noticed majority properties do not use it. Why? It feels like home and besides its very necessary item). Flowers in vase (we brought artificial sunflowers since we can't provide fresh flowers). Making a towel swan is super easy. I watched YouTube video and now I am a pro :)
My next ideas to buy old fashioned guestbook and expose Positive feedbacks on pictures :) I will add bed scarves too. They are beautiful, cheap, money saving for you and look like host is really professional.

Some of you have fire place, so picture with fire and cozy shawl on the chair is classic way to attract the guest.

"Amenity" such are pictures of hosts or receptionist do not require money, but might influence to book.

Check on Google what is not allowed on pictures for 5 stars hotels (Hilton published it) and do exact opposite: smiling receptionist, serious security guard, nice bus stop right in front of the property... Those amenities are not yours, which is understood, but very good presentation of the place.

I forgot to mention mirrors. They are cheap and if your budget is tight can replace paintings or serve as decoration. Practical too and make room look bigger.

If you have space and budget, buy writing desk and chair.

5 months ago
3
Richardloram

HI - Katerinka - well so far I have no trouble or indeed damge to anything - a David Bowie Lp got knocked off the wall - but the frame was crap anyway - a group of international frisbee throwers got lipstick on a expensive duvet cover (they were from Air B'n'B ) - but that's it. I've always maintained that if everything is lovely and to a high standard people respect it / you / the house more and so far I have been proved right.

As for the art - it is mainly prints that I put up - I do have some originals but mainly prints - which are easily replaceable. As for deposit never asked for any - or taken any - with Air B'n'B this was done for me but with booking.com this doesn't happen - maybe it should. However as it appears to be mainly based or set up for big corporate entities (who have the facilities to take this or do this) so I doubt such a 'service' will happen for the 'small guys' like me.

I get all my art from a local artist's hub - which helps as they have loads of different artists, who are all local - they sell it to me at a discounted rate and I sell it for what it goes for in a shop - making a small profit. I also get them framed - so people have the option of buying like this. Again I use a local company who does a good job cheaply - and I make a mark up on this as well. So far sold nothing but only just started doing it and not much choice - which I think is what you need to create sales. Also may be totally optomistic given that the type of guests I attract are ones trying to save a few pounds/dollars/groltnics etc . I do not care however as it coveres the walls with something pretty and I only buy art I like so I don't care if it doesn't sell. The web-site if you are interested is www.potostudios.com - run by a lovely guy called Charlie. He has been dead against posting stuff out but maybe if you give him a big order and meon you conection to me it might help.

I also want to enter my house for connecting best to local culture - I have the entire back catelogue of Beatles records on display (and for sale) - I have all the local artists stuff and supply all guests with maps of area. In future (next month) I am going to provide bikes for hire to guests and give tours of the city myself. Can I do anymore ?? if not gizza prize lol

5 months ago
3
Richardloram

I would agree Katerinka - spent £90 on a proffessional photographer and results were - well a million miles away from the last so called 'proffessional' - a mate of me son. I had a conversation with someone who recently booked with me and she commented on how she wanted something to look and feel different and less corporate. I personally believe in Liverpool ALL accomadation for visitors should be provided by local people not the faceless characterless and consequently cold environments of the corporate hotel. Most people on 'here' are fairly creative and imaginative - I would simply encourage them to embrace this and develop it as much as you can in any way - as it is what separates us from the dull corporate image of big hotels - yes they got the money but we got our souls - peace and prosperity to all on here - Richie

5 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Thanks for sharing website, it's so nice.

You can start your tours now, just create a tour package on Airbnb attractions. If a tour requires bike rental, you can go for it once you have the tour confirmed, perhaps.

5 months ago
6
Laura, Communi…

Wow, Richard, I love the idea of bringing the Beatles culture into your Liverpool property. How special!

Please share a photo in our February photo challenge: Embracing your location :)

5 months ago
3
Akwador

The one facility we have agonised over is TVs in the rooms. This is expensive, but as we are in Malta and most channels are in Maltese or Italian, over 4/5ths of our guests are foreigners who are not interested in watching TV. The guests who moan the most are the Maltese and the Italians!

We made a decision to take this by the horns and have stated that it is our deliberate policy NOT to have televisions as they are disruptive and in a typical Maltese stone house, they can be heard down the corridor.

So far most of our guests have accepted that but we do have a few whingers who never read the description properly.

