Airbnb "Room Service Menu" wish list
June 12, 2018 9:19 PM   Subscribe

After a guest wistfully told us they wished they could have paid ahead for us to stock the fridge with a "hamper" we are looking at creating an airbnb wish list menu, to be fulfilled by my niece who is on summer break. What would be on your dream wish list menu?

So far we have:
-Wash/dry (but not fold, my niece says that is beyond her) a load of wash. $15?
-Stock "the basics" (open to input on what this is, but I was going to put in a quart of OJ, a quart of 2% milk, 4 pieces of fruit [apples/bananas], 2 small cups of low fat yoghurt, a pound of baby carrots, a package of humuus) Uncertain on price.
Armenian treats - baklava and boregs (we have an amazing local Armenian grocery store) $12
-Italian meats - prosciutto and fresh sliced cheeses (from an equally amazing local Italian market)
Spare Anker USB-C, Micro-USB or firewire cable (we provide loaner in the room but just in case someone wants one to take with them) $10
Prosecco/Champagne and Strawberries
Local-ish red wine and local chocolate

Ice cream from local awesome ice cream place waiting for them
Gelato from local awesome gelato place waiting for them


(Also very open to input on pricing. Note, niece on summer break will be doing this essentially for whatever the amount is between the actual price to purchase and the price we charge guests. This is her idea to do, not ours, so we're supportive but would like to strike the balance between charging something reasonable and making sure she gets some pocket money)
posted by arnicae to Travel & Transportation (38 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I like the idea of local treats. When I'm traveling I know enough to google a supermarket but might not find the good italian deli. You should leave the address of these places so that the guest knows where to get more!

Because I'm a cheapass and fairly picky, I'm less likely to pay for someone to pick up "the basics" since I'd probably plan to stop for groceries myself anyway since I'm in a place with a kitchen. Some other suggestions:

Tea and coffee (but I take milk in both so they'd be pretty useless without that)
Bread (especially good bread), butter, jam
Craft beer and $snack

I would not use the laundry service or the extra USB cable.
posted by quaking fajita at 9:35 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


Raise your price by $5 and never think or mention USB cables disappearing.

I think it would probably be easiest to have a few collections to simplify things. Armenian stuff, fruit and nuts, meat and cheese, sundries.
posted by rhizome at 10:32 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


I would consider:
1) Yogurt, berries and granola, $15-$20
for 4 servings
2) local Armenian treats - great idea!
3) cheese and prosciutto
4) ice cream or gelato
5) fruits and vegetables platter (note: she may buy this premade af Safeway, but she should present it in nice dishes)
6) Arrangement of juices/soft drinks

Personally I would not do wash & dry without the folding. I don’t think you should offer that unless you’re very clear that clothes won’t be folded in the end. Maybe she could take the laundry to a fluff and fold place, and charge delivery/pickup?
posted by samthemander at 10:36 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


I would also pay up to $20 for higher-end coffee (small bag is fine) and fresh half & half, fresh almond/soy milk, and fancy sugar... assuming you have a decent coffee set-up. This could be handled nicely by buying small glass serving containers, or reusing nicer small Mason jars, and refilling every-other weekend (half and half and almond milk both would last for several weekends, but you’d want things looking fresh for guests.)
posted by samthemander at 10:45 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Wash/dry

I would be very careful with this one. Some people are very picky about the many ways that laundry can go even slightly wrong and will demand replacement of expensive garments if something is damaged. Make it $10 to transport it to and from a local cleaning company plus whatever that company charges so that it's someone else's problem if something happens. Especially if your niece recognizes that folding is beyond her. And if it's part of a service that you offer, it could lead to your ratings getting damaged.
posted by Candleman at 10:47 PM on June 12 [35 favorites]


Oh yeah big no to the laundry for the reasons Candleman mentions. However I am always appreciative when places that have a washer and dryer provide detergent/dryer sheets etc and would happily pay extra to have that stuff at the ready.

I would buy basically any of the packages you mention tbh. Maybe a “picnic lunch” option with bread, deli meat/cheese, fruit, a couple deli salads. If I could get that and a “basics” package like you mention at every Airbnb I’d do it in a second, especially if I were getting in late. Oooh or a six pack of local beer and snacks!
posted by goodbyewaffles at 10:55 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


If someone's there long enough to need laundry done, they'll have been mobile enough to find a place to send it themselves. I think this is the least important fringe to provide of all of these.

