The name of the game when you are hosting a property (or room) on Airbnb is reviews. If you wish to be a successful host—even a Super host—you will need to care about the reviews you receive. Here are some of my favorite ways to get 5 star reviews on Airbnb every time!
I’ve been hosting two bedrooms on Airbnb on and off for almost two years now, and have only received 5 star reviews. Here are some pointers, so that you can do the same!
Before Guests Arrival
The first thing you need to do is spend time preparing your place, and managing your guests expectations. Airbnb Hosts earn 5 star reviews on everything from mansions, to Yurts with dirt floors. However, if your guest booked a mansion, and shows up to it being a beat up old home, you can bet your review will suffer.
Take the time to setup your short term rental correctly, accurately, and nicely to manage the expectations of your guest, and ensure that what they pay for is what they get!
The first thing you need to do is ensure the description of your space is accurate. Don’t think you can get away with annotating a hot tub, if you don’t actually have one for the guest to use.
This sounds very simple, but you would be amazed how many inaccurate descriptions are floating around.
On the other hand, don’t skimp on your description either. Make sure you annotate ever amenity you have, and write a solid description of exactly what the guest can expect while staying at your place!
Spend the money on a professional photographer!
One of the things Airbnb does that I thought was cool is hook you up with a solid photographer. When I first listed my space they reached out and connected me with a professional to take pictures of my residence. They also take the payment for it from your first stay or two so that you will not need to pay the photographer up front, which I thought was a nice touch.
I own a decent camera, and thought I had taken good pictures of the home, but they were nothing compared to the pictures she took for me.
This made a noticeable difference for bookings we received.
Also, make sure your place looks like the pictures when your guest arrives. Don’t stage the home with really nice furniture, and then replace it with beat up hand-me-downs before the guests arrive.
Your guests expect to see exactly what the pictures advertised, and their review will reflect this.
This should go without saying, but make sure your home is clean.
Not only does Airbnb have strict cleaning standards right now due to the pandemic, but guests want to stay in a clean place regardless.
Make sure the room, bathroom, kitchen, common areas, and entire place looks to be at hotel standard (or better) when your guests arrive.
Believe me, they will notice if there are hairs in the bathtub or on the bed. They will notice a dirty bathroom, and dirty silverware.
Keep your place clean, your guests—and their reviews—with show how much they appreciate it!
The more amenities you have in the home the more you’ll be able to charge for nightly rent.
Some of my favorite amenities to include are:
- A Keurig with coffee, creamer packets, and sugar
- High speed internet and quality cable
- TV in the bedroom – bonus points for a smart TV
- Shampoo, Conditioner, and Hotel-style bars of soap
- Individually wrapped makeup removal wipes
I have even heard of people leaving a chocolate on the pillow, or bottle of wine for their guests, upon checking in to the place.
Ultimately, you can overdue this. If nobody in your area has any amenities, then you don’t need to go overboard. On the other hand, if every Airbnb around you has coffee, internet, and a hot tub, you may want to consider those amenities or you’ll bring in less than market rent.
Just like everything else we mentioned above, it is better to have extra amenities in the home, than it is to have amenities listed in the description of your place, but not actually exist.
Do not try to oversell your place. Instead, create a nice listing, and then sell exactly what you have.
During Your Guests Stay
Your guest has finally arrived…now what?
Well, you need to continue to ensure they have a great stay. This is especially true if you are renting rooms out of your home, or a shared space, to guests.
Make sure you are available to answer any-and-all questions that arise when the guest arrives, or throughout the duration of their stay.
You can mitigate a lot of these questions with a very thorough welcome aboard packet, but you should still be prepared to answer their questions because, let’s face it, people are dumb.
Be a good person.
I think that is a great motto in life regardless, but it is especially true here.
You need to conduct yourself professionally, when dealing with your Airbnb guests. They will absolutely remember how you interact with them, and those impressions will carry over to the review(s) you receive.
