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!