How to be a super AirBnB host – with or without the badge

We have now used AirBnB in over 15 countries, so we know the drill. We’ve stayed with “Superhosts,” first-time hosts and everything in between.

We quickly learned that the “Superhost” distinction awarded by AirBnB, indicated by a bright pink and yellow medal superimposed onto the host’s profile photo, is awarded based on metrics alone, and that staying with a superhost doesn’t guarantee a good stay any more than a solid 5-star overall rating would. 

AirBnB mobile app: Superhost status tracker for hosts

Superhost status is awarded based on a host’s level of adherence to AirBnB’s hosting standards. In order to attain Superhost status, one must achieve and sustain the following metrics:

Completed trips
Commitment rate
Response rate
5-star trips
Review rate

“Commitment rate” refers to the rate of follow-through on the host’s end on trips accepted on the platform. Hosts are penalized for cancelling on a guest after accepting their reservation.

“Response rate” refers to the rate at which a host either accepts or declines requests for trips within 24 hours. The host’s response rate is reflected on the property’s listing, and is adversely affected when a host doesn’t respond to a request. Hosts are not penalized for declining reservations.

“Review rate” refers to the proportion of guests who write a review of their stay. Guests and hosts have 14 days after check-out to write their reviews, and neither review is posted publicly (or viewable by the other party) until both parties have written a review, or until 14 days have passed, whichever comes first. Guests rate hosts on cleanliness, accuracy of listing, location, check-in process, value, and communication.

Categorized average guest ratings as displayed on each listing.

All hosts are evaluated (and Superhosts are re-evaluated) quarterly.

In our opinion, though, the best hosts go above and beyond these metrics to guarantee a positive experience. Some of the best hosts we’ve stayed with did not have superhost status.

At times, we have been surprised at the extent to which a superhost is lacking. Limiting your bookings to only properties hosted by Superhosts is not a foolproof strategy to guarantee perfect accommodations every time. In our experience, the best hosts abide by the following rules of conduct – and these may or may not have earned them the coveted medal.

Cleanliness: Attention to detail

Cleanliness is by far THE most important factor in determining whether an AirBnB experience is enjoyable or not, lack thereof is the most common reason we will leave a bad review. If you don’t provide your guests with a clean AND tidy (read: relaxing) space to retreat after an exhausting day of travel, your listing will not be successful, and your guests will feel trapped and disappointed.

Remember that when you decide to rent out your home, your guests are booking a place to live for, more often than not, at least a few days. There’s nothing worse than arriving to a dirty place, or being greeted by an unpleasant host after a long day of travel on uncomfortable transportation and then realizing that you’re stuck there for x number of days. Don’t make your guests regret booking with you.

After each guest checks out, launder the linens, clean the floors, take out the trash, and make sure no traces of the recently departed guests are left behind. Check the space again, making sure everything is clean and in working order, before the next guest arrives – this includes any common areas.

If you’re going to make your kitchen available to your guests (a must for many), please don’t leave excess clutter or a sink full of dirty dishes for them to deal with! We, as guests and roommates, wouldn’t do that to you, and it makes it so much more difficult actually utilize the kitchen space. As budget travelers, we try to prepare our own meals wherever possible, and the promised availability of kitchen facilities is probably one of the reasons we booked your place. Please make it simple and convenient!

Same goes for the fridge – if you’ve promised kitchen access, for the love of all that is holy, make sure that there is space in the fridge for guests to use! There’s nothing worse than arriving with an armful of provisions and not having space to store your refrigerated items.

We were disappointed to discover how few “Superhosts” made these extra efforts.

Greet guests with a warm welcome

This is especially relevant when a guest is sharing your living space with you. It’s always awkward to occupy space in a stranger’s home, even when you’ve paid to be there. Dispel the awkwardness by making a connection. Let guests know that they are welcome to make themselves at home, and that you are there to answer any questions and address any concerns. 

