Last Updated on September 20, 2023 by Rental Recon
As Airbnb Superhosts, we are always looking for ways to increase our profits. And one of the many things we have tried is installing vending machines in our vacation rentals. Unfortunately, we’ve come back with mixed results.
While a vending machine can sometimes add extra profits to your property, you need to think well and hard about the type of rental property you run and the types of conveniences your guests are looking for.
Overall, we think installing a vending machine is… generally not a good idea. Because, well, there are other ways to improve your listings and gain profits. We describe this in our article about boosting your Airbnb profits here…>>
However, if your Airbnb is in a remote location, contains multiple properties or rooms in one place, or is on the budget side we think that your guests will appreciate the convenience.
If you’re looking for a machine that holds food and beverages but doesn’t break your budget, we recommend EPEX’s Snack Beverage Combo Vending Machine.
While it doesn’t provide your guests with pre-chilled drinks it does come with an LED light which will allow you to install this outside your property so as to not affect the interior view of your vacation rental.
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Depending on your vacation rental needs, these vending machines fit the standard and are sold at a lower price than the other luxury options you may see online.
As Airbnb Superhosts, we always put our guest’s needs first. You want to make sure that your vending machine is filled with items that your guests will be happy to purchase. And you don’t want to include things that other Airbnbs in your price range include.
For example, if you’re running a luxury/semi-luxury vacation rental, you may be competing with other properties that offer tea, coffee and small snacks for free as an added bonus. Offering these items for sale may be seen as unnecessary and your guests may feel negatively about their overall experience.
The number one reason why Airbnb Superhosts like us want to install vending machines is to add a bit more money to our wallets. Depending on what you sell, you could be adding a few extra dollars per night to your rental… and we know how this can add up over the year.
But, you’ll only see profits if you provide items that your guests are willing to buy.
High-quality vending machines usually take a large up-front investment. This high up-front cost means you’ll have to consider the number of guests you receive and the cost of each item you are selling.
Like other Superhosts, many of our Airbnbs already offer free coffee and small amenities. We’ve found that using a vending machine in our mid-tier to upper-tier properties has led to negative reviews from guests, notably guests who feel like they have been gauged to spend even more money.
We’ve also found that while some guests enjoy the convenience, others feel that using a vending machine (for snacks) is tasteless and cheesy.
Vending machines may ruin the elegance of your vacation rental and guests will be offended to see one in their rented living room. But, if you have the proper space, or can put your vending machine outside, maybe this is a worthwhile investment for you!
If you’re going to install a vending machine in your Airbnb, you’ll have to make sure you have a restock plan in place. Are you available to restock the machine or will you have to add this as another task for your management team? Always make sure your machine is stocked.
Before you turn to buying your vending machine straight away, you may want to consider renting one from a vending machine company. You will likely only receive a portion of the costs, but won’t have to worry about maintenance or restock.
If you’re going to use a vending machine in your rental property, make sure to charge your guests slightly less than a normal vending machine in your area. This will make guests happy to buy from you and not offend them.
If you want to up your profits without offending your guests, we recommend stocking your vending machine with high ticket items, like cigars or alcoholic beverages.
Rental Recon Tip: Buy your items in bulk so that you can sell at a reasonable price.
Every Airbnb has different needs. Choosing the right vending machine for your rental property will depend on your location, number of units, and the type of guests you attract.
These questions will help you decide what you need to put in your vending machines.
But, if you’re looking for advice, we have some suggestions below:
If your property is in a region that has specialty food offers, we recommend adding these items to your vending machine. This offers your guests the convenience of trying the products and isn’t your typical snack machine. It will show guests that you put thought into your decisions.
Similarly to local snacks, local beer and wine are great options. They are also higher ticket items which means more profit for you, the host! Mountain regions and towns usually have breweries and wineries nearby. We recommend forming relationships with the local vendors in your area.
Consider providing things like razors, makeup remover wipes and toothpaste to your guests. This is especially important if you are running a rental property near an airport or tend to have quick one/two-night stays.
If you’re an Airbnb host that mostly receives families with kids, consider adding some toys to your vending machine. We’ve found items like small lego boxes and playdough work well and are usually enjoyed by both the parents and the children.
Get creative! No one wants to see a regular vending machine in their vacation rental when on a nice vacation. Consider your guests and choose items that will surprise/interest them.
If you’re a rental property by the beach, choose to provide beach toys or sunscreen in your vending machine. If you attract more of the party crowd, consider hangover remedies like advil and electrolyte drinks (trust us the hungover guests will thank you for the convenience).
Sure, vending machines are one way to gain profits for your Airbnbs. But, make sure to consider your vacation rental type and choose items that your guests will want to buy.
Remember, the number one thing to avoid is overcharging and offending guests. If you’re wondering if you should be including food in your rental property, check out our article about Providing Food in Your Airbnb…>>