Did you know that according to Airbnb, host responsiveness is one of the most crucial factors for placement in search results?
If you respond quick enough, Airbnb considers you to be a good host and rewards you with higher ranking. This leads to you showing up higher in search results, so you’ve got a better chance of receiving a booking.
Your listing may even be deactivated if you neglect to respond to messages within 2 days. Keep that in mind on your next ski trip! Airbnb does this in order to create a better user experience for guests, and to set a minimum level of service expected of an Airbnb host. However, most hosts respond much quicker, within 4 hours. Read more at https://www.airbnb.com/help/question/489.
Another reason it’s important to respond as quickly as possible to inquiries is the Airbnb culture. Since it’s not like booking a hotel, there is some uncertainty to Airbnb which can lead guests to contact more than one listing owner at once, and booking simultaneously in hopes that at least one of their bookings will go through. This means the first host who responds is the winner. Even after your first back and forth chat, guests will keep looking for more listings and responses. This is where replying fast makes a big difference. It’s a race among hosts. Be sensitive to your guests uncertainty and respond quickly!
How to reply more promptly
Firstly, you need to know right away whenever you receive a message. You can do this easily by adding your phone number to your Airbnb account and sign in to get notifications by text message. In order to set this up visit https://www.airbnb.com/users/notifications. If you’ve got a smartphone, the Airbnb app can also notify you about new messages. For more information on the mobile app check out https://www.airbnb.com/mobile.
Second, you need to know the answers. It might seem obvious but a lot of time is spent on researching information that might be important for tourists, but locals just won’t care about – for instance, traveling options from the airport. A guest can ask about using taxis, public transportation or private shuttles. He or she might ask about renting a car – a task almost never done by you, as a local. Google is a great place to start.
Third, save your responses. This is a big one! Prepare a word document with answers you’ve already given and might possibly get in the future, so that when questions appear again, you can just use a pre-written response by copying and pasting it on the fly. It’s not like every user invents the wheel with a question on how to get to a major landmark, or if there’s any parking spots available and how to find one. There’s no reason to re-write these answers over and over again. Over time, you’ll learn from the questions you’re asked what’s missing in your listing description and be able to improve it accordingly. We found that the types of popular questions vary dramatically over different cities and countries so you, as a host, probably know better about what’s relevant to you.
If you choose to use this method, you should try to prepare this document in advance and not add answers as they occur. Especially since starting research and getting into the state of mind of copywriting a good response in a nice manner can consume a lot of time, power and motivation. So take a look at your conversation history, think about all the other questions one can come up with, or ask your fellow host friends about questions they’ve had and try to answer them in advance.
Remember, inquires you get are potential clients, so treat them with respect and don’t lose your patience or temper if asked for details you may have mentioned before, such as in your profile or in a previous conversation.
On a last note
A lot of hosts are worried about not responding during sleep, work, gym or leisure, which is an issue that can be minimized by including as much information in your profile as possible to reduce questions. And of course, if you’re worried about handling communications with potential guests on Airbnb, or if this article made you rethink hosting with Airbnb because it sounds like a lot of work, check out Guesty’s professional management service! As hosts ourselves, we’ve faced these problems everyday, which is why we launched Guesty as a solution for every host once and for all. We’ve perfected the art of vacation rental management services and we’d love to help you too.