Undoubtedly, guest experience is the most prized metric of the short-term rental game. Guest experience correlates directly with reviews, the better the guest experience the better the review. Listing reviews determine future revenue, future guest quality and business longevity. Guest experience starts from when a guest first lays eyes on your listing until after check-out. In this post we will delve into the airbnb rating system and how to deliver a five star guest experience consistently which will result in consistent five star reviews.
What is the airbnb rating system?
Airbnb gives the guest eight categories of which to rate the listing. The categories are overall experience, cleanliness, accuracy, value, communication, check-in, location and amenities. The following are the questions that airbnb asks a guest within a review, taken straight from airbnb website;
“ Guests can give ratings on:
- Overall experience. Overall, how was the stay?
- Cleanliness. Did guests feel that the space was clean and tidy?
- Accuracy. How accurately did the listing page represent the space? For example, guests should be able to find up-to-date info and photos in the listing description.
- Value. Did the guest feel that the listing provided good value for the price?
- Communication. How well did you communicate before and during the stay? Guests often care that their host responds quickly, reliably, and frequently to their messages and questions.
- Check-in. How smoothly did check-in go?
- Location. How did guests feel about the neighborhood? This may mean that there’s an accurate description for proximity and access to transportation, shopping centers, city center, etc., and a description that includes special considerations, like noise, and family safety.
- Amenities. How did guests feel about the amenities that were available during their stay? Guests often care that all the amenities listed are available, working, and in good condition. “
How can a host achieve five stars in each of these categories?
Overall experience is the big enchilada, getting five stars in this category means you have obtained the coveted five star review. There is one simple overarching rule for this category which is to exceed expectations. In order to exceed expectations the host must set the right expectation through price, photos and copyright. While it is our obligation as revenue managers to get the highest nightly rate possible we still need to be cognizant of the product we bring to the market and its limitations. An overpriced listing will have a hard time achieving five star reviews. Photos should be professional and quality but they should not be misleading. Copyright is so important because the right explanation in the digital listing as to any limitations of the space will set the proper expectation. Always under-promise and over-deliver.
Cleanliness has always been a driver of five star reviews, but now in a pandemic world it’s critical to any long-term success. Checklists and systematic procedures paired with the right cleaners will help a host achieve five star standards in this all important category.
Accuracy really comes down to digital listing management, the listing should have up to date photos and full disclosure of any obvious issues in the description. If you notice a dip in accuracy rating it’s time to revisit your digital listing.
Value tends to be a subjective measure, it really depends upon the guest. As hosts we can control the pricing to match the product but if demand is there, we have an obligation to price as high as the market will allow.
Communication such as cleaning is a vital driver of five star guests reviews. Host to guest communication should always be prompt, professional, direct, informative and courteous. The right communication style will help to save five star reviews if gone awry in another category. Never underestimate the importance of communication.
Check-in should be hassle free. Check-in instructions should be clear, concise and delivered in a timely manner. This category is a great opportunity to easily and consistently get five stars if set up correctly.
Once you are operating a listing location is pretty much out of your control. Obviously, location is very important when searching for your STR investment. From a rating standpoint your digital listing should be very clear as to proximity to different points of interest within your locale. It’s important to set the right expectation about location. Let the guest know if there is some dilapidated housing in the neighborhood, noise issues or if the area is in a transitioning phase. The point is to be clear and transparent about location.
Amenities are really the simplest of all categories. Just be honest on the amenities being offered and don’t offer something you don’t have. It’s good to do a routine walk-through of the physical listing to ensure amenities are accurate. From a guests perspective there is nothing worse than expecting an amenity and it not being there, it’s a breach of trust which will hurt five star goals.
Guest review verbiage is also very important, the longer and more detailed a review the better it is for the chances of getting booked by future guests. Give a five star guest experience and encourage detailed reviews.
Lastly, as hosts we need to ask guests for five star reviews. This ask can be direct or indirect. We prefer a more indirect method by thanking the guest for their five star visit in our post check-out message. This implies that we will be giving them five stars and expect reciprocation. It’s really dependent on the host on how to ask, but the host must always ask whether directly or indirectly.
Past guest experience will determine future listing success.
Always exceed expectations
Guest experience will have a direct impact on revenue.
Thanks for your time and attention.