Thinking about it a minute more, and it depends on your price point, but maybe each box or basket or whatever is "$10" or "$20" but all the same price. So they can just order meat & cheese every day, ice cream (plus TBD) on Saturday, granola-gurt brunchboxes for weekdays, etc., and they're all the same price. Raise your price by another $5 and just put out a tray of the Armenian stuff if this can be done in a way that doesn't feel too cultish.
posted by rhizome at 10:59 PM on June 12


Yeah, I wouldn't want to get back unfolded laundry, plus I'd come after you for missing socks. Make sure you find out how much whatever the fluff and fold place charges for delivery so that you're not charging (much) more, if you end up going that route.
posted by trig at 10:59 PM on June 12


And yeah, maybe a menu of whatever extra your niece would like to put together, more expensive stuff like picnic boxes or hiking backpacks or coolers for the waterpark, orderable with like a day's notice. This could probably become a full business pretty quickly if she wanted to deliver to other AirBnB properties.
posted by rhizome at 11:01 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Seriously, no one will pay for laundry that comes back unfolded? (Also, if the kid doesn't think she's capable of folding laundry...do not trust her with people's laundry.)

Also: COFFEE. Coffee coffee coffee. I would 100000% pay extra if I knew coffee, cream, sugar would be stocked. (Also, consider breakfast stuff -- this is what people don't want to run out to get. Milk, cereal, bagels, fruit, butter, yogurt.)

And a beer/wine/chips/snacks pack.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 11:09 PM on June 12 [7 favorites]


I think this depends on the kind of guests you get. If you normally have small families then something like a "breakfast is already handled" package would be great: yogurt, fruit and veg, coffee (from a local roastery maybe?), nice sliced bread for toast and small packets of jam and peanut butter and stuff. If you normally have couples then maybe a "quiet night in" package: bottle of wine, local deli meats and cheeses, crackers, strawberries, ice cream. If you normally have single folks staying then maybe a "picnic/hiking" package: fruit and veg, cheese, bread, lemonade or sparkling water, those armenian pastries, some protein or granola bars, all in a tote bag.

Ask your local businesses if they would like to coordinate with you on this. At one airbnb I stayed at I arrived to a lovely cloth tote bag with a bag of coffee and two ceramic mugs (to keep!) and assorted coffee accessories from a very local place that's semi-famous for its roasts, plus a bunch of other coupons for local businesses including a liquor store, a brunch place, a gift shop, a gas station and a place that does kayak lessons. This was in a vacation town off-season, so they were clearly prepped and eager for business. But if you're in a less vacation-friendly place you might have to do some more of the legwork, but you might also make some good relationships and maybe get some discounts. I imagine something like a flyer for a local wash & fold laundry service, a coupon for a local pizza joint, that sort of thing.
posted by Mizu at 11:11 PM on June 12 [4 favorites]


My mom and I regularly stay at VRBO listed properties. (VRBO is like AirBnB, but caters more to families looking for a vacation rental, somewhere to live while in a vacation spot.) The #1 thing I would want would be a stocked fridge/pantry. Milk, eggs (not a dozen), oil, coffee, butter, etc. etc. I don't want to have to be running around to the supermarket on my arrival night so I'm able to cook the next day.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 11:53 PM on June 12 [3 favorites]


At my somewhat remote AirBnb cottage, many people arrive late at night after 3-5 hour drives. So I stock for breakfast with my standard provisions being: bacon, 12 eggs, bagels, cream cheese, muffins, butter, good tea/coffee, 1/2 and 1/2, and orange juice. It works out to about $20/visit because not everyone eats everything. Other people eat it all; it's both extremes. Every package is unopened, except the eggs which sit in the fridge container, and the muffins (or other pastry) which comes in the bakery box. People like the mix and I'm pretty sure I could charge for it; your niece is on to something!

Caution: though tempting, check out whether there are any legal or insurance issues with packages that include wine/beer/spirits.

Idea: Get the airbnb/VRBO property list from the local tourism tax collection organization (faster than figuring it out from the site) and offer other hosts the program.

