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HOme-away-from-HOme: Why The Holidays is Becoming the Season for Staycations

There are some people who love nothing more than to be in the comfort of their own home at Christmas. There are others who see it as a great time of year to travel and escape the snowy Canadian weather. And then there are those who opt for somewhere in the middle and want to explore Canada for their Christmas holidays.

If you’re the owner of a lodge, cabin or Airbnb property, creating a Christmas-ready home-away-from-home is the key to a successful winter season, with Christmas stay-cations reportedly doubling in recent years.

So, what is it that guests are looking for when they head away for their season’s greetings, and what are the key reasons for making the decisions to book accommodations in first place?

We spoke with some guests who opt for an Airbnb staycation at Christmas, and the owners of a Banff cottage, to find out how to appeal to potential guests at this time of year.

Christmas is a time for family

The Owen family, from Regina, Saskatchewan make December a permanent date in the calendar for a full family get together and to celebrate Christmas with their extended family from all over Canada. We wanted to find out how they manage a house-full each year!

“We’ve booked cottages and lodges at Christmas for the past four years. Our family is spread across Canada in BC, Saskatchewan, Montana, Guelf (and even in Austria!), so each Christmas we bring everyone together to celebrate.

None of us could host 23 people in our own home so by booking an Airbnb, we can all stay together and have the space to dine, relax and play games together.

It’s now become a tradition, we book a venue early in the year and by December we’ve organized a Christmas that can be packed up and transported to a ’Christmas house’.

Between us all we bring enough food for the weeklong stay, and stacks of games. We don’t tend to explore the area we’re in too much, aside from short walks nearby the cottage or lodge. We’re there to enjoy each other’s company and to relax so for us the location we choose is purely based on being central for everyone to travel to.”

There’s nothing like a lake front Christmas

The Vernon family, from Fort Frances, Ontario, make the most of having the Great Lakes on their doorstep and take to the lakes for Christmas with a view.

“We love the great outdoors and where better to create magical memories than in such a beautiful setting. We live just 30 minutes from the Great Lakes so we don’t need to travel far, but what a difference it makes to our Christmas experience being immersed in the countryside.

Six of us book an Airbnb, usually a large condo/cabin, and transport our Christmas tree, decorations and presents with us. We have the space to re-create our traditional Christmas whilst being able to head out for a Christmas day walk in the lakes, which is something we love to do.

We’re not too far from home so often other family members will come and visit us too, and this way we have the space to host more people in a setting that everyone loves.

This is our perfect balance between not being too far from home and creating truly unforgettable memories. Getting packed up and heading to a lodge in the countryside is when Christmas starts for us!”

To take you away from the day-to-day

The Tripp family rent their Banff cottage out all year round and find that it’s the change from familiar surroundings that can make Christmas extra special for their guests.

“Everyday life can be stressful and hectic, and the pressures of Christmas can often add to this. The idea of spending this magical time of year in everyday surroundings can potentially dilute the experience.  Renting a property or Airbnb accommodation is a chance to have a complete change of scenery which helps you relax, unplug and recharge.

The location is important too. Many people want to paint the picture that is depicted in Christmas movies - cozy, rustic surroundings, roaring fires, winter blankets and snow. Whilst snow can never be guaranteed, rentals in rural locations certainly provide diverse scenery and weather that can transport you to somewhere else…all of which add to the excitement.

We find it interesting that some people rent the same cottage year-after-year. Despite wanting to get away from ‘normal life’ over the festive season, people will also not want to let go of a good thing once they have found it. It has the potential to become a tradition, in within itself.”

Do you find Christmas to be just as busy for your rental property or hotel? Or are you finding there to be factors that put people off renting certain accommodation types at this time of year?  We’d love to hear from you!

Merry Bookings!

- Team Custom

Posted by Bold Apps on 16 November, 2018 Read more →

Airbnb Says Number Of Seniors Booking And Hosting Has Skyrocketed

Check out this interesting article about some recently released statistics. Airbnb says it has seen a 260 per cent growth in "experience" bookings from guests aged 60 and up in the last year. The number of senior hosts has also skyrocketed. Watch the video here.

Proudly Canadian, and family owned since 1961, we at Custom Amenities Inc have been a leading supplier of guest amenities for hotels, inns, resorts, vacation rentals, boutique hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, HomeAway, VRBO, AirBnB, BNB's and more. We offer an array of Eco-Friendly guest toiletries that are beyond the ordinary.  Our in-house designed and formulated product ranges include hotel soaps, guest size shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, bath gels and much and complete bathroom amenities kits. Each of our products and collections are designed from the highest quality ingredients with subtle fresh fragrances your guests will love. Our spa-quality formulations, biodegradable packaging, 100% vegetable-based soaps, cruelty free and paraben-free ingredients will make your property stand out from the rest!

