Reviews are the foundation of the service industry. Hotels, restaurants, personal trainers, real estate agents, and any other service-based professions must live and die by the review system.
As the world has grown ever more interconnected, and social media has engulfed every aspect of our lives, the power of customer feedback has grown exponentially. General advertising and marketing are still vastly important tools, but at the end of the day, cyber word of mouth is fast becoming the ultimate determinant for a business venture’s success.
Hosting on Airbnb is no different. The internal review and rating system is the sustenance of any listing. Without it, the listing will dry up, drop off the search rankings, and gasp a dying breath as it slips away into irrelevance.
But for those who take heed of the importance of the reviews and ratings, glorious rewards await them. After hosting for nearly two years with Airbnb, I have cracked the code on how to yield to stellar reviews. Here are my top five tips on how to reel in high quality feedback to establish a top-notch reputation.
1. Communicate With Your Guests Before Arrival
Make sure you communicate with your guests before they arrive. Send them helpful information about your apartment, neighborhood, and city. Include detailed directions to your house from various available means of transportation. Also, make sure you confirm the arrival time a day in advance. Let your guests know you or someone else will be on site to welcome them. Keep in mind that your guests might be traveling from the other side of the world. The last thing they will want to deal with is an unwarranted delay after arriving at your apartment.
2. Contact Your Guests After The First Night
After your guests have spent their first night in your house, contact them to see if there are any problems. You can only fix problems you’re aware of, and guests don’t always report them. Taking the time to ask a question will go a significant way towards your long-term success. Moreover, if everything is perfect and your guests have no feedback, they will still appreciate the fact that you care about their experience.
3. Create An Accurate Description
Your guests form their expectation of your house based on your description. If it is not accurate, you can have a disappointed and disgruntled set of guests on your hands. Make certain that your description is a true reflection of your space. The amenities listed should be available and in working order. The proximity to various tourist attractions and bars should be as precise as possible. If there is anything that could negatively influence your guest’s experience (i.e. construction near your house, a neighbor with a loud dog, etc.), it’s best to mention it. The basic rule you should follow is this: under-promise and over-deliver.
4. Leave A Glowing And Detailed Review For Your Guests
As soon as the option becomes available, write a review for your guests. If you don’t have a reason to complain, make the review ultra positive. Not only will this help your guests make subsequent reservations in other locations, but it will bolster the probability that your guests will return the favor in the form of a glowing review for you.
5. Ask Your Guests For A Review
Former guests of mine have repeatedly neglected to write me a review despite having a wonderful stay. Why? Because they simply forget. As such, make a habit of proactively requesting a review from your guests. My current protocol is as follows: (1) send a thank-you note after checkout with a request for them to leave a review, (2) send an additional reminder two weeks after checkout, and (3) send a final request a few days before the option to write a review expires (which occurs 30 days after checkout).
This is part one of the Airbnb Hosting Series, in which the author shares his knowledge on Airbnb hosting.