The Airbnb Ambassador & Super Host Coach, “A-Coach,” sat in his office when the phone rang. It was on the Airbnb business line, and he picked it up.
“Good afternoon, A-Coach here. How may I help you?”
“Hi coach, this is Antonio from your Facebook group. You said we could call if we had any coaching questions.
“Thank you for calling Antonio. How may I help you today?”
“I am obsessed with getting things right. I am not sure how I can juggle all the hosting demands to create a good experience for my guests, and they give me GREAT reviews.
“I agree. Creating a successful Airbnb listing takes work, effort, investment, and above all, great reviews!
“Antonia, you are relatively new to Airbnb and the hospitality industry, and I am happy that you recognize that you should be focused on guests and then guest reviews. It should be your primary objective.
Do public reviews matter?
“Antonia, here are some stats that back up my emphasis on reviews. According to Boast,
- 92% of customers read online reviews before buying
- 72% of consumers say positive testimonials and reviews increase their TRUST in a business
- 70% of people trust reviews and recommendations from strangers
- 88% of consumers trust online testimonials and reviews as much as recommendations from friends or family
- 72% of consumers will act ONLY after reading a positive review
“If this does not convince you that public feedback matters, then look at these statistics:
- 73% of consumers read six or fewer reviews before deciding
- 40 or more reviews are needed before consumers will consider a star-rating accurate
Airbnb believes reviews are essential!
“Our community relies on honesty and transparency. Because both guest and Host reviews are posted at the same time and can’t be edited afterward, there’s no need to worry about the other person reading your review and changing their own as a result.”
“One of the most coveted Airbnb awards is that of Superhost. The criteria Airbnb uses are:
The “Superhost” designation on Airbnb signifies that an Airbnb host has gotten consistently good reviews over at least a year of hosting. Airbnb checks the status of hosts four times a year to ensure that a Superhost badge is still relevant for each host.” March 26, 2020
“Airbnb believes positive reviews are essential to their business model!
“I want to become a Superhost as soon as possible. I have friends that travel a lot and only stay at Airbnb Superhost listings because they know it will be a good experience.”
What categories do guests review hosts?
“According to Airbnb, Star ratings: Ratings for hosts from 1 (worst) to 5 (best) for the overall experience and specific categories, including overall experience, cleanliness, accuracy, value, communication, check-in, and location. You need to get 3-star ratings before your overall rating appears on your listing or profile. December 2, 2020
“It is an intelligent business strategy for Airbnb hosts to excel in all categories, a standard operating procedure for running their business. Superhosts can charge more per night because they are worth it.
The secrets to excellence and great reviews
“Antonio, if you want to become Superhost, you should have a clear picture of the goals. What you will notice is that it does not cost you anything. It is more about actions and attention to the details.”
Category 1: Overall Experience
“This category is the sum of all the others. You should ALWAYS strive to make the guest’s total experience so surprisingly good that they want to tell the world about it.
“Moments of Truth (MOT), first coined by Jan Carlzon in his book by the same name, is any time a customer (i.e., Airbnb guest) comes into contact with anything associated with your Airbnb business (i.e., listing). Carlzon found that customers formed an impression of you and your business in the first 3-7 seconds. For Airbnb guests, this starts when they search for your listing and ends with your final communication when they leave.”
Category 2: Cleanliness
“Cleanliness (and orderliness) everywhere. It includes the street you live on, the walkway, the door handle, remote keypad, carpets, floors, bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, heating ducts, windows, molding, refrigerator, etc. I am sure you get my message. Walk to and through your place as a new guest would. Do not be satisfied with just OK.”
Category 3: Accuracy
“This category is an extension of your published listing. It is not good if a guest reads your words, sees your listing photos, and finds you exaggerated. Be honest and be accurate. You can continually update your listing after you install some new amenities. You can modify it at any time. For example, if you have a pool, but stop heating it in the winter, remove the listing picture
Category 4: Value
“Value comes down to your pricing and the host’s listing. We constantly hear from our guests that our place “is a good deal.” Why, because we don’t try to have the highest price. We are in it for the long haul. Our motto is to provide a safe, comfortable stay at a reasonable price.
