BNB STORIES #8
Hey again! Welcome to today’s episode of BnB Stories.
Last time, we talked about the importance of listing your property on multiple websites. But it’s even more important to ensure you’re getting great 5-star reviews across all those websites. On today’s episode of BnB Stories, we’re going to let you in on all of the secrets that’ll take your guest’s experience to the next level.
Reviews have majorly shifted the vacation-rental industry. Guests are largely relying on the experience and reviews of previous guests, instead of the actual property itself. It’s also important to note that most consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
So what does that mean for you? Well, a lot.
You could easily be missing out on bookings because of your below-average ratings, and reviews are the one factor that differentiates successful properties from normal ones.
So now that we know that guests are much likelier to spend more money on a property with good reviews, how do you make sure you earn 5-star reviews?
In this episode, we’re going to explore all the obvious (and less obvious) tips that will ensure a 5-star review. 😎
1. Detailed and Accurate Descriptions.
The two things Airbnb guests usually look at first are the locations and the photos of your listing. Of course, it goes without saying that the better your description and photos are, the more likely you’ll be to get bookings.
However, what do descriptions and pictures have to do with good reviews?
Guests usually want to know exactly what they’ll be signing up for. If there is something wrong with your space, make sure to include it. Be transparent about room numbers, bed sizes, locations, and anything else that may represent you.
Pro-tip: Under-promise, then over-deliver. So leave room for surprises. In other words, give them an experience that’s even better than the one you’ve described. Is it a welcome gift or a nice hammock on the terrace? The specifics are up to you!
2. Mention the negatives.
You’re probably thinking, “There’s no way I’m going to mention negatives to guests.” But hear us out. The more honest you are, the more people won’t be bothered when they book your place. If your street is a bit noisy at night, mention it. Then your guests won’t give you a low rating because of an aspect you’ve made clear from the beginning.
3. Build a relationship with your guests.
Guests more frequently write reviews about the host than they do about the apartment. And that’s a little insight you can fully leverage.
Remember, Airbnb asks your guests to “share their story” after they’ve completed their stay. So give them something to talk about! Build a relationship with them, tell them a story about your house, give them a little insight into your life, and make them feel like home.
4. Offer free breakfast.
Free breakfast is the way to anyone’s heart. We know this amenity may be hard to pull off, especially for every guest. But it’s definitely worth adding to your list of things to improve. Why do you usually choose an Airbnb over a hotel? To feel more at home, get the local experience, or have more privacy….The only thing that’s usually missing is feeling like royalty—the way you do when you stay at a high-end hotel.
That’s why offering a free breakfast takes your guest’s experience to the next level. So if you make it a habit, you’ll find that a lot of guests would rather book a place with breakfast than without it.
5. Give them trip suggestions.
Your guests will probably be overwhelmed by all the things they need to do and see in your city. Haven’t we all been there? If you’re familiar with the city, give them personalized tips based on their interests, and recommend your favorite restaurant. Tell them about hidden gems, and warn them about tourist traps.
Even if you’re a nomadic Airbnb host, you can always provide them with a list of suggestions from websites before their trip.
6. Leave a welcome note.
They’re cheap, easy, and effective. But this tactic is one of the best ways to get a good Airbnb review. So get a small dry-erase board and a few markers, and write a little note to your guests (personalized with their names).
Pro tip: The more personalized the welcome note is, the better.
7. Have a suggestion box.
Having a suggestion box shows that you truly care about your guest’s opinion. It implies that you’re willing to take their suggestions into account (and that you’re open and willing to improve). It’s a great way to have your guests completely express any negative comments they have. They’ll be less likely to post a bad review online if they have the chance to vent on paper.
The cherry on top? Your guest will probably give you some handy tips you can incorporate when you’re improving your property.
8. Write a house manual, and be ready to answer any questions.
You know when you go to someone’s house, and you have no clue how to turn on the shower or operate the microwave? That’s probably what your guests feel like at first.
If you’re looking for a way to earn some bonus points with your guests, write a little manual to help them with anything they might not know how to use. You could also include coupons, recommendations, tips and tricks, and the best nearby restaurants and grocery stores.
9. Does your guest have a baby or a pet?
If the answer is yes to either question, then bring them some goodies! Whether we’re talking baby toys or dog food, you’ll definitely increase your chances of scoring a 5-star review.
10. If things go really bad, offer a refund.
Sometimes, things go wrong. It may or may not be your fault. What if your street was too noisy that day, or your shower broke? Or what if your internet just stopped working? There are two ways you could go on about this:
- Jump into solving the issue as promptly as possible, and make sure your guests are satisfied.
- If it’s something completely out of your control, offer a refund for half the amount (or all of it).
Either of these tactics will usually satisfy the guest enough to prevent them from leaving a terrible review. Despite the fact that offering a refund can be a short-term cost for you, it’s much better than having to deal with the long-term effects of having a bad review.
11. Offer a welcome pack.
There are plenty of ways to offer free stuff to your guests and win their reviews, including bottled water, coffee, fruit bowls, candy bars, and toiletries. However, one thing that always seems to win is a welcome pack.
Pro-tip: You can leave a local gift. For instance, if you have visitors from different countries, you can give them some fruit from your area or a handwritten letter in your native language.
12. Communication is key.
The guests start judging exactly what type of host you are from your first message. There are a plethora of factors, including:
- How quickly you reply to their messages.
- What sort of instructions you give.
- How friendly you are while communicating.
Make sure you always check in on them before they arrive, once they’re there, and right after they leave. Always make yourself as available as possible. A short-term rental property manager will help you do everything in just the right way.
Pro-tip: Send them a check-out message as soon as they leave. Let them know that it was a pleasure to host them and that you’re happy to hear their opinion about how you can improve.
13. Provide cool additional services.
Of course, no one will be able to satisfy the needs of every guest. However, there are a few extra amenities that you can offer. For example, guests always appreciate:
- Milk, coffee, and tea
- A sim card
- A bike
- A coffee machine
14. Make sure your place is squeaky clean.
One of the main reasons properties get bad reviews is lack of cleanliness. So make sure your space is spotless. Reduce clutter, make your home smell nice, and make it cozy. Then you can rest assured you’ll start off on the right foot with your guest. And Airbnb channel managers can help you do exactly that!
Pro-Tip: To make your home smell nice, incense and scented candles are always favored over air fresheners.
15. Understand your guest.
Want to find out a little secret? To guarantee a 5-star review from your guests, check out their profiles beforehand. Then you can get a gist of what they like and don’t like, and optimize your property accordingly. If all your bookings sync, you need to ensure you understand your guests across different platforms.
Start Gathering 5-Star Reviews
As an Airbnb host, you should always prioritize the reviews your guests give you. There are plenty of tips and tricks to help you go above and beyond for your guests (without breaking the bank). Then you can get more 5-star reviews, build more credibility, and reach that Superhost status!