The best defense against bad reviews is a good offence. And the easiest way to gain 5-star reviews is simply staying on top of the review criteria guests will be assessing us against.
What are those categories?
So let’s now break down the different criteria that Airbnb hosts are reviewed against and list out useful tips within each of those categories.
Upon the completion of a stay, Airbnb asks guests: how accurately did the photos and description represent the actual space?
Here’s 3 things you can do to get 5-star reviews for ACCURACY…
1. Not Everything Will be Pretty
Few of us live in the Garden of Eden.
Even if you have an impressive pad in a great neighborhood with amazing amenities; your place will inevitably possess some less-than-desirable features.
This is part and parcel of reality. Bar open downstairs till the wee-hours of the morning? Mattress considered to be a little more on the firmer side? Sociable roommate that likes to bring the party home?
Call these out early and help guests avoid unwanted surprises. You never know… for many people these may actually be drawcards to staying at your place.
2. Accuracy in Pictures
Include pictures that truly help a guest envisage what it would feel like to stay at your place – not just its key features and amenities.
Include at least one picture of each room that guests will have access to.
Ensure the place looks its best, but do not dress it up to the extent that a guest wonders if they’ve walked into the right home upon arrival.
3. Thoroughness in Your Listing
Your Airbnb listing is your principal mechanism for providing prospective guests with an insight into what it might be like to stay at your place.
They are yet to see it and therefore have only what they read to go by in making their choice.
An Airbnb listing is comprised of a listing name, summary, overview of the space, guest access, interaction with guests, house rules, neighborhood overview and explanations of how to get around.
Each of these represent an opportunity to provide information with great clarity and accuracy. They also represents an opportunity to mislead guests and provide an inaccurate representation.
Ensure accuracy prevails in your listing descriptions.
Click here for help building a stand-out Airbnb listing that is both accurate and results in increased booking requests.
Upon the completion of a stay, Airbnb asks guests: did the cleanliness match your expectations of the space?
Here’s 3 things you can do to get 5-star reviews for CLEANLINESS…
1. Welcome Guests to a Clean Home
Many guests will have traveled great distances to finally arrive at your place.
Regardless of travel duration, the last thing a paying guest wants to walk into is a messy place.
It may seem obvious, but clean every room that your guests can access during their stay, pay special attention to the bathroom and kitchen, and make sure towels and sheets are freshly-washed.
2. It’s Often the Small Things
Take care of the small things that show extra consideration: Dust the bookshelves, wipe the mirrors, empty the wastebasket and make room in the closet or dresser so that guests can store their belongings.
These things may feel like they’ll go unnoticed at the time, but are likely to be remembered upon guest reflection precisely because it’s often the small things that count.
3. Give Yourself Enough Time
Ensure that you give yourself enough time to clean your space, particularly when you have back-to-back bookings.
Giving your guests the ability to tidy up after themselves will be a big help, so be sure to leave cleaning supplies in your space, so they can take care of spills and accidental messes.
Upon the completion of a stay, Airbnb asks guests: how responsive and accessible was the host before and during your stay?
Here’s 3 things you can do to get 5-star reviews for COMMUNICATION…
1. Maximize the Ways they’re Able to Contact You
Let guests know how you’re able to be contacted throughout their stay.
Are you happy for them to email you? SMS you? Call you?
A natural reluctance of hosts is the fear that opening too many channels of communication is an invitation for being inundated with guest problems left, right and center.
Despite this, evidence suggests that guests are typically reluctant to bother their hosts unnecessarily. And sometimes simply providing an answer to a basic question over a call will avoid a long and drawn-out game of email ping-pong, thus actually saving you time and inconveniencing you less.
A great way to establish the multitude of communication channels available to guests is in the ‘Interaction with Guests’ section of your Airbnb listing.
2. Notify of Unexpected Changes
If something about your listing has changed since the time you confirmed a booking, communicate it in advance to your guests.
Guests are much more likely to be understanding when given foreknowledge.
If the change is substantial, offer practical suggestions for ways that you may be able to provide a temporary remedy for the change or partially compensate for the inconvenience.
Whilst this may just be common courtesy, will in most likelihood be seen as going above-and-beyond what was reasonably expected upon reflection.
3. Proactively Check-In Periodically
There’s nothing more comforting than receiving a random email or sms from your host that simply asks how everything’s going and if there’s anything they’re able to do to make the stay more enjoyable.
It will be a welcome surprise for your guest, and stand out in their memory upon reflection of their trip.
Remember too that guests may often feel that their “problem”, “concern” or “issue” is too minor to warrant getting in touch with their hosts, so getting on the front-foot and asking about anything that would improve their stay will be a welcome gesture.