- Team Custom

Posted by Bold Apps on 08 November, 2018 Read more →

The Must Have Guest Toiletries List for your Airbnb or Vacation Property

You may be wondering what to look for when choosing supplies for your AirBNB, Bed and Breakfast or Vacation Rental.  Well, as luck would have it, our team has compiled an amenities checklist of our top tips to use when choosing hotel supplies for your vacation rental business!

With the rapid growth of Vacation Rentals and AirBnB's, more and more property owners and managers are wondering where they can buy hotel size toiletries for their guest bathrooms.  A quick Google search will result in many companies that sell toiletries and hotel supplies, but most cater to the Hotel Industry and sell in bulk cases of 400 pieces or more.  By the time you order the individual box of soap bars, shampoo, conditioner and lotion, you could have over 1000 pieces of guest amenities that you probably won't use before it expires.  Not to mention, you must have enough storage to keep it all! 

Although providing bathroom toiletries may seem insignificant, high quality products convey a positive image about your business and show that you care about your guest’s comfort. Many people who stay in vacation rentals, are not able to check in until later in the day and sometimes they can't make it to the store until the next day to buy all the groceries and essentials for their stay.  Providing guests with a bathroom amenity kit, allows them to take a shower and get cleaned up upon checking in.  

Tips for choosing bathroom amenities: 

Size matters:

Since most vacation rentals do not have daily maid service like a hotel, the toiletries are not replenished daily.  We recommend a 35ml shampoo, conditioner and lotion and a minimum of a 20g soap bar, which is ideal for a typical guest stay.

Focus on quality:

           

Never compromise on product quality.  Small soaps and shampoos that lather great and leave your guests squeaky clean!  You only have one chance to make a first impression so make it a good one.  If possible, select environmentally friendly bathroom amenities as many guests favor eco-conscious products.

Meet your guests’ expectations:

Most guests are accustomed to complimentary bath amenities hotels provide. They may not pack toiletries thinking they are going to be available just like at a hotel.  Meet their expectations by providing them with high quality hotel amenity kits.

Stick to your operating budget:

You don't have to provide a large assortment of toiletries to make a good impression.  Our room ready amenity kits are value priced and include all the essentials to get your guest started before they can make it to the grocery store.  All kits include at least a conditioning travel size shampoo, moisturizing conditioner, luxury lotion and bar of soap. 

Consider your vacation home setting:

Just like luxury hotels have branded amenities that promote the theme and style of the hotel, you can now order hotel size amenities that reflect the style of your rental and showcase YOUR brand.

Vacation Rental Bathroom check list:

  • Toiletries: For the shower it is nice to provide a shampoo, conditioner and bar of soap.  A smaller size soap bar is a nice extra for the sink area and can also double as a facial bar.    No matter where your rental is located, a luxury lotion is a nice touch and one that guests often take home with them after their stay.  It is a great extra to provide!
  • Towels: Soft, clean towels in all bathrooms. Separate towel for the face, hands and body in every bathroom. If you have a pool, or access to a beach or lake, it is nice to provide Beach Towels. 
  • Makeup Wipes: Speaking of towels, save yourself time and money by providing makeup wipes to guests. This is an easy and cost effective way to keep those luxurious towels nice and stain free! 
  • Shower mat: A washable bath mat is recommended for all showers and bathtubs.
  • Extra sundry items: These items are not essentials, but nice to have a few on hand under the sink in case guests forget to pack them: disposable razors, toothbrush, toothpaste.
  • To make a lasting impression on your guests, stock your rental bathrooms with our eco-friendly bathroom toiletries. Our toiletries are a easy way to show your guests you have thought of everything and they will set yourself apart from your competition.

Proudly Canadian, and family owned since 1961, we at Custom Amenities Inc have been a leading supplier of guest amenities for hotels, inns, resorts, vacation rentals, boutique hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, HomeAway, VRBO, AirBnB, BNB's and more. We offer an array of Eco-Friendly guest toiletries that are beyond the ordinary.  Our in-house designed and formulated product ranges include hotel soaps, guest size shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, bath gels and much and complete bathroom amenities kits. Each of our products and collections are designed from the highest quality ingredients with subtle fresh fragrances your guests will love. Our spa-quality formulations, biodegradable packaging, 100% vegetable-based soaps, cruelty free and paraben-free ingredients will make your property stand out from the rest!

