How to achieve Superhost status
Do you want the coveted title of superhost and join the minority of Airbnb users who get the best returns and ratings?
If the answer is yes then read on!
Superhosts can loosely be described as those hosts that go over and above what is expected of them!
Airbnb describes Superhosts as:
Airbnb doesn’t explicitly claim that you’re more likely to make more income over time. However, some studies have shown that Superhosts can get up to 40% more occupancy than non-superhosts.
So let’s dive in with some tried and tested methods to get you up to becoming a superhost!
1. Have soft music playing when your guests arrive
Creating the right ambience for your Airbnb can be a great introduction to your place.
You can even set this up to start at a certain time or when your guests arrive. This can be an especially good tip if your place is in a serene environment and you can play nice relaxing music.
2. Invest in good ambient lighting
Lighting can perfectly compliment your music to create the right mood and atmosphere. Light can make your space feel warm and welcoming.
Light needs to be soft and not colourful or fluorescent. You don’t want anything too harsh that can create shadows.
3. Leave small explainer notes for your electronics.
There’s no harm in leaving a little note by the most complicated devices.
Your electronics may be familiar to you but it’s unlikely your guests will be au fait with every device in your home.
Also, don’t worry about duplicating the information in your guidebook if you have one [which you should!]
So let’s get straight to it. These are the 11 most important things to include in your Airbnb home manual.
4. If you can, arrange to greet your guests
Or, have a friendly face like a good neighbour to do it for you! Sometimes guests can be stressed when they arrive so a friendly face can help alleviate the stress.
Some guests will want to chat and some others will want to be left in peace! Always ask them if there is anything they need. If they need something there and then see if you can accommodate them.
Sometimes they won’t know immediately that they need something so let them know you [or your surrogate!] can be contacted!
4. Offer to carry guests' luggage
When I started hosting 15 years ago, I found that one of the nicest introductions was to carry their luggage through to their bedroom.
This creates a warm welcome and your guests will certainly appreciate it. If they are travelling by public transport and you have the time, you can always meet them at the station and give them a hand with their belongings!
5. Be honest with your listing. People are usually happier when you manage their expectations
If there are non-standard features in your property be sure to highlight them. For example, if your entrance door is particularly low, include a picture of this.
The worst thing you can do is to try to hide some of the ‘negative’ aspects of your property as you will be found out pretty much instantaneously. It’s better that you try to turn these into a positive feature or at least just mention them.
6. Respond to bad reviews
Getting a bad review can often feel like a punch to the gut and if you are like me you probably will take it personally. Often the guest will have a point but sometimes some guests can just be incredibly picky as part of their nature.
If you get a bad review give yourself a 24 hour cooling period before responding to negative reviews. In the heat of the moment you may not be as able to respond politely, rationally and courteously!
A well-written negative review response can actually increase bookings if you play your cards right. Whatever you do, don’t try and argue and come across as the ‘winner’ as you could well see yourself with a pyrrhic victory [one that seems like a win but you ultimately lose!]
7. Make sure your home has ample interesting art, furniture, and bedding.
Guests are often interested in eccentricities. If they had wanted a sterile hotel room they would have booked thet. Consider sourcing from local artists and craftspeople as it will help people feel the ‘local’ experience.
8. Try to be as flexible with check-in and check-out time as possible
Unplanned things happen to all of us from time to time. So try to bear this in mind for when the same unexpected things happen to your guests. There may be roadworks, train cancellations and a whole hosts of other possibilities that will mean that your guests will arrive late.
9. Have a non-greet alternative entry for those times you are not able to meet and greet
You will not always be available to meet and greet. This can be because of your or your guests’ schedule. It’s always useful to have an alternative for when these occasions arise.
You have a few options for this. One is a keyless lockbox which is affixed with screws to a wall nearby your property. Your keys are basically stored inside a combination locked box.
However, for apartment blocks and other proper properties this option is not always available. On these occasions you can choose instead to have a Portable Shackled Combination Key Lock Box which is like a giant padlock with key storage inside. These can be placed on railings near to your property.
