Superhost Airbnb Criteria & Strategies

Among Airbnb hosts, Superhosts are in a league of their own.
Seth Kniep
Sep 15, 2021
Real Estate Investing
Airbnb created the Superhost program to reward outstanding hosts and make it easier for guests to find premier properties. As a Superhost, you’ll receive increased traffic on your listings, bonuses when referring new hosts, enhanced Airbnb support, and a range of other perks.

For hosts that provide high-quality service and have lots of bookings, the eventual achievement of Superhost status is almost guaranteed, whether or not you know the Superhost requirements. However, by learning about Airbnb’s requirements, you can set yourself on a path to achieve Superhost status more quickly. Below, we’ll show you how to meet each of the four requirements so that you can earn your badge and start reaping the rewards:

Have an Average Rating of 4.8 or Higher

The best way to do this is by consistently providing a high-quality experience for your guests, taking their complaints to heart, and being proactive with management, cleaning, and maintenance.

Keep in mind that Airbnb ratings are inflated—the average rating on Airbnb is 4.7 stars. Getting a rating over four is pretty straightforward. The challenge is getting a rating in the very high 4’s (4.8+) and maintaining it over time.

To get your ratings high and keep them high, start with the basics. Professional cleaners are essential. Regularly check the property to ensure that all appliances work, no lightbulbs are out, and everything is kept clean and tidy.

From there, focus on making check-in easy for your guests. Provide guests with detailed, step-by-step instructions. If multiple guests have similar problems during check-in, take note of their struggles and work to make your instructions clearer for future guests. Pay attention to anything that could make check-in confusing. Is there another unit nearby with a similar address? Is there a trick to getting the lockbox open? Pay attention to these little quirks and explain them clearly in your instructions. Whether arriving by car, plane, or boat, your guests are likely tired from a day of traveling. By making it easy for them to get keys and get settled, you go a long way towards building goodwill and setting the stage for them to leave you a five-star review.

Another key to getting high reviews is to be communicative with your guests. Reply to their inquiries clearly and promptly through the entire process—from their initial inquiry, through check-in, during their stay, and after they check out. Doing this will also help you fulfill the next Superhost requirement, which is to reply to 90% of your messages within 24 hours.

From there, it all comes down to attention to detail. Message your guests before their stay, and ask if they are celebrating a special occasion. For a birthday, you can put out balloons. For an anniversary, you can lay out rose petals. These little things take minimal time and money but make a big impression on guests.

Reply to 90% of All Messages Within 24 Hours

To be eligible for Superhost status, you need to reply to 90% of all the messages you receive through Airbnb within 24 hours. This requirement is not too difficult to meet, as Airbnb automatically sends reminders to ensure that hosts reply on time. 

To make staying on top of your messages even easier, look at using AI property management software, like Guesty. You can program Guesty to auto-respond when you’re not available, saying something like, “Thank you for your inquiry. I will be right with you.” An approach like this ensures that you maintain your response time without sounding like a robot.

When it comes to messaging guests, it pays to build rapport. You likely will not meet your guests or even speak on the phone with them, so the messages are where you establish a friendly connection and prime them to leave a five-star review. 

When they go to check out, you can send them a message along the lines of “​Hi {{guest_first}}, we want to thank you again for choosing to stay with us during your visit to Austin! We hope you thoroughly enjoyed your stay. You’ve been a great guest, and we will be leaving you a 5-star review. We would be honored if you would be open to doing the same for us. If there’s anything we could have done better, please message me so we can improve future guests’ experiences. We are working hard to improve this property for all of our guests. We appreciate any feedback you’re willing to provide. Thank you!” What you’re really saying is, “Can you leave us a 5-star review and just tell us directly what needs to be improved?” An important caveat: If you would not leave this guest a 5-star review, you need to make sure that you stop this automated message before Guesty sends it. Sending an automated message in a situation where it doesn’t make sense can make things awkward. You always want your messages to appear authentic and genuine, so be sure to stay on top of this.

