Airbnb has provided millions of people around the world an opportunity to share their home with others. As a host, you get to open your doors to someone else and rent it out for a profit. As a guest, you can part of a city wouldn’t get to otherwise, stay in an actual home, and meet people from all over the world that you wouldn’t otherwise get to interact it. Also, staying in an Airbnb can be a great money saver, depending on your stay.
I’ve managed several short-term rentals properties through Airbnb since February 2017, and this is some of what I have learned from my experiences of interacting with hundreds of guests.
Airbnb and Transparency: Reviews
Airbnb operates as an intermediary between hosts and guest, a platform through which they can agree upon reservations and a set of standards to which both are held accountable. One of the most popular elements Airbnb’s structure is its devout stance on transparency, as demonstrated by its culture founded on reviews. If you want to succeed as a host, you must be honest about the state of your home and what a guest can expect. Similarly, a guest must be honest about what type of traveler they are, how they intend to interact with the host and use the space.
After a stay is completed, both the host and the guest can then review one another, and give a 1-5 star rating a variety of categories. The host is judged on Accuracy, Communication, Check-In, Cleanliness, Location, and Value of the stay. The guest is judged on Communication, Cleanliness, Abiding by House Rules.
If you have more positive reviews as a guest, you’re more likely to be approved for a stay, and as a host, your listing will show up higher in search results, and you’re more likely to be booked with.
If you want a place to stay as a guest or want to make money as a host, positive reviews are essential.
5-Star Review: The Ultimate Guide
1. Be upfront about your plans, and seek a host who will accommodate them.
This applies to location, budget, and lifestyle. If you’re looking for a nice, secluded place, look for a luxury cabin. If you need someplace that’s close to the nightlife and you’re on a tight budget, a conveniently close apartment should be your priority. If you’re a partier and plan to get rowdy, look for a host who is more laidback, or is advertising their listing as a party destination. If you want an immaculate stay, a detail-oriented person who charges a cleaning fee will likely be the right host for you. Be honest with yourself and your host about your intentions for your stay — everyone will be happier.
2. Read. The. Listing.
So many questions and confusion can be avoided if you have a thorough understanding of the place you’re staying, the area, and the host’s expectations. Things like check-in/check-out, the neighborhood, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc, will all likely be found in the listing. They wrote it for you. Read it. It will save you time and confusion. Also, if you’re unsure about the area, ask your host and google it. Whether you’re concerned about the safety of a neighborhood, or the convenience in getting to attractions, it’s important to feel at ease where you’re staying. Do a little research on the area and see what the crime rates are and if it’s near public transportation or attractions, etc.
3. Courtesy and communication go hand-in-hand
Simply put, be polite, and take care of their space. If you’re meeting with the host to exchange the key, be communicative about your arrival time, and don’t make them wait past their check-in window. If it’s a self-check-in, message your host to let them know you got in safely. Don’t make a mess, and don’t damage any of their belongings. Not only is it rude, but it will likely negatively affect your review, and they could charge you for damages.
4. If you have helpful feedback, communicate it during your stay.
Most hosts will happily receive feedback, both complimentary and constructive. If you enjoyed something about the stay, speak up. If you thought of an area for improvement, give a suggestion. Most hosts want to provide the best stay possible.
5. Leave an honest review.
Write about your experience interacting with the host, the home, etc. Be descriptive and up front. If it was a negative experience, explain why. If it was wonderful, cite some specific examples of what made it a wonderful stay. If you would recommend that others stay there, write that verbatim. If you would not, do the same. It’s important to be completely honest because if you had a negative experience, better to let other potential guests know about a bad host, and same for wonderful hosts, and homes alike.
Equate reviews to dollars in your mind. If you had a positive experience with a host and want them to make more money through more bookings, leave a good review. Also, by leaving a review, this incentivizes a host to do the same for you.
I’ve managed several properties through Airbnb (and other rental sites). Let me know if you have any questions about being a host, guest, or anything related to property management.