At the conclusion of each stay, guests review their hosts against six criteria, each of which are rated between one to five. Before the guest reviews each of the six criteria, they are asked to rate the entire stay out of five:

They are then asked to describe their trip. Hosts will only ever see aggregate answers that multiple guests have picked. When describing their trip, guests are asked the following questions and are provided with the following answer options:

How would you describe the location?

Central

Walkable

Close to public transport

Close to nightlife

Close to restaurants and shops

Secluded

What was the neighborhood like?

Residential

Lively

Hip

Scenic

Quiet

Family-friendly

Did you stay here for any of the following reasons?

Family travel with children under 2

Family travel with children under 2-12

Business travel

None of the above

How would you describe the quality of the home?

Budget

Limited amenities and minimal furnishing

Basic

Standard necessities, plain or outdated furnishing

Comfort

Well-equipped space for a comfortable stay

Upscale

Beautiful space with high-end amenities and decor

Guests are then asked to rate each of the following criteria with a star rating of 1-5:

Accuracy

This is a guest’s opportunity to shower thanks upon truthful hosts that set honest expectations from the get-go or seek payback for being sold a misrepresentation of a place different to what they were led to believe they would be walking into.

Under Airbnb’s Content Policy, hosts are obliged to create listings that are honest, clear, and helpful to potential guests. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with positioning yourself in your best light, the Content Policy does include a prohibition against posting content that is fraudulent, false, misleading or deceptive.

Common sense should be your guide in deciding what constitutes effective “marketing” versus deceptive misrepresentations.

Airbnb guests are not typically looking for cookie-cutter accommodation options. When communicated effectively, accuracy in your listing’s unique features and differentiators can actually be transformed into key selling points that elevate your listing and its appeal to guests.

If anything less than 5-stars are given, Airbnb will ask the guest what were the main issues? In addition to adding personal details, the guest is able to select from the following issue options:

Amenities

Listing Description

Noise

Photos

Size of Home

Wi-Fi

Across the different review categories, Airbnb will provide a selection of “issue options” (like the ones above) for the guest to pick from. These represent common issues of particular concern to guests. Therefore pay extra attention to understanding these issue categories prior to any of them actually becoming issues for your guests.

TIP #1: Not Everything Will be Pretty

Even if you have an impressive pad in a great neighborhood with amazing amenities; your place will inevitably possess some less-than-desirable features. This is part and parcel of reality.

Bar open downstairs till the wee-hours of the morning? Mattress a little more on the firmer side? Sociable roommate that likes to bring the party home? Call these out early and help guests avoid unwanted surprises. You never know… for many people, these may actually be drawcards for wanting to stay at your place.

TIP #2: Accuracy in Pictures Too

Include photos that truly help a guest envisage what it would feel like to stay at your place – not just the key features and amenities. Include at least one photo of each room that guests will have access to.

Ensure the place looks its best, but don’t dress it up to the extent that guests wonder if they’ve walked into the right home upon arrival.

Photos are covered in greater detail here. Click here to find a professional photographer in your local area.

TIP #3: Thoroughness in Your Listing

Your Airbnb listing is your principal mechanism for providing prospective guests with an insight into what it might be like to stay at your place. They are yet to see it and therefore have only your listing page to go by when making their choice.

An Airbnb listing is comprised of a listing name and summary; overview of the space, areas the guest can accessyour interaction with guests, the neighborhoodhow to get around and house rules.

Each of these represents an opportunity to provide information with great clarity and accuracy. They also represent an opportunity to mislead guests and provide inaccurate representations. Ensure accuracy prevails in your listing descriptions.

Building a thorough Airbnb listing is covered in greater detail here.

Check-In

The check-in process is arguably the most important criteria to get right for hosts. A warm, frictionless and problem-free check-in will set the tone for the rest of your guest’s trip. Getting off on the wrong foot will have the opposite effect and flavor all other elements of the stay in a negative light.

Fortunately, the check-in process happens to be highly repeatable. You’re also able to anticipate many guest questions, and the information that would be most helpful to them too.

With all of this in mind, taking a moment to get this right for one set of guests will enable you to simply hit the repeat button with all future guests too – a big reward from a small investment.

If anything less than 5-stars are given, Airbnb will ask the guest what were the main issues? In addition to adding personal details, the guest is able to select from the following issue options:

Directions

Entering the home

Late host

The check-in process is covered in greater detail here.