Another idea: she can come up with some "experiences" and sell those through AirBnb directly, which will get them in front of everyone searching or booking in your area.

The fridge tends to have a rolling complement of condiments, salad dressing, etc. which I don't track. The cottage also has standard cooking stuff around: oils, herbs/spices, baking basics, etc.
posted by carmicha at 4:13 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]


Oh and I used to provide milk and fruit, but I was throwing away a lot so I stopped.
posted by carmicha at 4:14 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


I once had an Airbnb host offer driving me to/from the airport as an upcharge - this makes sense if you expect a lot of people coming by air or rail who would rather not figure out the local bus/subway on arrival, or would rather not pay for a cab.
posted by DoubleLune at 4:19 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Earplugs. You can buy individually wrapped pairs in bulk and sell them for $1 (or more?) a pair.
Toothbrush/toothpaste for folks who forgot theirs. You can buy ‘disposable’ ones in bulk, even ‘pre-pasted,’ and give them away for lots of goodwill and perhaps better ratings.
Chocolate. Specify whichever Armenian treats come in a chocolate flavor.
Vegetarian (no animal rennet) cheese and crackers with no meat for the vegetarian crowd.
Vegetarian sandwich option.
Tea and local honey. I love local honey but tracking it down can be very time consuming. Perhaps a local producer would make some tiny jars for you?
Power adaptors if they’re needed.
posted by bilabial at 4:20 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Final addendum; a few times folks got pretty upset about the bacon even being in the fridge because it wasn't kosher/halal. Consequently, I tell them ahead of time what will be stocked as a matter of course and ask them to tell me if they have any food allergies or restrictions I should keep in mind. This has sometimes led to pretty detailed special requests, which is fine but sometimes kind of a PITA; it goes with the territory.
posted by carmicha at 4:21 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


I'm not clear on exactly how this is going to work, but I'm vegan, I don't drink, and I don't like coffee, and finding a bunch of perishable items that I wasn't going to use would bother me. So I would suggest making sure people can opt out of that. Or if you want to have a vegan option, you could have fruit, vegetables, bread, hummus, and peanut or almond butter. I don't expect people to do anything special for me, but if there were a bunch of meat, cheese, and non-vegan pastries, I would assume I was paying for something I wouldn't use.
posted by FencingGal at 4:23 AM on June 13 [6 favorites]


Just to add, commercial vegan bread isn't easy to find, so don't assume bread is vegan. French bread generally is.
posted by FencingGal at 4:24 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I think a welcome basket of local treats would be lovely. One Airbnb I stayed at in Norway had a platter of cured reindeer meat and the most amazing Norwegian cheese (geitost?). Another place in Venice had a chilled bottle of prosecco. These weren't order-on-demand, but rather a nice surprise. Price was probably folded into the booking price, but it felt like a welcome gift and more "home" like.

Milk, OJ, eggs, and other perishable breakfast items would be nice to have in a more remote location, but unnecessary in a city where there is probably a supermarket within walking distance. A picnic/hiking package is a nice idea; if your niece is going to do a menu-type order-on-demand thing, I'd focus on that. Charge $10 per person for a vegetarian or meat sandwich made on high-quality bread, a piece of fruit, and an energy cookie.

Laundry seems unnecessary (and delivering a pile of unfolded laundry to your guests is weird).
posted by basalganglia at 5:16 AM on June 13


I would echo coffee and breakfast stuff -- I would adore knowing I didn't have to plan ahead for that! Everything else you've mentioned sounds wonderful, especially having just returned from a trip where I arrived very late and was ravenously hungry. The local stuff sounds honestly delightful, and I would happily pay for all of this.

(Heh. I drop my laundry off at a local place where it's washed and dried and not so much folded as neatly stacked, and I don't mind - I have my own semi-intricate folding techniques, so it's just as easy to do it myself. I pay about $13/load, but I have learned from this thread that I'm an outlier in being cool with this...)
posted by kalimac at 5:44 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


If you are near a beach, offer a bag with beach towels, sunscreen, flip-flops (guests keep those), maybe a pop-up shade of some kind.
posted by lakeroon at 5:45 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't bother with the laundry service, there's too much room for miscommunication and mishandling.

