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 morning, A-Coach here. How may I help you?”
“Hi, this is Susan. I am about to open my first Airbnb, and I came across your Facebook group. There I read that guest communication is the key to happy guests. I had not thought about that and how much work it must me. Can you enlighten me?”
“Hi, Susan. Thanks for the call. As Airbnb Ambassadors, we receive many questions about getting noticed in the competitive accommodations’ world. We tell everyone that guest communications are a vital element to receiving and publishing fantastic reviews.
Suppose you are just starting your Airbnb adventure or want more business for your current business. Communication is one of the areas Airbnb asks your guests to rate you on a score of 1 to 5. If you are traveling, you should ALWAYS check the hosts’ reviews. New to Airbnb and launching your own business, you should check the reviews of your competition. Of all the Airbnb metrics, communications are the key.
“On the Airbnb site, our performance is OUTSTANDING. And we continue to make our communications better. We have consistently scored 5.0 since we started three years ago.
So many opportunities to earn a 5.0 on communications
“Susan, have you ever heard of the concept Moment of Truth?”
“No. What does that have to do with hospitality?”
“In a word, EVERYTHING!”
“A Moment of Truth, first coined by Jan Carizon in his book of the same name, said that studies showed that it only takes a consumer 3-7 seconds to form an opinion of you and your product (e.g., motivate a consumer to become a buyer).”
The FIRST moment of truth is your web page
Your Airbnb listing webpage is your opportunity the show your potential guest your great offer. We have written an entire blog on this subject. Your webpage has one purpose, and that is to capture a guest’s imagination and lead them to the REQUEST BOOKING button.”
The SECOND moment of truth is the REQUEST TO BOOK action
“Now that they are on your listing site, we encounter the second moment of truth. We tell all our followers to
Set your Airbnb Instant Book to OFF!
“There are TWO reasons for this.
“ONE, we want to communicate immediately with ANYONE who submits a booking inquiry. This communication sets the tone for the guest’s entire stay.
“TWO we want to verify that each guest meets our strict booking requirements:
- Each guest is Airbnb verified
- Each guest has a photo ID verified by Airbnb
- Each guest has some Airbnb reviews (the more, the better) as proof they are good guests
- Each quest is NOT local (you don’t want locals throwing a big party at your place). Yes, we take locals after we have had a conversation about why they need a short-term rental. For example, gassing termites, flood damage, changing apartments, their new place is not ready, etc.)
“With instant book preference setting OFF, we receive a text the moment they REQUEST TO BOOK. We drop everything to acknowledge the guest’s request (The WOW factor #1) and check their profile. Our text communication starts the conversation, shows we are interested in their business, and that security is essential in our shared environment.
“Our goal is to respond to the guest’s request within 2 minutes.
“No, it is not tricky, AND yes, potential guests like the attention. Yes, they like it when we provide the links to Airbnb’s verification service and sometimes to Airbnb’s exceptional support.
“This first communication shows we WANT THEIR BUSINESS, we are willing and want to work with them to make it happen, and we appreciate that they want to stay with us.
“You won’t know anything about your potential guest with the instant book on, and you do not have a personalized booking conversation.”
Susan says, “That makes a lot of sense to me. I know how good it makes me feel when I get personal calls from the places we stay on our travels.”
The THIRD moment of truth acknowledges our guest
“Because we partner with RemoteLock for front door entry, as soon as Airbnb acknowledges the reservation, RemoteLock automatically sends out our welcome communication text. This text provides the guest’s unique door code, along with check-in hours and parking directions. Because we have doggies, the communication asks them to give an ETA when they know it to coordinate putting the dogs away.
“As the arrival day gets closer, we ask them to provide arrival time through an automated text message. Reminding them that we have doggies, and we like to hide them when they first come to the door because the dogs get very excited. Once we provide a tour of the house, we do a doggie meet and greet.”
“It sounds to me you have communication planned for each stage of the guest engagement.”
The FORTH moment of truth is the why we are in hospitality
“We love meeting people from all over the world. We love to meet people with stories to tell. We love to meet them at the door and show them their room and point out all the extras we put in there just for them. We take them on a tour of the house, pointing out all we want to share with them. We also kindly point out our signs that say “Private.”
“And, of course, we do the doggie meet and greet. Because we feature the doggies on our website, this is another example of our authenticity.
“We treat our Airbnb guests as we treat friends; we invite them to a house party.
The FIFTH moment of truth is preparing for departure
“On the day before guest departure, we have an automated message to remind them that checkout is 11:00 AM. We tell them how much we appreciated sharing our home with them and ask for a positive review. Yes, we live in a world where reviews matter, and Airbnb guests know this very well. Asking for a good review gets them to think of all the extras we provided.”
“I would never have thought of that. But now that you mention it, everyone asks me to provide feedback on how the service was.”
The LAST moment of truth is to immediately write a guest review full of why we were so happy that they stayed
“Reviews are what makes Airbnb such an excellent platform to build a business. Guest reviews help hosts like us get to hear what other hosts experienced with this guest. Host reviews are usually used by guests looking for a reason to book or not book with a host. Many guests tell us they picked us above all others because we had so many 5.0 ratings and are an Airbnb Superhost.
“Above all else, manage your moments of truth with speed and deliberate action, and you will attract more of the people you like. You will enjoy the hospitality industry and turn spare rooms into prosperity.”
“Thank you so much for contacting us. Look for our training classes and future blog articles to help you succeed in the Airbnb hospitality business.