One thing that I’ve noticed as I’ve started hosting is that people’s reviews often parrot back the language I use in my listing.
So for example, back when the listing title said something like “Comfort and style only steps from the beach,” people would comment on how comfortable the place was.
Then I changed the first line in the listing to say something about it was a “hidden gem” because it’s behind locked wrought iron gates. (I wanted to emphasise the security aspects and frame it as intriguingly hidden rather than a pain in the butt to find and access.) I noticed a couple people then used the word “gem” in reviews.
Like you, the only thing I’ve gotten below 5 stars on is “value.” So, as my prices have gone up for the summer season, I’ve started thinking that maybe I should say something about “value” in the listing blurb – something about how, for less than the cost of a hotel room in Manly (my suburb of Sydney), you get an entire apartment with a fully stocked kitchen.
It wouldn’t be a totally fair comparison because there’s hardly any hotels in Manly, and hotels have amenities that an Airbnb doesn’t. We both provide value, just differently. And the comparison is not really between my apartment and a hotel, it’s between me and other Airbnb listings, since there’s so few hotels compared to Airbnb listings in my area.
Nevertheless, it’s an interesting psychological phenomenon that when you use a term, or highlight something in a picture, that helps to train people’s attention on it. I’ve seen that in action since they literally use the words from the listing to review me.
In fact, I have a colleague at university who does this with students – the university gives out these teaching evaluation forms every semester that ask students a standard set of questions. Some of the questions ask about things that most students never pay attention to, so we score low on those. Like, “This class meets the stated learning objectives.” The “learning objectives” are in the syllabus which students never read. Students who have no idea what are the learning objectives feel like they can’t accurately answer this question. So they just give us a 3, the median score. What my colleague Greg does is, 2 weeks before the teaching evaluations, he spends time in lecture reviewing the learning objectives and tying them in with the lecture topics. Students remember that and he accordingly gets almost perfect scores on that question, where the rest of us don’t.
The thing is, every course we teach in my department meets the stated learning objectives. (They’re phrased vaguely enough that it would be almost impossible not to.) So the only thing that’s different is that Greg tells students that he does it (he says he literally peppers his lecture with phrasing about “meeting the learning objectives”), and they reflect that back at him.
So, assuming you already provide value (and @jaquo 's tips are excellent), the question is: how can you draw people’s attention to it? We could probably wordsmith some phrasing for your listing that gets the message across but not too crassly. I’ve love to hear other people’s ideas.