Happy Renting!

- Team Custom

Posted by Bold Apps on 02 October, 2018 Read more →

Unravelling the Mystery That Is Soap

Soap is the result of an amazing chemical process that happens spontaneously when you combine a fat with an alkali. The process is called saponification, which literally means “turning into soap.” Yes, it’s really that simple.

But who discovered this rather mysterious and magical transformation? Well, it’s easy to imagine that thousands of years ago, the first soap was probably made by accident by a group of people gathered around a campfire.

A bit of fat likely dripped into the ashes (the alkali), saponification occurred, and someone took notice. Or, maybe it started raining and people became interested by the bubbles forming near the fire. Either way, word spread about the new discovery, and the fad caught on. Soon enough, clean hands became the ‘in thing’ for dining.

For several centuries after, folks tried improving soap by combining ashes and fats, stirring it all together in a kettle, and forming little cakes. Even today, the underlying process soap makers use is basically the same. We have, however, mostly moved beyond animal fat and ashes, to palm and coconut oils mixed with a purified alkali. *We at Custom Amenities, ONLY use vegetarian friendly, 100% Vegetable Based Soaps – sourced via RSPO Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil). You will never find tallow or animal fat-based guest soaps here.

You see, the power of soap lies in its slipperiness. Soap makes the skin slippery, so dirt slides off, and that’s that. Its magic is in its simplicity. 

But beyond how it’s made, and what soap actually does, there’s one other question you may have asked yourself while scrubbing away in the shower. How do I choose the best hotel soap for my vacation property?

Here's what you should know and look for:

  • Know your soap basics. Soaps are a combination of fat* and alkaline salt (or lye). When mixed, a chemical reaction occurs called saponification -- a fancy way to say it turns into soap, which binds to grime and removes it. When fat and alkaline combine, they form crystals. Soap makers refine the dried crystals using a variety of methods including cold pressing, and machine milled.

 

  • Look for French-milled. The French invented the milling process in the 18th century and have perfected it. The process involves shredding cold-processed soap, then running it through three or more rollers to press it. Hence the name French-milled or triple-milled. This makes soap harder, so a bar lasts much longer, and milder for the skin. Because its texture is finer, triple-milled soap feels smoother on the skin, and makes a richer lather
.
  • Check the fat content. If the first ingredient is palm oil or olive oil that's a good start. Coconut oil is also a nice addition because it makes foam. When glycerin content is high, the soap is gentler.
  • Hold it together. Another test of a good soap is how well it wears down. If the bar falls apart when it's half used, it wasn't made well. A well-made soap is stable to the end.

  • Don't fall for heavy fragrance. If you are looking at stocking your vacation property with guest soap, the first thing you might do is smell it. Other soap makers often amp up the scent with heavily manufactured fragrances. But a soap's scent shouldn't overwhelm. Many natural ingredients, like almond and coconut, have no scent. If you smell coconut or something that reminds you of suntan oil, you can bet it's not natural. All our hotel amenity collections have been rigorously tested and developed with the effort to keep scents mild and unisex, (and in the case of TRUe, nonexistent) so as to make a universal hotel guest toiletry that complements your property and guest’s unique needs.

    Interested in trying some of our favorite french milled soap? We recommend the ESA French Milled Luxury Soap. These 34g soaps are the 'goldilocks' of soap bars: Not too big; not too small; just right! And when your guests go back for their next use, they're still there! The perfect size for bath and shower, but not too large for hand washing, these soaps feature an irresistible creamy lather.

     - Team Custom

    Posted by Bold Apps on 21 June, 2018 Read more →

    A Slippery Slope: How NOT providing soap can hurt your property on Airbnb

    Did you know that Airbnb has made soap an 'essential'?

    It falls under the  Airbnb's basic requirements for hosts and your performance is tracked against the average level of performance for all hosts on Airbnb. Listings that consistently fall below the average could be subject to penalties. Ouch!

    So how do you decide what toiletries to put in for your guests? Well, there’s an inventory of basic amenities a host should have for Airbnb guests, however, there’s also other items that can enhance the guest experience and elevate it from normal to special, depending on the type of traveler; business, or leisure. It’s always advisable to throw in a few ‘wow’ factor extras, guests love unique elements and little touches and it all makes for a more memorable Airbnb stay. We here at Team Custom will guide you through the process and help you impress your guests to get higher ratings.

