Updated: Nov. 16, 2017
- Don’t neglect the relevant negatives of your home. Instead, identify them to properly set your guest expectations
- List three things guests love about your listing and two things guests don’t love about your property
- Don’t force yourself to think of negatives. Always consider the cost/benefit of listing a negative
I have to give credit to Chip Conley for this Airbnb tip. He teaches it in his Hospitality Moments of Truth class. It’s all about managing guest expectations when it comes to the success of your listing. In short, if you portray a 5-star listing and deliver a 4-star listing, you’ll get a 3-star review.If you portray a 5-star Airbnb listing and deliver a 4-star listing, you’ll get a 3-star review. Click To Tweet
When a host sets out to create a listing, they often do a great job of identifying the positives. After all, they’re trying to sell their home to a future potential guest (FPG). They’re in the sales mindset which often times overlooks any downsides. This is a powerful short-term strategy that may come back to haunt them via negative reviews. Even one negative review could haunt you for months. That’s because the negative reviews are more important to an FPG than the positive ones.
The listing could look great in the photos and text, but if the guest arrives at a home 10 feet from a busy freeway with 47 stairs, they’re going to feel slighted. It’s likely the guest mentions this in their review and leaves a less than 5-star review.
How do you get around this situation?
First, I advise hosts to limit the flowery language in their listing description as it does not encourage a guest to make the reservation and the added text might make the guest miss some important info. Instead, I focus on communicating the most amount of information to the guest in the least amount of text. Often this means a bullet point format.Communicate the most amount of information to your Airbnb guest in the least amount of text Click To Tweet
Second, in the ‘About this listing’ section, list three things guests love about your listing and two things guests don’t love about your listing. This will force you to think of things a guest might not like about your listing and to be up front about it. You’d rather pass on a guest who’s not a good fit than book them for the extra revenue and a negative review. And, who better to decide they’re not a good fit than the guest before reaching out to you?I'd rather pass on an Airbnb guest who's not a good fit than book them and risk a negative review Click To Tweet
A Word of Caution
Don’t force yourself to think of negatives. If you have a run-of-the-mill, standard home with not many exciting features but not any real downsides, skip this.
Additionally, avoid listing negatives that only effect a small group of guests. Living above a bar that stays open until 2am on Friday and Saturdays is a negative for the majority of guests. As this is a predictable and regular event, mention it in the listing. However, having a neighbor who throws a random party once a year that goes until 6am and takes up all the street parking is not something you should mention. It is not predictable and rare. If you rent out your downstairs and have kids upstairs that make noise occasionally, you’ll want to consider whether or not to put this in your listing. Putting something as innocent and straightforward as ‘I live upstairs with two young children who occasionally make some noise’ could be read as ‘There’s going to be a bunch of noise from kids upstairs, pounding footsteps all day, no sleep at night.’ In this case, if the noise is occasional, I would leave it out and test to see if this is effecting your reviews.
You have to consider the cost/benefit to disclosure. Will disclosing the piece of information cost you more than the benefit it brings you? Some items, like health and safety, should be disclosed at all times no matter how many guests it effects.
Do you have any similar Airbnb tips for hosts to attract the right kind of guest? Comment below.
Also published on Medium.