Hello my friends. It’s Richard, founder of Short Term Rental University, and Airbnb super host. I just got back from an absolutely epic morning of skiing on the Jackson Hole resort. Had a great time and wanted to get back here and film for you:
What it takes to be an Airbnb plus host
A lot of these things are fairly straightforward and almost even common sense, but Airbnb has taken the time to let us know what they’re looking for so these are best practices and I think we should all do them, whether or no we’re in an Airbnb plus qualified city.
So, let’s get to it. Now, it’s important to realize that this is a new pilot program that Airbnb just rolled out so it’s only available in 13 cities or so, but they say they’re going to scale really quickly. I have my own doubts. There’s a whole other video about that but none the less, here are the things that you have to have in order to be qualified if you are in that city, and I’m just going to read them.
- You have to be well reviewed.
- You have to have a 4.8 average rating from guests.
- You have to be welcoming.
- More than 95% of your booking requests, you have to accept and this one’s key.
- You must be committed. You can’t have any cancellations in the past year.
They’ve broken it down into Four different categories and we’re going to talk about each.
- The first one is that the home must be thoughtfully designed
- The second one is that it must be comfortable
- The third is that it’s well equipped
- The fourth is that it’s well maintained
So let’s start with the first one. Thoughtfully designed. Airbnb’s looking for a cohesive interior design with personal touches. They’re looking for layout of furniture that’s thoughtfully arranged and not cluttered. They want to see design elements like artwork and photographs that reflect the host’s style and personality. They want everything out in the open as either aesthetic or could be used by a guest and all counters and cabinets are organized and clutter free. Finally, wires and tables for electronics are organized and hidden from site. So this is the thoughtfully designed and basically in a nutshell, what this means, for all of us is, your home must be accessible for guests to use. If it’s not available for them, then don’t have it out. It has to have a little bit of your personality but not too much. You don’t want family photos everywhere and, at the same time, even though you might live in a more cluttered environment, recognize that a guest in your home may find that uncomfortable, so they want us to be thoughtfully designed. They’ve taught us exactly what it is that they’re looking for and lets just make it happen.
The second item that Airbnb’s looking for in the plus program is that the place is comfortable. At a minimum, it has to have an easy check in, such as a lock box or digital lock, a keyboard, or an in person handoff, so the check in is important. The beds must be elevated off the floor and they must have flat mattresses, soft matching linens and two sleeping pillows for every guest. Private bedrooms have a private bath with a bathtub or a shower. There’s at least two sets of plush towels, hand towels and wash clothes per bathroom and at least eight clothing hangers and an empty drawer or shelf for a guest to put their clothing and there must be some privacy in the form of window treatments such as curtains or frosted glass. Now if you think about the comfort that they just described, it’s pretty basic, right? You must have privacy, you must have hangers, you must have a shelf. You must have a bed that’s flat and it’s elevated off the ground. I mean, these are pretty basic standards. If you’re not doing any of that, it’s really time to elevate your game because whether you’re an Airbnb plus host or a super host or just getting started, this is bare minimum stuff.
Imagine checking into a hotel and having your mattress on the floor with non matching sheets, one pillow and two hangers. You wouldn’t be happy so what Airbnb’s basically saying is a guest checking into Airbnb, especially an Airbnb plus host home should expect that. To me, that’s a very basic low hurdle and every single person listening to the video should be able to comply with that and then actually even go higher.
The Third one is that the home is well equipped and what Airbnb plus hosts must have is the following: fast wifi with download speeds of at least five megabytes. I think that’s too low. Now, depending on where you are in the world, maybe that’s what’s available, but if you’re anywhere that’s urban is in the United States of America, five is way low.
Two, a printed house manual which includes the host and emergency contact info, wifi password and checkout procedures. I think that’s a must. We’ve developed our own guidebook. If you haven’t seen that, we’ll include the link here, but it’s a great way to comply with that. It’s really helpful and really easy to use.
The Third one here is a TV with remote control and access to entertainment such as cable, Netflix or Roku.
Fourth, this is a really important form a health and safety standpoint, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed. I’m putting hardwired units here in my new home here in Jackson Hole, but there are also plugins for carbon monoxide but that’s critically important. They want an ironing board and an iron available. They want filtered water and a supply of either coffee or tea, so let’s go ahead and make sure we have that for them. If you don’t have filtered water, a Brita is a great way to go.
Bathrooms have a hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap and body soap. Now, I think a lot of us are currently doing that and we’ve had a lot of debate on our Facebook group page about how best to do that. Do we use the little travel sizes or are those too expensive and we use bigger ones? That’s really a personal preference but since we know Airbnb’s expecting that in all of the homes, let’s just make sure that we do that and if you’re not doing that now, start to experiment with it. It’s not really a big cost. I personally use larger units. I get them at Costco, or I get them on Amazon. It gets all delivered and people use pumps. I try not to make it gross. The whole point is that it’s clean and accessible, so make sure that it’s easy for people to use.
