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How to stand out from the crowd on Airbnb

Dealing directly offers guests a sought after alternative to OTAs

Airbnb, while no longer new to the travel market, has certainly become a formidable player in a relatively short period of time.

Many properties have found that their connection to Airbnb has been one of their most profitable channels during the pandemic.

The ability of the consumer to deal direct with the accommodation provider, especially when it comes to making booking alterations due to COVID, has simplified the experience for the guest and has been a sought after alternative to booking through the OTAs.

With its constantly increasing popularity as a channel, it is important to understand how to ensure your property attracts attention when it comes to a traveller search.

Attaining ‘Superhost status’ can ensure your listing ranks well, stands out from the crowd and is able to gain more traction when it comes to securing bookings.

What is a ‘Superhost’

In Airbnb terms, ‘Superhost’ status is an accolade given to “hosts who go above and beyond in their hosting duties and are a shining example of how a host should be”. It celebrates and rewards Airbnb’s top rated and most experienced hosts.

If granted, the ‘Superhost’ badge appears on your property listing and your host profile.

The benefits of achieving ‘Superhost’ status includes increased visibility, exclusive rewards, and increased earning potential.

Your ‘Superhost’ badge will appear immediately on your main image when a prospective guest searches by area/location. It’s a point of difference and attracts the attention of guests, which can in turn lead to additional bookings.

A tangible benefit of ‘Superhost’ status is increased consumer confidence in your accommodation. Guests expect that they will receive outstanding hospitality from these hosts and that the host will go over and above to ensure that their guests’ experience is second to none.

Prospective guests can, and often do, choose to filter their search criteria to feature ‘Superhosts’ only.

In addition, ‘Superhosts’ have access to their own exclusive reward system. They earn a $100 USD Airbnb coupon every year that they keep their status. When they refer a new host to sign up, ‘Superhosts’ get an extra 20 percent on top of the usual referral bonus.

What is the criteria for ‘Superhost status’?

Airbnb has some benchmark criteria that you must meet to become a ‘Superhost’. These benchmarks are checked every three months, to ensure that you have met all the criteria by the assessment period. Airbnb then looks at your previous year of hosting to review your performance.

‘Superhosts’ must maintain a 4.8 or higher average overall rating based on reviews from Airbnb.

Reviews feature highly on Airbnb, and guests know that they can expect outstanding hospitality from hosts with a high rating.

Like any review situation, the more reviews you have the more accurate the overall score will be. A one-off score of 4 will immediately drop your average lower than is acceptable for ‘superhost status’, if that is your only review. However, if you have four 5-star reviews, and one 4-star review, your average will meet the benchmark.

Savvy guests also know to look at the number of reviews that your average is based on, to ensure that it is a valid rating.

Encourage reviews by providing a great experience and asking for feedback (and reviews) in your check out message. Also, review your guest immediately after their stay. They will receive an email from Airbnb notifying them that their host has reviewed them, and this in turn will encourage them to reciprocate.

Maintaining the required number of stays

‘Superhosts’ must complete at least ten stays in the past year or 100 nights booked over at least three completed stays. This gives guests the confidence that you are an experienced host.

‘Superhosts’ need to maintain a host-initiated cancellation rate of less than 1 percent, not including extenuating circumstances. This amounts to zero cancellations for hosts with fewer than 100 reservations in a year.

Rare cancellations mean peace of mind for guests. They don’t have to be concerned that you might ruin their travel plans by cancelling on them last minute.

‘Superhosts’ also must maintain a response rate of 90 percent of new messages responded to within 24 hours. Communication is important to guests. They want an answer to their queries quickly so that they can make a decision and move on.

Some software providers have added features to assist in maintaining that response rate, by providing options to answer email messages and reviews direct from their software.

Although Airbnb will look at the previous year of hosting to review your performance, you don’t need to have been a host for a full year to achieve ‘Superhost’ status. As long as you have met the criteria by the assessment period, you can still achieve your ‘Superhost’ badge.

‘Superhost’ status alone will improve your visibility on Airbnb. It will increase your ranking in search and help your property stand out from the competition, which in turn will secure more Airbnb bookings and help you increase your revenue.

Sylvia Johnston is a senior executive with HiRUM Software Solutions.


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