How to guarantee a 5 star review on Airbnb (a guide for owners)

In 2016, my Wife and I visited 21 Countries in 6 months while traveling around Europe. We stayed in countless Airbnb’s, usually for 3-4 nights at a time.

Throughout our travels, we constantly found ourselves making comments like: “This place is nice & clean, but it’s so frustrating that it doesn’t have ‘x’.”

The funny thing is, usually it was only tiny details that were missing.  Small wins that you could put in place in a matter of minutes, to ensure your guests have a relaxing and memorable stay.

Firstly, a bit of advice…

Stay in your own Airbnb!

Most small annoyances won’t be noticeable until you stay in a property. It can look perfect in the photos and beautiful on a quick walkthrough, but until you actually stay there for a night you don’t know what’s really missing.

Most owners overthink details like useful restaurants and maps of the City and forget to cover the small things, like having enough toilet paper.

Basically, as an owner, you should supply anything that can only be bought in bulk. Nothing is more frustrating as a guest than having to buy 12 rolls of toilet paper when you only need 2 for your stay. Or a whole bottle of Olive oil when you are only going to be there for 3 days. These are cheap articles for owners to supply that can make all the difference to your guest’s enjoyment.

The reason people stay in an Airbnb is often so they can cook at home. If one of your points of difference is that you have a kitchen, then you need to supply more than just a microwave…

Key essentials to include:

  • Some way to make coffee, even if it’s just instant.
  • If you do have a coffee machine, then leave some filters (nothing is more frustrating than paying for an un-usable coffee machine).
  • Even a plunger and a fresh packet of coffee in the cupboard will make guests happier than you could possible imagine.

Can you tell I like coffee?

Don’t forget to supply…

  • Enough toilet paper for the length of the stay
  • Handsoap
  • Enough laundry detergent for the length of the say, or multi-purpose travel-wash (available from any camping store) if you don’t have a washing machine.
  • Dishwasher tablets/powder if you have a dishwasher
  • Map of the area
  • Towel hooks in the bathroom (on the back of the bathroom door is an ideal spot)
  • Some way to dry your clothes (a drying rack)
  • A bedside lamp
  • Salt & pepper
  • Frypan / spatula
  • Can / bottle opener
  • Olive oil
  • Soy sauce

But won’t people steal these things?

You can’t cater to the 0.1% of people who are shitty guests and would likely do such a thing. Setting policy based on the exception comes at the detriment of all your kind, caring customers.

If you are really concerned you could leave just enough supply of each item for the length of each stay. Eg. don’t leave 30 dishwashing tablets, just leave enough for the time your guests are there and ask your cleaner to re-stock between visits.

You could store reserve supplies in a locked cupboard or cabinet which only your cleaner has access to.

Extra credit for supplying:

  • Dietary dining advice – eg. Where is the nearest vegetarian restaurant? Or nearest eatery with lots of gluten-free options?
  • Local info, like: Where is the best playground nearby? Where is the nearest gym that will allow for one-off visits? Where are the nearest supermarkets and what are their opening hours?
  • Have cold water in the fridge for your guests & possibly a bottle of local wine if it’s a higher end property or a longer-term stay (4 days plus).
  • Beach towels if you live near water.
  • Welcome snacks – biscuits, muesli bars or small chocolates are a sure-fire way to win friends and influence people.
  • Mosquito repellant (if you live in a location where these are an issue).

Most of these suggestions cost nothing or just a few dollars per visit. If you can take care of these small wins, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the newest furniture or a renovated property. Practical beats modern every single time.

Guests will pick a property on Airbnb that is slightly above their price range, or slightly outside their ideal location if the reviews are good enough. By taking these measures you will ensure your property rents out quickly, regularly and gets 5-star reviews every time.

While you’re here, check out:

Should you buy an investment property?

5 steps to owning your first investment…

Tenancy Services Link: Short term rentals, what you need to know…

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