5 Ways to Earn 5-Star Reviews on Airbnb

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If you’re an Airbnb host, you likely face stiff competition that is only getting worse. There are almost 5,000 listings in Chicago alone, and that number is growing daily. Case in point: hosting isn’t getting any easier, and if you rest on your laurels, your business will slowly profit less and less as more supply hits the market.  

This is, unless you stay on top of your game and do everything you can to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Better reviews = more bookings = more money

Your Airbnb property is not your average rental. It is a hospitality business that requires thought and careful attention to detail. It isn’t rocket science, but most people overlook key aspects of hosting. This results in leaving money on the table. 

Here are some tips and suggestions that will help you earn five-star guest reviews and more money. We use these strategies every day while managing our properties.

1. Be Kind and Responsive

This may be the most important thing you can do to improve your revenue and attract more bookings. Many guests don’t look solely at your listing, they shop around and send out multiple inquiries at a time. These guests are looking for instant gratification. They aren’t willing to wait hours or days for a response. Aim to reply in five minutes or less. Guests will thank you for your quick reply!  

Response time is factored into your listing’s SEO.

2. Be Proactive

Being proactive helps you alleviate problems before they occur.  If you are reactive and not proactive, you’ll quickly find that you end up spending hours running around town fulfilling guest requests. Plan ahead, and you’ll prevent emergencies before they happen.  

In general, most guests are busy exploring the city and don’t want to interact with the host. They don’t need to meet you to get the key or text you for more toilet paper. Make sure to stock your home with all guest supplies, batteries, spare keys, (etc.) so that you don't have to make a mid-stay visit because you forgot something.

3. Go the Extra Mile

Sometimes you can’t plan for everything, especially on Holidays or Peak days. Guests are paying a premium for your property so it helps to provide them with extras.

One of reason to personally visit the property is when guest issues arrive. Sometimes a coffee pot breaks or wifi doesn't seem to be cooperating, but the extra effort WOWs guests and makes their stay. More importantly, it helps you avoid a bad review and clear the way for more bookings in the future!

4. Give Guests Free Goodies

Most Airbnbs I stay in offer your standard towels and sheets, maybe a coffee maker or water, but very few hosts provide extra amenities. There are so many things you can offer that cost almost nothing and add huge value to your place, bettering your guests’ experiences. Some include:

  • Granola bars

  • Bottled water

  • Coffee

  • Tea

  • Q-tips

  • Makeup removing pads

Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb’s cofounder and chief technology officer has found that offering a hair dryer earns hosts, on average, $10 more per night.  

My entire “guest freebies” package costs me less than $10 per stay (which I bake into the cleaning fee) and truly wows most guests.  

Note: Be aware of your city's Ordinance before providing food/water.

5. Focus on Cleaning

If your Airbnb property has one good quality, let it be cleanliness. Guests scrutinize cleanliness heavily, and having a less-than-spotless home is the quickest way to get ding'd.

Carefully train and hire your cleaning crew to pay extra attention to the kitchens and bathrooms to make sure they are 100-percent free of dirt and hair. Remember to check things like microwaves and refrigerators that can often contain hidden messes or unexpected food items. And don’t forget to dust! This is often overlooked but is a very important aspect of a clean Airbnb rental.  

There you go! These are 5 tried and true aspects of your guests' experience that will be pillars for a long-time to come. If you have a #6, please share it with us!

3 Simple Tips to Make Check-In Seamless

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Ever get a call at midnight from a guest who can't seem to open the door?

If you have, we know how you feel. Through professionally managing dozens of Airbnb's, we've learned a few things to have as few of these calls as possible and think we can save you a few hours of sleep! By being a proactive host, you can reduce the amount of questions you get from guests and make check-in that much easier for everyone.

Here are a few tips to help you make your check-in process seamless and with no headaches.

Tip #1 - Keyless Entry

You're probably thinking  "keys in a lock box are fine, why should I spend money on a keyless lock?". We understand that, but after the 3rd time a guest mistakenly loses your keys or takes the keys with them home, we think you'll reconsider!