Book at Least Ten Stays Per Year

If you’re doing this full-time, you should get way more than ten stays per year. It’s common for Superhosts to have 6+ stays per month. You can also qualify with less than ten stays if you book 100+ nights in a year. This rule could be helpful to hosts who attract long-term guests. You could, for example, have only five guests in a year, but if each stayed for 20 nights, you would meet the Superhost occupancy requirement.

Keeping occupancy high starts with a listing that attracts and converts potential guests. Photos are the most crucial part of a listing. You need high-quality photos to draw in potential guests and convince them that your property is the place to stay. It’s definitely worth investing in professional photography for this—it will more than pay for itself.

It is also critical that your listing description is on point. A well-written listing that highlights the property’s best features can really seal the deal. Conversely, if your listing description is inaccurate or misleading, it could lead to negative reviews that make it a lot harder to achieve Superhost status. It’s better to be truthful in the description than to leave out some glaring problem that will result in disappointed guests.

Cancel 1% or Fewer of Your Bookings

To be eligible for Superhost status, you need to cancel 1% or fewer of your bookings. For example, if you have 100 bookings in a year, you can cancel one without losing Superhost eligibility. If you have 200 bookings in a year, you can cancel two. And if you have less than 100 bookings, canceling even one booking will disqualify you from Superhost consideration. 

Airbnb does occasionally make exceptions for extenuating circumstances. For example, if you’re forced to cancel because of an accident at your property or an urgent family matter, get in contact with Airbnb and see if they can give you some leeway so that you don’t lose Superhost eligibility. If you’ve got your property management strategy dialed in, though, it is far less likely you’ll find yourself in a situation where you need to cancel on your guests.

How Long Does it Take?

There is no “minimum tenure” required to become a Superhost. Airbnb evaluates Superhost eligibility on the first day of each quarter. When the first of January, April, July, or October rolls around, if you’ve met the Superhost criteria for the trailing three months, you’re in! The other bit of good news is that your ability to maintain Superhost status is based on the past 365 days of performance. If you have a down quarter, it’s usually not a big deal. If the numbers look good from an annual perspective, you’ll keep your Superhost badge. You also don’t need to apply to the Superhost program—Airbnb will automatically give you the badge when you’ve met the requirements.

The Benefits of Being a Superhost

The Superhost badge says a lot about the kind of business you run, both to other guests and your fellow Airbnb entrepreneurs. The badge tells the world that you’re serious about hosting and go above and beyond for your guests. 

Airbnb has become incredibly popular, with over 5.6 million listings worldwide. Potential guests can often be overwhelmed by the many choices they face when booking a stay. The Superhost badge helps your property stand out in endless pages of search results, making it more likely that a guest will book a stay with you. Additionally, guests now have the ability to filter their search results based on Superhost status. If you’re trying to stand out in a hot market like Panama City Beach, the Superhost badge can make a big difference.

If you’re planning to refer other entrepreneurs to the Airbnb platform, you’ll get a $200 referral fee payment from Airbnb. For Superhosts, the referral you get is 20% higher. Also, each year Airbnb treats every Superhost to a $100 Airbnb gift card.

Ultimately, though, the most significant benefits of the Superhost badge don’t come from the badge itself. Instead, they are a result of everything you did to get the badge in the first place. The Superhost badge is a trailing indicator of your performance, a naturally occurring byproduct of running your business well. In the process of becoming a Superhost, you’ll build a high-performance operation that exceeds guest expectations and earns a significant profit.

 Use it or Lose it

Just because you’ve got that shiny new Superhost badge doesn’t mean you can start slacking. Airbnb evaluates Superhost eligibility every quarter, so you must continually strive for the level of service that earned you the badge in the first place. But don’t focus on the badge. Instead, focus on continuing to deliver better performance. When you’re committed to providing a top-tier experience month after month, year after year, maintaining Superhost status is a no-brainer.

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Seth Kniep

Married a pearl. Fathered 4 miracles. Fired his boss. Turned a single dime into $104,857. Today, a self-made millionaire, Seth and his team of 8 badass coaches teach entrepreneurs how to build passive income on Amazon.

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