TIP #1: Getting Them to Your Place

Helping guests simply get to your place is the first step to a problem-free check-in. Find out how they’ll be arriving (flight, rail, bus, driving, etc.) and let them know the easiest way of getting from their arrival point to your place. Ensure they know how to contact you if there are any hiccups to their arrival plans, and ask if there’s anything you’re able to do to help make their arrival more effortless or comfortable.

Explain the check-in procedure, whether anyone will be there to meet and greet them, and how they’re able to get the keys and orient themselves to your place and the surrounding area.

Click here to find transportation services in your local area you're able to recommend to incoming guests.

TIP #2: Have Someone Meet Them in Person

It may not always be possible to meet and greet your guests in person upon their arrival at your place. Depending on your motivations for hosting on Airbnb, doing this for each and every guest may represent taking your desired investment in Airbnb further than you have any interest. Despite this, there’s no substitute for the warmth and reassurance felt by having a friendly face be there in-person to physically meet and greet you upon arrival.

Guests greatly appreciate having a real person walk them through their temporary home-away-from-home, explain amenities and features in-person and answer any questions they may have. Whenever possible, this is highly preferable and will be rewarded with positive reviews.

Having someone meet and greet your guests in-person is covered in greater detail here.

TIP #3: Create a House Manual

House Manual explains how amenities and features of your home works. For example, hosts can let their guests know how to turn on the hot water heater or where they can find an extra blanket.

Guests receive this information in an email once they’ve confirmed a reservation. It’s likely that many guests won’t review your house manual at the time of booking, and those that do will almost certainly have forgotten the finer details by the time of their stay. Therefore, print off your house manual and leave it as a hard copy too for reference upon check-in or at any other time throughout the booking.

House Manuals eliminate problems by preempting known challenges or questions and ensuring your guests appreciate the full range of amenities and home features available to them. House Manuals leave guests feeling confident and content from the get-go – a sentiment likely to be carried throughout the rest of their stay too.

House manuals are covered in greater detail here. Click here to find service providers able to assist in creating the ultimate house manuals for your place.

Cleanliness

One of Airbnb’s Hospitality Standards is cleanliness. Providing a clean and tidy space will make your guests feel comfortable from the moment they arrive as well as show your commitment to making them feel at home and welcome.

You have the ability to add a cleaning fee to your listing price. If you can’t (or don’t want to) do the cleaning yourself, you can always hire a professional cleaning service.

If anything less than 5-stars are given, Airbnb will ask the guest what were the main issues? In addition to adding personal details, the guest is able to select from the following issue options:

Bathroom

Bugs

Dust

Floors and carpet

Kitchen

Odors

Shower

Towels and linens

TIP #1: Welcome Guests to a Clean Home

Many guests have traveled great distances to finally arrive at your place. The last thing a paying guest wants to walk into is a messy place. It may seem obvious, but clean every room that your guests can access throughout their stay. Pay special attention to bedroomsbathrooms and the kitchen. Make sure towels and sheets are freshly-washed.

TIP #2: It’s Often the ‘Small Things’

Take care of the small things that show extra consideration: Dust the bookshelves, wipe the mirrors, empty the wastebasket and make room in the closet or dresser so that guests can store their belongings.

These things may feel like they’ll go unnoticed, but are likely to be remembered upon reflection precisely because it’s often the small things that get remembered the most.

TIP #3: Give Yourself Enough Time

Ensure that you give yourself enough time to clean your space, particularly when you have back-to-back bookings. Giving your guests the ability to tidy up after themselves will be a big help, so be sure to leave cleaning supplies in your space to enable guests to take care of spills and accidental messes.

An overview of what needs to be cleaned with each turnover is covered here.

Click here to find cleaners in your local area.

Communication

Most hosts think about communication being important only in terms of their responsiveness to booking inquiries and reservation requests. Whilst definitely important, this represents only the beginning of good communication between you and your guest.

Whether it’s in solving specific problems, providing general advice, or simply letting guests know how to operate the TV; remember that Airbnb hosts adopt the role of a hotel concierge when it comes to maximizing the ease and enjoyment of your guests’ trips.

You therefore need to remain contactable, communicative and helpful at all times throughout your guest’s stay.

