When you’re a kid, you’re told not to worry about what others think. When you get older, you realize that you absolutely care about what other people think. You won’t even buy a new pair of shoes or watch a movie without reading 10 different reviews.
Five star reviews are everything. Amazon, Airbnb, Uber, Yelp, and so on are all based on reviews and what other people think. We decide what to do by how many five star reviews something has. I have friends who won’t eat at a place if it doesn’t have enough 5 star reviews.
This is why it’s critical that you do everything possible to land 5 star reviews. These reviews will tell Airbnb that they should be promoting you. I’m going to show you how to host an Airbnb Experience that gets nonstop five star reviews.
When you first start to host an Airbnb Experience, you’ll be promoting based on your description and pictures. After a few months, the reviews will do the work for you. Your goal should be to get as many five star reviews as possible.
Five star reviews = more bookings = more money.
That review made me smile and feel good about my experience. I almost made it to 100 five star reviews before the world shut down. You can still apply to host an Airbnb Experience for when things go back to normal or you can host an online Airbnb Experience. I have a few new coffee crawls ready to debut when in-person events resume.
How do host an Airbnb Experience that gets only 5 star reviews?
Here are tips that I’ve picked up about giving the best possible experience possible if you’e not sure how Airbnb Experiences work:
Send a welcome message.
The experience begins the moment that the person pays to do your activity. You don’t want them to have any buyer’s remorse. You want the guest to look forward to the experience and to get the most out of this experience.
I want you to start by thanking the guest for signing up. Reach out to them. Some people have a standard message, which can be set with the app (you can set it and forget it). I prefer to send a custom message. I like to use the person’s name. You can have a standard message that includes the relevant information.
Here’s an example of what you can include:
“Thank you for signing up for the experience Jessica. I hope looking forward to drinking coffee with you. As a friendly reminder, we will be meeting at [insert location]. The local forecast is calling for a heat wave so hopefully you’re ready for that.”
That’s one example. Sometimes I just send a basic one.
“Thanks for signing up. I hope you’re ready to drink some coffee tomorrow.”
You don’t have to be overly creative here. A simple message will do the trick. It also depends how far in advance the person books. Sometimes I’ll send a message upon booking and the night before I’ll just touch base. Guests want to know that they’re dealing with a real human being.
My experience is pretty self-explanatory so I don’t have to explain much over the message or even when we meet in person. Every experience is different. Just try to make sure that the guests know how to get there and what to expect. You want people to know that you’re a real person. You want them to be excited for it.
On this note, you should also update your notes/guest requirements. This isn’t a big deal for most experiences, but you may have to update your information so that people know exactly what they’re getting into if you require any physical activity. You can also have some fun with the guest requirements. My buddy Jonathan tells guests to bring him chocolate.
Be on time and at an easily accessible location to start your Airbnb Experience.
When I tested out an experience as a guest, the host came late. I was in Costa Rica and I was nervous because I couldn’t find the wifi password to see if something went wrong. I felt like I was getting scammed. It was a rough start to the experience.
Try to be on time and presentable. You want to make your guests feel comfortable. You also have to remember that many tourists won’t have data access on their phones since they’re traveling and they don’t want to use roaming. Most people will also arrive early because they’re taking transit to get there.
I meet guests at The Drake Hotel. It’s a hotel that is open to the public as a restaurant/night club. The staff there actually are open to me meeting my guests inside the lobby. I spoke with them in advance. This way, the guests can sit in a comfortable lobby in the winter months. In the summer, the guests hang out in front where there’s a little ledge to chill on.
You want to start your actual experience on a positive note. You don’t want guests wandering down an alley looking for you.
You want to ensure that you know what you’re talking about.
“This coffee has a hint of bitterness along with melancholy…” — An actual coffee sommelier who attended my crawl.
I had a coffee expert who really wanted to analyze the notes. I wasn’t sure how to handle this. I run a coffee experience but I definitely wouldn’t consider myself a coffee expert. Look, I don’t actually know that much about coffee. I just chug it for fuel in the morning. This is why I love learning. I’m pretty much learning-on-the-job. I’ve picked up a lot of knowledge about coffee, my community, and my city by hosting this experience.
You wouldn’t want to hang out with a tour guide who’s just as lost as you are. That’s like hiring a personal trainer who also needs to lose a few pounds. I try to have a bunch of talking points about coffee, the coffee shops and the community. I learned my lesson the hard way. I got a 4 star review once because the person felt that I didn’t share enough history of the city. I did some research that day. I have old pictures and notes on my phone to show guests how the community has changed.
Try to know what you’re talking about. Have a few go-to stories about something related.
Offer suggestions for things to do.
Tourists want to know what to do. As you become more popular, you’ll meet more business owners. I try to let other businesses in my community know what I’m up to. I want to be able to send my guests somewhere knowing that they’ll be taken care of.
A few easy things to think about here are:
- Think of good dinner spots. Think of food spots on different budgets. Some folks will want to go fancy while others will want to save money.
- Brainstorm a few hidden gems. Are there any secret bars or cool parks that people need to see?
- Have an opinion on a popular tourist destination. Do you think that the CN Tower is overrated? Do you have a few “must-see” places that you want to point out? Don’t be afraid to share your ideas.