For houses, a third option would be to have a combination lock on your door handle. Guests can use a keycode to access to your property. These come in ‘dumb’ and ‘smart’ form. Dumb combinations are ‘set’ unless you physically change the code. ‘Smart’ locks on the other hand are connected to your wifi and you can change the combination as often as you want.
All these options are secure, easy to install, and let you conveniently control who can access your home.
10. Invite your guests for dinner!
You are the superhost with the most after all!
When you have met with your guests you can often get a good idea if you will get along or not. Inviting your guests over for an evening can really make the difference between a 5* review and a lower rating. Guests will also be MUCH less likely to leave a bad review if your place is subpar, and will be more likely to give you honest feedback in a friendly way!
We have made lifelong friends this way so you don’t need to feel like this is just a cynical ploy to boost ratings. It can actually be great fun!
Even if your guests refuse the offer, you can be sure that the gesture will be appreciated!
11. Give new Airbnb guests a go
Just as your guests look at your ratings, so you look at your potential guests! Those without any ratings doesn’t necessarily mean that they are bad guests. Everyone has to start somewhere!
New guests can also be extra appreciative that you have given them the opportunity to stay at your property. However, you might have to do a little bit of cyber-digging before you decide whether to take them. However, the effort can be worth it and you will often be rewarded with a five star review.
12. Go over and above what you put in your listing
For this, the list is practically endless!
You could for example offer a fresh coffee in the morning, offer discounts at local restaurants or bars.
You could even share your gym membership or give them free vouchers for local attractions.
If a guest requests anything particular such as a blender, it could be a good idea to go out and buy one. Not only will the guest really appreciate it, but you will have the facility for future guests as well.
13. Leave flowers
Giving flowers as an unexpected gift to your guests can improve their mood. Studies have shown that when people receive flowers, their fatigue decreases and their blood pressure lowers. They also leave a pleasant smell in your property!
The type of flowers that you leave can also have a positive effect on guests’ moods. Check some of these below!
- Geraniums – Improves air quality.
- Lavender – Improves sleep, reduces blood pressure and slows heart rate.
- Roses – Relieves headaches, sharpens memory.
- Orchids – Calming.
Lily of the valley – Soothes nerves and helps with dizziness.
- Tulips – Alleviates tension and exhaustion.
14. Write to guests a week before they arrive
Make it as personalised as you can from their profile without being too intrusive. Include some information about your house and surrounding area.
Before guests arrive try to gather as much information about their likes and dislikes. This can be as simple as asking about their food/music/recreational preferences.
If they reply then give them all the local nuggets that you know about that may not be in guidebooks/online! Tailor your answers to their individual preferences.
15. Try to think from a holiday maker’s perspective
Imagine that you are on holiday. What types of things would you want? It’s likely that you want to maximise your time based on your desires.
Put yourself in your guests’ shoes. Give them more information than they need to cover all possible bases. Make everything as convenient as possible giving them access to as many amenities and facilities as possible. Always try to go over and above!
16. Give your guests plenty of information on what is available locally
Although many guests will just use their smartphones to find out what is happening in the area, it’s also a good idea to give local knowledge that is difficult to replicate through a phone.
A good idea is to pick up some brochures from the local tourist information centre. These can be tourist destinations, museums and a whole range of other attractions. Also, get some menus both from local takeaways and restaurants.
Remember to include places that may not be so prominent online or may be a little out of the search area on their phones. Off the beaten track places are always a winner [as long as they are good!] as it makes guests feel like they are special.
17. Create a personalised guidebook
If you have your guidebook template already you can just replace the welcome page to include the name of your guest.
I wouldn’t recommend using their name all through the guidebook using ‘search and replace’ as it will appear a little spammy and maybe a bit creepy. But on the first page this is absolutely fine and will be appreciated!
18. Greet guests with a smile
I once worked for a bank and one day we had a team meeting with a guest motivational speaker. He asked everyone what was the first thing they put on in the morning. After the usual answers of socks, underwear etc he told us we were all wrong and the first thing we should put on is a smile!
