How to be a real Airbnb Superhost

It's July in London and it has been a record hot summer. It suddenly became warm at the end of April and it seems is just getting hotter and hotter. Airbnb has been busy every day but my prices have been kept low because of the Airbnb smart pricing system (it only shows the lowest price in every situation). So i'm still charging £20 per night on average which is the same as nearly 5 years ago.

How to be a real Airbnb Superhost

This year I finally went on holiday myself and booked a private airbnb room in a hosts apartment in Istanbul, Turkey. Although I have been a member of Airbnb for 5 years this is actually the first time I have stayed in a private room in another Airbnb hosts place. Being a live-in host myself I now experienced the other side of hosting. I guess my host made it very easy for me as he is possibly the ideal airbnb host and rightfully holds the coveted Superhost Status badge. I arrived in Istanbul very early in the morning but my room was already ready for me. My host Savas uses the Airbnb Calendar setting: Preparation Time - Block 1 night before and after each reservation. This means my room could be made ready the day before I arrive and I can check-in straight away. 1. Excellent Check-in The apartment I was staying in was very central but was tired and old. The apartment was clean but struggled to 'look' clean. But for me this was not a problem. I came to enjoy Istanbul and not the apartment, that is only for sleeping and washing. My host took me for breakfast in a local cafe and afterwards showed me how to use the public transport. 2. Make your guests aware of local Amenities I wanted to try the local food and drink. My host took me to a great local Turkish Kebab restaurant. He was a regular there are we got special service. Afterwards he took me to a local bar and even introduced me to some of the people there he knew. We drank beer and I hanged out with his friends and had a great time. 3. Live like a local Anytime I had a question on how to get places I could send my host a message on airbnb or even on his WhatsApp and he would reply usually within a few minuets. This was very handy for me as I don't speak Turkish and did have a lot of trouble working out how to use the ferries and other problems. It was a huge help to me that my host could answer my questions as they arrived. 4. Great communication

I will never be an Airbnb Superhost and here is why

To be a super host requires something very special from you - your time! I have a demanding job on top of my responsibilities as a airbnb host so this means I simply can't be the great host I would like to be. My friend Savas in Turkey does have a job but it's closer to part time than full time and he is not married with all the additional responsibilities that come with it. Despite this I have come close to being a super host in the past but have always seen it disappear in-front of my eyes because of one bad review. Even if I were a super host I do get the impression that it has no overall effect on bookings and creates unrealistic expectations for your guests. Perhaps it's better to be a near-superhost that an actual superhost!

I will never have Airbnb Superhost status

From the start of the year my star ratings have gradually gotten worse. In January I had 79% 5 star reviews, just shy of the 80% required for Superhost status. Since then my five star reviews have dropped to 66%. For a while I was very unsure why the ratings had dropped so much. Almost all my guests had written in their reviews that they were very happy with their stay. The only negative review I recall said the “bathroom was too cold” which was true because my wife had left a window open in the room across the hallway and we didn’t notice for two days (whoops!). [caption id="attachment_114" align="aligncenter" width="653"]Airbnb now give you a breakdown on your star ratings by category Airbnb now give you a breakdown on your star ratings by category[/caption]

Room For Improvement

Recently Airbnb have introduced a tool on the dashboard giving you a breakdown of the categories for your star ratings (previously these were aggregated). So you can now see how many stars you got for ‘Cleanliness’ for example. My breakdown for each of my listing highlighted my problem – the location. I had been marked down on location several times (some reviews only giving my one star) which explains my ratings dropping of gradually. Frustratingly location is the only area I can do little about. It true the area I live in is not considered the best part of London (to put it mildly). But It is located in zone 3 (of a possible 6) and my low price reflects the unattractiveness of the area. If I was located in a leaf part of central London then you can bet I would be charging much much more.
Airbnb recommends me to better describe my area in my listing description so to give guests a fair warning of what to expect. I’m hesitant to do this as this would surely put guests off. I’ve added into my description ‘ethnically diverse part of London.’ My area Newham is about at ethnically diverse as you can get as it attracts the poorest people of London, mostly new arrivals in the UK from Eastern Europe, and has a large Muslim community from the sub continent.
[caption id="attachment_115" align="aligncenter" width="745"]To reach superhost status you need 80% five star reviews To reach superhost status you need 80% five star reviews[/caption]

Your only as good as your last review

Potential guests do look at your star rating when choosing a listing but the most emphasis is on your most recent review. A recent review (ideally very recently, no more than a couple of weeks old) is the best advert for your listing. If you’re unlucky enough to have a very bad recent review then this could explain a significant drop off in bookings. My chances of reaching Superhost status are looking very slim. My booking have not suffered since my ratings decline mostly I believe to the general increase in demand during the summer and keeping my prices well below the London average.