It’s late 2022. If you’re a short-term rental host, you know by now – amenities are no longer an optional investment. At least, not if you are expecting your guests to leave glowing reviews. You may think the experiences guests are quickest to recall are those centered around all the wonderful things there are to love about your rental… Unfortunately, science disagrees with that theory. In fact, guests are quickest to recall the home they stayed in for two weeks that had exactly one roll of single ply toilet paper available to them. You know, the traumatic experiences. Want a complete list of amenities for 5-star ratings?
It turns out that humanity has evolved to remember the bad circumstances over the good ones, and that means your rental could indeed be standing out to guests…but perhaps not in the way you expected it to.
According to Laura Carstensen, a psychology professor at Stanford University:
In general, we tend to notice the negative more than the positive. (1)
This can be a scary realization for hosts, but don’t worry – we’re here to ensure that your rental isn’t remembered for the lack of comfort it provides to guests. We’ve listed the must-have amenities your rental needs to guarantee your guests will be fully covered, as well as those that go above and beyond. You know, for the right kind of…memorable experience. Grab that triple ply roll of toilet paper and let’s go!
We’ve divided these up by room for ease, but if you’d like a complete checklist of these amenities, you can get them sent straight to your inbox.
Keep in mind, there are a lot of items listed here, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Turning a house into a home takes time, and turning a short-term-rental into one that feels like a home might, too. Although many investors choose to fully stock these up front – or have STR stylists or property managers do it for them – you don’t necessarily have to get these all at once, especially if the rental is already listed. Just step into the role of your guests and ask yourself which amenities you need or would really like to have when you’re away from home. Even if you slowly build up to having the bulk of these available, guests will appreciate the thought behind what you do have.
Onward and upward. Let’s start with the room we often find ourselves wandering around in the most.
- Appliances (a given, but for clarity):
- Dishwasher is a major plus, but not essential
- Coffee + Filters (or permanent coffee filter)
- Coffee Maker
- Salt & Pepper
- A water filter (either through fridge or a handheld one) or bottled water
- Paper Towels
- Kitchen Towels
- Dish Soap
- Dishcloth, Sponge or Scrubber
- Dishwasher Tablets (at least 1/day for the length of their stay)
- Trash Bags
- Complete Cookware Set
- Cookie Sheet
- Cooking Utensil Set
- Dinnerware Set
- Glassware Set
- Wine Glasses
- Cutlery Set (best practice is to double the amount of silverware to max guest count)
- Knife block or set
- Wine opener
- Can opener
above & beyond:
- Bottle of Wine
- Sugar + Artificial Sweetener
- Non-Dairy Creamer (or dairy if you’re onsite regularly & can replace it)
- Breakfast bars
- Aluminum Foil / Cling Wrap
- Mixing Bowls
- Food storage containers
- Pyrex baking dish
- Large salad bowl
- Cheese grater
- Toilet Paper – don’t be stingy here. Leave a backup roll or two out for your guests – this ain’t 2020
- Hand soap
- Bath Linens (we leave out one bath towel per guest, but have a backup bin of towels guests can help themselves to if they need more)
above & beyond:
- Shampoo, Conditioner, & Bodywash
- Hair Dryer
- Cotton Balls/Pads + Q-Tips
- Handheld Mirror
- Extra Toothbrush, Toothpaste & Razor
- Feminine products
The bedroom. meow.
- For the bed:
- Pillows, obviously. But at least one per head.
- Sheets (top & bottom, please…you wouldn’t think this needs stating – however, it does. Ask me how I know.)
- Bedspread or comforter – if you select a bedspread, just make sure it’s warm enough – throw an extra blanket in the closet if in doubt.
- Mattress Protector – your mattress will thank you – your guests will, too, especially if they’re asked to strip the sheets upon checkout 😃
- Hangers – minimum of 8 per closet
- Clothes Hanging Space – if this is an owner-occupied rental and you’ve got other items in the closet, just make sure there’s plenty of room for you guests to still hang a few items, and leave them at least one free dresser drawer for their things
above & beyond:
- Blackout curtains or blinds
- Luggage rack – I prefer these in closets, unless you have the extra space
- A boxed or pedestal fan – even if you have a ceiling fan, guests appreciate the additional airflow and/or noise
- Extra Blankets
- Extra Pillows (2) in each bedroom closet, either softer or firmer than the ones on the bed.
- Chocolates – surprise me with a chocolate left on my pillow and you’re well on your way to a glowing 5-star review (yes, this does mean have a problem eating the chocolates I’m supposed to leave out for our own guests)
the general essentials + safety.
- House Manual / Welcome Guide (for a list of what to include in your guide, click here)
- Keypad Entry
- Fast WiFi
- Streaming Services (at least one) or Cable
- Washer & Dryer (or access to one, pending location / rental type)
- Laundry Detergent + Dryer Sheets
- Ironing board
- Fire Extinguisher
- First Aid Kit
- Carbon Monoxide Detector (if applicable)
above & beyond:
- Guest Book
- Febreze plug-ins
- Lint Roller
- Throw Blankets (for those who are always cold…hi.)
- Pack n Play + Sheets
- Bug Repellent
- Sewing Kit
- Games, Books, Magazines
- Location-pending activity amenities, such as beach towels, rafts, bikes, etc.
- Umbrella + Ponchos
Well compadre, congratulations. You now have everything you need to equip your rental with the amenities your guests will rave about!
And if you need help implementing any of the steps we’ve discussed in this post, we’re here to support and guide you however we can. You can schedule a free call with us here to see how we can be of service to you. Go knock their socks off!
And now, for Charli and Natalie’s Q&A of the Day
“Charli, what’s one random thing guests have left evidence of doing in your STR?”
“Natalie, that would be taking their contact lenses out and flicking them randomly on the floor. They’ve left evidence of flicking other things, too, but we won’t get into that.”
A word of advice: Don’t leave your contact lens on the floor of other people’s homes. Ew.