Updated: September 14, 2018
Three-percent of all Airbnb hosts are considered Superhosts. One of the metrics to achieving this status is receiving at least 80% 5-star overall Airbnb reviews. I hope this puts into perspective how hard and important getting a 5-star review is. It’s so important that there’s a black market for buying and selling 5-star reviews. But, if caught, you’re likely to get kicked off the Airbnb platform as both a host and guest, so I prefer going about it the legit way. Join me.
Three-percent of all Airbnb hosts are considered Superhosts. Click To Tweet
I’ll cover five points that will ensure you receive a 5-star review at least 80% of the time.
1. Set expectations
2. Send check-in message
3. Integrate the guest quickly
4. Address issues promptly and seriously
5. Send check-out message
1. Set Expectations
There are two times I set expectations. First, I make my listing clear and concise. I highlight or emphasize both the positives that will sell my listing and the negatives that will help me avoid negative reviews. After all, most negative Airbnb reviews are from guests who weren’t a good match for the property. An example I use often is stairs. I have 41 stairs to my home. If the guest wasn’t expecting this, it’s definitely not a positive and wouldn’t bode well for my review. Instead, I set their expectations by telling them about the stairs even before they book.
The second time I set expectations is upon arrival. I will let the guest know either in person or via a message that they are staying in a 5-star Airbnb listing. I let them know what this means and that if at any time their experience drops below 5-stars, to immediately contact me so I can remedy the situation. A lot of new Airbnb guests come from hotels and their idea of a 5-star accommodation is the Ritz. It’s not like that on Airbnb. A 5-star accommodation on Airbnb is getting what you paid for, having common amenities and fresh linens available, and having someone promptly address any issue that comes up.
Pro tip: Let your Airbnb guest know they are staying in a 5-star Airbnb listing. Click To Tweet
2. Check-in Message
A few days before check-in, I send additional details about the listing to the guest through an Airbnb message. Avoid providing all information up front as the guest is likely to ignore all of it, especially if they booked more than 30 days in advance. I send this message 4 days before check-in as I’ve noticed that guests start to send messages around 2-3 days out, asking for details. I prefer to beat them to the punch by sending a welcoming email first. Keep in mind, traveling is stressful, so do what you can to ease the guest’s mind.
Pro Tip: None of your messages should be longer than 200 words. If you send out one of those extra, super-long check-in messages, you need to stop doing that immediately. Your guest is not reading it, instead, they’re asking you when the question becomes relevant (ie wasting your time). Instead, consider my Airbnb Message Flow Strategy + Templates, a set of 9 pre-written, short messages to send to your guest and the exact timing on when to send it.
3. Integrate the Guest
You want your guest to be settled as quickly as possible in your Airbnb so they can get on with their trip. The electronic guidebook plays a major role here in not only telling the guest about details of the property, but it can also be used to identify nearby frequently visited locations (coffee shop, grocery store, gym), provide local activities (cooking classes, Groupon), and even help the guest with local words and phrases.
The above strategies I’ve developed over the years as an Airbnb host and property manager. Yes, it’s only 4-tips, not five, as promised. I’ve left you time to go create your electronic guidebook for your check-in message and craft the other messages you will now send to your guest.
4. Address Issues Promptly
The customer is always right, right? The guest is always right, too. The difference, an unhappy customer may not come back into your store and probably won’t leave an online review. But an unhappy guest will leave a review for all future potential guests to see. According to Airbnb, about 70% of guests leave reviews. One unhappy guest can hurt your revenue for months.
According to Airbnb, about 70% of guests leave reviews. Click To Tweet
When (not if) guest issues arise, you must do two things. One, resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Two, act like the issue is bigger than the guest thinks it is. Every guest is different. They all come from different backgrounds. They all have different standards when it comes to…everything. One guest might think a hair on the toilet seat is not a big deal and flush it, another may think that hair is grounds to have the entire house recleaned.
In another article, I’ll write about how you can talk a guest through a situation and make them more reasonable in their request. To counteract this unknown, you must act like any issue the guest brings up to you is absolutely unacceptable. If you’re just as unreasonable in your response as they are, they’re more likely to accept your proposed solution. In the example of the hair on the toilet seat, you would act utterly shocked, like it is totally unacceptable, that you are deeply sorry, that the cleaners will get fully retrained, that you will redo your entire cleaning process, etc. This lets the guest know that you are taking their issue seriously. I’m not telling you to be condescending or sarcastic. Be sincere. After all, that hair is not supposed to be on the toilet seat and it is a break in the process on your end.
5. Check-out Message
About six hours after check-out, I send a message through Airbnb to the guest thanking them for leaving the place in good shape (no matter what shape they actually left it in). I ask them to provide good and bad feedback directly through the message thread, and I tell them that I will leave a positive review tomorrow when the system allows. This lets the guest know that we’re on good terms, and they’ll be getting a positive review. I don’t want to leave any question mark in their mind as to what kind of review they will get.
The above strategies I’ve developed over the years as an Airbnb host and property manager.
What are your one tip to a 5-star Airbnb review? Click To Tweet
I know there are others out there, and I’d love to hear about them, please comment to let me know!
Also published on Medium.