5 months ago
3
Richardloram

Akwador - mate if they don't read the description their problem - had a family from Cyrus arrive and starting to find faults with everything in the house clearly angling at a refund - after a brief talk it was evident this was because they thought the rooms were all en-suite - obviously I have clearly stated this wasn't the casein booking.com desciption. In fairness to them the husband stated that in Cyprus is you make the mistake you gotta pay. I think as small hoteliers we can agonise over anything - stick by your guns I think your reasons are spot on. having stayed in hotels myself all over UK - all I ever want is a tv to tune into BBC radio 6 - only thing worth listening to in UK.

5 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Katerinka a super grandma you will be!!!!

All of your ideas are very creative and thanks for remarking about fireplaces.

This is my fireplace with Booby....

5 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Richie I agree with you..... faceless characterless.. not for me.

I myself when having holidays prefer to be around people that are warm, friendly and happy to have you. Home away from home.

Certainly big hotels and resorts are beautiful with outstanding service and I have had splendid vacations many times relaxing and enjoying special treatments they offer.

Katerinka I think a mixture of antiques and new modern furniture is a better idea. I like modern homes that have aunique spots. Bed scarves are incredible and I have different colours. Teapot, elegant kitchen towel!!!! Super great touch... Instead of headboard I have two big pillows. They are not expensive and useful.

Put your heart and soul in everything you are doing and guests will love it as much as you do....

Katerinka I am sure your heart and soul is all around your beautiful place....

5 months ago
7
Katerinka12

"angling at refund" - they are professional scammers. Please, check the new topics, I will open one soon about scammers.

Oh, Booby is so cute!!! So lovely, my goodness!!!

And in my area, where hundreds of owners rent out their apartments, I know only one person except me, who personally manages the place. All others fully rely on house helpers, that for money do everything, from cleaning to buying furnitures. Most of owners are out of the country and have never even been to the place they bought. Definitely people here find me crazy for "putting my heart and soul" as it's not necessary at all, requires additional money and precious time.

And going back to amenities... One foreigner got a sofa in the lobby, put it up and throw it on the floor with extreme anger.... Whats the f%#&@k! he shouted. Where is my WiFi!

Our place is full of such stories... We have new story every day and usually the main hero is Angry Foreigner. From morning till night house helpers and security guards keep laughing (if you take them seriously, you might go crazy).

And why is all of that? No amenities doesn't mean no money. "Angry foreigners" see beautiful bed on pictures and tickles on almost every amenity in the world of Booking... Such as "soundproof" rooms, massage, beaty parlor and if there will be slave, it will surely be tickled.

When guest arrives, he sees no internet (number one in popularity), no hot water (the hit!), no airconditioner (really, why to have it in the country where electricity is so expensive)... Owner "is out of the country" and no one to address the complaint. Sick and tired of angry foreigners shouting at them every single day, tired security guards "do not understand" English... Self protection, you know...

Sleeping in the room with someone else's garbage, surrounded by cockroaches on smelly dirty bedsheets is not my wild fantasy and one accidental story. It happens every day in our area to ~80% of guests.

Surprisingly, the magic of bad comments works in favor of the property owner. Many people do not read comments but magic of numbers works very well - after seeing 238 comments people book the place.

And one time Joey asked me why do I have less than 10 (!) comments.. Guys, it's all because I had all wonderful amenities and treated the guest as a king... He didn't need to shout at the guard and his English was fully understood... And his taxi was even paid by me, but comment didn't follow... Because there was nothing to complain about!

So, wonder how to make money? Get the place with guaranteed people traffic (near airport, center of capital, popular resort). Create popular now "self check in", so you don't need to meet the guest personally. Don't spend money on amenities. Remember? Less is better... And spine is more healthy when sleeping on hard bed, doctors say. Anyway, cleaning services are so expensive nowadays, why even to bother.

Do not fall in love with guests, you will not see them anyway... Do not cry over bad comments like I did, who cares when Booking doesn't care anyway... There is no button "complain about advertising" and staff is trained to avoid such matters, which some property owners dare to call a "problem"...

5 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Thank you Katerinka12. Booby already is 12 and he loves seating all day beside us.
Too many struggles Katerinka12 and disappointment. Maybe you have to change country!!!!
Cheer up!!!

5 months ago
6
michael beeston

Katerinka.....................some sad story BUT keep smiling, it can only get better.Scammers..a good talking point , we have had a few with the other properties..............they are awful people !!!

By the way I still have wonderful memories of my Grandmother and her painted cushions (Even my children remember and have fond memories hahahaha LOVELY)........Maybe this guy had no memories of his grandmother and that is also sad....................

5 months ago
3
Pat

Hi All,

I find that if the experience you offer the guest exceeds their expectations they seldom go fault hunting. To me I try connect before arrival and that way the stranger arrives feeling like they know us.