You should always have an answer when they ask you about what to do. Your guests trust you so if you don’t know the answer, then admit it and look up the answer on your phone for next time.
You have to be fairly social or at least pretend to care.
[Side note: Daniel attended the coffee crawl twice. He even came to my birthday party. He ended up starting his own coffee crawl in Montreal. We ended up with coffee crawls in Barcelona, Montreal, and Charlotte.]
There’s a fair bit of talking that goes into the experience. Guests will appreciate it if you’re attentive and if you try to pay attention. I try to ask questions. I try to get to know someone. You wouldn’t be too happy if you went on a tour and got ignored the entire time.
Don’t panic if you don’t have the best social skills. Most people are pretty understanding and shy themselves. They’re not expecting you to be some charming game show host. They just want someone to show them around. Most people on vacation just want to have fun. Take lots of pictures for your guests, laugh, and get to know them.
I’m often nervous before every experience, but then the nerves disappear when we meet up and start making small talk. I try to ask lots of questions, tell stories, and then I ask for feedback at the end. Most people are pretty easy going. They just signed up for an Airbnb experience because they want to do something. They’re not there to have a bad time or to complain.
The Airbnb Experience you host should be unique.
Can you offer something unique as your Airbnb Experience?
Airbnb won’t accept you if you don’t think of something that can’t be found through a quick Google search. This also means that you want to give your guests something to talk about. You want some talking points. You don’t want people to feel ripped off about the process. You want them to have something to talk about when they return home and reflect on their trip.
Bottom line: deliver what your Airbnb Experience sales page promises.
If someone wants to see the best food, the best coffee, or the best views of the city, then you have to deliver that. If you do this, you’ll be set. You’re eventually going to get better at the whole experience. You’ll have better stories, better history, and more to talk about. You’re also going to learn how to manage groups better.
That’s what I do to try to offer a five star experience to ensure that my Airbnb Experience is a side hustle that brings in real money.
How do you get the guest to leave you a five start review?
Most people will likely want to leave you a review if you guys get along. Airbnb also sends guests an email about leaving a review.
Here’s what I do to ensure my guests leave my experience a review:
- I ask guests how they found me. When they mention that Airbnb suggested my experience, I talk about how important reviews are to us hosts.
- At the end of the conversation when we wrap up, I summarize the experience and ask them about what they thought of the coffee shops.
- I bring up how reviews are important. I try not to make it too awkward. I don’t want to be begging. I also know that most people don’t like to immediately write reviews. They want to move on with their day and get to what’s next.
How do you follow up with guests?
I try to add my guests on Instagram. Before the experience begins, I always ask if people are okay with photos. I find that this shows that you’re respectful. You also should ask everyone before you post a picture of them that’s readily available for the whole world to see. I also don’t want to get anyone in trouble in case they called in sick to work.
I then mention how I share the photos on my Instagram page that I created for the experience. At this point, most people will want to add me. I also bring up how my page is a bit of a travel hub. I include things to do and locations so that my new friends can check out what the city has to offer. Most people will want to follow me for recommendations and for the pictures.
Of course everyone is different when it. comes to social media usage. Some of us are addicted while others rarely post. I try to send over any pictures that we took together. I’ll try to ask how the rest of the day went if I recommended that they do something. Once someone follows you on social media and tags you in photos, it’s unlikely that they’re going to leave a bad review.
How do you handle bad reviews on your Airbnb Experience page?
You have two options:
- You can reply to the review publicly right away.
- You can send a private message to ask them to reconsider since they can change their review within the first 24 hours.
You can reply and explain yourself. I wouldn’t be too aggressive. I would write something polite. The person also has time to change their review. I would respond privately first. Then if they don’t change the review, you can do a public review response. I would acknowledge their comment, apologize, and offer a resolution.
I personally bring up bad reviews on tours. I try to have fun with it. There’s no need to run from your flaws.
My first 4 star review came from someone who I actually saved big time.
When I met them, I asked about their parking. I went to go inspect the parking spot and I noticed that they were parked right next to a fire hydrant. Their car likely would’ve been towed. I let them park in my building. They still left me a bad review stating that they didn’t get enough of a coffee experience. That’s okay, but what about the $500 fine I saved you from?
That’s how you can host an Airbnb Experience that brings in five star review constantly.
Keep in mind that. Some people just don’t leave reviews. I’ve had guests who seemed to have a blast never leave a comment. Not everyone enjoys the process. We also forget. I’ve forgotten so many times in my life to leave a review. Real life gets in the way when you’re back from vacation. Don’t take it too personally.
Here’s a quick recap on how to make money with Airbnb Experiences:
- Include all of the relevant information on your page so that guests know EXACTLY what they’re signing up for. You don’t want anyone to feel like they didn’t get their money’s worth.
- Make it clear where you’re meeting and what to expect. We worry about minor details on trips. We don’t want to wait in the wrong location or to get lost.
- Give the guests a little extra attention. Send a welcome message and follow-up that tells them other things worth checking out.
- Offer suggestions on what to do. We respect someone with a plan. We also want to know where to go for dinner and what’s worth checking out.
Good luck with hosting an Airbnb Experience. It’s important to look for ways to make more money right now.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” — Bill Gates