The New STR Economy: The Challenges Facing Independent Short-Term Rental Hosts Today
Perhaps you've heard the genesis story...
Short-term rental kitchens are at the heart of your the on-stay experience.
For many guests, a well-equipped kitchen is one of the biggest benefits of staying in a short-term rental. Cooking meals means guests get to save money, eat healthier, and accommodate dietary restrictions – so it's not a surprise that kitchens have become so key to getting booked - and the data backs this up.
According to one Tripping.com survey, 64% of short-term rental guests opt to cook for themselves, and even more (67%) said they they averaged two or three meals a day at their short-term rental stay. A separate TripAdvisor survey found that a whopping 83% of potential guests rate a fully equipped kitchen as a top priority – even above the cost of the booking itself.
"67% of guests said they they averaged two or three meals a day during their stay."
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to setting up a kitchen your guests will love. Consider the setting of your short-term rental: Is it nestled in a culinary hotspot where guests might prefer dining out? Or is it in a secluded location where cooking is the only convenient option? Understanding your property's location is crucial in selecting the right appliances and cookware. Here are some other considerations as you decide how to set up your kitchen.
Kitchen items tend to get used a lot, and dealing with replacements can be a huge hassle, especially if you have to do it after every few stays at your property. Not all guests will handle items with the same care you would.
Consider silicone cooking utensils. They resist stains and odors, maintaining a fresh appearance over time. Plus, they're safe for nonstick surfaces, helping to extend the life of your cookware. Explore top-grade silicone options from our partners like Public Goods and Italic to upgrade your rental's kitchen.
While your cleaning team handles turnovers, they might not scrutinize every kitchen item - especially when you have a shorter timeline before your next booking. Choosing darker-hued cookware and dinnerware can cleverly mask signs of wear and tear.
Colorful kitchen essentials can be both stylish and practical. Discover a variety of elegant and richly colored cookware from Great Jones and sharply patterned options from Poketo that will look great in your listing photos for years to come.
It’s tempting to fill your short-term rental's kitchen with elaborately complicated cooking gadgets fit for Gordon Ramsay, but guests almost always prefer clutter-free spaces. Evaluate how much space you have in your kitchen and make sure all your purchases have a place to stay too.
Storage essentials: To keep your kitchen tidy, check out storage solutions from Yamazaki.
Setting up a great short-term rental kitchen is all about balancing comfort, convenience, and a touch of luxury to make your guests' stay memorable. Here's a streamlined checklist to ensure yours stands out.
Short-term rental guests rely on a few appliances to cook up simple meals (or just re-heat them). This is what we recommend stocking up on to get your kitchen ready for hungry guests
|Coffee maker (plus coffee filters and instructions)
Here’s a great rule of thumb: Provide double the number of glasses, bowls, and plates that would serve your short-term rental’s maximum number of guests. If your home sleeps 4 guests, you should have 8 plates and cutlery sets. Your guests will be grateful that they can enjoy more meals before having to run the dishwasher.
|Wine glasses (we recommend stemless, which are harder to break)
|Large serving bowls and plates
Pro Tip: We recommend selecting matching, minimalist dinnerware, such as all-white bowls, plates, and mugs. It’s a simple, smart way to make at-home dining feel more streamlined and sophisticated for your guests. A jumble of mismatched pieces will make every meal look messy and cluttered. Choosing matching tableware is also more efficient—you’ll find it easier to purchase replacements.
Start off with a non-stick pan, an essential for basic cooking, like scrambling eggs, pan-searing fish, or making pancakes. Plus, look for dishwasher-safe items and spare your cleaning team the hassle of scrubbing off your guests’ leftovers after every stay.
|Half-quart covered saucepan
|3-quart covered saucepan
|8-quart covered stockpot
|4-quart covered sauté pan
|10-inch non-stick skillet
|8 1⁄2-inch skillet
This all comes down to what your guests are cooking, so provide the tools that are used most often in recipes. A quick way to elevate your kitchen experience? Purchase kitchen utensils all made from the same materials, such as wood, plastic, Teflon, or stainless steel.
|Beer bottle opener
If you're catering to families, consider a child’s needs when stocking your short-term rental kitchen. Parents (or you) probably don’t want their children carrying breakable plates and glasses. Similar to your outdoor dinnerware, offer plastic or unbreakable items for the little ones. It’s unlikely that parents will travel with a full tableware set for their children (or bring their own high chair), so win them over by supplying what’s needed for the whole family to dine safely together.
|Dishwasher-safe plastic plates
|Dishwasher-safe plastic bowls
|Dishwasher-safe plastic cups
No guest wants to run out to buy salt or a new bottle of cooking oil, only to use a small portion and leave the rest behind. Stocking on a few basic staples will make your guests feel at home (and save them from dashing off to a convenience store). It’s a major convenience that your guests will be grateful for.
Leftovers are inevitable, so supply your guests with a few ways to store their food. Plus, make it easy for them to carry meals on the go. We recommend labeling your containers clearly on the bottom so that guests don’t accidentally take them home.
|Plastic or glass food containers
Stock your kitchen with the essentials for wiping down countertops, tables, and other dirty surfaces.
|Paper towel holder
Adding a signature appliance to your short-term rental kitchen is a great way to wow your guests and go the extra mile. Plus, you can highlight it as a special amenity in your listing description. Consider adding an espresso machine for barista-quality coffee, a wine cooler to properly store and serve wine, or a sparkling water maker so guests can enjoy bubbly refreshment on demand. On the less elaborate but still impressive end of things: it's always nice to stock a guests' fridge with complimentary beverages or snacks for them to enjoy after a long travel journey. Going the extra mile with small details like high-end appliances showcases your hospitality, makes your rental stand out, and gives guests something to rave about in their reviews.
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