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 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.
I’ll cover four points that will ensure you receive a 5-star review at least 80% of the time.
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 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.
2. Check-in Message
A few days before check-in, I send additional details about the listing to the guest through an Airbnb message. 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.
3. 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.
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.
4. 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. Yes, this is the end. Yes, there are only four tips. The title has a better ring to it with five tips.
I know there are others out there, and I’d love to hear about them, please comment to let me know!
About The Author
Daniel Rusteen is a former Airbnb employee and current Airbnb guest, host, and property manager. He is the founder of www.OptimizeMyAirbnb.com, a website dedicated to helping Airbnb hosts optimize their search rankings and increase booking requests!