Category 5: Communication
“With Airbnb’s app, communication is accessible on your phone at any time. When prospective guest finds your inviting listing, they can click the button “Message Host.” They may have a question. Respond immediately. Our goal is within 2 minutes. If we can’t, we apologize for the delay. When they book, we send a message. We send a message with their door code. We let them know about check-in times. We encourage their communication by asking when they expect to check-in. On the day of departure, we thank them for being such a great guest, remind them when check-out time is, not to fuss with making the room pretty, and ask them for a good review.
“Even after guests leave, we continue to communicate with them. We post our guest reviews as soon as Airbnb notifies us. We respond by mentioning something memorable about their stay, something personal.
“We even communicate later. This week, we sent a message asking a guest who had come to town for dental work. We wanted to know if she had recovered and was feeling better.
“Airbnb wants hosts and guests to ONLY use the Airbnb message app. It is a good rule. It makes it simple for everyone. It also makes all communication history available in one place. Airbnb support team REQUIRES 100% of the communication in the app, or they will not help you.
Category 6: Check-in
“Check-in is an anxious time for everyone. We manage a shared environment, so we greet our guests when they come through the front door. We walk them to their room and then give them a tour of the house and introduce them to the dogs. We think we make a difference. The remote lock vendor notifies hosts when the guest enters their door code the first time. Anything you can do to welcome your guest is a good exercise in hospitality. A smooth and friendly start is a fantastic moment of truth.
Category 7: Location
“Location rating relates to your listing’s accuracy. As you can imagine, “not far from public transportation depends on the guest’s mobility, the weather, time of day and safety. Being accurate in your listing descriptions and location should not be an issue.
No review might mean poor review
“A-Coach. What does it mean if a guest does not leave a review?”
“What a great question, Antonia! Seldom do people ask me that question. I have given it much thought over the years. It could indeed mean that the guest forgot. However, Airbnb takes reviews seriously, as I said earlier. They send reminders to guests until they receive the guest review.
‘I think there is a more reasonable reason, however. It could be that the guest intentionally did not want to review because they had such a poor experience that they did not want to put that out in public. Perhaps they thought that if other hosts saw that they left a bad review, it might alter a future stay. It does not work that way, of course.
“Airbnb keeps track of stays and reviews. They should be equal. If guests do not leave reviews, it makes it difficult for a host to earn Superhost. It takes lots of excellent reviews to become Superhost when they calculate four times a year.
“When you get in the habit of checking guest reviews, you learn about great guest experiences and the bad experiences. Take the lesions the guest reviews provide and improve your service offering.”
“What if I know that we did not exceed expectations. What if the cleaners did not clean to the level that they had agreed? What if there is an ant infestation? How can I still get a good review?”
“That is a great question. Two thoughts come to mind. First, trust your guests. Remember, with Airbnb guest reviews; the pressure to act professional is a strong incentive. Therefore, trust guests when they say something is wrong. Secondly, know that there is a more long-term benefit to refunding most if not all guest rental costs, not just the cleaning costs. Cleaning costs for the current guests have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that your cleaning crew did a poor job.”
When you have genuinely exceeded guest expectations, this is what you get
“As I said earlier, read all your reviews. When a guest is unhappy about something, thank them for the feedback and then do something so that it does not happen again. Remember, guests want you to be successful too. I cannot stress this enough. When one guest tells you something is wrong, fix it immediately. Do not wait for the turnover unless the guest permits you to do so.
“When it all works as planned, and you exceed expectations, here is the gift you receive from your guest. Not only does it feel fantastic, but you get to hang it right next to your Superhost badge for the world to see.
“Thank you, coach, for all the tips. I want to get great reviews right from the beginning and earn Superhost as quickly as I can.”
“Antonia, when you make the guest experience your priority, you will reach your goal and see your profits soar.”
 Moments of Truth, Jan Carlzon, February 15, 1989