    The basics

    Get back to basics and think of what the guest really needs. It’s important to have a contact details book including emergency numbers and the host’s number on the key for ease of communication. WiFi is now commonplace for guests and they expect to be able to get online. Clean sheets and towels are a given. Store toilet paper supplies in the bathroom. Basic toiletries should also be provided such as shampoo, conditioner, and body wash –we have a huge selection to compliment and fit every budget and property.

    Airbnb’s amenities checklist provides clear guidance on which amenities to include.

    If there’s a kitchen, washing up liquid, cleaning supplies, kitchen towels, cutlery, and dishes are vital for those wanting to whip up home meals and for keeping the place spic and span afterwards. It’s up to the host as to whether they wish to provide coffee, tea or some basic snacks for guests arriving very early or late, but these can be a thoughtful and generous addition.

    An updated first-aid kit, maps and current guides to the area with personal recommendations are always useful. Be as helpful to your guest as possible and always try and go beyond.

    For business travelers

    Business guests have different requirements, of course. An ironing board or number for the nearest laundry service are handy for organizing business attire. WiFi is vital and extra USB charger outlets. Information on transport services and taxi numbers, or free parking, is a plus too.

    However, to get certified as ‘Business Travel Ready’ there is a strict criteria. Hosts must provide an entire house or apartment listing (and the correct type, which can be checked on Airbnb). The listing must not have pets on the property and has to be a non-smoking zone.

    Business Travel Ready amenities must include: A laptop-friendly work space, WiFi, self check-in (including a key box, keypad, smart lock or doorman), a carbon monoxide and smoke detector, essentials such as in the basics section, an iron, coat hangers and a hairdryer.

    Listings must have at least 3 star rating reviews before being eligible.

    Leisure guests

    If the guests are staying for leisure, then treating the listing more like a hotel and going the extra mile with ‘home from home’ comforts and extra resources on the destination is a fabulous plan. Just like hotels, it’s all about the little touches that make a stay special and that is why guests prefer to book an Airbnb. Luxuriously soft bedding, toys for the little ones or a comprehensive guide to the city or locality with highlights, are just a few examples.

    As most families will cook, having a well-stocked kitchen is beneficial for them, whereas friends or couples might prefer local restaurant recommendations. Children will love a play space or fun items.

    The ‘Wow’ factor

    One thing is sure, a host can impress their guests much more by going above and beyond. Decor complimenting luxury toiletries, high-quality towels and bed linen, design-led furniture, free parking, Netflix, a complimentary welcome basket with a bottle of bubbles, personal recommendations and guides, fresh flowers, books and magazines – they all add a bit of sparkle.

     Happy Hosting!

    - Team Custom

    Posted by Bold Apps on 14 June, 2018 Read more →

    How to Calm The ‘First Night Effect’ In Your Hotel

    When a guest comes to stay with you they have hopes of a fantastic night’s sleep in the most luxurious surroundings, away from the hustle bustle of their daily lives. Of course, as a hotelier you want to live up to that expectation and treat your guests to an unforgettable stay. But what if the quality of their sleep is out of your control?

    From their warm welcome and in-room arrival, to the quality of their room and your customer service, your business is built upon providing a faultless experience. You create an environment that is centered upon a great night’s sleep, but research suggests that the quality of your guest’s sleep isn’t actually dependent on the quality of your service at all.

    Science suggests that when a person is sleeping in a new environment they suffer from ‘first night effect’ which refers to disturbed sleep due to being in a new place. It is suggested that the brain unconsciously remains more alert when in new surroundings which is why people often don’t sleep well on their first-night away from home.

    As the night’s roll on scientists believe that guests will adapt to their new environment and sleep better, but when guests are only staying with you for one or two nights this could impact their experience of your hotel…which doesn’t seem fair at all does it!

    We’re not here to argue with science, but we do have some recommendations that you may want to take on board to ensure your guests sleep easy and leave feeling well rested from their stay with you.

    It was all so quiet

    Noise is the biggest disturbance to a person’s sleep, are you confident that your rooms are caverns of peace and tranquility? Do ever receive feedback from guests that noise from outside, or next door, or in the hall ways disturbed them?

    Do all you can to sound-proof your rooms, even if that’s just providing ear plugs, so that noise isn’t one of the factors alerting their brain to the new environment!

