These days, it seems like everyone with a piece of real estate is finding a place in the vacation rental space. And Airbnb is most likely the platform that most new hosts and managers will turn to first. In doing so, they are creating increased competition, making it vital to stand out if you want to excel in the Airbnb marketplace.
You’re not going to achieve that by tossing a mattress in a bedroom and calling it a resort. Obviously you know that your guests expect more than this, but how do you tap into genuine satisfaction, leaving your guests with really no choice but to sing your praises in online reviews (and to rebook with you on their next visit)?
The short answer is – you serve up a five star experience every single time.
Well duh, of course, but HOW?
The Art Of Communication
Perhaps the most critical element to providing a five star Airbnb experience, communication is key to avoiding misunderstandings and adequately preparing your guest for their visit.
Communication may start as early as the consideration period, when a guest is viewing multiple properties in an effort to choose just the right one for their family. This is your first opportunity to show your guests that you offer fast and friendly service.
If they have questions regarding the home’s features, location, pricing, or house rules, they’re often unwilling to wait days for you to reply. In fact most won’t even wait hours! In other words – the early bird is likely to get the worm. Other hosts in the running to “win” that booking are likely ready to respond to inquiries quite quickly, and you should be prepared to do so as well.
Side note: replying quickly isn’t just to secure that guest booking: Airbnb also rewards and recognizes hosts for speedy response times.
Aside from helping the guest to move forward in their decision, you’re demonstrating that you are prepared to be attentive to their needs. It’s this early signal of your attentiveness that will play a part in guests’ decision making processes. Just make sure you follow through and remain as attentive once you’ve secured the booking… being genuine goes to the heart of Airbnb etiquette!
If your first opportunity at communication comes with a booking, Airbnb will send a confirmation on your behalf, but it’s wise to follow-up on a more friendly level to try to determine a few basic facts about your guests. You can even create a simple survey to garner some key facts about your guests that you can use later to enhance their stay.
You already have a great and appealing home. By using information about your guests to create a service that measures up to the product, you can create a true five star experience.
More Than A Guest Book
It doesn’t matter if you are home sharing or managing dozens of properties, Touch Stay makes it easy to be a welcoming, attentive host at all times. The “guest book” is a timeless means of conveying important and useful information to your guests. And it should be easy for the guest to access, like directly on their phone without downloading an app!
Go digital with Touch Stay and bring your guest book in to the 21st century. You can build your own fully customizable interface from an enormous bank of features, allowing you to create a guest experience like no other.
Your digital guest book can be updated in real-time, allowing you to customize travel tips, recommendations and other details based on the insight you’ve gained while communicating with your guests.
Pre-arrival access to the digital guest book enables you to easily share vital information with your guests, like driving directions, check-in and check-out times and procedures, and instructions on gaining entry to the home. Having this information in advance will always help your guests to feel more comfortable when staying with you by ensuring a smooth check-in experience with no last-minute surprises or confusion.
Side note: it’s not only about the guest… it’ll also save you a ton of time and headspace by not having to answer endless repeat questions!
Offer An Amazing Space
Thoughtful communication and great digital services are a good start to offering an experience that is second-to-none. But you also want to make sure that your guests feel at home when staying with you. Keep your property flawlessly clean, well-stocked, tastefully decorated, comfortable (yes good beds please!) and well-maintained.
It doesn’t matter if you are renting out a private room or a lavish estate, the entire place needs to be neat and presentable at all times. Your guest rightfully expects a certain baseline standard.
Baseline standard box ticked. Next it’s about expectations. One guest may consider a rustic cottage, full of period charm, to be an amazing space. Another guest may mark you down in reviews because the furniture was old and the space felt cramped.
How do you solve the subjective view of what an “amazing space” is?
Simple. Set expectations in your listing. Make it clear what your place is, and include that high up the description for those guests who don’t read. Then reinforce that with any pre-booking communications. Every guest should understand that your historic cottage has period furniture and small spaces. Call that out loud and proud! It’ll turn the “rustic cottage” guest on, and the “cramped space” guest off. That’s exactly what you want. When expectations meet reality you’ll find only happy guests in their amazing space.
Expectations set. Tick.
Next is to ensure that the guest space is welcoming and inviting on first impressions. Consider including amenities that your guests may not even realize they need! That’s amazing. Keep your home stocked with some basic supplies; a sewing kit, a shaving kit, feminin supplies, first aid supplies and some basic over the counter medicines. Take things a step further and offer a comfortable bathrobe, slippers or even an assortment of soothing bath enhancements to create the luxury resort experience your guest deserves.
Be The Host With The Most
To create a true five star experience for your guests, you want to wow them the moment they walk through the door. A thoughtful, small gift of wine, fresh flowers, or a fruit basket will surely brighten the day of even the most travel weary guests.
This simple act will not be forgotten and will be very much appreciated. If you do know of a special occasion being celebrated, this is a great opportunity to add something genuinely special to your guests’ Airbnb stay. Don’t stop wowing them on day one.
Although some guests prefer to create their own experience you should always be available to offer assistance if needed. Remember each guest is different. Just let them know that you are available should they need you. But not in a flippant way. Make it genuine.
For example, rather than:
“I’m here if you need me”
You might say:
“Many of my guests like to be left alone to enjoy their stay. That’s why I’ve created this digital guidebook [insert link] that has all my personal recommendations, and lots of frequently asked questions. But, if you need me, I’m here!”
By utilizing your digital guest book you can keep your guest well informed without being too invasive. Dare I say you also train them to look it up on their phone before contacting you?!
Being a five star host is not as challenging as you may think. Airbnb etiquette requires a little forethought, careful planning/consideration, consistency, and a healthy dose of simple common sense. Best of all, once you have a basic process in place for managing your rental and the Airbnb guest relationship, the entire scenario becomes quite routine, with minimal effort required to keep the process running smoothly, and effectively.
Follow your framework with each and every guest to successfully achieve a five star experience as an Airbnb host each and every time!
Thinking about trying a digital guidebook for your accommodations business? Touch Stay is totally customisable and designed for its readability—and it can live in your guests’ pockets, right on their smartphone. Get in touch with us to learn more!