After being a Host for years, having thousands of stays, and hundreds of 5-star reviews, I can tell you there isn’t a magic formula. Each and every guest is going to have a unique set of circumstances and experiences during their trip that we, as Hosts, have to be prepared for.
This doesn’t mean that your space has to be perfect, but you as the Host need to be accommodating and ready to help.
What is the Airbnb Rating System?
The Airbnb Review and Rating System has definitely evolved over the years and may have changed since this blog post was published. However, here are the cornerstones that the system has always been focused on:
These are the areas that Airbnb has determined to be the points in which guests have encountered the biggest obstacles.
Each category is rated from 1 to 5 stars.
Undersell and overdeliver
Setting expectations from the beginning is the absolute biggest thing! If the expectations for your guests aren’t ever set, then there is no way for you to exceed them.
The time and thought you put into your space will get noticed! Not every guest will tell you they noticed, but for some it will be such a great surprise and they will brag about the thoughtful touches in your review.
Once you’ve had some good feedback from guests, you will be able to start deducing ‘who’ is the best type of guest for ‘your’ space.
…But make your Airbnb description accurate
By making sure that your Airbnb description gives a full accounting of your space, it will help filter out potential guests who aren’t ideal candidates.
Good descriptions include such things as: if your guests need to ascend steps and how many to get to your space, the house is old and the original floors squeak, or small oddities that could help a guest better determine whether or not your listing is the one for them.
Keep in mind the accuracy of your description is one of the main categories you’re reviewed on.
For us, for every two pros we list about our property we make sure we mention a con. The way you frame the con in your copywriting will help the guest determine if they’re willing to live with that con without making them feel like you’re tel;ing them to stay away.
For example, we have super squeaky floors in one of our 1940s buildings. We say, “This building is clean, cute, and perfectly located. However, our floors and doors creak. We call this charm.”
Improve communication time
If you have done your due diligence in preparing all the information for guests, everything from a digital Welcome Book, to a physical Welcome Book, then you should know that if a guest is contacting you it’s definitely something that needs to be a priority.
Knowing when a guest is checking in and making sure you have your phone near is a good idea. We usually one have a few opportunities to engage with our guests and these often can become a ‘make’ or ‘break’ moment that will affect the quality of your review.
And take note of what guests ask for. If it’s not an answer that you have in your listing or Welcome Book, add it! Over time, make it your goal for a guest to never have to reach out. It’s not because you don’t want to connect with them but it’s so they can just check-in and relax and have everything at their fingertips.
Find out what each guest is looking for
When a guest goes to review their stay with you, they do have the opportunity to send a ‘private message’ to the host that isn’t included in the ratings. This is a great way to encourage guests to let us know if there is something we can improve on.
Guests can have a great stay and still provide the host with valuable feedback.
This the portion of the review system that you direct them to in order to improve their next stay.
You’ll find you may have a guest stay multiple times with you!
Give your Airbnb rental a personal touch
There are multiple ways to add a personal touch to your Airbnb(s). Here are a few ways that have worked for us:
- creating a list of your favorite local restaurants and what we like to order there
- printing off a welcome book with a picture of yourself in it
- supply handy piece of advice and information to getting around the area.
You want to make your space feel as though you knew they were coming.
Go above and beyond (with service and/or amenities)
Again, there are so many opportunities for a host to make their impression on the guest. Amenities such as a ‘Forgot Something’ basket are amazing!
Regardless if you’re a seasoned traveler or not, you always manage to forget something. Forgetting something as simple as a phone charger can have quite an effect on a trip.
For this reason, each of our bedrooms are supplied with a phone charger with multiple interchangeable adapters to fit most phones.
If you want a list of all the things we provide in our short-term rentals, I created one over at my short-term rental education brand, Thanks for Visiting. Click here!
Trying being an Airbnb guest
Aside from being hosts ourselves, we definitely prefer staying at Airbnbs while traveling. We work hard all day and being able to relax in a ‘home’ is something we truly enjoy. Experiencing other unique spaces helps us as hosts to see how others are predicting guests’ needs.
Consistently being someone else’s guest keeps your mind balanced between the efficiencies of being a host and needs of a guest.
Get expert advice
Some new hosts like to have someone else take a look at their space before they publish their listing.
Having a Superhost or a seasoned Host stay a night in the space is a great way to get a headstart. The feedback you can get from experts will save you time and heartache!
If you’d like to have us over at Thanks for Visiting come stay, make sure you reach out! We love to stay with a host and interview them about their experiences.
Getting a ‘5-Star Rating’ on Airbnb ecompasses a guests’ experience from end to end. You want to make sure that your space is designed for them. This means everything from the information you provide them to the amenities you list.
Seeking the right feedback from the right guests is crucial to maintaining a 5-star rating from stay to stay. The individual effort required from you as a host will vary from guest to guest, but you always need to be ready to help. As Airbnb does it’s best to build a comprehensive review system, we as hosts need to be innovating ahead of the curve.