Unfortunately you always get the odd guest who reads but fails to understand. Our property was built in the early 1900's and was originally the stables of a farmhouse. It has a lovely history that forms part of the South African heritage between the Boer and Basotho people. For us it is important to keep it feeling like a heritage, farmstyle cottage rather than a luxury home.

Generally people love that the furniture is not modern and that there are special touches like antique items on display. These often are ice breakers but still I believe that one should exceed the expectation rather than just provide a basic service.

Guests step in thinking they are entering an "old farmhouse cottage" but soon quickly see they have entered a spotless cottage with all the modern luxury touches they need and want.

We are often complimented on the well equipped kitchen and special touches. It is not only the bedding and bathroom that count, but an extra lap blanket, books to read, games for the kids, etc. All these things make for a memorable experience for guests.

5 months ago
3
Richardloram

Yes Corrine from Kent - thank you so much - you have shown me the light on the ironing solution - rotary iron - never knew they existed what model do you use ? So far I have spotted a Mielle - obviously the most expensive and Singer considerably less - are there others - never really loooked into it. I had got the ironing of all sheets and covers for 4 king sized beds and two singles down to 2 1/2 hours - which I suspect will maybe get a bit quicker but not much - I was in the Royal Navy for 6 1/2 years - so I am very very good at ironing ! Was also starting to get repetative strain from the ironing session - which would only get worse. I think I can afford one in 2 months - thank you booking .com for this and ofcourse Liverpool for being a 'dead boss city'.

Katalinka12 - you are a class act and I am sure this is also why all your guests love staying with you. A lot of this buisiness to me is like making good food - if someone puts the love into it - it tastes better and I sense like me, you put alot of love into your gaff - this is how the big corporations/hotels or greedy money makers just can not compete with 'us'. Greedy people tend to have little creativity and also have less room for love, understanding and culture/arts.

5 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Pat your cottage must be incredible. Please share some pictures with us. A little touch here , a little touch there... surely makes the difference and guests appreciate it. Going beyond expectations is very important to guests.

Richie, your expression "Greedy people tend to have little creativity and also have less room for love, understanding and culture/arts" hit me right into my heart. I fully agree with you... Katerinka puts her love in everything shes doing..

5 months ago
6
michael beeston

Pat............Hello and you have some very good comments (thank you)..We also try to do the same and make a contact with the guest before arrival ( a welcome letter/phone or email and it certainly breaks the ice and they are not strangers when they arrive ..not all the time but it definitely works)

Then of course the personal touch and modern luxury touches.............well done.

We used to own a lovely cottage ( an ex stable ) in Wales built in 1823 and when people arrived they walked into a modern beautiful World with a exterior almost 200 years old !!!........I am with you..thanks for the comments....Michael.

5 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Michael is everything ok in Queensland???
It must be dreadful for all of you!!!
Wish you all the best.

5 months ago
6
michael beeston

Hello "M"............Thank you but surprising ...Queensland is so so huge that it is pouring with rain in Townsville ( metres and metres) and we are melting in Surfers Paradise....................Townsville is 1,400 Kilometres from us............We sometimes drive down to Sydney from Surfers to see our son for the weekend...hahaha its 900 klms away !!!.ONE WAY !!!.but thank you so much for thinking of us.............Michael.

5 months ago
6
michael beeston

"M"...we have not had any worthwhile rain in Surfers in over 3 months.......all the gardens are dry and dead !!!!.and yet in Adelaide and Sydney/Townsville...tons and tons of rain.That is Australia.

5 months ago
7
Aaltje B.

a fireplace is also a big attraction down south New Zealand. We can have some quite nippy days specially when the sun goes down and who doesn't like the fire place, spitting flames and radiating heat that could inspire a pair of romantics with a desire to settle down with a glass.

I get really good remarks from it. The investment was big. Regulations etc. But worth it. And happy guests! I have discovered a bundle of clothes behind the cushions over time, hahaha

5 months ago
6
michael beeston

we also have a fireplace........its MAGIC MAGIC !!!!......a bundle of clothes hahahahahaha a good story. Michael.

5 months ago
6
Laura, Communi…

Richard, check out this conversation about ironing tips. I'm sure you could add your Royal Navy expertise into it (I never realised this was a qualifier for great ironing skills, but I believe you!)

5 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Michael unfortunately we are all responsible for global climate and it will get worse.

5 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

No rain in over three months... It also happens here in Greece and sometimes homes are without drinking water for days. I prefer and try to decorate my garden the Mediterranean style where you need less water.
Take care...

