Saturday, October 29, 2016

Here is How to Achieve a Five Star Rating as a Host or Guest on Airbnb?

Hello Luvs,

Today I thought I would share what I (we) have learned from using Airbnb solely since February (8 months!WHEW!!!!). Trying to accomplish this morning breakfast made me think that there are folks who could benefit from our experience(s). This is meant for both guests and hosts. If you are a host and find that you are struggling with attaining a five start consistently please make that you are following the checklist I will share. Of course Airbnb has people who advise their hosts, however being a long term guest of more than a dozen different Airbnbs I believe it is important to know how small things the hosts have done that has made them a return to house versus somewhere that we would not book again. Still reading? Good! Let's get down to it.
Having to make my pancake batter in a saucepan brought
about my content today....I have had to do this before at
a different Airbnb and it affected the rating we left

When the booking is confirmed- Please send the address and/or any additional information to your guest (or your arrival time) as soon as possible. We have actually had to reach out to hosts within an hour of our arrival because they had not sent us the necessary information. There is nothing more stressful after a long drive than not knowing where or how you are going to get in.

Arrival- Allowing guests an open arrival time (of course this might change if you have back to back bookings). Since we have been venturing from the east to west coast along with the southwest any pit stops can set us back. Sometimes however things go swimmingly regarding stops and traffic, and we would now arrive earlier. Being able to come in earlier than late afternoon (a lot of places have a 3 or 4 p.m. check in) is beneficial. This is something that might not be an issue with others, but since I have two children along with a chihuahua getting in sooner (or later) is invaluable.
Used to making it happen.  However I shouldn't have to to make a simple meal!
Unpacking- This is something that has been an issue with a few places we have stayed. Either they have no hangers or no where to place our things. If we are doing an overnight stay it is not as much of an issue. When our stay is two days or more grabbing items from a suitcase is an issue....Josh is 6'3 and having to bend over to grab things is a pain....let alone if the guests are up there in age. My suggestion? Have between 6-12 hangers in each closet. Also, have a 2-4 drawers for guests to place their things. It does not have to be very fancy, but this is something that a few hosts have not done and it has been as inconvenient. Not only are the drawers used for storage, but they are used as nightstands. At least four of our bookings have not had nightstands. This is not something that is ambiguous...it is necessary and not optional to have nightstands. For those of us who bring water to bed along with our electronics (including computers) NEED them.

Kitchen- Now this section is something that affects me more than the rest of the family since I am the one who prepares meals. So, what do I think is essential? I have them below in bullet points so nothing gets lost in the mix.

  • Eating utensils and items to eat from- (8 of each) large plates, small plates, bowls, mugs, forks,  butter knives, spoons, glasses. They do not need to match. If you only have one set of four you run out of plates and untensils and have to wash them continuously.
  • Cookware- small and large skillet (two of the large if you can), small and large saucepans, large pot, cookie sheet, small and large baking pan
  • Complete set of cutting knives
  • Cooking utensils- spatula, pasta spoon, large spoon, tongs, whisk, grater, salad utensils
  • Blender
  • Mixing bowls- I use them for fruit on the counter and/or ya guessed it....to mix ingredients!!!
  • Dish and dishwasher soap
  • Broom with dustpan
  • Paper towels- (we do not use them much, but others do) you should flex the amount by how long someone is staying...we have stayed for a week in places where there was a small amount of them, and I have had to go buy them.
  • A set of tupperware
  • Foil, saran wrap, and wax paper
  • Two cutting boards- I use one for meat and one for other items
Bathroom- Anywhere between 4-6 sets (wash, hand, and body). If you are located at the beach...beach towels also. Shampoo and conditioner in each full bathroom, body wash, blow dryer, hand soap, extra toothbrushes (nothing fancy...but appreciated if someone happens to lose theirs), bath mat, if your tub is slippery you should place a shower mat in there and have the cleaners (or you if you clean the unit) sanitize the mat between guests. Oh, and toilet paper! We have stayed at a few places where it actually hurt your bottom. I type that doesn't do that is more appreciated than you know. If the guest is staying leave an extra roll in each bathroom. If longer leave a pack.

Washer/Dryer- A lot of places have them, however some of them do not have supplies at the ready. We are talking about bringing your place up to a five star rating right? If so, leave a mild detergent, dryer sheets, and bleach. Also, if you included a basket to toss dirty laundry on top of the dryer it will go a long way. Once again....these do not need to be expensive. Some guests will leave behind their supplies (like we have because of a lack of space).

