Techniques to receive top ratings as a host
We all know the links between top ratings and amount of money making potential a space has. Achieving top ratings as a host can be difficult, however, especially with so much competition and high guest standards to contend with. Ratings typically depend on key factors including the overall experience a guest has, cleanliness, accuracy, value, communication, arrival experience, and location. Here are a few ways you can up your game when it comes to a couple of these key factors:
When it comes to the overall experience, think about what it might be like to arrive to your space with no prior knowledge of your neighborhood, home, culture, or space. Think of the experience of staying in your home as an moving event like a wedding with all the bells and whistles, instead of a stationary place. What would that full experience include? What is it like to walk to your space? Park for your space? Walk in the front door? How comfortable is your bed? Have you “tested” the full experience of staying in your space as a guest? Think about the last time you stayed at someone else’s home - what was missing? How did you feel? What would have made your stay better? Really analyzing your space from this perspective can help you create a full five star experience from beginning to checkout.
Sometimes little tokens also go a long way, such as welcoming signs, complimentary snacks, and extra pillows. Have a good coffee maker and leave a free supply of coffee for their first morning at least. If possible offer a Roku TV so guests can access their own YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix accounts. It is a good idea to learn about what other hosts are offering, and check our communities like Free products for Hosts to make it affordable to provide some of these amenities.
You may not think of it as very important, but your tips can also make or break the experience your guest has in your area. Give tips about where locals go, brochures about local activities, a list of great cafes and which ones are close to the space, places with fire places or cool down spots, best restaurants or hot spots in popular nearby areas, best burger joints or wood-fired ovens, and new restaurants to check out, especially within walking distance.
This is probably the most criticized element of a vacation rental. You may think your cleanliness standards are high, but how can you get even better? Sometimes the quality of the items in your space can make all the difference. Towels and bed sheets are especially key. Research tips online to keep them fluffy or smooth and spotless. You can also create a checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything. In the end, sometimes going with highly-rated professional cleaners can make it worth your money, because the higher your ratings the more money you are likely to make.
Hosts who achieve superhost status or 5 stars are often amazing communicators both online and in person. Most are available 24-7, never miss any messages, and find a systematic way to stay in touch, like using the listing platform app. Always communicate over the platform you have your listing on so that there is a record (just in case) of what is said. When you provide check-in instructions have a friend or two test them out to make sure everything is crystal clear. Don’t forget to tell people how to turn the TV on, access wifi, or work any other device (i.e. heat) in your space. These small elements can make a huge difference to the comfort and ease of a guests’ stay. Overall, make everything easy and concise for guests by providing self-checkin, simple house rules in the original listing, a folder with wifi and any remote control directions.
Also know how to tailor your communication, and the frequency of it, to your guests. Experienced younger travelers frequently don’t want very much interaction with hosts. Most often this demographic will arrive and never communicate after self checkin. Older, less experienced Airbnb guests may want to converse more, and so you will be able to meet their needs better if you understand individualized traveler types.
Bio: Cherise Tolbert is the Community Curator for Free Products for Hosts, a new community for AirBnB and other vacation rental website superhosts. Cherise specializes in social media and communications and has a master’s from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She is also a well published blogger who writes on various topics.