5 months ago
3
Richardloram

Hi Laura - thanks for getting back to me - appreciated - yes in the Navy you had to iron your entire kit and it had to be folded into a A4 size exactly - this was done every day for six weeks - after a while you do become very good. We never did king size sheets and duvet covers though - think I will eventally go for the roller press idea and I want to employ someone to do all this stuff and the cost of doing this by hand will soon add up - Cheers

5 months ago
6
michael beeston

Hi Richard..................Thanks for the tip regarding the Kit...............you are right, we started a cleaning company about 8 years ago and thought we could save money by ironing the King/Queen sheets and Pillow slips by hand .ahhhhhhhhh what a nightmare, so so much time spent and the sheer size of the sheets and stuff was just too hard.we eventually went to a professional laundry who use Roller press and everything is now perfect......cheers and thanks......Michael.

5 months ago
3
Corinne Orde

The Miele rotary iron is excellent. You just fold the superking sheets and duvet covers in half and then in half again. That takes about three minutes, or less if there’s two people. Then you feed the folded sheet through the press twice (once on one side and once on the other side). Another three minutes max. Pillow slips take less than 10 seconds each. It’s a great time to catch up on podcasts and an excuse to sit down for while, when we’re otherwise on our feet all day long in this exhausting business. The surprising thing is that the Miele rotary iron takes up very little space — no more than a conventional ironing board. If more people bought them they would come down in price!

5 months ago
3
Richardloram

Hi Corinne - thanks for that info - if I can find a good second hand one think I will go for the Miele

5 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Why not to try wrinkle free bedsheets first before to spend money on roller? They are available on Amazon and many good feedbacks. What if they will work for you?

Besides roller is bulky and so much work to do... Amazing work for people, who are not your family. After spending so much time on work that you could avoid (and concentrate on more important things) ...after several months this kind of thought might cross your mind

5 months ago
3
Richardloram

Fair point - as ever - cheers will look into it - if anyone has any recommendations for such sheets and duvet covers would be very greatful - thanks

5 months ago
3
Corinne Orde

I am sceptical about wrinkle-free sheets. For wrinkle-free you need either a synthetic blend in the fabric, or a chemical treatment that wears off over time. There is nothing like the feel of beautifully pressed pure cotton sheets. My roller iron is not bulky. It takes up no more space than an ironing board and can be placed against a wall as sheets come out the same way as they go in. It is amazing how quickly you can iron a huge pile of sheets. Even if you send out your sheets to a commercial laundry, there is still work involved in sorting, packing and arrange for collection and delivery, and then sorting them all out when they come back. Plus, you pay a hefty sum of money for the privilege!

5 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

-Corinne-Orde I agree with you. I also have a Miele rotary iron. It is excellent for sheets and towels and ironing as you described above is a cinch. I also have a steam iron which also is very useful. Miele roller iron is not bulky it folds up, has a cover and takes little space. Above all I prefer ironing to be done by my kind lady who cleans my house and does ironing like I would have done it and is pennyworth. I have to concentrate on more important things as Katerinka very well mentioned.

Cheers!!!

5 months ago
3
Pat

I always say it's like a wedding - people rave about the wedding while there and having a feast but once the music and food is forgotten they are quick to find fault.

I lost superhost state on AIRBNB because someone complained about our accuracy "due to stairs" - not only are the stairs shown in the photo's but how exactly did they expect to get from the ground floor to the 1st level "where the bedrooms and bathrooms are found, with the bedrooms sharing a balcony with mountain views".

I have learnt that the best way is to respond is in kindness as I hope that future guests will be able to see the character behind the nasty remarks.

I recently had guests who simply partied - they broke a window, burnt candles directly on baths, stained my linen and wait for it, stuck chewing gum on my furniture. It is sad but at times we will get the guest who simply has no self respect and will therefore not respect your space either. I think often bookings are made purely on price and not on luxury so one should carefully consider the value adds and determine if they would increase your booking percentage and overall guest experience.

The fireplaces are a wonderful touch and I would love to add one in our cottage but for now it is a heritage site (monument) and I may not build or alter any wall or window. We removed the old coal stove (inside we are free to do as we wish) to make room for a gas stove. The coal stove is on display and again is a wonderful talking point.

For those asking to see pics - Here's a few from when we 1st purchased it until now. Pics not very good due to size but you are welcome to view on www.facebook.com/clarenscottages

5 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

Pat those 2 pictures don’t suit your cottage at all. I just had a look at you fb page. Wow the cottage is excellent. The garden, the fire pit, the master bedroom with such a magnificent mount view. I love your country cottage. Thanks for sharing your fb page which I have liked...
Its ashamed that some guests don’t respect our homes. I agree with your kindness attitude. It’s the only solution to make people understand.
Cheers!!!