Food is great, but please detail any potential allergens/intolerances so people can make an informed decision if it's for them or not.

Coffee is great, would def ask for coffee and tea, and the proper good stuff that you yourself would drink, not cheap dusty things.

I really like the idea of picnic lunches. Just a simple brownbag with deli sandwiches or salads with a drink and snack would be amazing.

Other wishlist items:
- Water bottles in the fridge, with choice of still or sparkling
- Not just charger cables, but adaptors too! So US/UK/Euro to whatever outlet you use in case you have foreign visitors
- Selection of local beers
posted by like_neon at 5:55 AM on June 13


One thing I often find myself needing while traveling is medicine (specifically, allergy meds for unexpected pollen.) If you don't already provide a stocked first aid kit with that sort of thing, little travel-size pain/allergy/indigestion medicines would be a nice thing to have available. I don't know how often that need can be anticipated more than five minutes ahead of time, though, so it depends on your setup.
posted by mosst at 6:31 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


A couple more thoughts:

Keep it to things you are willing and able to do at her price point. If she flakes out or is otherwise unable to provide the service, you may end up on the hook for it if it's something that you offer through the AirBnB.

Be careful also with alcohol - what you're suggesting may be against the law. For that matter, food delivery may be too or at least create legal liability for you if they get food poisoning.

Do some market research and see what the competition is and how to differentiate from them. If Prime Now and Instacart will deliver groceries, focus on what you can do that they can't (I suspect the big thing will be being able to walk into a stocked refrigerator/pantry, which I can confirm is really nice on vacation).
posted by Candleman at 6:43 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I would add a dozen (or half dozen) eggs to the basics.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 6:44 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


I'd add a lightning cable for apple devices and a six-pack of local beer.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 7:30 AM on June 13


Earplugs. You can buy individually wrapped pairs in bulk and sell them for $1 (or more?) a pair.

I agree with pretty much all of the suggestions on here, but I wouldn't charge for little extras like this. I use Air B&B a lot; when I see stuff like this on a listing it makes me feel like the host is stingy and is unlikely to be willing to respond to reasonable requests (and I am a super low maintenance guest). I'd pass on a listing that wanted to charge me a dollar for a pair of earplugs.

I'd also think hard about charging extra for basics like coffee and tea that a lot of even very budget-y hosts provide free of charge.

However, lots of the other suggestions here seem like great add-ons.
posted by tiger tiger at 7:42 AM on June 13 [14 favorites]


I think coffee and tea should be standard as well, but offer a bundle of associated perishables.

But I would absolutely love to see a couple levels of grocery stock-in, including a sort of emergency late-night meal or breakfast package to get me through until I can hit the store myself. Milk, a deli plate or ready-to-cook prepared food (like from the grocery store deli), cereal or a can of cinnamon rolls or freezer waffles. I'd pay to have Diet Coke stocked in, with a bottle or two of wine.

If your unit is in a place serviced by Instacart or Amazon Fresh or even just a grocery store that does delivery (or order pick-up), you might also offer a grocery receive-and-putaway service. I would 100% do that, order exactly what I want and pay for it, and then pay a little extra for your niece to be there, receive the order, and put it up for me.

Similarly, if you have a local place that does wash-and-fold, and I needed laundry done, I'd pay her to take it and bring it back.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:52 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


This is sort of scruffier than what everyone else is saying, but a couple of times in AirBnB's that were a little less professional (that is, there was random stuff in the cupboards), I've been very happy to find some crackers and peanut butter. (In those cases, I may have been eating something that wasn't supposed to have been up for grabs. I did think about it, but consoled myself with thinking that what I ate had a financial value of about a dollar or so.)

Anyway, peanut butter and crackers is less luxury coddling and more 'It's eleven pm and I'm hungry', but I do think it works well in that category, and lasts quite well.
posted by LizardBreath at 9:21 AM on June 13


I wonder whether or not you'll get better reception to this from providing it "a la carte" or by upping your price by $25 and just having stuff on hand. When I think back now, it was the places that were well-stocked that really impressed me vs. the ones that provided a service to me that I could buy.

