This is how you get more bookings and higher ratings as Airbnb host

How do people profit from becoming Airbnb host?

Power to the people! This was what comes to my mind the first time I hear about Airbnb. This was awkward since I was a hotelier. As a hotelier, I hated the fact that Airbnb decreases the room sales. As a traveller, Airbnb quickly became my best friend.

As time goes by, I’ve stayed in A LOT of Airbnb hosts’ property. Some are amazing, and some are… well, to put it nicely, I would say that they’re “less desirable”. Some gave me directions, full detail of the room, and even greeted me in front of the property. Some didn’t have wifi, or had REALLY slow connection. It was REALLY annoying. And annoyed me gives bad ratings. And I just won’t come back.

Now I believe that most travelers are like me. We give bad ratings and we won’t come back if we’re annoyed with a property. So, this story will be beneficial to you, as it comes from a traveller. Here you will learn:
1. What prompt us to choose your property within the huge listing at Airbnb?
2. What encourage us to give your property high ratings?
3. What amenities should you provide to get chosen and high ratings?

I will be slightly technical and give my ‘predictions’ on the answer to these questions:
1. I always check the ratings before booking. This number is a good indication whether the previous guests are satisfied or not. Second one might be visibility. If you don’t have good picture / description / are not available, then I won’t be able to choose your property.
2. For this question, I guest it should be satisfaction rate. However, from the data (see it here), I couldn’t find any satisfaction rate. So, I’m going to go with the host experience, since it indicates that the host is able to maintain the property.
3. Wifi! I don’t know if I can live without it.

Before we move on, I’d like to state that this findings are generated from Boston and Seattle Airbnb data. If you live elsewhere, the result may vary.

What prompts us to choose your property within the huge listing at Airbnb?
To answer this question, I use review per month. It might be a bit weird, but I’ll explain more. Reviews per month indicate that properties have a lot of reviews. This means, the more you have reviews per month, the more guests booked your property. I know there are some guests who don’t leave reviews. But, I have to say that this is the best indication of the number of bookings available.

Here’s how you read the chart. The vertical (y) axis is the top 3 things that impact reviews per month. The horizontal (x) axis is the score. And the bars indicate how high the scores are for each items.

The number one reason for us to choose your property is review scores rating (I was right!). We tend to look at ratings while we’re selecting properties. Good ratings indicate that previous guests were satisfied, and we should be satisfied as well. And how do you gain good ratings? What you can do is to ensure you keep the property clean, the photo and location is accurate (no photoshop!), smooth check-in process, great communication with guests, and give reasonable price.

Next, it’s minimum nights. If you have higher minimum nights, it’s a sign that the property is going to be used for a long time. When the property is used, the condition will be better. If the condition is better, then we will pick your property as our next travel home!

Number three, instant bookability. We want things fast, and we want it instant. Meaning, we need to see your property! If it’s available, then we have chance to look at the details, ratings, etc. I know sometimes you can’t do anything about this. But, you can minimize the cleaning time, maintenance time, etc. so that your property is visible (I was right again!)

What encourage us to give you higher ratings?
Now this is the fun part. Let’s take a look at what the data said!

The more reviews you have, the higher our ratings are. You can see that reviews per month and number of reviews both appear in this chart. This is like chicken and egg problem, actually. If you have more reviews, it means that your property gets booked a lot. If it gets booked a lot, it means that the ratings are high. If the ratings are high and you are consistent, you’ll get higher ratings also. The moral of the story is: it’s easier for you to get good ratings once your property is popular!

Calculated host listing count appears to be the rank 2 in determining good rating. I guess, this has to do with experience and professionalism. What I mean is, when you have more properties to be listed, it’s a good indication that you own these properties to be used as Airbnb (or other’s) properties. It means, you’re somewhat a professional hotel owner, only your rooms are separated.

Professional host means that you also take care of your property well. So, your properties will be in a great condition. Therefore, your guests will be satisfied and give you good ratings.

What amenities should you provide to get chosen and high ratings?
Before I answer this question, let’s look at the type of amenities you give us, ranked from the most to the least.

The top 3 most amenities provided by hosts are heating, kitchen, and wifi (oh, wifi!). The question is, does providing these amenities mean you’re going to get better ratings / bookings? Let’s look at the chart!

Before I continue, let me explain a bit about this chart. The vertical (y) axis is the average property ratings. The horizontal (x) axis is the type of amenities. Blue bar is the average ratings for hosts who provide the amenities in the x axis. The red bar is the average ratings for hosts who don’t provide the amenities in the x axis. Now, let’s look at the findings!

Wow, both the blue and red don’t look to be much different. All of them have ratings greater than 80. However, we can still see a difference when we look at properties with wifi. You might guess that you need to provide great wifi connection and ignore kitchen and heating. Don’t conclude too quickly. Let’s take a look at the difference in number of reviews, or the number of bookings, or the popularity of the properties.

Okay, it’s clear now. Provide wifi. Properties with wifi get booked more! Heating is a huge plus as well. For someone living in a tropical country, traveling to the states during winter is killing me. But kitchen? We don’t really care about kitchen. Adding kitchen might increase price! And if we don’t use it, it’s not a good value for money for us. So, if you plan to refurbish your property to be used for Airbnb, you don’t need to include kitchen.

Bottom line is…
You need to provide the best service you can. It’s easy to say, difficult to do (as a former hotelier, I can assure you this). However, if guests are satisfied with your service, we would give you higher ratings. If you have higher ratings, there’s a good chance that your property will get booked more. If your property gets booked more, there’s plenty of chance to provide guests with the best service to get good ratings. It’s a cycle.

Provide only necessary amenities. We don’t really care about certain amenities such as kitchen. Moreover, providing unneeded amenities might increase price since you invested on these amenities and most probably want quick return on investment.

If you want to look at a more detailed explanation, check out my notebook on my github:

Are you ready to become an Airbnb host?