Airbnb Hosting Etiquette - Do's and Don'ts

Airbnb Hosting Etiquette, The Do’s and Don’ts

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On the Airhost community Facebook group, we often see a lot of common hosting mistakes and the impact they have on the bottom line. Luckily there are many ways you can avoid these disasters so you can maintain a high rating and Superhost status. Before you can make money as an Airbnb host, you’ve got to understand how to interact with guests. We’ve compiled our top hosting do’s and dont’s. The dont’s are a lot less obvious than the do’s, so here is our Airbnb hosting etiquette primer.

Poor Airbnb Hosting Etiquette – Avoid These:

  • Cancel a reservation with a penalty. Never, for any reason should you cancel a reservation with a penalty. The impact on your commitment rate may cause you to lose Superhost eligibility for an entire year, not to mention what it does to your search rankings. If you absolutely have to cancel, take a look at our cancellation article for tips on how to do so without a penalty.
  • Use Airbnb Smart Pricing. Airbnb’s goal is to book your listing as much as possible. If your house is vacant, they don’t get paid. How can they book your listing as much as possible? They do this by lowering prices below the actual value. Use another pricing tool instead, but never use flat pricing.
  • Get emotional during a dispute with a guest. If you host long enough, you’re bound to run into guests who are unreasonable, disrespectful, and downright rude. Airbnb will usually have your back if they see that you represented their platform professionally and graciously. To maintain proper Airbnb hosting etiquette, be firm in your arguments, but don’t be mean, condescending, or sarcastic. Take the time to communicate through the Airbnb messaging platform to document all of your interactions, so you can prove you’ve kept a level head and managed your guests appropriately.
  • Communicate or accept payment outside the Airbnb platform. Avoid any communication that takes place outside of the platform. Message guests using the app instead of calling or texting and insist they do the same. A paper trail can be very important when it comes to a dispute. NEVER accept payment outside the platform, it could mean an end to your host protections.
  • Trick guests with deceptive marketing. Misrepresenting your listing is the best way to earn bad reviews. Or worse, Airbnb could force you to refund a good portion of the guest’s stay. A guest that feels cheated is usually going to feel compelled to warn other guests of their experience. And that means a bad review for your listing. Avoid guest complaints by painting an accurate picture of what staying at your listing is like. The more Airbnb photos you include, the better.
  • Send short answers to guests. In the texting age, it’s tempting to respond to your guests’ questions with just a “yes” or a “no”. However, guests will often see this as you brushing them off. This a prime example of poor Airbnb hosting etiquette. Take time to thank them for their question, and elaborate in your answer with as much detail as you can. They will think you are more helpful, and this will help your communication rating.

Airbnb Hosting Etiquette Tips- Do these:

  • Personalize your messaging. When confirming a reservation, be sure to include at least your guests’ names and dates they are staying. Using Smartbnb is a great way to help automate messaging. Guests that are staying at an Airbnb instead of a hotel expect a more personal experience. Don’t just send them a template every time without adding some of their info to it.
  • Communicate often. Is there an amenity that is advertised, but not available because it’s broken or being serviced? Give the guest as much notice as possible that it won’t be available and work with them to alleviate the disappointment with a credit or alternate amenity. The guest will appreciate your honesty. Make sure to check in with your guests after their first night so they have an opportunity to tell you if anything is wrong with their accommodations.
  • Leave honest, but objective Airbnb reviews for guests. You owe it to the hosting community to tell other hosts the truth about guests. Don’t be emotional or mean in your reviews, even if the guest treated you likewise. State the facts and move on to better guests. This also goes for any public responses you may write to a guest’s complaints. Even if they criticized you, be sure to take it in stride, but you can also attempt to have the Airbnb review removed. Your public feedback to a guest’s review can be used to speak to future guests by responding cordially and thanking guests for notifying you of concerns and explaining how you’ve corrected them.
  • Put the guest experience first. It is good Airbnb hosting etiquette to try to look at every hosting decision through the eyes of a potential guest. Airbnb differs from a hotel because, as hosts, we are selling an experience more than just lodging. Hospitality is key, and the key to hospitality is thinking a few steps ahead. What will guests coming to my area want? Are they looking for relaxation? Activities? Luxury? It’s very important that you understand what guests traveling to your area are going to want. Having these things ready for guests before they even realize they want or need it is the key to 5-star reviews. Do some market research, and see what the top Airbnb’s in your area offer and what makes them unique. 

Ensure Your Amenities Are Up-to-Date

Once you get the hang of interacting with guests and running an accurate and fair listing, it’s important that your listing has the most up-to-date amenities. We recommend adding smart home devices to improve your value ratings.

Make it a regular practice to go through your short-term rental and check the lights, appliances, water, outdoor features, and any other amenities you offer in your listing. Put yourself in your guest’s shoes to assess if the place is up to snuff and worthy of a 5-star review. Be sure to replace anything that isn’t working properly or in need of an update.

About the Author Kevin Kelsey

Originally from Connecticut, Kevin moved to Los Angeles in 2013 and worked his way up to becoming an editor on award-winning reality TV shows. Kevin owns 4 short term rentals in Southern California and founded AirHost Academy to help other hosts improve their business.