Believe it or not, listing and hosting your space on Airbnb is hard work. It might seem like all you have to do is make the bed and leave the keys under the mat, but the truth is that becoming a successful Airbnb host requires a lot of planning and hard work.
If you’re just getting started as a host, it’s difficult to know how to make your listing stand out, how to get your first few 5-star review, and how to achieve superhost status. This guide will teach you everything you need to know to become a perfect Airbnb host.
The first step to becoming a host is to create a listing for your home. But, in order to make your listing stand out enough to earn bookings, you will need to put a little effort into it. Remember, The best listings paint guests a picture of what it will be like to stay there. 100 percent. Before you post your very first listing, make sure it includes the following.
High Quality Photos
Airbnb guests love photos. Think about the last time you booked a hotel or hostel. You probably looked at all of the photos to get a feel for the location. Add several high quality photos of your listing that highlight what makes it unique. Make sure you photograph all of the bedrooms, bathrooms, any additional rooms, and some exterior areas as well like a porch or deck. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get good photos. Just make sure there’s lots of light and your photos present an accurate representation of your Airbnb listing.
Airbnb gives hosts up to 500 characters to provide a brief summary of their space. In addition to the summary hosts have additional space to include details about what guests can access (think pools or a clubhouse), about the neighborhood, or your interaction with guests. Only about 30 percent of hosts even bother to fill out these sections, so you can get a leg up right away by offering an informative and welcoming property description.
The most common complaint from unsatisfied guests arises when something is not communicated to them prior to their stay. If you set clear expectations upfront, you’ll avoid a lot of headaches and heartburn down the road. Some people need more explanation than others, so err on the side of a thorough explanation.
Before new guests can book your Airbnb, they must first agree to the house rules you set. You can customize the house rules or simply choose from Airbnb’s list of yes or no questions.
- Suitable for infants
- Suitable for children
- Suitable for pets
- Smoking allowed
- Events or parties allowed
Giving very specific house rules might seem a little uptight at first glance, but in the end it helps you manage expectations for your guests, avoid disagreements, and prevent property damage. After all it’s your house and visitors should be expected to follow your rules.
Before you can finalize your listing, Airbnb asks several questions about the availability of your listing. This is helpful for hosts who are only renting out their space seasonally. You can also customize how much notice guests will need to give you to book and to cancel, as well as the minimum and maximum number of days they can stay. Planning out your listing’s availability will prevent you from having to cancel a booking last minute and paying a fee.
After guests have thoroughly reviewed your listing and decided to stay with you, Airbnb will put you in contact with them through the platform, and you’ll receive their request to book you home. Unless you’ve turned on instant booking, you’ll have the option to approve or deny their request.
Once you’ve accepted their request, take this opportunity to tell them thank you and introduce yourself. Give them a phone number to call or text when they have questions. Once you’ve made contact with the guests, ask them if they have any special requests or needs for their upcoming stay.
Airbnb tracks your response rate (number of reservations you respond to divided by the total number of reservations) and your average response time (how long it takes you to respond to reservations) for the last 30 days. These numbers tell potential guests if a host is unresponsive and how much help they would be if you got locked out in the middle of the night, so great customer service for current guests can affect your ability to earn future bookings from other guests. .
Since guests have only paid a deposit, the booking is not a sure thing. It’s important to reassure guests and get them excited for their stay. Any awkward or unpleasant interactions with the host will likely lead to cancellations and, ultimately, fewer bookings.
From the moment that guests arrive at your property, the experience should be designed to delight them. That means everything from clear, easy to follow check in instructions to small, unexpected touches of comfort, convenience, and luxury throughout the home.
Successful Airbnb hosts are like skilled waiters — proactive , knowledgeable, and nearby when you need them. Offering your guests a 5-star experience will generate 5-star reviews which, in turn, will make you more likely to book your property in the future!
During the Stay
It can be confusing to stay in an unfamiliar home in a brand new city. Try to make your guests feel as comfortable as popular by covering all the basics. Make sure your Airbnb listing is well stocked when it comes to toiletries, clean sheets, and towels. It’s helpful to think of all the things hotels typically provide and double check that you’ve provided your guests the same kinds of amenities and creature comforts.
Another way to help guests feel comfortable is to give them a guide to your home. Leave it in plain sight on a kitchen table or in an entryway. This guide can include frequently asked questions like the WIFI password, how to work the remotes, and instructions for adjusting the A/C.
If you really want to score some points with your guests, surprise them with some basic snacks in the pantry, beach toys (where applicable), or wine upon arrival. If you’re advertising your home as kid-friendly or pet-friendly, consider leaving some appropriate toys, or a porta-crib for babies. These little things can leave a lasting impression on your guests.
The check-out process should be just as smooth as checking-in. Create a checklist for guests to follow so they know exactly what to do. If you have any special instructions for locking up your Airbnb listing, make sure you explain it clearly to guests and document it somewhere in the house for them to refer back to regularly.
If you want check-out to run smoothly every time, try testing it out with friends or family before you publish your Airbnb listing. What might seem like common sense to you, could be confusing to someone who’s staying at your house for the first time.
Finally, ask guests to leave an honest review of their stay.Airbnb is built on trust. As much as you want to take care of your guests, they want to take care of your home. By trusting one another and being respectful, you’ll avoid bad reviews or horror stories, and set the stage for positive reviews.
How to Become A Superhost
A superhost is an Airbnb host that has consistently exceeded guest expectations, and has the stellar reviews to prove it. Superhosts receive a profile badge on the site, in order to “highlights the people who are most dedicated to providing outstanding hospitality”. Unofficially, a Superhost badge communicates to potential guests that they are guaranteed a pleasant stay at your property, giving you a leg up on the competition.
The path to becoming a superhost starts with getting great reviews. Great reviews come from exceptional Airbnb listings. Here are a few ways to fasttrack your profile to Super Host.
Build a Reputation
Successful Airbnb hosts all have one thing in common—amazing reviews. According to Airbnb, Superhosts must maintain an average rating of 4.8 stars or greater. If you’re just starting out with zero reviews, it’s tough to get noticed. That’s why some hosts recommend keeping your prices low (just below market) in order to lock in your first few reviews. A lower price can also help lower the pressure on your first few stays as you figure things out.
Another qualification for Superhost status is a 90 percent response rate. It’s frustrating for guests trying to book your listing, if they can’t even get a response from you. If you’re brand new to the platform, make sure you check it regularly, turn on email notifications, or whatever you need to do in order to hit the 90 percent threshold.
Go the Extra Mile
Some of the most successful superhosts look for ways to go the extra mile. Delighting your guests doesn’t just mean hiding chocolate in their bedroom. Good hosts will also arm their visitors with local city guides that highlight the best local bars, restaurants, and fun things to do or see. After all, nobody knows more about your hometown than you do.
To be a perfect Airbnb host you need to have an amazing listing. But that’s really only half of the formula. You also need to be a good host. Good hosts become Superhosts by going the extra mile for their guests, communicating frequently, and providing detailed instructions at each step of the reservation. If you follow these steps, you can become a sensational host seemingly overnight.