Instructions for guests- Please leave info for anything that is not obvious. 
  • If you leave a sheet/list/binder of the things below believe me...your guest will appreciate it!
  • Since we have stayed in several different states we have found that the systems in regard to remotes have varied. It might seem like a no-brainer, but it isn't for those of us who are not familiar with the area. 
  • Leaving a sentence about where things are stored (broom/dustpan/vacuum/iron/etc.). 
  • How the shower works (especially if your hot water is skin melting). Some places have old fashioned plugs which you pull down versus flip a lever.
  • Clear expectations on what is required upon exit. We stayed at a place that needed a gate remote to enter and exit. At the end of our stay they wanted the remote and all keys left in the house. Why is this a problem? Well...you also need a key to come and go by foot, and if you leave the keys and remote back in the unit how do you get out? The only option is for the guest to wait for someone to come through and follow them out. That does not leave a great impression for your guest and is a hassle.
  • If there happens to be ANYTHING that is hanging by a thread or will not pop back in easily for your guest let them know.
Now....guests, you know that you have a responsibility to do your part right? I know that you are the customer and you might feel as if you should not do these things. An Airbnb is not a hotel/motel. Having great experiences calls on being mutually courteous, respectful and transparent. 
  • Make sure you read the hosts rules before coming and going. If you don't you might find out that you will have a fee tacked on, not complete the items you need to in order to get back your deposit (if you paid one for a dog or anything else). 
  • Be respectful to the neighbors especially if they are located close, above, or below you. 
  • Recycle if they have the option. 
  • Make sure you place items in trash before you leave.
  • If others have left unopened items make sure you pay it forward. Do not just eat the items and leaving a bare cupboard behind. Most hosts are great about letting you know to use whatever you like. In turn we have left behind condiments, boxed and/or canned items, along with some cleaning supplies.
  • Make sure you throw any perishables away. This ensures that you do not leave behind any items that might cause an odor...and expecting others to clean up after you.
  • If you have issues when you enter the home reach out to the host as soon as possible. I am speaking about appliances or items not working, a smell that is strong, or if the home is a safety hazard (had a few of those!). Also included in that is if the place is dirty. Some but not all hosts charge a cleaning fee. This is something you can find out in the pricing before you book. Either way....you deserve to have a clean place to lay your items and head down on. We have experienced anything from old food left in fridge, toilet and shower not cleaned, body hair and dirt in the bed when you pull down the linens to go to sleep, a mouse running across the floor (and droppings found..I am frightened of them!), food remnants on counters and tables. Per Airbnb policy the host needs to be available for the first 24 hours of your arrival. Letting something serious wait does a disservice to both you and the host. Most have appreciated it when we let them know. If the hosts are not receptive (when it is a valid issue), unable to reach, or have not responded after a decent waiting time your only option is to reach out to Airbnb. Airbnb has been great in this regard. Once I had to send pictures of the place because what I was saying was crazy but true...they canceled the booking, refunded my money (plus 10%), and have even gave me a travel credit before.
  • Leave a review of the place as soon as possible. Neither you nor the host will see the public comment until both of you left one. This affects both you and the host in regard to rating.
Bottom line...whether you are the host or guest there is a way to do the right thing and provide the best impression when both arriving (host) or leaving (guest). Of course you could not follow these and receive a great rating, or you could have a difficult guest or host. It will depend on your expectations and preparations. As a guest for over eight months I have experienced many levels of service and amenities. I know some of these things might cause a few to turn away from booking an Airbnb, and even though I've had issues I still recommend trying it out.

Of course you are going to come across (even though I hope you won't) those who just list without really prepping their homes. They think that they can be there then leave the place when booked yet not take the steps to adjust either the cleanliness or safety issues they are comfortable with. This is where I feel Airbnb as a service could stand some improvement. There seems to be no vetting done. Because of this I feel we have booked at places that took strategic pictures that do not show some obvious things that should remove them from being able to book they're rectified. That is where folks like me come in. Dream job for me would be staying at a place for a few days and letting Airbnb know of issues (if there are any) and allow the hosts to fix things that could affect their rating and/or bookings... Anyone have a line on that for moi?

I hope that this helps you feel more confident knowing that you are already doing most or all of things suggestions. If not and you see that the highest you have been receiving is a four you might want to think about doing some of the things listed. You do not have to go out and spend a lot of money to make these things happen. A lot of the hosts have used items that were theirs or thrifted. Just make sure that everything is clean and ready to use. If you do, trust me, your guests will appreciate it!

*As always, i welcome your comments and feedback. To make sure that you never miss a blog you can follow the blog and/or on one of the social sites to the right------> 
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Til next time,

Kat 





    

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