They say the “proof of the pudding is in the eating” and that’s why it is crucial for property owners to have other guests vouch for you as a way to build credibility with future guests and lock in those bookings. If you have your eyes set on the much-coveted Airbnb superhost status you need a minimum of 80% of your ratings to have 5 stars.
We have what we believe is a foolproof guide to follow to get properties the 5-star ratings that most property managers crave. It sounds so simple that it’ll have you wondering why you haven’t thought of it before. However, not all ratings are 5-star ratings and that’s why getting there will not be as easy as it sounds. If you are all geared up and ready to take your vacation rentals to a higher standard of service read on to find out how to get there.
The key to getting five-star reviews from guests is to deliver what you promise, give them more than that and they just can’t, not give you one.
Guests have expectations based on what you have mentioned in your listing. If you provide guests with a service better than what is depicted by your listing, they will be absolutely thrilled.
For example, leave guests a welcome note with a few local snacks, perhaps a box of chocolates, and a route map of the surroundings with all the key landmarks highlighted and voila, you have a welcome box that will give you a big plus at a small cost.
Another thing to pay attention to is to let guests know of any pitfalls that they would come across and mention it in your listing. Chances are that it might put off some guests from checking in to your property. However, those who would have booked your property without knowing about it could get affected and would most likely not leave a five-star rating.
For example, if your street is quite loud in the morning and would disturb light sleepers its best to mention it on the listing because even though it will discourage light sleepers from booking your property chances are that a light sleeper will hate the experience of sleeping with a noisy background and not leave you a good review anyway.
According to a recent report by Deloitte, about 28% of vacationers in the U.S. stayed at short-term rentals for the first time this summer citing health and financials as key reasons behind the choice. With first-time users, they are still testing the waters and this first experience can be the defining point of whether they’ll ever book a holiday rental again.
Being completely out of their comfort zones makes guests heavily dependent on hosts for their experience. Therefore, be very accessible to guests as nobody likes the idea of being stuck in an unknown place with a completely unreachable host.
Try to be as accessible as possible. However, it is understood that you can’t be available all the time so predict common scenarios and arm guests ahead with any information whenever possible on how to tackle those situations. For example, it could be a very traditional coffee machine that guests might have trouble using. Stick a laminated leaflet by it, informing guests how to handle it.
Another way to handle not being present all the time is through an Airbnb welcome book which also acts as a user guide of sorts to the property. Other tools to use include ‘quick replies’ for frequently asked questions and ‘scheduled messages’ for reminders and thank you messages.
Aim to make a great first impression with your guests and continue to build a relationship with them throughout their stay. The simple reasoning behind this is if anything minor goes wrong during their stay (and it just might, regardless of how meticulous you are with the property and service) people are more forgiving of those they know and like.
The best way to cultivate these kinds of relationships is to either be present at the property during the course of the guest’s stay or have a dedicated person, perhaps have a dedicated site manager be there and cultivate these relationships.
Other things that add meat to these relationships, especially if you are a remote host is to provide guests with local recommendations on places to visit, things to do, and other local favorites such as bars, coffee shops, and restaurants. If you know any history about the recommendations, try to include that too for some brownie points.
If you think all that might be too much to put in writing, arm your site manager with site maps and knowledge of the locality. Or you could have a prerecorded video of yourself welcoming the guests and include these snippets of information in the message.
A key reason why hosts background check guests is to check their ratings and identify if it is safe to allow them to into their properties. Once the preliminary checks are clear and you have accepted the guests, lookup past hosts’ experiences with the guest and the guest’s reviews of other properties to find out what features they enjoyed best of those properties and whenever possible try to make it a part of their trip to your Airbnb as well.
For example, there is an indication of how your guests love taking insta-worthy pictures try to set up a location in your rental that would give them that vibe. You can also opt to recommend the most photo-friendly locations in your neighborhood - it could be a high-end mall with amazing backdrops or a local garden or orchard that allows picnics. Letting guests know that you took the trouble to learn about them to help them enjoy your trip will get you more than halfway up to that 5-star rating.
As mentioned before, even the most meticulously planned stays tend to have slip-ups sometimes. The key to managing these “incidents” is to handle them at the earliest. While having a cordial relationship will definitely help, the key to maintaining these relationships is to react to issues as soon as you can.
It helps to have procedures in hand and keep staff informed on how to handle pre-meditated situations that are bound to occur such as power cuts if it is a norm in your neighborhood.
However, when a guest issue occurs always remember that “the guest is always right”. Guests come from very different backgrounds and have different standards when it comes to things.
For example, to one guest a speck of dust on the edge of a table would be no big deal but to another, it would require having the whole property cleaned again. Whatever the situation is, no matter how minute, to the guests, make it look like it is a big deal and completely unacceptable.
Show them that you are on their side and apologize deeply and sincerely. Tell them what you plan to do about it. You could opt to talk to the cleaning staff when they next come in or have them retrained. You can even opt to appoint an in-house staff member to go through the whole property once the cleaning staff is done just to give the guest some peace of mind.
The key is to be sincere, after all, even if it is tiny, that speck of dust shouldn’t have been there in the first place. So, in short, take ownership of the problem, apologize sincerely and inform guests of the course of action you plan to take. Adding a little something on the side such as a token of apology such as a small and personal souvenir when guests leave would go miles into turning this one mistake into a happy ending for your guests and yourself when it comes to your property’s ratings.
It is pretty straightforward how to get your Airbnb guests to give you 5-star ratings. All you have to do is try to overdeliver on the expectations created and have them trust you by being available (not necessarily physically) and handle situations in a way that will make them trust you.
It may sound like a lot but it’s not actually if you think about it. It’s much like teaching a toddler how to walk. First make them like you, then earn their trust and when they slip, help them up, apologize and do something about the bump that got them to slip in the first place. See? Getting those 5-star ratings doesn’t seem so tough now does it?