    In the dark of the night…

    Most people will sleep more deeply and for longer if their rooms are kept dark from street lights, car lights or the rising sun. Do you have nice thick curtains or blackout blinds in your rooms? If not how about providing eye masks at least to keep your guests sleeping soundly?

    Lay your head and catch some zzzz’s

    Pillows can also have an impact on the quality of a person’s sleep so be sure to provide extras so that your guests can tailor the bed to their usual set-up at home.

    Did you know that people require different types of pillows dependent on whether they sleep on the front, back or side? Offer plenty, and varieties of pillow types and sizes if you can, so that guests can feel at home.

    Soothing scents

    Aromatherapy scented pillow sprays, plug-in air fresheners, candles, bath soaks and incense sticks will all create a soothing environment for your guests, helping them wind-down before they head off to sleep.

    The best scents to aid a deep sleep are said to be: Lavender, Chamomile, Bergamot, Jasmine, Rose.

    Remember, this won’t be every guest’s cup of tea, so you may want to offer these as an in-room amenities option rather than create a fully scented hotel!

    Sleepy sounds

    Some people opt for restful sounds to help them to drift off so why not provide this for your guests? A bedtime playlist could be quirky extra that your guests will remember!

    Whether it’s a chill music playlist, or an in-room app like ‘Calm’ which provides a selection of soothing sounds like natural noises, short stories and meditation, this technique could help your guests to nod off no problem.

    Do not disturb

    If all else fails, and despite your best efforts, the first night effect strikes, then make sure your guests won’t be disturbed if they’re in need of sleeping in or an afternoon nap.

    Provide do not disturb signs and their room can be their home-away-from-home to settle in to and rest up.

    Happy Dreaming!

    - Team Custom

    Posted by Bold Apps on 31 May, 2018 Read more →

    Top 8 Common Mistakes of Airbnb Host

    Did you know that a mere 6.8% of all Airbnb hosts become Superhosts?

    As it turns out, there are a lot of commonly made mistakes which the remaining 93% of Airbnb hosts make, that can result in them failing to maximize their occupancy rate by as much as 99%!

    The opportunity cost of not maximizing your host potential is substantial. With this in mind, we’ve decoded the top 8 mistakes that Airbnb hosts make which are preventing them from unlocking their full hosting potential. Read on...

     

    1. Airbnb Listings are Poorly Written or Incomplete

    A lot of Airbnb hosts rush their listings and it ends up costing them a lot. While you may want to get your listing out there as quickly as possible, so you can start booking guests, it’s much more important to ensure that your listing is complete and the information well thought out. Make sure your calendar is updated, your prices are reflective and competitive for your area, you’ve included a full list of all the amenities in your listing, updated your guidebook and chosen the perfect photos. Only then are you ready to activate your listing!

    1. Pricing Strategy is Missing

    Would you start a business without a financial plan and strategy? Likely not so why would you do this with your Airbnb listing? Running an Airbnb business can be complex when it comes to pricing your listing correctly. As an Airbnb host, you need to ensure you understand the nuances of pricing subtleties. The biggest mistake you can make is to keep your pricing the same all the time. Weekends, holidays and special events require higher pricing than weekdays. Depending on your location, certain months will support higher pricing compared to other months. A ski chalet in the winter will command high prices whereas, in the summer and fall, the pricing needs to be priced down to stay competitive. Be responsive and adjust prices regularly, especially if you notice that prices are fluctuating up or down in your area. Another bonus to changing and updating your prices regular is that it improves your Airbnb SEO.

    1. Hospitality, not just Short-term Rental Business

    Being a great Airbnb host is all about hospitality. You need to ensure your answers to your guests are prompt and clear. But you can’t just stop there. To be a great Airbnb host, you need to go the extra mile – surprise your guests in a way that will blow them away. Leave a nice bottle of wine and/or fresh flowers. Add a welcome card to the arrangement with a customized message and your guests will start their trip with a great impression. Your guest coming for an anniversary or birthday? Surprise them with a small cake or a box of chocolates. These are the things that make you stand out as a Superhost, not just another Airbnb host.

    1. No Research on Competition

    Know your competition and adjust your listing accordingly. Is there something your competitors are doing that guests love? Adopt their strategy and add your own personal twist to it. Do you know how much your competitors are charging? Do they have a higher cleaning fee or other additional costs in their listing? Perhaps they offer more perks such as free breakfast, a transit pass or a case of beer for each guest. Know exactly how you stack up against your competition and use that information to be a better host.

