Normally I am looking at things from a host angle - but I saw something recently that really made me think. I was an Airbnb guest last week and I saw all the correspondence that Airbnb send to guests, before, during and after the booking.
It was very interesting and useful, especially the request to review (which I share with you below).
As Hosts we are all working towards satisfied guests and lots of bookings. And using Airbnb means we also have to be concerned with the Review System - and the dreaded pressure to achieve 5 Stars. Not only because some of us may want to achieve SuperHost (the jury is still out for me as to whether there are any significant benefits to being a SuperHost - the increased expectations from guests v. a dedicated phone line and a $100 travel credit - hmmmmm, still not sure!) but also the pressure to keep above a 4.5 average, because when you dip below that number Airbnb start to send warnings of suspension and all sorts of negative things. As if the pressure of hosting wasn't enough!
So my question is this - is it fair for Airbnb to have such a high average standard (above 4.5) which basically makes anything lower than an overall 5 Star 'Bad'....... but the email they send to guests after a stay doesn't point this out. It actually reads like this (see below) and I believe this is sending one message to the guest - while sending another message to the Host.
'How was your stay at Fred's place?
Share your experience while it’s still fresh. Your review will help Fred improve and tells future guests what to expect.'
I was just wondering how you were getting on with your guests after that disappointing review last month - you have 5 stars overall and a gorgeous listing - so I am sure you are doing well. I have a few new tips on how to get the best reviews possible, and was thinking about posting another list to help out hosts and gather some more ideas.
Thanks for contributing to this post,
So i just received a 4 star- after i served tea, chocolates, drew an essential oil and salt bath and dropped her at the ferry too. I'm wondering if one should educate guests that a 4 star is not like michelin and actully impacts the host negatively?
The answer from AIRBNB will, no doubt, be that you should ask your guest for 5 stars.
This is totally unreasonable. We are hosts, not ratings advisors. It's AIRBNB's rating system, they should clearly explain it to the guests, AND they should clearly let all of us, hosts & guests, know what should be expected. You clearly went the extra mile as many of us do, but the guests don't know what that means. As an example, I can't change the location of my house, but if the guest wants a clean, comfortable, historic house in my town, then it's a good location, however, it is not a resort. I don't charge resort prices either.
It would be helpful if airbnb gave an introduction on the value of their rating to the guests. They need to emphasize that they are rating the house itself and not comparing it to a 5 star hotel. such as does the house match the description in the airbnb listing.Also define the importance of a 5 star rating if the host provided all they said they would provide. Each house has its quirks and that is why the airbnb experience is unique. so maybe we need to emphasize this to the guest in a message before the guest gives the rating. anyone have a great message they send guests before they check out and get to the rating process?
i really didn't know this kind of rating until I discovered this forum.i didn't know that a 4 stars is poor for hosts!good to know now.
My bad review was removed because my guest who damaged the chair in my house complained about my review. Airbnb ended up removing both reviews which in the end did help me. Since I have been getting 5 stars and try at all cost to keep the peace and always be proactive on any issues. Honesty I find is he best policy.
I have started being more pro-active with my guests. Now when they check in and I've shown them around I tell them to text or phone me if there's anything more I can do to enhance their comfort. That my goal is to make them so happy here that they will feel I deserve a five star review. I tell them that Airbnb considers 4 stars a fail, and that I am trying to maintain my super host status. Then I send a text the next day to say I hope they slept well and have everything they need. And if they're here for several days I send another text a couple of days later reminding them I'm here if they need anything. In most cases I hug them individually when they're leaving, thank them for choosing to stay here, tell them how much I enjoyed hosting them and that I'll be posting a good review. Shameless I know, but until Airbnb changes its star rating system we have to look out for ourselves.
Also, if I sense a particular guest is going to be difficult I don't push them to post a review. I had one group of three who arrived late at night with a fourth person they said wasn't staying. I know he stayed and that another bed was used, but the girl got hostile when she realized I knew. I let it go, but in her review she said that I "didn't communicate well" and that there were "hairs in the bed." I am fastidious about cleanliness, and all linens are freshly laundered for every guest. I've told my housekeeper to be extra careful that she doesn't lose a hair while she's reaching to change the sheets in future.
