I’m no stranger to Airbnb.
I’ve been traveling the world for over the last 4 years now consecutively which means lots of hotel rooms and now, Airbnb rentals. Airbnb is a website that allows travelers to book rooms or stays at private apartments and houses all around the world.
It might sound like a rosy picture, the de-regulated hospitality sector and added consumer choices in picking a place to stay, but just like Uber and customer service from their drivers, as a customer a lot of times you’re dealing with people who have very little experience in hospitality or even running their own business.
If you’re a host, the name of the game is eliminating negative reviews on Airbnb naturally, not trying to petition Airbnb to censor bad reviews, which hilariously enough, people are doing Google searches for.
Actually almost a million people are searching for that, every month.
How Hosts Can Avoid Negative Reviews on Airbnb
Here’s a list of some of the top complaints from customers on Airbnb.
1. Dirty apartment or home – Many people complain that the place smelled so bad they couldn’t stand being there, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to discover dust and cobwebs in places where they shouldn’t be. Keeping your Airbnb as clean as a hotel room should be your minimum new standard.
Remember, you’re competing with actual hotels now, so your potential guest could just as easily thumb their way over to a different app on their phone and make a reservation.
2. Bad Wi-Fi – Lots of folks work from their computers or stream movies online while traveling. To be honest, I rarely watch TV when traveling internationally, mostly because I don’t understand the local language well enough to enjoy a program or movie and because the cultural nuances are lost on me.
It’s the 21st Century and most countries have pretty strong Wifi. If you are not providing a way for people to do everything they need or want to do online, then you are on par with a cheap motel! Plain and simple.
3. Communication issues- Often times you cannot get a hold of an Airbnb host in order to access the property or they are late. Then, a host may be slow to respond or provide an inadequate solution to a problem that arises during your stay.
As an Airbnb host, even if you don’t have the solution to a problem readily available, you should communicate swiftly back confirming that you understand there’s an issue and let the customer know you’re addressing it.
The other side of not communicating enough is communicating too much. Pestering your guests or “checking up” on them is also unacceptable. Demanding they use text apps on their phone or sending them texts is unnecessary when you can use Airbnb, protecting yourself and your guest in the process.
Pro tip: To cut down on unnecessary communication or people who expect you to show them around town, make a copy/paste email that you send whenever someone books with you that links to 3 – 5 tourist worthy sites to visit, as well as keep the directions to your place accurate by copy/pasting a link from google maps.
4. Missing amenities – If you advertise in your listing that you have a kitchen for your guests, then ensure that you have basics like salt and pepper, vegetable or cooking oil, and pots, pans, and a sharp knife with a cutting board so that people can actually use the facilities.
At a recent Airbnb stay I found no plates, only bowls. Another one didn’t provide a knife. Would you live without plates or a cutting knife for meat or vegetables in your own home? Most people wouldn’t, especially not people with enough money for a second property they use for just renting out as an extra income stream.
Additionally, an easy way to impress your guests is by having one or two unique, memorable decorations or even a fun gadget that most people would enjoy. Remember, people pay more for premium experiences like hotel rooms with more perks and the same goes for your rental as well. Head on over to https://charmingwares.com for some luxury decorating ideas at discount prices.
5. Deceptive practices on photos and listing info – I’ve stayed at some places where the host owned or managed several different properties in the same area, and I started to get a sixth sense when one belonged to him just by the descriptions he used in the title of his listings. Just like the old marketing tip, you shouldn’t call your listed home “perfect” or “beautiful” unless it actually is, which it probably isn’t!
Using more accurate descriptors and photos, as well as managing expectations carefully in how your write out your listing will lead to a less jarring discovery experience for an Airbnb customer, and they will be less likely to feel like they’ve been had.
6. Don’t ask for reviews – If you have to ask for reviews, then there’s probably something wrong with your listing or customer service. Most of the reviews I read on Airbnb are very careful to not verbally destroy a host’s chances at future business. Keeping that in mind, most people who aren’t happy with your Airbnb rental will simply not leave you a review and go about their way, never to return.
Find ways to first accomplish the necessary basics, then consider ways of adding small touches here and there to your property to wow the guest. It could literally be anything, a short hand-written note and a few pieces of candy all the way to fresh flowers in a vase on the table. You won’t spend a lot of money, but used tactically on long-term guests, it can result in a positive, thoughtful review- which means more business for you in the long run.
Creating Happy Airbnb Guests and Experiences, Not Customers
Most Airbnb hosts do not have the first clue about guest or customer service.
Owning a home and renting it out makes you no more a hotel than my buying an NFL jersey makes me the starting Quarterback for the Detroit Lions.
Treat customers like guests, and you’ll automatically take care of the rest. Don’t cut corners because it will come back to haunt you. You can fool some people some of the time, but you can’t fool all people all of the time.
Your income potential on Airbnb is dependent upon the service your provide as a host.
You have to ask yourself: “What is the value that I’m creating with my listing?”. Again, people can stay just as easily at a hotel, so what more are they looking for that you can give them?
You have an imagination, use it! Small accents and touches are all you need once you’ve got the minimum accounted for.
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