Save yourself the headache and the time replacing keys by making an investment in keyless entry. We recommend the Schlage Sense, a smart deadbolt lock that can be accessed remotely via WiFi. This baby gives you the ability to change codes whenever and wherever through their simple app on your phone and is very easy to install. Once your code is set, be sure to add it in your check-in doc (see below!).

Tip #2 - Detailed Listing + Lots of Photos

Most hosts forget that people do actually read listings! So be detailed in your listing and all of the amenities you offer. Although I'm sure there's lots of fun quirks to your home that a guest should know about, don't go overboard. List out the basics and keep it short. The quirks have a process all to themselves: the check-in doc (see below again!).

Supplement the details with pictures, and lots of 'em! Got a grill out in the backyard that you're ok with guests using? Perfect, take a nice picture with some patties grilling and make sure to add that amenity on your listing. Saves you answering a few questions during grillin' season and well...who doesn't like a nice burger? When pictures contain details you want to point out, consider adding captions just in case a potential guest misses it.

Tip #3 - Create a Check-In Doc

Having every detail about your home in your listing is cumbersome and will turn people off. You want your listing to be concise and to the point, not too lengthy. So where can you list all of the important details like:

-the code to the keyless lock?

-or that front door needs to be pushed up to make it lock correctly?

-your funky WiFi username and password?

That's right...a check-in doc! This is a separate document that contains all basic info and also pro-tips on your home that only you know. Put yourself in the guests shoes and ask yourself what they would want to know before staying at your place. This document is a life-saver and will save you a TON of time and repeated answers to repeated questions.

Check-in doesn't have to be something you dread. By implementing these 3 super simple tips, you'll greatly reduce the time spent on answering questions and make your life a whole lot easier.

Hyper Drive Your Airbnb Listing - 5 Qualities Every Great Airbnb Has

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The difference in a "good" Airbnb and a "great" Airbnb listing is the difference of up to 60% more revenue. A few simple tips and consistent diligence can hyper drive your listing to achieve phenomenal numbers and it's what Airbnb management companies like us pride ourselves on: High quality and results.

Here's the 'secret sauce' in no particular order:

1) Location

High quality Airbnb listings are usually the ones that are located in A++ areas. What makes an area A++? Just like any real estate investment, being close to things like public transportation, nightlife + attractions and being in a safe area are critical. With these benefits, your listing can be advertised 10x more effectively and appeals more guests.

2) Comfort

Throwing together a bunch of cheap furniture is not only tacky, but reduces your profit. While you save upfront, you lose in the long run.

Invest in high quality furniture and it will pay dividends. Things like plush pillows, soft couches, memory foam are the first things that come to mind of course. But take into consideration the little things like nightlight, an in-depth guidebook, air fresheners and fun little trinkets around your home that give life to the space.

3) Guest Communication

 The best Airbnb hosts are able to respond quickly and solve any reasonable problems a guest may have. Are you able to answer your phone on the spot and maybe even run over to your home to take care of an issue? Are you able to keep calm with needy guests? A problem solver and calm attitude are intangible assets!

4) Listing Copy

Copy or copy writing is the ability to write a provoking story about a product or service so that a reader is engaged and takes action. In our case, it's our listing we're trying to sell to potential guests. The better story you tell, the higher the occupancy and rate you can command. Read a few listings and you'll be able to tell which hosts have really spent time in honing their listing copy. Just be careful to not book their home!

5) 5 Star Reviews

Roll all of the above qualities together and you will get higher reviews. On average, listings that have 5 star reviews are viewed 60% more. The more views you get, the higher probability it is of getting your place booked. It takes time to build reviews, but with consistent high quality service, this is achievable!

High quality listings demand time and a cool head. If you're short on time and able to deal with sometimes unreasonable requests, you're not only a saint, but will land in the 90th percentile of all Airbnb's! But...if you're like most of us, a professional Airbnb management company is an investment that can really hyper drive your profit.