Host with the Most: How to Be a Five-Star Airbnb Host

Six images of items to have in an Airbnb house

Anyone with some photos and a connection to the Internet can rent their space out on Airbnb. Not everyone, however, can say their listings are booked on a consistent basis and garner rave reviews—five-star reviews—regularly. Anyone with some photos and a connection to the Internet can rent their space out on Airbnb. Not everyone, however, can say their listings are booked on a consistent basis and garner rave reviews—five-star reviews—regularly.

The more stars an Airbnb listing has, the higher it will appear in user searches. And the higher is appears, the more likely it is that a guest looks a little closer and hopefully makes a booking. If you have aspirations of becoming an Airbnb “Superhost,” five-star reviews are a must—Airbnb Superhosts achieve an average rating of 4.8 (and earn 22% more than other hosts.)

So, what separates the adequate or mediocre host from the upper echelon of Airbnb hosts? We asked Dani Braun, our favorite DIYer who has also been an Airbnb host for four years. She’s a solid five-star host and has only fives for accuracy, communication, cleanliness, location, check in, and value (aka, all the categories). Needless to say, this woman knows what she is doing.

4 Secrets of a Successful Airbnb Host

1. Your house should be immaculate

You may be fine living with a few dust bunnies, but you’re not cleaning for yourself—you’re cleaning for your guests. You need to go above and beyond to keep your space fresh and clean from top to bottom. If you don’t have time or cleaning isn’t your strong suit, hire a cleaning service to do the dirty work.

“I just like to make sure things are immaculate—because that’s what I would expect. If I went to a hotel and I found a frayed towel or dirt on the floor, I’d be very upset. But that’s my standard,” said Dani. “I do know other people who do not hold to that standard, and they don’t have five-star reviews. And they look at it and say ‘Well, it’s somebody’s house. They should expect that.’ I don’t know, I would be really disappointed if somebody was disappointed in me, but that’s kind of a personal thing.”

2. Anticipate ways to make a guest’s life easier

Put yourself in the shoes of your guests and think about things that may be inconvenient or annoying for them in your house. Then, figure out how to fix those problems.

“I bought a mini fridge for the back porch last year, not so much because I thought it would be easier to have beer on the porch, but because I know that back door is super heavy and going in every minute is kind of a pain. It’s a pain for me—so if it’s a pain for me, and you’re critiquing me, let me make it a little bit easier for you,” explained Dani.

Also consider any forms of technology—“must-haves” as well as fun extras—that could improve your guests’ stay. For example, good WiFi is non-negotiable. Dani also added a better cable package, Netflix, streaming music, and keyless entry. She’s leaves all the passwords for her guests, along with an iPad they can use to play music, work the lights, or just surf the web.

 3. Personalize welcome gifts

No two Airbnb bookings are created equal—one weekend you may be hosting a family of four, and another weekend you could be hosting an older couple in town for their daughter’s college graduation. Think about what you might like to open the door to if you were these unique people.

Dani is a big fan of following this guideline. If she’s hosting a bachelorette party, she’ll bake brownies and leave a bottle of rosé. For families, she provides sticks and s’mores for the backyard fire pit. Wedding party guests usually receive bubbles and flowers.

She also encourages hosts to get crafty with welcome gifts if they have artistic talents. For example, one of her friends is also an Airbnb host, but she’s really great at cross-stitching.

“She will make a little cross-stitch for everyone that rents—because that’s what she does,” said Dani. “So she makes these really cute, sassy, miniature cross-stitches that say fresh things.”

 4. Leave little extras

Think of small touches that could improve a guest’s experience and elevate your property to a different level (say, a five-star level?).

“I like to be very particular,” said Dani. “I leave fresh flowers. I leave beer and wine. Anything convenient.”

She provides directions to the beach, but lets guests in on the time-saving short-cut. It’s a small difference, but it provides that local touch a GPS system just can’t match. Living in a popular summer town, she also supplies information about any big events that are going on that guests may be interested in.

Dani also makes sure the kitchen is stocked with the basics so guests don’t have to worry about running to the grocery store right away. She leaves a fresh bottle of cream, a dozen eggs, butter, coffee (plus filters), and laundry detergent. All the food is brand new for each booking.

Make Your Home Somewhere You Would Want to Stay

The key to being a five-star Airbnb host is to go above and beyond. If you do just enough, you’re going to get a review that reflects that effort. If you go out of your way to take care of your guests and make their stays as comfortable, memorable, and special as possible, those experiences should come back to you in the form of glowing reviews.

“When I get a good response from somebody, I want to keep that going,” Dani shared. “I want to do a little bit more. So, I tend to do more for other people than I normally do for myself.”

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Embrace Home Loans Staff