I have been playing with different things to get 5-star reviews, I've noticed it is not only a matter of having a top-notch listing.
These are the 5 things that have worked for me during the last 7 years I've been a Superhost:
I hope you find these useful!
Although it does look like he copied and pasted advice from his website.
It's a shame that such an experienced host is giving out this sort of poor advice in terms of offering a good review no matter what state a listing is left in....why would any host want to do this?
I completely agree with what Sarah977 has said.
I think you are doing a diservice .... being dishonest and fake with guests and hosts.
My review rate is also high. It is not necessary to flatter some bad guest in return to get 5*
I meet with the guests and if they haven't visited before give them a little tour of the house, info about the location and answer any questions. Then I leave them in peace but with contact numbers should there be any problems. Also a guest and suggestions book where they can leave comments. In the early years that was invaluable for improving their experience. I've rarely had to give a bad review because I vet the bookings before accepting them and prefer family groups. My strategy is simple - if they have a good time and want to come back they will give a good review and tell their friends. My job is to make that happen.
I definitely disagree with (1) requesting that the guest review you; and (2) telling the guest you will give them a good review.
I was a guest for many, many years before becoming a host and I found both those things to be very off-putting and distasteful. It comes off as a quid pro quo rather than an honest review exercise. In fact, the only time I left a bad review for a host was when they did both those things - not because they did, but because I was purposely NOT leaving a review because I did not enjoy my experience (but not so much to the point I felt I needed to warn other guests). When the host asked me (twice) to leave a review, I finally did - and I was honest about my stay.
I find the best way to encourage guests to leave a review is to post a review for the guest. They are notified you did so, and in my experience this prompts them to do the same in return if they enjoyed their stay. If I did not like a guest, or I felt the guest did not enjoy their stay (or was indifferent), then I do not leave a review for the guest (unless of course I felt there was an issue future hosts should be warned about). It's that simple.
As for if there is an issue - I certainly do not UPLAY it, nor do I downplay it. I simply apologize for the inconvenience, and remedy the issue.
I also completely disagree with the comment about thanking them for leaving the place in good shape no matter how they left it - I think it is my responsibility as a host to educate guests who fail to respect my space, politely. That way, I am not setting the guest up for failure in the future, nor am I setting up future hosts for disaster.
I like to give guests the benefit of the doubt - that they were simply careless or not aware of our expectations as hosts, but educate them nonetheless in a friendly way so that their future stays - and the cleanup for future hosts - is as enjoyable as possible.
I suppose a need to clarify my point #5....if the guest left the place a total mess, I do not send this message. If they're a bad guest in any way, I would not send the final check-out message (most guests are not bad guests). But if the guest left it a bit dirtier than I would leave an Airbnb as a guest, I still send the message to set expectations. As a guest myself, when I don't get a check-out message, I wonder if the host will leave a bad review or not if there was an issue during my stay. There's also been times I've left a bottle of wine for the host who didn't send me a message after check-out and I wondered if they were unhappy with me as a guest.
Mostly good points @Daniel-Rusteen0 , mostly common sense...
Except for the part about telling a guest they left your place clean when they didn't. No, nope, I would never do that.
If a guest does not leave my place clean, I wait until 13.5 days out and leave a very honest review. We have to. Please everyone do not leave good reviews for bad guests.
I have a 99% review rate. I do everything you said above, and here are my additional tips:
=> I thank guests for leaving the place in good condition (if they really did leave it OK!), not because I am really thanking them, but because (1) it's the chance to let them know I will be leaving them a good review and (2) it is my chance to prompt them to leave me a review.
=> I let guests know that thanks to my good review of them, they will have an easier time booking future stays with other hosts; And thanks to their good review of me, I will get more future bookings.
=> If I see a guest who has a history of not reviewing, I mention it so they know that it is important, future hosts might call them out on it. I say "I see you didn't review your last 2 stays. We really want all our guests to have a 5 star experience. Was there a problem, did these hosts not deserve your review?"
=> I leave a frame somewhere discreet (inside a closet or in the bathroom) saying "I care about your holiday, and I strive to give you a 5 star experience. If anything is less than 5 stars, let me know so I can fix it during your stay". With my phone number and housekeepers phone number (of course if you are on-site, no need to leave a plaque, say as much when you meet them).
=> If things went well, I wait and drop their review at a time when they are likely to be online. Saturday or Sunday morning 10 am, evenings after 7pm... This works great. You can also drop them a message saying "I just left you a great review I hope you can find a few minutes to review us"...
=> If a special service is given during the stay, I'm always on the lookout to mention the review process so they know it is important.
