You Wanna Be a Superhost? :: Advice for Airbnb Hosts

Showdancing

I was recently asked by my online friend and fellow Airbnb author, Jasper Ribbers, to share a few thoughts on how to achieve Airbnb “Superhost” status.

Full disclosure: I am a little leery of the Superhost status. Airbnb claims that having the status will bump your listing in the search rankings and that guests will be more inclined to stay with you. But frankly, I think most guests have no idea what the status is, and I question the efficacy of the search claims. But I digress.

At the end of the day, I want to be the best host I can be. I want the Airbnb brand to thrive and attract other stellar hosts, so the sharing model results in a “win” for both guests and hosts. If you’re a host (or interested in becoming one), I’d like to share a few of the morsels of wisdom that I shared with Jasper.

Here are ten off-the-cuff ideas I’ve learned from the past twenty months of hosting. As with most great experiences in life, I expect this list of attributes to continually evolve.

Ten Tips for Becoming a Superhost:

1) Respond promptly to all inquiries and reservation requests. Airbnb has algorithms that monitor your response time. Responding to a guest within an hour is ideal, but messages will arrive from different time-zones while you sleep. That’s okay. Cut yourself some slack and answer messages first thing in the morning. Don’t let this response-time worry literally keep you awake at night.

2) Never cancel a reservation. Emergencies happen, but try to have a few friends or family members who can help you with your listing should something happen to you or you debate about whether to cancel a guest’s reservation.

3) Endeavor to make connections with other hosts–either online or in your own community. Ideally, both. Having relationships in an online forum gives you a cultural perspective that is priceless; in your hometown, having the support of other hosts if you’re sick or on vacation can help you feel like someone “has your back” when needs or emergencies arise.

4) In all communications with potential or confirmed guests, always be polite and friendly. You never know when a guest who doesn’t make a reservation with you will change their mind. The tone of your last message to them may affect a future stay with you. This has happened to me with guests who arrived in Seattle and found less-than-desirable accommodations or who later referred me to a friend or family member, simply because I was nice.

5) Let go of your ego. Welcome all feedback from guests and respond politely to their complaints and suggestions. Most importantly: implement the changes if they are reasonable.

6) Travel and use Airbnb. See what other hosts are offering and what they’re “doing right.” Copy the things that impressed you.

7) Keep a watchful eye out for how you can offer the best lodging experience possible for your clients. This will change over time as you see patterns emerge in what people are expecting from their accommodations and the kinds of questions they frequently ask.

8) Treat every guest like a blessing which allows you to travel, work from home, and make extra income that adds positive value to your life. Respect each visitor as such. Pretend each guest is your beloved grandmother (who you hope to impress) or your childhood best friend who you haven’t seen in ages. Wow them. Pay attention to them. Be responsive and available 24/7.

9) Leave a review for every guest after they leave. This will encourage them to do the same for you. Airbnb has formulas for becoming a Superhost which require at least 80% of your guests (total stays) have left you a review. I do not explicitly ask guests to leave a review as I think it’s smarmy. I tried it twice and felt gross afterward. This is a personal decision as I know many of my host friends send an immediate follow-up message checking in after a guest’s stay and in the message they overtly ask for a review.

10) Have fun! Exuberance, energy, and genuine hospitality will shine through. If you have cleaned your place well (or hired an excellent housecleaner) and implemented touches to welcome guests and make their stay easy and clear to navigate, you shouldn’t have problems. Trust in yourself, your listing, and what you have to offer. The positive reviews and experiences will flow naturally if you “show up” from a place of gracious hospitality and concern for everyone who walks through your door.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. As always, I welcome you comments and you can learn more tips from my book.

*Photo credit: Ben Husmann