And then the last item here that Airbnb’s looking for is that the kitchen has essentials like a frying pan, salt and pepper and cooking oil. Now, this is an interesting thing because to the extent that you use cleaning services or maids and you operate remote places, you may need to talk to them because what happens in many cases is the cleaning team will come in and whatever the guest has left behind, they sort of stock their kitchen with it. Now, that’s great if it’s milk and other perishable items like fruit and so on, like they should take them. They shouldn’t throw them away, but if there’s household staples, like salt and pepper and cooking oil, you want to make sure that that’s left behind. So speak to your cleaning team and make sure they understand what they can take and what should be available for the next guest. It could cost you an Airbnb plus rating and that would be terrible.
The last one is actually quite lengthy and I think it’s kind of use your reasonable standards, try and outline them all and I’m going to skim through them because there’s many but they want the home to be well maintained.
What that means is outdoor areas need to be clean and clutter free and you can’t have dead plants or trees around. The entrances to the listing must be clean and illuminated. The door to the listing property closes easily and locks easily. Furniture is in good condition. There can’t be stains or scuffs or breaks or tears. The walls, floors and ceilings, they don’t have visible scuffs and there’s no cracks or buckling, lots of dust. You have to keep it clean. Carpets and rugs can’t be stained or too worn. Windows and mirrors are clean and not cracked. Look for fingerprints. That’s a big culprit there, or if in the bathroom area, where people brush their teeth, a lot of time it splatters up, so just make sure that’s clean. Somebody walks into the place, you want it to look great.
The lights work in all guest spaces. Make sure that you change the light bulbs. Walking into a place and having a non-functioning light is just a bad experience. This one’s kind of important. There’s a neutral or pleasant aroma in every room. Now, recognize this. We all have our own preferences so you don’t want it to be overly fragrant. Don’t put too much candle or too much spray. That can smell sort of like you’re covering something up but at the same time, if you cook with heavy spices and so on and you love those spices, you might think its great but a guest coming in from a different part of the world might say, “Oh my god. This place smells too much like” insert whatever. So just make sure that it’s neutral. That’s probably the best.
There are no signs of pests. Watch for things like spiders and cockroaches and water bugs and flies in the corner. I’ve stayed at an Airbnb recently with my children and the place was spotless, the host was fantastic but in the corner, there was six dead flies and that just was a turn off. It just didn’t look great, so I actually spoke to the host offline and suggested that he fix it. I think he took it kind of personally, but I wasn’t trying to offend him. I was trying to help him. So just recognize that the stuff that’s in the corners kind of looks yucky.
You want to make sure that all the appliances are clean in the kitchen. In the oven, make sure that the person who cooked the turkey dinner before, the gravy didn’t spill out and it’s not a big mess underneath there. The shower heads, faucets, cabinet handles and other fixtures, they aren’t loose, cracked, the function, right? Just make sure that the place works well. Bathrooms including the medicine cabinet. The counters, the shower curtain. They’re clean. There’s no mildew. Free of host personal items and the big offender that I’ve seen time and time again is hair. Nothing wrong with hair in the drain, just remove it. Nobody wants to see it. It’s a natural occurrence. We know it happens so instead of leaving it there, just have your cleaning team or you clean it. Get rid of the hair.
And then there’s strong water pressure with hot and cold water. I don’t know how Airbnb is going too test for that like how do they quantify what strong water pressure is but let’s just make sure that there’s plenty of hot water, plenty of cold water and that it functions well. There’s nothing better than a great shower in the morning welcoming you to start your day so we want to make sure that our guests have that.
So I think you’ll agree with me. There’s really no high hurdle here. This isn’t very challenging or difficult. If you’re not doing some of this stuff, it’s really easy to start doing it. Get shampoo and conditioner. Make sure you leave salt and pepper. Make sure everything functions. I think this is kind of obvious stuff and Airbnb is just telling us what to do, so let’s just make sure that we do it.
Again, to reiterate, Airbnb plus hosts:
- First you have to be in a city that allows Airbnb plus,
- Then you have to be invited and the criteria to be invited is you have a 4.8 average rating from guests.
- You have 95% or more booking ratio, meaning you only reject one in 20 or less people that want to stay with you, and then the third thing is, you have to be committed.
- You have to be a committed Airbnb host and the way that they define that is that you don’t cancel on anybody and I think that’s really important. You can ruin peoples plans, vacations, honeymoons. It’s just not a good thing.
So I hope you found this video helpful. We’re going to continue to monitor all of this. I’m sure we’ll be updated and they’ll be more stuff and I probably think it’s going to get harder to be an Airbnb plus host. This is the bare minimum. As they start to go through this process, I think that the criteria is going to continue to elevate as they want to elevate all of our gains, they want the hosting experience to get better and the guest satisfaction experience to get better and for guests to start to do things for personal, for business and use us more and more and Airbnb has been really helpful at being very clear. Here’s what to do.
So tell me what you think in the comments below. Like the video, please. And I’d really appreciate it if you’d go ahead and subscribe to the channel.
Here’s to super host status, Airbnb plus status and beyond.
Thanks in advance! Happy Hosting! Best personal regards,
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Richard Fertig Founder Short Term Rental University