We sound like we are both cut from the same cloth!
I think the welcome (and hug) and the initial walk around the property is so important - and it lets the guest see how proud you are of the property and how much you care - and care about the guest getting the best stay possible. I send the 1st morning message also - and try throughout the stay to keep things light but welcoming without bothering them too much.
I am going to write another new post this week (this one is so long now and old) about some of my tips for getting 5 star reviews (I have just had my 30th guest since Feb, with 100% reviews and all 5 stars so something must be working!) - so I hope you see that and add your comments (I do enjoy reading your responses and the experiences you share!).
Thank you for all of your wonderful tips. We have had our place listed for 3 days and are wondering what we need to do to go the next step. How do we get guest reviews when we haven't had any bookings? We have had several family members, friends and friend's friends stay in our home, in which they have reported that they would love to write reviews, but that was before our Airbnb listing. Should we just be patient and know that there could be a booking soon?
Thank you again for all you have taught us.
Congratulations on getting on board.
Hang in there. You'll soon get your first booking. When I listed my place or year ago I worried I wouldn't get any bookings since there were so many places listed in Los Angeles. I posted my listing and was still working on the description when I got my first booking.
I'm sure it helped that I initially listed my place for less than I knew it was worth, because I needed to get some reviews. Before my first guests had time to post a review, I had another inquiry from someone asking why I had no reviews. I explained it was a new listing and that was why my rate was lower than comparable places. That guest did book and gave me a great view. Once I got a few reviews I raised my rate and started charging for additional guests after the first two.
If you don't get any bookings within a couple of weeks I would suggest adjusting your rate lower to attract your first guests. Some guests are attracted to new listings when they realize they're probably getting a good deal. Early this year I was the first guest to book an Airbnb apartment in Washington D.C. that was a brand new listing for $87 per night for 4 people. By the time we stayed there a couple of months later they'd had several guests and reviews, and their rate had doubled, with additional charge for 3rd & 4th guests. So we knew we got a tremendous bargain. Good luck.
I am new to airbnb and would like some insights on this really outdated ratings system.
I read some of the posts here and am wondering if a budget type listing can actually be listed on airbnb without any issues / problems.
Beforehand I would like to say sorry for the long post since I do not know which forum is the right place to speak up my concerns and my story with Airbnb.
Allow me to share my story:
I rented a whole new one bedroom apartment in a suburban area near Jakarta, for price of only USD 12 for two persons per night - as airbnb put it start with bargain price - (other listings charge 20 - 25 USD per night; Local budget hotel charge 30 - 35 USD w/o breakfast).
Most of the locals like it (as they need simple room just to rest) and I DO write clearly on the listing summary that since it is a budget accomodation, there are no Wi-Fi, sofa, cooking equipment, water heater in bathroom; however they got whole apartment with AC, Twin beds, Table and Chairs, Cutleries, Fridge, Smart TV, dresser, Private bathroom...
Then nightmares starting to come, got some guests who expect paying 12 USD per night and being mad to me for not providing cooking equipment, kettle, wi-fi, sofa, and in sum: they hate my listing. Bad reviews = 4 stars start to appear (as maybe people does not bother to read anything before pressing book) and might be more (since couple of guests send me a message via app that they complained the lack of such items - which they thought come naturally for each airbnb). Airbnb now threaten me that they might close my listing.
Oh my, I do not know what is wrong with airbnb, nowadays hosts are expected to rent as cheap as possible but to provide star-hotel facilities or even better (luxury and professional hospitality), and hosts are blamed for even getting 4 star reviews for not satisfying guests that cannot read listing limitations that have been stated... or for guests that cannot understand that 4 stars = bad, and only 5 stars = decent / good in airbnb.
I miss the original idea behind airbnb, when people rent extra couch for someone in need of accommodation, which has unexpectedly turn into a company who forces hosts to provide high level of service with prices as cheap as possible.
I do wonder, if it is becoming a norm that every listing in airbnb should have sofa, cooking equipment (stove, microwave, etc) and WI-FI, Why does airbnb do not make it mandatory for every listing?
I do not know what to do, cannot spend more $$ to upgrade my apartment to fulfill every customer wishes. Should I stop hosting?