Tips for Getting 5-Star Reviews Hosting on Airbnb

Updated on January 25, 2018
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Viola enjoys teaching what she has learned in her many years on Earth. She has made eye contact with Robert Redford. Really.

A warm welcome instantly endears you.
A warm welcome instantly endears you. | Source

This One Tip Is Sure To Win Your Guests' Hearts

Research has shown that people make a judgement about you in the FIRST TWO SECONDS of meeting you. Your first move is crucial. Since one of the biggest fears a guest may have about staying in your home is the concern that they will bother you, put their minds at ease from the moment you meet them by offering this one phrase: "We are so glad you are here!" If you combine that with welcoming body language, you are off to a great start. If they text you to say, "We are here!" go outside and meet them in the driveway. Smile, make eye contact and say, "Hi [first name]! Welcome!" Introduce yourself then ask them a question and let them talk. Letting them know that you not only welcome them but already have warm feelings for them will give you a head start in showing guests that you are a wonderful host, and they'll keep looking for ways to prove it!

More Little Things That Add Up to a Big Impression

As a host, I often only get about three minutes to make an impression. After that, I like to leave my guests alone. Humor, attention to detail and a concern for their comfort and well-being go a long way to turning a stranger into a friend.

Get Them Laughing

One of the surest ways to put a guest at ease is to get them laughing. I have about three jokes that I use during my opening tour. I show them the "Here/Gone" sign that hangs outside the entrance to their suite. Then I tell them to please switch it to "Here" when they come in so we know not to sing karaoke. That usually gets a laugh - or they tell me it's OK as long as they get to come up and sing along. An instant connection!

I also show them some of the amenities in the suite. When I get to the fan, I say, "Here is a fan in case you get hot," then I show them the fire extinguisher and say, "and there's a fire extinguisher in case you get REALLY hot!" Another chuckle.

Last, when I point out the ping pong table, I say, "One guest claimed it was broken because he said he couldn't win a single game!" Laughing is a bonding experience, just be sure not to go overboard with lame jokes or, God forbid, make jokes at their expense.

Thoughtful Amenities Matter

Great Hospitality Means Paying Attention

If a guest thinks, "Wow! That's a nice touch," you can get away with forgetting to text back for an hour, or something else a great host might not do. While you always want to respond as quickly as possible to a guest request, if you've already shown them that you care about them, they are quick to forgive.

Some details that I've found helpful are leaving a basket of goodies as an "Honor Bar" with a list of suggested prices (generally about 50% mark-up of what I paid) and a small money jar. I usually tell them that this is my version of a vending machine. Some use it, others don't but almost everyone finds it a nice touch.

Another is a basket of bathroom toiletries. I leave a tube of toothpaste, a new, packaged tooth brush, a packet of floss, some feminine hygiene products, a few Bandaids, packets of ear plugs and some hair elastics. Many guest leave feedback that says, "She thought of everything!"

Paying attention during the stay is another sure-fire way to wow them. I always leave a bottle of water per person per day in their fridge, I replace wet towels and make sure there are always two extra rolls of T.P. in the bathroom. Sometimes, on really cold evenings, I will turn on their electric blanket so the bed is warm when they return. I almost always get comments of appreciation for that one!

A white board or chalk board can display notes about special events or local deals. One local restaurant offers free pie on Wednesday, so Tuesday evening, I leave a note on the board to let them know. It's a fun way to keep in touch.

"We'll leave the light on for you!" was a great marketing tool

Keep The Guest In Mind

Learn to think like a host. Observe your own quiet hours. Keep door-slamming, loud conversations and heavy bootsteps to a minimum.

Remember, this is a new place for your guest and they may not remember which house is yours the first time they are out. Keep your welcome going. If a guest is out past dusk, I leave the porch light on, turn on the light just inside the entrance, turn on their bedside and bathroom night light and turn up the heat in their room. Sometimes, I will leave a little sweet treat with a note that says, "Sweet dreams!" on their pillow. The morning after their first night, I text them to ask how they slept and if they need anything else. These little touches that are reminiscent of a visit back home to Grandma's house can tickle a guest's fancy and get you a rave review.

In parting, leave a little good-bye gift (a candy bar or small bag of cookies) with a note thanking them for staying with you and invite them to return. As they leave, be sure to walk them to their car and ask them to leave you a review. Most guests are happy to oblige and the sweet farewell leaves a lasting, warm impression.

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