We touched on this earlier, but keeping your place clean is important.
Don’t let the place get trashed just because your guest has already arrived, and the first impression has been made.
Continue to take out the trash, run the dishwasher, and keep the place clean if it is a shared space.
This doesn’t really apply if the guests have their own space, and you won’t be going over there during their stay.
Again, this is more for shared spaces. Ensure you keep the noise levels low, and definitely do not make a ton of noise at night!
Slave to the Reviews
As shitty as it is, if you are a short-term rental host, you are a slave to your reviews.
You need to remember this, and act accordingly.
Even if your guest does something frustrating—as many of them will—you need to turn the other cheek, and make sure they thing you were an awesome host.
I had a guest not too long ago who would smoke behind the house. I had told them it was okay, despite it being a non-smoking house, as long as the home didn’t smell like cigarettes. Unfortunately, they would bring the butts inside the house, instead of throwing them into the trash can out back, so the home smelled like cigarette smoke.
This same guest ate my roommtes meal prep on their first night, and even helped themselves to my bottle of Macallan 18, which is a fairly expensive bottle of scotch.
While all of these things were very frustrating, I had to pretend they didn’t bother me at all, and remain polite to this guest for the duration of their stay.
It simply isn’t worth a bad review—and potentially losing your SuperHost status—to let your guest know how frustrated you are.
Now, if they are legitimately breaking your rules, or trashing your place, obviously point it out. You need to do so in a polite way though, and always have their review in the back of your head.
After this guest left, I pointed out what they did in my review, and let Airbnb know that I would not host them again. You owe it to any future hosts to leave an honest review, and ensure it shows if they were a bad guest, but don’t let them know it until the review process.
Don’t worry, they can’t see your review until theirs is posted, and they can’t change their review after they leave it!
You don’t have to leave them a good review, but you need them to leave you one!
On Checkout Day
Your last real chance to make a good impression is on the day your guest checks out.
Make sure you take advantage of this opportunity!
My Super-Secret Trick!
You can botch a lot of the items above, and still pull out a 5-star review if you use this simple trick!
The night before your guest leaves, or the morning they depart, send them a simple message that says something to the effect of “Thank you for being an incredible guest, I’ll be sure to leave you a 5 star review!”
Obviously, you can make this more personal—and I recommend it—but this simple text does a few things.
First, it makes your guest feel good about themselves, and leaves them with a good final impression of you and their stay.
Secondly, it gently nudges them to leave a 5 star review. Some guests don’t understand that a 4 star review is actually a bad thing in Airbnb-land. As such, they might be planning to leave you a 4 star review, without realizing that you really need 5 star reviews to thrive on Airbnb. Once you mention that you’re leaving them a 5 star review, they will most likely elevate their review of you to match.
Finally, this invokes the law of reciprocity in your favor. When you give somebody a gift—in this case the gift of telling them you’re going to leave a good review—they will inherently want to return the favor…which means a good review for you!
After Your Guests Stay
If you have left them a review, and they haven’t finalized theirs yet, feel free to give them a nudge.
Follow up message
I sometimes shoot them a message letting them know that I left a great review, and look forward to seeing their feedback.
This is simple, and subtle, but will inevitably get them to finalize their review for you.
The Golden rule of Reviews – get 5 star reviews on Airbnb
No matter what, don’t say or do anything that could result in a crappy review, until you are leaving your review.
You are a slave to the reviews, and must do everything in your power to get a solid one.
Always remember two things:
First, you should treat your guest as you would like to be treated, and talk to them as you would like to be talked to, in order to receive a good review.
Second, Ensure your place is exactly the way you have it listed on the Airbnb platform. If anything, you should have a more awesome place in person, than what was portrayed online, but never the other way around.
Finally, don’t forget to send them the super-secret message, and let them know you’re going to leave a great review!
TL;DR how to get 5 star reviews on Airbnb
Be a good person.
If you are a good person, you will get reviews that reflect it.