Probably not surprising but like yesterday's post I am also writing about my experiences of becoming and then keeping Superhost status. This week is Superhost week when Airbnb is focusing on Superhosts and gives them a bit of extra publicity.
I have been hosting since 2012 - and Airbnb reminded me in their Superhost Week announcement that since I started I have hosted 325 guests from 36 countries. The Superhost Scheme was launched in 2009, but I was not really aware of it until after a couple of years hosting. And then I was really determined to become a Superhost. But it must have taken me quite a while before achieving superhost status.
I host in London in a lovely neighbourhood called Stoke Newington. There is lot of greenery, a park and a street with cute little shops and masses of cafes and restaurants. It is a great area for foodies. But there is no tube although there is a bus stop almost in front of the house. I get a mix of visitors - either parents of children who live in the area, but their flat is too small for their parents to be there as well, guests for weddings (town hall is about 3 minutes walk from my house), as well as tourists who are keen on walking and seeing another side of London. But I also get the tourist that just wants to hop on the tube and go to the centre. Quite a few don't know how big London is so they just book without thinking about it.
I rent out a small room in my flat and live in the flat as well. In addition to the bathroom, the living room and the kitchen is shared. I do breakfast, including a full english. You can see pictures of the flat and the area here in my listing after rooms type number 534433 (it doesn't accept the link)
Initially I had quite a few problems with getting my overall score of 5. Often guests didn't understand the system and didn't know what to compare it with - 5 star hotels? Some cultures never give the highest score. So I have to explain to the guest that they have to compare it with what is in my listing. And before confirming a booking a always email them 2 or 3 things that I haven't got, so that they are aware of it: That is no tube nearby, the room is small (lots of luggage doesn't work), the flat is old, not modern and sometimes I also say that they only have a room not the whole flat. In some cases after that message the potential guest doesn't go ahead as he/she wants to be near a tube for instance.
Once they are happy with it and they book, then mostly over breakfast at a convenient moment I ask them about how they selected my space, and then the conversation mostly ends up with the scoring system. I tell them generally that they don't need to give me a review but it would be great of course and I explain a bit about being a superhost. I also explain to them that I will give them a review after they have one theirs.
This system seems to work, and when I wasn't a superhost as yet I wasn't that much aware of it and of its importance.
Now I have also found that often there are problems and people still don't understand:
- location - I am scored down because I am not in the centre of London. But as long as they put this in the location category but if they give you an overall 5 then it still counts towards your superhost review.
- the flat is not modern - I have had couples where the woman books for both, going to a wedding nearby. The man likes modern and hates the old of the flat, so I am scored down. In this case actually I strongly suspected that the couple had a row, and if you have a bad experience then this reflects on everything.
- cleanliness - I do a lot of cleaning but guests that expect something modern won't be happy. That's why I started to emphasise the type of accomodation I offer.
- the room is too small - even though I am stressing this, it seems to be very difficult for some guests to understand this. There is nothing you can do about this except for clear pictures.
Lately I have also had some guests, where the booking was made by the man and the woman then did the review. She was not happy as she wanted to do whatever she wanted and did not obey the house rules. Therefore she scored me an overall 2, whilst individual scores were higher. This was just before the latest superhost review and I was concerned that I would loose my superhost status. Luckily at the last Q & A from Brian Chesky I had heard that where this happens and there are outlayers Airbnb will look at it and ignore. So this happened in my case and I kept my superhost status.
I don't know whether any of you remember Chip Conley, but he wrote about three rules for hosting. They are key for me to becoming and staying a Superhost:
- be very organised
- empathy (understand what the guest is going through)
- being very welcoming
Happy hosting and happy festive days wherever you are.
@Dieneke Thanks for sharing this .
You have a lovely place with floorboards to die for. So light and airy and I Love all the beautiful wood and I can see how much effort you have put into making it a beautiful home. Not old at all. I’d call it character;)
What a great background to your Airbnb journey Dieneke! Thanks for sharing, and I love your emphasis of Chip Conley’s magic 3 points - being organized is always a challenge but so essential!
Hi Dieneke, thanks for sharing you experience with us, and with every one of these celebration posts we are seeing something different in how we all go about what we do....and I think that's great.
To me, the funny thing about Chip Conley's three rules of hosting.....
Isn't that exactly what we hosts are expecting of the company??
Great post Dieneke.
@Dieneke Thank you for such a lovely post. I understand exactly what you are saying about guests who do not understand just how big London is and even though I make it very clear where we are in my description, I still get people who expect to look out of my window in Ealing and see the Houses of Parliament! However, on the plus side I do get guests who look out over the rooftops and say that it reminds them of Mary Poppins!
I had one guest message me asking "How far are you from Biggy Ben?" - that's it, no hello, no information, just that one question. I responded with precise journey details (it's about 25 minutes by tube, which you know in London is not very much). I never heard from her again. I guess I wasn't close enough to Biggy Ben!
Another couple, who came to London for one evening only, asked me, "How do we get to the sights?" I asked them what sights they wanted to see and they responded in frustration, "You know, the sights. The sights of London!" I had to bite my tongue. Rather than give them a lecture on London's wealth of culture and history, I just sent them to Westminster and they were happy. They could tick that box saying they had "seen London" and move on to do the same in Paris and Rome.
@Dienekethat's interesting. I have had many guests from Korea, including my current guests, and have never had this question.
Most of my Korean guests like to cook (I have just been treated to a very yummy lunch), so I'm guessing by 'market' they mean supermarket. They also usually like to shop, so it could mean shopping centre/high street, but I think it's more likely that they're referring to the supermarket.