If anything less than 5-stars are given, Airbnb will ask the guest what were the main issues? In addition to adding personal details, the guest is able to select from the following issue options:

Check-In arrangements

Host unreachable

TIP #1: Maximize the Ways They’re Able to Contact You

Let guests know how you’re able to be contacted throughout their stay. Are you happy for them to email you? SMS you? Call you?

A natural reluctance of hosts is the fear that opening too many channels of communication is an invitation for being inundated with problems left, right and center. The reality is the opposite.

Guests are typically either focused on utilizing their limited travel time for best use, or reluctant to bother their hosts unnecessarily. And sometimes simply providing an answer to a basic question over a call will avoid a long and drawn-out game of email or SMS 'ping-pong' – thus actually saving you time and inconveniencing you less.

A great way to establish the multitude of communication channels available to guests is in the Interaction with Guests section of your Airbnb listing. Here’s an example below:

Interaction with guests

I like to ensure your vacation starts off on the right foot.

I will personally greet you upon arrival at the building. To ensure your every concern is able to be taken care of, I also like to introduce you to the doorman.

Once you’ve had a chance to dump your bags and grab a drink, I’m always happy to give you a quick walk-through of the local area.

If you’re not up to it, I’m equally happy to run you through a list of key attractions and cheat sheets for making the most of your stay.

As a longtime local, I’m well-placed to suggest the best attractions, advise on the best ways of getting around, recommend key attractions or offer suggestions for anything that might pop up during your stay. I’m only ever a phone call away. And feel free to drop me an email anytime – I’m at the computer so often anyways.

And if you’re anything like me, you’ll forget half your luggage in the mad scramble back to the airport. Don’t worry – this has happened 2983492934 times before (especially with kids!) and we always find a way to get your prized possessions back into your hot little hands.

In addition to explaining all of the communication channels available to guests, you also increase the likelihood of coming across as a great host and receiving additional bookings as a result.

TIP #2: Notify Guests of Unexpected Changes

If something about your place has changed since the time you confirmed a reservation, communicate it in advance to your guests. Guests are much more likely to be understanding when given foreknowledge.

If the change is substantial, offer practical suggestions for ways you may be able to provide a temporary remedy or partially compensate for the inconvenience. Whilst this is also just common courtesy, it will often be seen as going above-and-beyond what was reasonably expected.

Tip #3: Proactively check-in periodically

There’s nothing more comforting than receiving an email or SMS from your host that simply asks how everything’s going and if there’s anything they’re able to do to make the stay more enjoyable. Being proactively communicative will be a welcome surprise for your guest, and stand out in their memory upon reflection of their trip.

Remember too that guests may often feel that their “problem”, “issue” or “concern” is too minor to warrant contacting their hosts about, so being a host that gets on the front-foot and asks their guests about anything that would improve their stay will be a welcomed gesture.

Want help staying on top of your communications? Click here to find guest communication service providers.

Location

It may seem somewhat unfair that location is one of the review criteria that you’re scored against. A natural objection is that your place is simply located where it is located, and there’s little you’re able to do about that. Logic would suggest that a place in a less-than-desirable location will simply charge less in recognition of this fact. Whilst all of this is true, guests have a keen interest in staying in prime locations.

Doing a few simple things will go a great distance in bringing out the best your local area has to offer, helping guests avoid the places they’d most likely want to avoid, and assisting them in getting around to everywhere they’d likely want to go.

If anything less than 5-stars are given, Airbnb will ask the guest to explain why with personal details.

TIP #1: Create a Guidebook

The easiest way to let guests know about the best your local area has to offer is with a local area guidebook. Guidebooks let hosts suggest great local spots like restaurants, grocery stores, parks, and attractions.

Guidebooks take the guesswork out of deciding where to go to experience all the sort of things guests are typically interested in. Guidebooks leave guests feeling like they’ve been provided with insider tips that inevitably leave them feeling like a true local.

Developing a guidebook for your listing is covered in greater detail here. Click here to find service providers able to create you the ultimate guidebook for your place.

TIP #2: Use your Airbnb Listing

When guests feel like a “local” they naturally form a personal affinity towards the local area. And this affinity means they’re more likely to view the location favorably upon reflection.

With feelings of being a local comes a personal affinity towards the local area. And this affinity means they’re more likely to view the location favorably upon reflection.