    1. Terrible Photos or No Photos

    Pictures sell – it’s that simple. When guests can’t see your listing in person, they are completely relying on your photos to determine if your listing is the right place for their stay. Bad photos result in low occupancy and no photos mean you likely won’t get any bookings. Airbnb offers free photography services to Airbnb hosts in most cities. If your city doesn’t have it, it’s still worthwhile to have professional photos of your listing. There is an upfront cost but you will quickly realize that your investment in the photos will result in returning your money many times over when you start getting more bookings.

    1. Not Using Filters

    Airbnb allows hosts to use many filters to control who books with them. Unfortunately, not all hosts use these tools despite how useful they are. Maximize your bookings by setting a 3-day minimum stay so that you don’t have a situation where guest books a 1 night stay on Saturday, leaving no chance for Friday through Sunday to be booked, especially during long weekends and holidays. This is an important tool to help prevent inefficient bookings.

    1. Handling All on Your Own

    There’s a reason that professional services for Airbnb exist – they’re professionals. That means they will provide their services based on professional standards. One of the most common mistakes an Airbnb hosts make is when they start cleaning their listings on their own. Chances are, they likely won’t clean as quickly or as thoroughly as a professional will and this will likely affect a guest’s experience at their listing.

    There is so much an Airbnb host can outsource and relieve yourself of the headache of dealing with – cleaning, key exchange and trying to manage multiple listings on multiple platforms.  There are companies out there that can provide a comprehensive means of handling your communication with guests, scheduling cleanings and much more. So, save your time for drinking margaritas or doing Netflix marathons and manage your Airbnb accounts easily.

    1. Not Asking for Reviews

    Don’t be embarrassed to ask for reviews. Guests are much more likely to leave a review if an Airbnb host asks them to. If your guests have a great stay, they are even more likely to leave a review without you asking, which is why it’s critical that you go above and beyond for your guests. Of course, the very worst thing you can do is not ask for a review.

    These are by no means an exhaustive list of mistakes that Airbnb host can make. We hope that by sharing the most common ones, you can avoid the pitfalls of these mistakes and become a better host so that you can maximize your bookings.

     

    Posted by Bold Apps on 25 April, 2018 Read more →

    Why Our Customers LOVE Ordering Online From Custom Amenities.

    Since Custom Amenities first launched online ordering in 2013, this easy and convenient method of buying your hotel amenities has proved so popular that today a large level of Custom Amenities’ business is done online. But if you still prefer to use the telephone, don’t worry – we have absolutely no plans to phase out telephone ordering.

    However, you might like to try out our website too, just to see how simple and efficient it really is.

    Here are the top 10 reasons our customers love online ordering:

    • Special Offers.Log on to our homepage regularly, and you’ll see we’re constantly offering specials which you can take advantage of on all sorts of different products. And if you sign up for our regular emails, you’ll receive notifications of all the latest offers straight to your inbox.

    • Saved Shopping Lists.You don’t have to complete your online order all in one go. Just log on and add items to your shopping cart whenever you think of them, and then complete and place the order when you’re ready. 

    • Free Shipping over $400. You asked, and we delivered! Custom Amenities offers FREE Shipping on orders over $400.00. Stock up in bulk and take advantage of the savings.
    • 24 Hour Shopping.We’re open even when we’re closed, so you can order supplies in the middle of the night, on Sunday morning, anytime that suits you.
    • Convenience.With online ordering, there’s no driving to the wholesalers, or even sitting on the phone with a long shopping list beside you. Just a few clicks, and next thing you know the whole order is right there on your doorstep.
    • Eco Friendly.Ordering online is greener than visiting a store because it saves all the energy involved in running a shop, transporting goods to the shop from a central warehouse, and then the customer driving to the shop. We have one single distribution warehouse, where your goods are sent direct to you.
    • Small, Local and Canadian.When you buy from Custom Amenities, you’re supporting a small independent business. Over 57 years we’ve grown to become one of Canada’s most reliable sources for hotel toiletries and supplies; and that’s largely thanks to loyal customers who come back again and again.
    • Big Capabilities.We supply everyone from small B&B’s to corporate hotels, from coast to coast and every prairie in between. Custom Amenities has the experience, systems and infrastructure to handle the demands of the largest international hotel chains, and we have developed strong relationships with our contacts across Canada to ensure that we give first class planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing, procurement, and logistics management. Order online from your central Head Office, and we’ll manage all your delivery distribution, times and frequency for you.
    • Live Chat.While you’re ordering online, you can message one of our Customer Services team any time you need extra information or help.
    • Blog.While you’re on our website, explore the Custom Amenities Blog. You’ll find all sorts of useful information here, from industry insights to cleaning tips, along with a healthy dose of light entertainment too.
    We’re proud of the ease and efficiency that our online service offers, so if you’ve never tried it before, why not place your first online order today?