We’ve noticed that it’s easier to leave a bad review for a host we’ve never met, as compared to a host we’ve interacted with in person. If something went wrong during our stay, we’re less likely to mention it in the review if we felt a connection to the host and if our overall experience was positive. This is something to consider when hosting, as reviews and star rating greatly impact a listing’s search ranking and, ultimately, the amount of revenue it generates.

On the flip side, don’t give a guest a bad review for not sharing your personality traits. Some people are more personable and extroverted, some are more introverted and less comfortable socializing with strangers. You’re in the hospitality business now! Respecting your space, meaning not breaking anything and keeping it relatively clean is enough to warrant a positive review. Don’t click with a guest? Doesn’t mean that they’re a bad guest, or that you’re a bad host. Some guests become friends, and some are nothing but customers. Everyone is different. C’est la vie!

Be flexible

Traveling is stressful and it can be difficult to stick to a planned itinerary due to factors beyond one’s control. Exhausted travelers may want to crash as soon as they arrive, despite being excited about the space and excited to meet you. Don’t take any of this personally. If they’re running late, and you haven’t heard anything, perhaps their phone is dead and their flight is delayed. Just shoot them a message saying that you had to run out, but that the keys are in the mailbox or under the welcome mat for them. Always send clear instructions for check-in, and give guests their space upon arrival. Allow them to initiate any social interaction so that you don’t seem intrusive or overbearing.

Keep your promises

On that same token, always be punctual and follow through on any promised accommodation. If you promise to meet your guests for check-in at noon, be home at noon, and be responsive to calls and messages. Don’t go MIA. Hosts who fall off the face of the earth at check-in time are the most frustrating to deal with, and it gives the wrong first impression. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a big city after many hours spent in transit without a place to set down your bags, shower, change clothes, etc. Guests should be as communicative as possible, but so should hosts. If something comes up, let guests know, and make alternate arrangements for their arrival. Definitely invest in a lockbox to make things easier on yourself and your guests in the event life happens.

Always make sure that your guests have access to everything advertised in your listing. Did you promise breakfast? Make sure you’re stocked up on these items before they arrive. If you’ve advertised a private room, make sure you have everything you need from inside the guest’s room so that you don’t have any reason to enter their space during their stay. We once discovered upon checkout that a host had let himself into our space to do laundry, either while we were out or asleep. No bueno!

Make your listing memorable

Go above and beyond, not only to ensure that your guests are pleased with their accommodations, but to lock in that 5 star review! The most memorable hosts have left goodies specific to the destination in the room for us – usually snacks that are popular in that region – for example, a KEX bar in the small studio we rented in Stockholm was a fun surprise. Hosts in both France and Italy have left us a bottle of local wine, and yet another Italian host left a spread of traditional Italian breakfast goodies and local jams. Give international guests a taste of your local culture by welcoming them with just a few extras. Just a little effort and a few dollars go a long way, and make a big impression.

Water is also much appreciated by everyone, no matter where in the world you are. Arriving late at night and being too tired to go out in search of supplies is what makes a fridge, stocked with even just a few bottles of water, such a valuable asset.
We’ve been hosting in our primary home for 2 months now, and, while it’s been great overall, it hasn’t been without incident. AirBnB is a great tool, until it isn’t. Not all guests will be respectful of your space, and you have to approach hosting with this in mind. Bad people are everywhere, including on AirBnB. I will say that the benefits definitely do outweigh the risks thus far!

A good rule of thumb is to not accept guests who are new to the site, and do not have reviews from other hosts, because these guests may not be familiar enough with the community to know that renting a room in someone’s home is far more intimate involves a different set of rules than, for instance, staying in a hotel. You always have to go with your gut when it comes to accepting bookings, and don’t feel bad about declining a reservation – it’s YOUR home, after all!

Hosting on AirBnB is easy money. We feel as though we get paid to keep our house clean and tidy. Plus, we’ve met some really cool people along the way! #winning

If you’re interested in listing your space on AirBnB, use our referral link to get a $50 bonus on your first booking!

If you’re interested in staying with AirBnB on your next trip, sign up using our referral code and get a $40 travel credit!

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