While almost anyone can purchase a property and list it using Airbnb, managing your vacation property successfully as an Airbnb host requires some business acumen, focus and commitment. First off, it’s important that you’re able to view your property as an asset and not a home. If your property oozes with family memories and evokes sentimental feelings when you visit, think twice about renting it to strangers. You need to be prepared for situations where anything in your property can be and will be broken. In many cases, the guest(s) will pretend they had nothing to do with the damage and you’ll be left with the bill. At almost every turn, you need to think objectively about this type of activity as “wear and tear” and built it into your annual expenses. If you’re unable to move on after bad things happen to your property, don’t rent your property to strangers and instead consider selling it and limiting who can use the property. You may even want to consider only renting it out to close friends and family. If you’re confident you can manage your property objectively, below are some of our top tips to become an Airbnb Super Host whose expenses are decreasing and income is increasing.
Before we jump into how a property owner achieves Airbnb Superhost status and maintains it, you may want to know what such a status means and what benefits it confers. According to Airbnb, “Superhosts are experienced hosts who provide a shining example for other hosts, and extraordinary experiences for their guests. Once a host reaches Superhost status, a badge will automatically appear on their listing and profile to help you identify them.” In layman terms, being an Airbnb Superhost means your property will be more highly placed in guest searches and in some cases, the only properties visible if a potential guest has configured their property search to include only properties managed by Superhosts. Additionally, some guests are more likely to rent a Superhost property even if the property is lower on their search results. In short, your goal should be to become an Airbnb Superhost over time and then to maintain that status.
How Do I Become an Airbnb Superhost?
Airbnb offers some helpful tips for how to become a Superhost. The main points you’ll want to pay attention to are as follows:
- Completed at least 10 trips
- Maintained a 50% review rate or higher
- Maintained a 90% response rate or higher
- 0 cancellations, with exceptions made for those that fall under our Extenuating Circumstances policy
- Received a 5-star review at least 80% of the time
Coming in July 2018: updated rating requirement
- Current requirement: Receive a 5-star review at least 80% of the time
- Updated requirement: Maintain a 4.8 overall rating
How Do I Become the Best Airbnb Superhost Alive?
Buzzfeed offers a helpful list of 25 tips that they gathered from successful Airbnb Superhosts. I’ve taken what I thought were the best tips from the Buzzfeed list and added a few of my own.
1. Go the extra mile to accommodate guests with their requests, e.g. flexible check-in times, extra guest, shipping items they left back to their home, etc.
2. Be a strong communicator. Email them a week before they arrive to remind them of their stay. Point them to any information you already sent them regarding your lockbox, property nuances, rules, etc. Assume that they are extremely busy and that your good communication will save them precious time–and minimize future hassles.
3. Leave a handbook and/or notecards/stickers with information about the home and provide directions for electronics, coffee makers, TV remote controls or any other gadgets you’ve provided. They really don’t want to call you and would prefer referencing instructions for how to use something that might seem easy for you. They may also be trying to use this appliance or item late at night or early in the morning–don’t make them wait or assume they can figure it out. Also, be honest in your handbook about your favorite restaurants, things to do, etc. Guests appreciate insider information from someone who knows the area.
4. Ensure that access to your property is easy to figure out. Over the years, we had numerous issues with guests losing keys, trying to open our lockbox. Personally, we prefer the Schlage Camelot Deadbolt. It holds up well and it’s relatively easy for guests to figure out how to use.
5. Ensure your property is always cleaned well. Over the years, we felt this issue was often a make or break requirement when it came to guest contentment. Work hard to find an outstanding cleaner and then do everything in your power to keep him or her happy. We always gave our cleaner a Christmas bonus and other gifts. Also, don’t forget to monitor or spot check your cleaning from time to time if you’ve hired someone else to take care of this. We’ve also found that in many cases, our cleaners started out strong and over time began to farm out more work, which resulted in progressively worse cleaning reviews. In short, stay on top of your cleaning!
6. Don’t short your guests! Whatever you do, don’t try to save money by leaving the bare amount of toilet paper, towels or some other consumable. Many guests will have paid several thousand dollars to transport themselves to your property and stay for some duration of time. Don’t insult them by shorting their group with toilet paper or some other item. Save your money elsewhere.
7. Personalize your property. Leave some fresh flowers, interesting (but tasteful art) and photos of you and/or your family. The more your guests can connect this property with a person and not an impersonal conglomerate, the more likely they’ll respect your property and take care of it. Also, if your property is located in a unique locale, bring some of the more interesting elements or images from the locale into your home. Decorate for your guests and not for yourself.
8. Do not mess with the TV or media center. By this, I mean make sure your purchase newer TVs, VCRs and electronics; especially when it comes to TV viewing. Guests expect high-end electronics when renting your property–don’t give them your leftovers.
I’m sure you’ll come up with your own list, but hopefully this will get you thinking more strategically about how to go above and beyond to serve your guests. Over time, it’s likely that your property and the income you earn from this venture will suffer if you don’t prioritize customer service and your guests’ experience–from beginning to end.