The Best and Worst Airbnb Purchases According to Hosts

Best & Worst Airbnb PurchasesWe recently asked 33K hosts to tell us their BEST and WORST Airbnb purchases since they began hosting.

Some are obvious and some are surprising.

We’ve curated a few of the most frequently mentioned items here.

Airbnb Purchases to Directly Increase Revenue Potential

airbnb futonNothing gives you a more immediate return on investment than a purchase to increase your occupancy capacity.  If you suddenly can sleep 4 instead of 2, you permanently increase the revenue potential of your Airbnb listing.

  • Best Purchases: Items that permanently expand your occupancy capacity.
    • A simple futon couch or sofa mattress that can double as a full-size bed (sleeping 2).
    • For those with even more available floor space, consider also getting a quality airbed that guests could bring out, pump up, and sleep on.  These two purchases alone could turn a 1-bedroom unit that normally sleeps just two guests into a 1-bedroom listing that could now sleep 4-6 guests.  Smaller groups looking for good value won’t mind being in a cramp cozy arrangement.  You may not want to invite up to 6 guests for a small space though but if you have the room, these are easy upgrades that pay immediate dividends.
    • If you’re space challenged, consider space-saving occupancy expanding options like this daybed and trundle combo.
  • Worst Purchases: Cheap airbeds that “leaks after a few uses” or “causes back and neck pains for guests.”  You don’t want either of those.  If you’re going to provide it, get something reasonably comfortable and reliable so you don’t have to replace it often or get guest complaints about back and neck pain.

Pro Tip for Rollout Sofas: Most rollout sofa couches have horribly uncomfortable spring mattresses.  Consider replacing with a memory foam alternative to improve sleep experience for guests.

Pro Tip for Airbeds: Consider purchasing a simple bed frame to elevate it off the ground to improve the guest experience. Here’s one that even folds and hides away nicely.

Airbnb Purchases to Free Up Your Time

While not all purchases will have a direct impact on your Airbnb revenue or profits, some purchases could save you precious time.   According to hosts, here are their best and worst purchases when attempting to be more efficient with their hosting.

  • Best Purchases:
    • Smart locks and combination locks to automate check-ins and check-outs to make life easier for both host and guest.
    • Dishwasher. Especially if you’re doing the cleaning and prep for the turnarounds in between guests, giving an option for guests to load dirty dishes into a dishwasher will save you time for every turnaround.
    • Shoerack. Either outside the house or immediately inside the main entrance. Giving guests a place to store their dirty shoes will minimize them bringing dirt into the house and save you time on cleaning.
    • Storage Locker.   It can be a real headache figuring out how to deal with early arrivals and late departures. Having a storage locker for their belongings is one of the best solutions.
    • Mattress Covers.  Guests have accidents. Some like to drink and eat on beds. If you’ve spent hundreds (or even thousands) on a great mattress, you better protect your investment from accidents and even bed bugs and you from the hassles of having to clean or replace.
  • Worst Purchase: Costly to update purchases
    • High production, physical guest guides.  They’re limited in their usefulness (i.e. they stay in the property) and is costly to update. Opt for digital options instead.

Airbnb Purchases to Reduce Operating Expenses

A dollar saved is a dollar in your pocket.  You don’t necessarily have to increase your revenue to keep more money in your pocket.  You can reduce your operating expenses. Here are some purchases that can help you save on costs over the long run.

  • Best Purchases:
    • Solar power in very hot or very cold climates.  Take a hard look at the bills going to electricity to keep the air conditioning on or going to gas to keep the heater on and then look at the cost of either acquiring solar panels or a solar heater.  In the right markets, savings can pay back within 12-24 months with extra profits to be had thereafter.
    • Super-sized washer and dryers to increase load sizes and reduce the number of washes needed.  For larger units catering to large groups on longer stays, this could cut the number of loads in half simply by doubling the washer capacity. The capacity between the small and larger options can be twice the capacity–meaning half the loads for every wash!
    • Smart thermostats to limit energy use when guests are out of the house.  Guests often forget to turn off the air conditioning or heater when leaving out for the day, which leads to significant energy costs.  Using a smart thermostat can allow you to remotely control energy use when you know guests are out of the house.

Other Best and Worst Airbnb Purchases According to Hosts

Some purchases may not improve your revenue directly by getting you more bookings or save you time as a host. But you should still consider identifying and making these purchases if they could noticeably improve the overall guest experience of your listing.  Improving guest experience means better ratings and better ratings can translate to higher search rankings and more bookings in the future.

  • Best Purchases:
    • High-quality sleep products. Pay the few extra dollars to deliver a great sleep experience, your guests will thank you for it.
    • High-quality towels. Go big and go thick.  For high touch items like bath towels, spend the extra few bucks.  A think and harsh towel can dampen an otherwise great stay.
    • Other Amenities. These are specific to certain listings.  See if you could identify any opportunities to add a differentiating amenity for your unit.
      • A firepit for guests to roast oysters in the backyard.
      • A chalk wall for the artistically included guests
      • Complimentary firewood
      • Claw-foot tub that appeals to female travelers
      • Bar and stools refurbished off Craigslist. “After repainting the stools, the bar looks fabulous! People send us photos of themselves having a cocktail at the bar before heading out for the evening”
  • Worst Purchases: Anything your guests won’t likely notice or appreciate.
    • Expensive TVs.  Unless you’re hosting an extra large luxury listing, there’s no need to overspend on a TV.  You do need one, but you don’t need to have an expensive one.  See some of our recommendations cost-effective TV’s here.
    • Any expensive wall art. Unless the selling point of your listing is to sleep among expensive wall art, do not pay for expensive wall art. Your guests will not notice them or appreciate them and you risk having them accidentally damaged.
    • Glass anything. Glass breaks.  Not only is it costly to replace, but it adds additional injury risk to guests.  Opt for shatterproof options instead.
    • Soap bars. “Messy and have to replace often.” Opt for shower gel dispenser instead.

What were your best and worst purchases as a host? Tell us below!

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