So you’re finally up and running, and guests are starting to book. How do you ensure that you consistently get 5-star reviews and earn that coveted Superhost status?
TIP #1: Communicate fast and friendly
Being an Airbnb host means you’re in the hospitality business. And the dictionary defines “hospitality” as “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers”. Guests are like any other customer, and they expect you to be responsive to their inquiries, questions, and needs. And they expect you to be cheerful! Make sure you have the Airbnb app installed on your phone and configured so you get properly notified of any messages, and try and respond as quickly as possible to all messages. Be friendly and welcoming. I don’t care how dumb or annoying the guests’ question might seem, your job is to make them feel taken care of! “We look forward to hosting you, and hope you have an amazing stay! If there’s anything we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask!”. Also, if you have any sort of problem, large or small, bend over backwards to apologize, and then do whatever you need to do to make it right! “I’m SO sorry for the inconvenience! …” This might entail offering a partial refund for larger problems (maybe the AC isn’t working or some other major problem), or personally coming over to fix some minor issue. Think about any time you’ve had a great customer service experience as a user, and really try and emulate that as a host. Doesn’t matter if you’re having a bad day, especially since it’s typically written communication and not verbal, always take your time and write a thoughtful and cheerful response.
TIP #2: Let your neighbors know
Especially if you’re not physically living in the same space that you’re Airbnb’ing, it’s helpful to let your neighbors know that you’re going to be hosting Airbnb guests. Let them know that you’re committed to them not being inconvenienced, and invite them to get in touch with you if there’s any concerns or problems. Aside from just being a “good neighbor” thing to do, this will also help keep another set of eyes on your property and your guests, so that if there are problems (noise or outside guests, etc), you can respond quickly.
TIP #3: Provide a guest book or a guest map
Guest books (those hardcover books with pages where guests can write a little note) are a fun little touch that allow your guests to leave a personalized thank-you, and also a fun way for them to see comments from other guests who’ve stayed in your space. You might also put up a world map and invite guests to mark where they’re from.
TIP #4: Offer a little unexpected “extra”
People love pleasant surprises, so finding some little unexpected “extra” that you can offer in your space can add nicely to your guest’s experience. This could be as simple as a little treat like some fresh fruit (we have fruit trees growing in our back yard so this is our typical “extra”), some fresh-baked cookies, some candy, maybe a few sodas and bottled waters in the fridge, maybe fresh flowers or some local flair. I’d personally avoid providing any alcohol just due to liability concerns, but we have had hosts who provided some beer or a bottle of wine and we certainly haven’t complained as guests. Use your imagination and try and find some neat way to set your space apart and make your guests feel special and appreciated!
TIP #5: Be a little obsessive with your cleaning
It’s amazing how one little stray hair that’s somehow clung to a set of sheets through a wash cycle can make those freshly-cleaned sheets look like you didn’t even bother to change them from the last guest. As an Airbnb host, hairs are the bane of my existence! The only answer: you MUST be extra thorough with your cleaning process. Shake out sheets and towels before laundering them to get hairs off of them. Inspect sheets and towels before washing them to spot-treat any stains. Use the vacuum hose in the shower and on bathroom countertops to pick up loose hairs. Inspect the walls in the shower for hairs. If someone has blown-dry their hair you’ll even often find hairs stuck to the wall or door opposite the mirror. Go over every area carefully. View glass and countertops from different angles, as sometimes spots only show up in the right light, or at the right angle. Yes, it takes a little extra time, but a clean space is probably the #1 most important element of a successful Airbnb listing. If you’re not a little obsessive about cleaning, then find (or hire) someone who is!