      -Team Custom 

      Posted by Bold Apps on 18 April, 2018 Read more →

      Don’t be grubby, LET’s Get Scrubby!

       

      It’s that time of year again. The snow is melting, and signs of life are beginning to re-emerge. Days are getting longer and there’s the promise of warm weather vacations around the corner.

      It’s around this time of year that most of us get the itch to sweep out the cobwebs and do a complete top-to-bottom clean of our homes. This season, don’t let that urge stop at your primary residence! Deep cleaning is also a great idea for your vacation rental home.

      Even if your property is being cleaned on a regular basis by your housekeeping company, you should do a deep clean at least twice a year to keep your home in great condition for your guests. And spring is an ideal time to give your property some TLC and make sure it’s ready for the busy summer travel season.

      To get an idea of what a thorough spring cleaning should involve, we’ve found the top 8 focus points to do during a deep clean. So, without delay –

      Don’t be grubby, LET’s Get Scrubby!

      And remember, if you’re worried about the additional cost of a deep clean, consider this:

      Schedule your cleaning to take place right after guests check out so that it’s still dirty. It saves you a little bit of money because you’re not paying for someone to come in and clean it again right after it’s been cleaned.

      SHAMPOO OR STEAM CLEAN THE CARPETS

      Steam cleaning your carpets is extremely important for vacation rentals. It’s not just you and your family using the vacation home – additional guests (and pets, if you allow them) contribute a lot of extra wear and tear.

      Homes in the mountains that are near ski resorts take a beating as guests track in sand, salt, and snow on their boots throughout the winter. Carpet cleaning lifts those stains so your place is fresh and ready for summertime visitors.

      WASH THE WINDOW TREATMENTS

      Dust and allergens collect in your window treatments year-round. Make sure your guests can breath easy by taking down your drapes, curtains, and blinds to wash them at least once per year to reduce those irritants. This is even more important if you have windows near your kitchen or dining room because it’s likely there’s residual cooking grease on the curtains as well.

      But if you use plastic blinds in your home, you might want to replace them once a year rather than washing them because it’s difficult to clean them thoroughly.

      REMOVE AND CLEAN ALL LIGHT FIXTURES

      There’s nothing that gives guests the sensation that a home has been neglected more than a dirty light fixture. When you switch on the light only to see dirt and dead bugs collected at the bottom of a globe light in the kitchen, your guests will no doubt get the impression that your property is a little worse for the wear.

      During a spring clean, take all light fixtures down and wash them out to prevent any grime from building up. Replace any burnt out bulbs along the way and replace the fixtures spic and span. Your guests will greatly appreciate it.

      CLEAR THE VENTS

      Remove the covers to clean the vents for your HVAC and bathroom exhaust systems. Clean any dust that’s collected along the grates and replace filters that look old and dirty.

      The longer you put off deep cleaning tasks, the more things start to come unraveled. The dull dirt continues to build over time. Your reviews go down. The property is no longer appealing.

      A clean vent air isn’t something guests regularly notice and mention in a positive review, but a dirty one is something they are likely to mention in a negative review.

      CLEAN OUT THE KITCHEN CABINETS AND DRAWERS

      Remove everything from your cabinets and drawers and give them a thorough clean, inside and out.

      Dust, crumbs, and stray hairs have a way of collecting in those dark corners, and spring cleaning is a great opportunity to do a thorough scourge to make sure everything is sparkling clean.

      When you have everything out, you should also do an inventory check. Run through all of your silverware, utensils, cookware, glasses, and table settings. Make sure everything is accounted for and that you have enough supplies to accommodate the number of guests your property sleeps.

      MOVE MAJOR APPLIANCES

      Pull out your stove, refrigerator, washing machine, and dryer so you can clean behind them to clear away any dirt or debris that’s stuck back there.

      While you’re at it, scrub down all surfaces on your appliances – especially those in the kitchen. Oven warming drawers should be taken out and cleaned thoroughly, and you should run a cleaning cycle on the oven to clear away any leftover cooking debris. You’ll also want to dismantle the shelves and drawers in your refrigerator and freezer so you can wash them to remove any built-up ice or spills.

