In an effort to continue improving our service and experience, we began providing toiletries to our guests. We are still tinkering with the process, trying to get the the most optimal cost/value basis, and we are now transitioning to a 3 piece “Mountain Escape” set that will be provided in each bedroom for our guests!

Mountain Escape
Shampoo, Body Bar, Conditioner

Overall, this cost breaks down roughly as follows…

  • Shampoo – $38 per 100
  • Conditioner – $38 per 100
  • Body Bar – $49 per 100
  • shipping is ~$33/delivery

Additionally, the usage rate is approximately 50% (not every item gets used for every stay!) so depending on the size of your home, the variable cost is as follows…

  • 3 Bedroom – $2.55 per stay
  • 4 Bedroom – $3.40 per stay
  • 5 Bedroom – $4.25 per stay

So really, what we are deciding is if providing these items brings us more value than the costs above. We ultimately decided “yes!”, for a few reasons:

  • Listing Photos – we get to showcase the fact that we provide these items in the listing photos (which will be updated over the next weeks/month). This displays to our potential renters that we are providing them with everything they need to be able to enjoy their stay
  • “Just Bring Food and Drink” – we believe there is a power in being able to explain to our guests that they just need to bring “food and drinks and you’ll be good to go!”. Often times guests are unsure of what’s provided, what to bring, and the grocery store trip before their stay becomes unclear. This helps clearly define that we provide everything top to bottom for them.

By doing this, it allows us to attract a bit of a classier clientele, which provides a few net benefits:

  • Disposable Income – The more we provide, the more we get to charge on a nightly rate. This attracts guests who have less price sensitivity and would gladly pay a premium for a more turn-key experience
  • Less Wear and Tear – When we provide a nicer home to our guests, they treat it better. For the same psychological reasoning that the Broken Window Theory ( exists, people take better care of homes that are better taken care of!

But overall, there’s a bigger question at play. How much should be provided? What’s the optimal amount? It’s a hard question to answer, and it’s a bit of a sliding scale…

I'm quite the artist

So in order to most accurately answer this question, we need to understand the variable cost to understand if we believe we’re making back that amount of money (or more!) per stay.

Costs (assuming a 4 bed, 2 bath home):

  • Paper Towels – $4.00/stay
  • Toilet Paper – $4.00/stay
  • Toiletries – $3.40/stay
  • Cleaning Difference – $35/stay (we would likely be charged roughly $35 less if we did not have the cleaners make the beds/do the sheets)
  • Pantry Items, Coffee, – $2/stay
  • Propane for Grill – $3/stay ($25/fill, lasts about 2 months)
  • Hand soap, cleaning spray,… – $2/stay

The above items add up to an additional $53 in costs per stay. So the question then becomes “are we able to charge more than $53/stay to offset these costs?” and while this is hard to directly prove (without doing an A/B test) but we can look at other homes in the area, what they charge, and I can say with a high degree of certainty that this is overwhelmingly worth it.

With an average stay of 3 nights, this means we would only have to charge an additional ~$18/night, and realistically, I would say we’re charging over an additional $100/night (as opposed to NOT providing any of the amenities that we do). In other words, $53/stay is likely earning you $300/stay!

There are also “softer” benefits that come with providing a better experience, such as…

  • Better Reviews – when we provide this “turnkey” solution to our guests, they are happy. When they are happy, they leave us better reviews. When we have better reviews, we get to charge more/get more bookings. It’s a good feedback loop!
  • Better Guests – the home will be nicer and they will treat it nicer! This means fewer “deep cleans”, less items being broken, …

So while you may see these costs come across to you in the end-of-month ledger, keep in mind this increase in nightly rate also comes across to you! So while there are some costs upfront, there’s a disproportional rate of return being passed on to you. And remember – More Money. Less Work. 🙂