5 months ago
7
Katerinka12

The angels and the rabbits are so cute. Its an excellent example for those who read this topic how not to spend on too many decorations and unnecessary things. But few touches are so important.

5 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Corrine,

You are right - anything anti wrinkle is not natural... Jennifer Aniston just did botox and everyone are discussing that, if she will be still the same - natural and having her character...

I already understood my mistake of trying to create 5 star hotel out of 2 star property. No one will pay you for such extra. If you have luxury property, then go for flax bedsheets, flux+cotton and cotton (everyone knows cotton) , but not too thick as it will be difficult to dry fast and iron. Thats why cheap places have so, so thin bedsheets!

I personally love to iron (perfectionist or what?) since my childhood. Didn't go to army... :)) However, if I will start to iron the bedsheets for my clients I will have to pay for electric bill higher than my earnings while performing my hobby and crying over nasty people and their reviews.

5 months ago
3
Pat

Thanks Katerinka - indeed a lot of the stuff I had belonged to my grandmother or was mine personally so incorporating it and keeping the cottage style made it far more cost effective. Many people see the name and angels and connect on a spiritual level which is lovely as we are often friends way before check in,.

5 months ago
3
Pat

M Adamopoulou - you are right the pictures I could upload don't do it any justice but it is limited to 2mb uploads. These are also old taken off a cellphone.

Thanks for visiting my facebook page and the kind comments.

5 months ago
3
Pat

P Jarrett thanks for that pic but unless it was a SPA TREATMENT I would run a mile. Would be looking for hidden cameras I think. A SPA TREATMENT in that would be great.....!~!!!

5 months ago
3
Pat

Katerinka12 and Corinne Orde - Our village has around 200 plus accommodation rentals in probably a radius of 10kms. I have found that people book if you offer electric blankets or just hot water bottles. They come for the experience not the sheets.... but I must say that often my reviews are compliments on my quality bedding so buy the best, present the acceptable and stress less on the wrinkles...... we will be old soon enough!!!!!

5 months ago
9
M Adamopoulou

-P-Jarrett Wow!!! Very royal bathtub!!!

In you web site, your cover picture of your bathtub is very exceptional, it fascinates you from the very first moment. I love the idea of an open space including both bed and bathtub. I would definitely soak in that bathtub all day and all night....

Happy posting....

5 months ago
7
Katerinka12

... And I would soak in that bathtub all day and all night and drink that champagne! You should provide it, right? Since it's advertised on your pictures.

Honestly, very nice cottage and rooms. There is a character of the house and yet rooms are very modern. I think it's what nowadays people look for. It will take ages to educate them on historical items and heritage...

5 months ago
6
michael beeston

nice Pat.................nice....BUT when I come I will need 2 bottles of Champagne please !!! haha My Spa is not as nice as yours but the guests love the bubbles and stuff !!!

5 months ago
6
michael beeston

Katerinka.......you are dead RIGHT..............do not go completely out of direction if it is 2 or 3 star accommodation.............Just make sure it is clean clean and everything works...Our property is 5 star luxury so the expectations of the guests are very high so we make sure the sheets/towels/fittings/ambiance is the same !!..expensive BUT well worth the effort for us..............Michael.

Pat..........a small change.can you make it 3 bottles please !!!

5 months ago
7
Katerinka12

I will repeat my story specially for new members. When we invited professional photographer, I was out of the country. Though I gave him and my house helper a lot of instructions, it didn't cross my mind that bedsheets will not be ironed. I thought that just couldn't not happen.

The reason was very sincere - "its very expensive to iron them". Which is true - electricity is so expensive here, that no one cares about ironing of anything unless it's a wedding suit :)

Normally we just fold nicely and that helps to lessen the wrinkles, but they will not totally disappear.

I was very worried if people will book my place if they would see those wrinkles that photographer made as a center of attention! If you will see the most wrinkled bedsheets ever on Booking, you should know it's my place :)

But people booked and so far no one complained. Even those who were lying in reviews never mentioned wrinkles.

Again, my place is not 5 star hotel. But it's located in the very expensive area and prime location. 6 star hotel is in 5 minutes of walk from us. They do not have wrinkles on their bedsheets (probably), but they charge 10 times higher. Something to think about...

5 months ago
6
michael beeston

Pat..........I use the shrink pic ap (download it ..its free and reduces all pictures to a great size)..I've been using it for years no probs at all.

5 months ago
7
Katerinka12

Pat and Michael, how many of your guests do actually use bath tab?

5 months ago