      TACKLE TIME-CONSUMING BATHROOM CLEANING PROJECTS

      Most bathroom cleaning items will be taken care of during routine cleanings. Toilet scrubbing, mirror wiping, shower cleaning, and supply replenishing should be handled after every guest checks out.

      However, there some tasks that will take more time to do and fall outside the boundaries of what’s covered in a typical cleaning.

      For instance, if your property has a jacuzzi tub, it can take about 45 minutes to clean each tub. You have to remove all of the jetted components, then soak and clean them, in addition to running a cleaning cycle through the lines. These in-depth cleaning jobs are important for keeping your property in good working order, and they should reduce the need for more expensive maintenance down the road.

      Now that your bathroom’s deep clean is done, it’s time to order and restock your favorite bathroom amenities from Custom Amenities. Continue with your favorite amenity collection or try something new for the season. And if you are tired of washing and replacing soiled linens, order a case of makeup remover wipes and start saving money in your bathroom budget. 

      DEEP CLEANING IS PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE

      Remember, deep cleanings can have a huge impact on a vacation rental’s performance.

      A vacation rental is a long-term investment. Think of it in terms of a vehicle. You have to regularly change the oil. You have to put new tires on the car. You have to change the brakes in order to keep your car running.

      If you keep your property in great shape and conduct deep cleans a couple of times per year, you’ll protect your investment.

      The reality is, you are going to have to spend some money out of pocket for a deep clean, but it’s a short-term sacrifice for a long-term gain.

      The good news is that a well-maintained property is going to get better reviews, earn more bookings, and make more money in the long-run.

      Did we miss any deep cleaning tips? Have something to add? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

      Posted by Bold Apps on 12 April, 2018 Read more →

      What Is Value?

      

      When somebody describes a hotel, an Airbnb, or a lodge where they recently stayed, as ‘great value’, what do they actually mean?

      Most people will agree that ‘good value’ doesn’t simply mean paying less or *gulp* ‘cheap’.

      It’s more about ‘what you get for the money you pay’, and this is what makes it all a bit tricky. Because the ‘what’ is often different from one customer to the next.

      For instance, a business traveler is probably more likely to measure value in terms of things like the availability of parking, Wi-Fi and a decent breakfast than they are by the quality of the shampoo you provide, or the thread count of the sheets; whereas for a couple on a romantic getaway it may be completely the reverse. And aside from the tangibles, it’s almost a guarantee that all your guests will place significant importance on receiving great service from helpful and friendly staff when it comes to assessing value.

      Define Your Customer Personality

      So, it follows that some things are universal, and others vary according to customer personality. Carefully researching and considering the question of how your own customer personality define value is undoubtedly time well spent, as it will inform your decisions around the optimum standards of quality and service you need to provide to generate the level of satisfaction which will feed your reputation and customer loyalty.

      Whilst spending a few pennies extra on a slightly higher than average quality of guest toiletries could be completely wasted on some customers, it may also be crucial in attracting and retaining others, and therefore well worth the money.

      Equally, try to think of the additional value of providing, say, a loofa or bath soak on the bathroom hospitality tray, if you are in, say, a ski town. (Winter in any region is drying and exfoliation and relaxing are always in high demand.) Try not to think of this as an expense which could easily be avoided, but as the investment required to get a five star review instead of four stars.

      What Really Matters to Your Guests?

      Apply this approach to the food, the bed linens, the face clothes (better yet, read about the savings on towels with makeup wipes), the décor, in fact to every single aspect of the overall experience which matter to your guests, and you’ll quickly find yourself on an upward spiral. But take note of the phrase ‘which matter to your guests’, for this is the key to getting the balance right. It’s easy to throw money at every single aspect of your business, but you’ll soon price yourself out of the market. So, find out what really matters to your own customers by simply asking them about their stay, and pay special attention to the clue that often comes after the ‘but’. “The room was absolutely lovely, but a feather pillow would have been a nice touch”; “Breakfast was delicious, but I do like freshly ground black pepper on my eggs.”

      Paying close attention to the level and type of value you want to create, balanced with the cost and effort of achieving that level, sets you on a path towards continually staying ahead of your competitors in terms of value rather than joining the race to the bottom in terms of price – and who wants to go there?

      Branded Amenities is the one stop shop for Canada’s hospitality supply needs, so feel free to browse our huge selection of quality products and amenities – discover more and visit our home page.

      Posted by Bold Apps on 28 March, 2018 Read more →
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