Our staples were coffee, tea, sugar, cream or milk, butter, loaf of bread, eggs, and fruit - these are things that we would have to get ourselves so you would save us a first trip to a store upon arrival which is wonderful. A place also baked us some muffins which were fresh and absolutely lovely. After that, we can fend for ourselves, but that first breakfast especially if you arrive late is really nice to have on hand.

For trips involving planes and packing limitations, sunscreen, bug spray, those small toothpastes, brushes, floss, GOOD shampoo and conditioner for my wife, soap, umbrellas, chargers and adapters and granola bars/chocolates/candies were great as they facilitated me around some things. I might not use any of them if I remember everything, but if I do I will remember you provided it.
posted by notorious medium at 9:21 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


My recent Airbnb hosts were on opposite ends of the spectrum on this. One gave me two local pastries, a bottle of wine, coffee and tea, had beers in the fridge, and lots of extra towels and blankets around. The other place didn't even provide toilet paper and had a very passive aggressive sign about "not expecting luxuries beyond sheets and towels." They provided one towel and when the bathroom flooded because their shower drain was broken I had no way to clean it up.

I think it's great to have an out of the way closet for extra towels, cleaning supplies, etc. just in case your guest needs them.

Local foods and treats are the best and I would go for those. You may want to have a "menu" of items they can select from and charge a flat fee (milk, OJ, bread, eggs, bacon) because then people can pick and choose without worrying about offending or worrying people. But I'd also advise always throwing in 1-2 local treats (candy, pastries) for free. Small free items make guests feel really good.

Another thing my great host did that I appreciated was he texted me suggestions of things to do each morning. I would not always want this but on this trip it was kind of nice. You could have your niece offer a "check in" service during people's stay that they could opt in to and she could text or call good morning at a pre-appointed time (wake up service!), suggest a breakfast spot and a good activity, make dinner reservations for that evening if guests want, etc. Like a daily concierge service.
posted by sockermom at 11:21 AM on June 13


Perhaps I've just been lucky, but every AirBnB I have stayed at in Europe (UK, France, Spain, Germany) has had a stocked pantry sufficient to make a basic meal, either supplied by the owner or leftover from previous guests (or both). I'm thinking things like a packet of pasta, pasta sauce, bread/bagels. In the UK there tends to be some teabags and a pint of milk. I always tick the "place to myself" box. One time my host even picked me up from the bus station and drove me to the apartment, again for no extra charge.
posted by altolinguistic at 11:27 AM on June 13 [3 favorites]


Honestly, we wouldn't use any of that due to food restrictions and other allergies and would be turned off from renting the place if we couldn't opt-out.

A list of off-beat, non-chain restaurants, cafes, etc would be much more appreciated. Especially if they deliver.
posted by RhysPenbras at 12:15 PM on June 13


Huh, I guess I'm weird because don't have any food allergies or other requirements and I would not want/expect most of those things in an Air BnB. I'd stay in a regular BnB if I wanted to pay more for breakfast to be provided. Wine is nice, local treats are nice, olive oil and spices always good. I'd prefer to buy my own milk, bread, and eggs.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:53 PM on June 13


This depends so much on what kind of place you have and guests you get. I stayed in a couple places for one night while I was passing through on a road trip.I really appreciated cold drinks and snacks after a long drive, and breakfast the next day that I could take with me (muffins in one case).

I've had longer stays in cities where I was a tourist but cooked at the AirBnB to save money. I would have paid for someone to come in and do the dishes/take out the trash while I'm out sightseeing. Like others said, I would not want someone to touch my laundry.

Do you allow pets? Dog walking seems like an appropriate task for your niece.

If you get couples, provide condoms and lube (you can get individual sample sizes). Maybe this squicks you out but I guarantee people are already having sex in that bed anyway. Nothing worse than getting back to your room after a romantic night on the town only to realize you forgot to bring condoms.
posted by AFABulous at 2:35 PM on June 13


basics could include peanut butter & grape jelly. And bread. Yes on eggs. (Yes of course not everyone eats this stuff, I prefer not to eat it myself, but arriving late at night with a hungry family that's been traveling for hours? You bet I'd prefer to have this waiting for me than try to uber my way to a grocery store before bed.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:30 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Could she offer babysitting?
posted by CathyG at 10:56 PM on June 15


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