Upon the completion of a stay, Airbnb asks guests: how appealing is the neighborhood (safety, convenience, desirability)?
Here’s 3 things you can do to get 5-star reviews for LOCATION…
1. Create a Guidebook
The easiest way to let guests know about the best your local area has to offer is with an Airbnb guidebook. Guidebooks let hosts suggest great local spots, like restaurants, grocery stores, parks, and attractions.
They take the guesswork out of deciding where to go to experience all the sort of things guests are typically interested in. Guidebooks leave guests feeling like they’ve been provided with insider tips that inevitably leave them feeling like a true local.
As a result, they grow a personal affinity with the local area and are much more likely to then view the location favorably upon reflection.
2. Use Your Airbnb Listing
Your Airbnb listing provides a section for overviewing your neighborhood.
Use this to detail your neighborhood’s key selling points and proximity to places of interest, key landmarks, attractions and public transport.
3. Recommend Public Transport Options
Your guests will almost certainty want to leave your immediate local area at some point throughout their stay.
Providing them with clear instructions on the various public transport options available to them will help reinforce the impression that your place is situated in a convenient spot. You’re also able to do this on your Airbnb listing.
Upon the completion of a stay, Airbnb asks guests: how would you rate the value of the listing?
Here’s 3 things you can do to get 5-star reviews for VALUE…
1. A Few Little Touches Go A Long Way
Airbnb guests are typically not the type of travelers looking for cookie-cutter accommodation options.
They are discerning travelers wanting a one-of-a-kind experience with personalized touches.
Great Airbnb hosts frequently go the extra mile and provide additional amenities and value-add’s for their guests.
These are often small, inexpensive gestures such as a welcome basket of fruit, chocolates on the pillow, basic toiletries and beauty products, complementary tickets to the local cinema or a mobile phone with a pre-paid local SIM card to use throughout their stay.
These little perks go a long way in impressing guests.
2. Provide Future Discounts
Since value is so inextricably linked to price, offering guests special offer discounts for future stays will boost perceptions of value for their current stay – irrespective of whether they end up taking you up on the offer or not.
Offering something as small as a 10% discount on any future stay, or one free night for any future stay over a week will not only increase the perception of value, but may also assist with gaining additional future bookings too.
3. Send a Thank-You Note
Remember that guests are not obliged to complete the review process.
For less-than-desirable guests, this may be a good thing. But many guests simply forget to leave reviews which can be a real pity if they had only good things to say.
Sending a thank-you note (either via email or through the post) is not only a great reminder to leave a review, but also of the value they attach to what was hopefully a great experience by an equally-great host.
Upon the completion of a stay, Airbnb asks guests: how smooth was the check-in process, within control of the host?
Here’s 3 things you can do to get 5-star reviews for CHECK-IN…
1. Getting them to Your Place
Helping guests simply get to your place is the first step in good guest stay communication.
Find out how they’ll be arriving (flight, rail, bus, driving, etc.) and let them know the easiest way of getting from their arrival point to your place.
Ensure they know how to reach you if there are any hiccups in plans, and ask if there’s anything you’re able to do to help make their arrival more effortless and comfortable.
Explain the check-in procedure, whether anyone will be there to meet and greet them, and how they’re able to get the keys and orient themselves to your place and surrounding area.
2. Have Someone Meet Guests in Person
It may not always be possible to meet and greet your guests in person upon their arrival at your place.
Depending on your motivations for hosting on Airbnb, doing this for every guest may potentially be taking your commitment to Airbnb further than you have an interest in taking it.
Despite this, there’s no substitute for the warmth and reassurance felt by having a host or someone they trust be there to physically great a guest upon their arrival.
Guests greatly appreciate having a real person walk them through their temporary home, explain in-person the various amenities and features and answer any questions they may have.
Whenever possible, this is highly preferable and will be rewarded with positive reviews.
3. Create a House Manual
A House Manual explains how features of your listing work.
Hosts can let their guests know how to turn on the hot water heater or where they can find an extra blanket.
Guests receive this information in an email once they’ve confirmed a reservation, and can also be printed and left as a hard copy for reference upon check-in or at any future time throughout a guest’s stay.
House Manuals eliminate problems by preempting known challenges or questions and ensure your guests appreciate the full range of amenities and home features available to them.
House Manuals leave guests feeling confident in accessing these and using them to their full potential.
For More Info…
This information was an extract from Get Found More Often with Better Airbnb Reviews.
Feel free to visit Padlifter’s Free Hosting Tips Blog for more information to help you maintain a 5-star track record on Airbnb and maximize your earning potential.