5 Ways to Earn Rave Reviews on Airbnb (& Maximize Your Income!)

by | BiggerPockets.com

Let’s face it: If you’re an Airbnb host, you likely face stiff competition that is only getting worse. There are almost 4,000 listings in Denver alone. As the sharing economy grows, so do the number of short-term-rental listings nationwide. Case in point: hosting isn’t getting any easier, and if you rest on your laurels, your business will slowly profit less and less as more supply hits the market.  

This is, unless you stay on top of your game and do everything you can to differentiate yourself from the competition. Better reviews = more bookings = more money. Your Airbnb property is not your average rental. It is a hospitality business that requires thought and careful attention to detail. It isn’t rocket science, but most people overlook key aspects of hosting. This results in leaving money on the table. And no one wants that.

Here are some tips and suggestions that will help you earn five-star guest reviews and more money. We use these strategies every day while managing our properties, and in my opinion, they work!   

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5 Ways to Earn Rave Reviews on Airbnb and Maximize your Income

1. Be Responsive

This may be the most important thing you can do to improve your revenue and attract more bookings. Many guests don’t look solely at your listing, they shop around and send out multiple inquiries at a time. These guests are looking for instant gratification. They aren’t willing to wait hours or days for a response. Aim to reply in five minutes or less. Guests will thank you for your quick reply!  

Response time is factored into your listing’s SEO.

2. Be Proactive (Not Reactive)

Thinking ahead is paramount to running a short-term rental business, even if you only have one property in your portfolio. If you are reactive and not proactive, you’ll quickly find that you end up spending hours running around town fulfilling guest requests. Plan ahead, and you’ll prevent emergencies before they happen.  

In general, I’ve found that most guests don’t want to interact with the host. They don’t want to meet you to get the key, text you for more toilet paper, or have you drop by to say hello. Make sure to stock your home with all guest consumables, batteries, spare keys, (etc.) so that you never have to make a mid-stay visit because you forgot something. Which brings me to my next point…

3. Go the Extra Mile (Running Over Pots and Pans on Christmas)

Sometimes you can’t plan for everything. Recently, on Christmas Eve, a guest messaged me at 7 p.m. to say that all of the pots and pans were broken inside the house, rendering them unable to cook a family meal that night. We had no idea this had happened. Honestly, we thought the kitchen was fully stocked.

Instead of apologizing and offering a discount (losing money), I ran to Target and hand delivered them a brand new set of pots, pans, and kitchen utensils. One of the rare cases when I like to personally visit the property is when guest issues arrive. There was little we could have done to have avoided this issue in advance, but the extra effort truly wowed the guest and made their stay. More importantly, it helped us avoid a bad review and cleared the way for more bookings in the future!

Related: The Top 10 Dos and Don’ts for Airbnb Short-Stay Landlords

Total cost = $3

4. Give Guests Free Stuff! (Hair Dryer, Iron, Water, Snacks, COFFEE)

Most Airbnbs I stay in offer your standard towels and sheets, maybe a coffee maker or water, but very few hosts provide extra amenities. There are so many things you can offer that cost almost nothing and add huge value to your place, bettering your guests’ experiences. Some of my favorites are:

  • Granola bars
  • Bags of chips
  • Crackers
  • Bottled water
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Q-tips
  • Makeup removing pads

Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb’s cofounder and chief technology officer has found that offering a hair dryer earns hosts, on average, $10 more per night.  

My entire “guest freebies” package costs me less than $10 per stay (which I bake into the cleaning fee) and truly wows most guests.  

Related: How I’m earning an 8% Cap Rate on My Vacation Rental

Bathrooms need to be 100% spotless. A bright and inviting bathroom is a great way to earn a five star review! Total cost = $4

5. Focus on Cleaning

If your Airbnb property has one good quality, let it be cleanliness. Guests scrutinize cleanliness heavily, and having a less-than-spotless home is the quickest way to get dinged. Carefully train and hire your cleaning crew to pay extra attention to the kitchens and bathrooms to make sure they are 100-percent free of dirt and hair. Remember to check things like microwaves and refrigerators that can often contain hidden messes or unexpected food items. And don’t forget to dust! This is often overlooked but is a very important aspect of a clean Airbnb rental.  

What tips do you have for getting great Airbnb reviews?

Share them below!

About Author

Tyler Work

Tyler hails from Washington, D.C. and got into real estate investing when he converted his primary residence into an Airbnb rental to boost his monthly income. He manages short term rentals in Denver for COBnB and loves enjoying the Colorado outdoors in his free time.

5 Comments

  1. Jason Johnson

    As an owner of a vacation rental, I believe having the place clean is the most important job of management. The bad reviews I see from other places always includes something that wasn’t clean. Sometimes things break, or maybe the WiFi doesn’t work, but usually these don’t lead to lower star ratings. It’s if they find something not clean.
    I really like the idea of the snack option for guests. When I stayed in Maui the host had some local chips and chocolate. I was ready to give her 5 stars when I walked in. Great idea to price that in the cleaning fee!!!

  2. Michael Baum

    My son and I are building little crates to hold the snacks and such that will have our logo on it and they can take with them. They cost almost nothing to make and it is a fun reminder of their vacation!

    We also provide a variety of coffee pods for the Keurig in addition to providing a drip system.

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