Although this seemed a little cheesy, there is a lot of truth to it. Guests are often disarmed by the presence of a smile and a simple smile can make them feel at ease.
However, if you are not the smiley type, get someone else to do the meeting and greeting as people have an uncanny knack for recognising a real from a fake smile!
19. Give guests parking instructions
Guests will often arrive by car. However, they will not know about the parking restrictions and street signs may be unintelligible to them [even in their mother tongue!].
Guests will not want to learn when they arrive about parking restrictions. They may have had a long drive from a different country or state/county. This information may also not be available on mobile apps!
If your guests receive a parking ticket, guess who will get a negative review? Keep your guests happy and give them up-to-date parking information!
21. Ask guests about their food preferences right when they book
We always message our guests to see what type of tea/coffee they like and also see if they have any dietary restrictions.
This gives them a little intrigue as to what to expect which is part of the holiday experience itself!
Knowing their preferences has many advantages. You can leave whatever it is in the welcome basket, give them recommendations on restaurants [or specialist restaurants depending on diet]. It also gives you insight into what to prepare if you invite them around for dinner!
22. Offer your guests a variety of drinks upon arrival
It’s common to leave a bottle of wine for guests. But you will eventually find that not all guests will drink alcohol due to cultural, health, personal or other reasons. You may even inadvertently offend your guests!
It’s best to offer fruit drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer and wine as well as hot drinks such as tea, coffee and hot chocolate. As always, if you can offer local varieties this would be a bonus!
23. Give guests a quick tour
You can leave everything in your guidebook but some people are auditory learners rather than visual. Explain to your guests where everything is, such as spare towels, cleaning products and so on.
Also, show them how to use equipment such as washing machines, dishwashers, dryers, heating etc. It may be obvious to you but not necessarily to your guests!
24. Decorate your home if there are any national holidays
You could decorate for Christmas, Easter, Chinese New Year, Hallowe’en and a whole host of national holidays. This can make your guests feel more at home when travelling.
25. Leave your guests a holiday specific present
If it’s the Christmas period, leave a well wrapped christmas present such as chocolates. If it’s Easter, leave an Easter egg or chocolate bunny! If it’s Halloween you could even make pumpkin soup! There may also be local festivals which you could also take advantage of!
Some holidays such as Valentine’s Day may seem the perfect date to leave a present. But be sure that the guests are actually in a relationship. Just because a pair of guests with the same surname book together doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a couple! So check first!
26. Leave a little present for your guests to take home
If hosts leave a present this is generally in a temporary form such as a bottle of wine, chocolates or flowers. However, you can go the extra step and leave something that your guests can take and remember your stay. Something as simple as a keyring with the symbol of your city or country.
27. Invest in a meticulous cleaner
A spotless place is always a winner for guests. Many hosts do the bare minimum but you will be rewarded for going over and above!
Good cleaners use a variety of tools at their disposal to make your place shiny, clean and smell nice.
28. Include a little card which explains how your local transport system works
Transport systems can be notoriously difficult to navigate. In Prague for example, I once took a fine for not having a ticket, even though I bought one. The problem was that I hadn’t validated it! Being from the UK, we have no such system!
We also have our own foibles in the UK! Bizarrely, a single train ticket can be more expensive than a return. Also, transport types are not linked. However, in the Netherlands, the entire transport infrastructure runs as an ecosystem and you can use the same card on buses, trains, trams and even boats
Explaining your transport can earn your guests’ eternal gratitude!
29. Keep a selection of offline entertainment
This can be books to read, fun games to play or magazines. Sometimes guests will appreciate being away from the screen!
30. Leave your guests with all of the supplies they need
Leave an umbrella in case of rain or suncream/sunhats in case of sun!
Have extras of everything too, especially toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors and ear plugs. Most guests will already have these but for those that don’t they can be a godsend!
Leave extra light bulbs, bath towels, extra pillows, extra blankets, extra toilet paper, extra everything!
So that’s 30 surefire ways to get you to superhost status. You probably won’t be able to enact them all but utilising a selection of them will surely boost your ratings and occupancy.
Tell us what would other tips would you recommend?