Your Airbnb listing provides a section for overviewing your neighborhood. Use this section to highlight your neighborhood’s key selling points and proximity to places of interest, key landmarks, attractions and public transport.

Here is an example of how to use this section effectively:

The neighborhood

  • Located in beautiful Gramercy area and a couple of blocks away from trains (4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R lines) and buses that’ll take you anywhere uptown, downtown, crosstown and into Brooklyn
  • No more than 15 minute walk to Empire State Building, Union Square, Herald Square, Flatiron Building, Madison Square Park and East River
  • Never more than 30 minutes away from neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, West Village, Chelsea, SoHo, Chinatown, Lower East Side, Times Square, Grand Central Station or any other downtown or midtown spot.
  • Located in the heart of countless bars, restaurants, shops and central transport hubs
  • Easy to get to by cab or public transport from JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports

TIP #3: Recommend Public Transport Options

Your guests will almost certainly want to leave your immediate local area at some point throughout their stay. Providing them with clear instructions on the various public transport options available to them will help reinforce the impression that your place is situated in a convenient spot.

You’re able to do this on your Airbnb listing in the Getting around section, such as in the example to the below:

Getting around

TRAINS: 5min walk to 6 line (taking you everywhere on the East side of Manhattan) and 10min walk to L, 4, 5, N, Q, R lines (taking you uptown, downtown, crosstown and into Brooklyn)

BUSES: 5min walk to multiple buses that go up and down 1st, 2nd and 3rd Avenue as well as crosstown (at 23rd Street)

CABS: Readily available cabs constantly driving past building and surrounding streets

FERRY: 15min walk to East River Ferry at 35th Street

PARKING: Parking lot located one block away

Value

Just like location, value is a highly subjective concept. What you charge will likely be a key determinant on perceptions of value by guests: At $100 a night, maybe your place would be considered lacking in value, but at $50 a night it may be considered a steal. Unfortunately, perceptions of value will differ from guest-to-guest and there isn’t much you can do to overcome variance in expectations between guests.

However it isn’t just your nightly rate that establishes value. If anything, guests are unlikely to have booked somewhere that they didn’t feel provided value for money at the time that they booked it. This represents an opportunity to demonstrate value in a variety of other ways too. With small but smart tricks, you’re able to win over even the harshest of critics and leave guests feeling like they’ve hit the jackpot in finding your place.

If anything less than 5-stars are given, Airbnb will ask the guest to explain why with personal details.

Tip #1: A Few Little Touches Go a Long Way

Airbnb guests are typically not the type of travelers looking for “just another” travel accommodation option. They are discerning travelers wanting a one-of-a-kind experience with personalized touches. Great Airbnb hosts frequently go the extra mile and provide additional amenities and value-adds for their guests.

These are often small, inexpensive things such as a welcome basket of snacks, chocolates on the pillow, basic toiletries and beauty products or complementary tickets to the cinema or a local tourist attraction.

Tip #2: Provide Future Discounts

Since value is so inextricably linked to price, offering guests Special Offer discounts for future stays will boost perceptions of value for their current stay, irrespective of whether they end up taking you up on the offer or not in the future. Offering something as small as a 5% discount on any future stay, or one free night for any future stay over a week will not only increase the perception of value, but may also assist with gaining additional future bookings too.

Tip #3: Send a Thank-You Note

Remember that guests are not obliged to complete the review process. For less-than-desirable guests, this may be a good thing. But many guests simply forget to leave reviews which can be a real pity if they had only good things to say.

Sending a thank-you email immediately after the stay is not only a great reminder to leave a review, but also a reminder of what was hopefully a great experience with an equally-great host – all of which reinforce intrinsic value.

An example thank-you note can be seen here.

The Remainder of the Review Process

Once the six review criteria have been completed, guests are then given the option of adding a private note to their hosts. Here guests are able to offer suggestions for small improvements or say thanks for being a great host.

Finally, the guest is asked to leave their written review. This is a public review and will live on the host’s Airbnb listing page as well as also being viewable from the host’s profile. Below is an example review:

Use both the public review and private feedback you receive as an opportunity to make improvements to your listing or the hospitality you provide.

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OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS SECTION:

Using the Airbnb Verification Process to Demonstrate Credibility
The Importance of Good Reviews
Leaving Reviews