- and finally, my ultimate secret weapon - I incentivize my housekeeping staff and welcome team they get a bonus for each 5 star review received.
Of course you have to be careful with all these things, not come off too needy or some savvy experienced guests take advantage for discounts or extra services. But at the end of the day I prefer coming off a tiny bit annoying and getting that review. I'm sure some will disagree, but it works for me.
Common sense to you 🙂 Not to all, especially not to new hosts. You can actually use tools like Smartbnb to leave a negative review at the last possible moment for bad guests so you don't have to remind yourself at 13.5 days after check-out.
A 99% review rate is truly spectacular. So 99 out of 100 guests review you? Honestly, I'm impressed. That's numerous standard deviations above average. Airbnb should study what you're doing and pay attention. Seriously, great job!
I love the frame idea! That's great. And incentivizing house cleaners, though, this will only work for a small team, not a large service who sends you their employees
Yes, with these techniques, I get a review every time, unless - like my last guest if you look at my profile - they trash my place and of course don't review because they are afraid of getting a resolution request or bad review.
Incentivising my small team has made a HUGE difference in the service I get from them.
When I get a good review I send them a screenshot, say thanks and tell them to put X additional euros on the bill for that property.
This has resulted in the boss/manager of the cleaning company doing a personal walk-through of all my properties to inspect, before a guest arrives - which didn't systematically happen before.
I will say there are two caveats - and I partially agree with your detractors here -
(1) It is so annoying and needy to ask for reviews, I hate it, but at the end of the day due to the Airbnb model I figure it is in my interest to do so and so far it has worked.
(2) You expose yourself to savvy experienced guests who either really want to extort for extra services or discount, or who simply feel the power shift and exploit it to take advantage. You have to dose it and with experience you can feel with whom it's better to back off.
I would even recommend you make them seem bigger, without being sarcastic.
In my case, what I do is actually thank them for pointing out their concern, for being patient and understanding. And to assure them that I'm working on specific fixes (and give them a timeline).
Making them feel part of it and that I do listen and I'm doing what I can to address their concern.
Lots of times all the guest needs is to feel heard and validated and know you are trying to fix whatever the issue is.
Frequently it"s not about the issue, it's about how you react to it.
Interesting comments, I thought airbnb originally was about accommodation in the community in whatever form that takes and that it was an alternative to the sometimes clinical experience in commercial places. It also involves some responsibilities for hosts and guests to be clear communicators about what is offered and received. I dont pay much attention to seeking good reviews because I get them anyway, and the one time I had a host urge me to write a good review I found it annoying bc the listing did not deserve it. It could be a cultural norm operating here.
I refuse to pander to a messy guest thanking them for keeping it clean when they didn't. The ones that do ruin towels and such think that's ok maybe from staying in a hotel or something but even inexpensive towels cost $12 that also means we can't provide nicer towels to the vast majority of guest who don't ruin them. Although the way the review process is structured, host can block a guest from IB with a 3* review, so leaving someone a 4* review may not be in their best interest and may be better to send a personal message. Or Airbnb could be more specific on guest expectations, that towels, while some wear and tear is expected, host wash and reuse towels. Host can do this themselves but then the listing becomes a long list of petty rules most guest wouldn't do anyway.
@Daniel-Rusteen0 you've perfectly described the secret sauce of hosting! There are other things of course, but you've really hit on important ones. I agree with @Brad-And-Kim0 that guests have been a bit more difficult to please during the pandemic, particularly when we first opened up again and then again more recently (now).
I do share @Sarah977's frustration with reviews that don't give the full picture. However, I am sure I am guilty of the same. I'm especially concerned when I see a glowing generic narrative from a host and then notice fewer than five stars on a review. I'm finding I need to really try to read between the lines, as after hosting some challenging guests, when I go back in to read their reviews again I see that I missed the clues. Perhaps it isn't fair that I leave clues as well for other hosts rather than being absolutely frank - for an excellent guest who leaves a place spotless, I pour on the superlatives (5 stars). For so so guests I choose words like tidy, or in good shape (4 - 5). When they are fairly messy I don't mention anything about cleanliness in the review. When they were disrespectful total slobs I don't say I would welcome them back.
"I'm especially concerned when I see a glowing generic narrative from a host and then notice fewer than five stars on a review."
Hosts who use IB need to be aware that hosts who don't aren't able to access guests' star ratings. All we have to go on are the written reviews. So a non-commital, say virtually nothing of importance written review while giving low stars and checking that you wouldn't host this guest again is useless and misleading to hosts who don't use IB.