As an Airbnb Superhost, I’ve hosted over 300 guests. I spend hours each week talking to my Airbnb guests, answering questions, resolving issues, and reading their reviews. I’ve also stayed in close to 50 Airbnbs myself, so I have tons of first-hand experience about what it’s like to be a guest.
Through those experiences, I’ve learned what guests love and hate in an Airbnb. What they prioritize and what they don’t.
If you’re a first-time host who wants as many 5-star reviews as possible, it’s crucial you hear these five secrets I’ve learned the hard way so that your new Airbnb business is a huge success. Make sure to read down to the bottom for my #1 tip!
5 Things Your Airbnb Guests Really, Really Want
Before we jump in, you should know that everything below is based on the most popular trends across the 41 guest reviews I’ve received at the time of writing this post. Knowing what guests care about the most will be super valuable to you as a new Airbnb host. That said, you should take all of this information directionally and recognize that every single guest has different priorities and preferences.
1. The right location
Location, location, location. The saying exists for a reason – location matters! Especially to your Airbnb guests. 38% of my reviews to date mention how much they appreciate the location of my Airbnb.
If you have yet to select your Airbnb property, make sure to prioritize location. Think about why people travel to your city and what amenities they look for. Are those amenities close by (generally within a 20-minute walk or 10-minute drive)? Is there a nearby grocery store? Is there a wide variety of restaurants to choose from? All of these location details matter to guests.
If you already have an Airbnb, consider the above questions and highlight these details on your listing! Include 2-3 beautiful photos of popular amenities so that potential guests associate those amenities with your listing!
And, be sure to set appropriate expectations with your guests. Is your Airbnb on a busy street? Is it near a noisy airport? Is the closest grocery store 45 minutes away? Be upfront about what guests should expect before they book. Your reviews will thank you!
Pro tip: One of the best things you can do to maximize your profitability is optimize your listing.
2. Well-stocked rooms
A well-stocked Airbnb is hard to come by, so your guests will definitely appreciate it when they’re surprised by complimentary necessities throughout your Airbnb! 38% of my reviews mention how much my guests enjoyed the small touches I provide, like coffee and tea.
Speaking of coffee and tea, you should know that the kitchen is the most important room to keep well-stocked. Not having what you need when you go to cook is frustrating. So, make sure you provide your guests with all the essential kitchen supplies in this checklist. From high-quality kitchen knives to plenty of silverware to spatulas to hot pads – this checklist will make sure you don’t miss a thing for your guests.
Don’t neglect your other rooms, either. Get your complete list of all the essential furniture and supplies that will WOW your guests and help you get more 5-star reviews with the below checklist:
Pro Tip: Check your inventory often – it’s surprising how much can disappear after a few guests!
3. A spacious, updated, and nicely-decorated property
Another thing that will really set your Airbnb apart is ensuring your property is spacious, updated, and nicely decorated. Honestly, I was shocked when I realized 60% of my Airbnb reviews mention that my guests love these qualities in my Airbnb. It’s the most commonly mentioned thing across all my reviews!
Even if your property isn’t spacious, you can make it appear that way by ensuring there aren’t unnecessary items throughout your property. Remember, this is no longer your home, it’s your guests’!
So, make sure your guests have plenty of room for their own things by removing any non-essential items from shelves, table tops, and in drawers. Remove any and all personal items. Remove anything that could be perceived as clutter. Doing so is a super inexpensive way to make your property appear more spacious than it is.
If you can, update/renovate your property as well. You want your Airbnb to entice potential guests through your listing photos and wow them when they first arrive. Don’t get me wrong, Airbnb startup costs can really add up. And renovations alone can make up a huge portion of your upfront investment. But it’s important to consider the increased revenue those upgrades will bring you.
Three upgrades that go a long way with Airbnb guests:
- Freshly painted white walls
- Durable flooring (not necessarily hardwood; nice-looking laminate works well, too!)
- Recessed lighting
Each of these makes your property appear spacious, clean, well-lit, and suitable for many different types of guests.
Listen, you can ignore everything else on this list but do NOT ignore the importance of having a clean property. Prioritizing everything on this list will help you be as profitable as possible, but if guests don’t think your property is clean, you might not have a viable business at all.
40% of my reviews either mention how clean my property is or that it wasn’t as clean as they expected it to be. And, while cleaning an entire property in just a few hours is a huge feat, the smallest imperfection can lead to low star ratings and unpleasant written reviews. I’ve gotten poor reviews for things like a few strands of hair found on sheets. Cleanliness matters to guests. A lot.
So, do your best to find fantastic cleaners, which is much easier said than done. When you first open your Airbnb, visit often. Make adjustments and provide feedback to your cleaners as needed. For example, you might need to add more storage space for your cleaners or photos so they know how each room should look when they’re done. Show your appreciation every single time you talk to your cleaners (even when things go wrong!) and give generous gifts. They’re integral to your business.
5. Quick and thoughtful responses from their host (that’s you!)
One of the most common pieces of feedback I get from guests is how much they appreciate my communication. 50% of my reviews mention that my guests appreciated how quickly and thoughtfully I responded before and during their stay.
I encourage all my Airbnb guests to send me questions, let me know if anything is wrong during their stay, and provide private feedback afterward. You can make all of this communication super simple by setting up automated messages.
Then, I make it a priority to respond as soon as I get a message from a guest. Guests who have questions REALLY appreciate this. Not only that, but when things go wrong, quick and thoughtful responses can very much ease any frustration. I’m confident that my responses to guests when things go wrong have led to many 5-star reviews that otherwise wouldn’t have been.
That’s why this is my #1 most important tip for you. Responding to guests quickly and thoughtfully is very much appreciated and this alone can turn a disaster at your Airbnb into no big deal.
Pro Tip: The best way to prevent issues from coming up in the first place (and eliminate a lot of stress for you!) is through regular property maintenance.
That’s it! The five highest priority things for Airbnb guests.
Priorities differ guest to guest and what you hear from your guests will definitely depend on their unique experience at your unique property. But, making sure you’re hitting on all five areas above will help you get fantastic reviews right away.
After that, listen to your guests and adjust based on what you’re hearing from them!
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What do you care about most when you stay at an Airbnb? Let me know in the comments!
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