Four times a year we get that email from Airbnb, and some hosts are waiting for it. Yes… it’s the Airbnb Superhost badge. And the crowd goes wild! Yet..is it worth it? That is the focus of today’s episode. Being an Airbnb Superhost Is it Worth It?
Where is MY Badge?
Airbnb created the Superhost a program a long, long time ago, and then it went dormant for a few years. Oh yeah, they weren’t accepting any new Superhosts. Then, in September 2014 it came back again, and we all wanted it.
That first quarter of Superhost’s glorious return, I didn’t get the email. That’s right, my dear hosts. No badge for me, and I was upset. I wanted my badge. I’m oh-so-human, not immune to wanting the recognition, the atta girl. You’re doing a great job, and I want the world to know it. I contacted the powers that be and they told me there was a glitch in the system and the badge was mine.
Yes, I was the wheel that squeaks loudly…and I still have that badge of honor. Getting that email every quarter.
Now, let’s talk about what it means to be a Superhost. To be clear as mud, the program changes all the time. As of August 2018, the time of this recording, these are the current criteria and benefits for being an Airbnb Superhost.
Earning Superhost Status
To become a Superhost, you need to have an Airbnb account in good standing and meet very specific requirements.
You don’t need to apply or pay a fee, like Airbnb Plus program to become a Superhost. If you meet the program requirements on the first of January, April, July, October, you’ll get that badge.
And believe me, the posts on the Facebook Group were all, It’s July 2nd, where is my Superhost status… I WANT MY BADGE!!! Airbnb usually notifies hosts 10 days after the assessment began. You get a nice email, which you can use through social media.
Here are the requirements for that not so elusive badge. You need to be:
- Highly Rated
- And Reliable
But what does this all mean?
During the July 2018 assessment, they updated the rating requirement from receiving a 5-star review 80% of the time to maintaining a 4.8 overall rating. On your Airbnb Dashboard home tab, there is a Hosting progress section, which tells you your earnings, views, bookings, total reviews, and overall ratings. I wonder who gets a 5.0 average? if that’s you, let me know.
You need to have a response rate of at least 90%, which means you have to respond to the guest inquiry within 24 hours at least 90% of the time. It doesn’t mean you have to accept the reservation, just that you respond consistently to the request.
You’ll think, I don’t need to respond right away. I’m busy or sleeping. I have 24 hours. If you fall into this category, you might try using Instant Booking To learn more about it, listen to Episode 5 THJ 05: Instant Booking: Pros and Cons. I know lots of hosts are hesitant about Instant Booking, but if you set up the correct rules for your listing you can also use it to your benefit.
I imagine you already have your notifications set up on your phone. That’s a given. Something else you can do is set up automated messages. These are messages you set up that is triggered by an inquiry, etc. And some companies can help you, too, such as Airgms, Hostaway, and Aviva. You can find many more resources in my essentials page.
To become a Superhost, you need to be an active host with a minimum of 10 stays a year. This is a bit hard to achieve for some hosts who book longer term guests. Those folks are often scrambling at the last minute to get those 10 stays.
One solution is to try to get those 10 stays under your belt at the beginning of the year and then do the longer term booking. I know of hosts who might do one-day bookings and lower their price just to get those stays. Is that something you want to do for that badge? Is it worth it for you? Only you can answer that question.
You must honor every reservation with zero cancellations unless there is an extenuating circumstance. What is an extenuating circumstance, you ask? It’s something unexpected that’s beyond your control. The weather, you got sick, something happened to your home. Before you cancel because you think that you’re covered without a penalty and that your badge is safe, I recommend visiting Airbnb’s page because you might also need to provide documentation. Oh yeah. You need that doctor’s note!
These are some extenuating circumstances that require documentation:
- Death, of a host, guest, or immediate family, and you’ll be asked to provide either a death certificate, obituary, or news article naming the deceased.
- Serious Illness – Yes, you’ll need a doctor’s note, and it must be dated after the reservation was booked.
- Government Mandated Obligation, including jury duty, travel restrictions, military deployment.
- Severe Damage to your home, which makes it unsafe to host. This does not include planned renovations but something unplanned that happened. Such as your heating unit is out and it’s winter. A tree fell on your property. But if you were planning to renovate your kitchen. Yeah, that’s out.
- Airport and road closure – that makes it impossible to travel to your destinations. This includes closures caused by natural disasters like earthquakes and storms.
From this bout of bad weather, we’re having, a lot of hosts in the Facebook group The Hosting Journey have been complaining about guests canceling. But beyond our reviews of guests, the guests don’t have to worry about achieving SuperGuest status…yet!
There are other circumstances that require special review from Airbnb:
- Severe security advisory… think political or civil unrest.
- Changes to visa or passport requirement that make it impossible to travel. This doesn’t include lost or expired travel documents.
- Endemic disease or illness that suddenly affects a region.
Yes, I gave you some circumstances that apply to guests canceling, but it’s to keep you informed on Airbnb policies.
My recommendation is to contact Airbnb and confirm before you cancel a booking. Hey, if you’re a Superhost you get a special phone number.
Ahhh… that badge… per Airbnb, this is a trusted symbol of hospitality featured to guests across the site. But do guests even know what the symbol means? I have spoken to some guests, and they had no idea. Do we really want something that only has meaning for us? I mean really, that won’t get us more bookings.
I do think guests are becoming better informed over time, but new guests don’t know anything about the Superhost status. My co-writer Marieke, who uses Airbnb all the time didn’t even know about it or to look for it. And she has been part of my team for over 2 years. Wait what does that say about me?
Featured to guests across Airbnb in search emails and more.
A dedicated filter enables guests to narrow their search specifically for Superhost listings
According to the Airbnb site, we Superhosts get priority placement. in the past, Superhosts used to be bumped to priority in the algorithm. Yes, that was a benefit, but now I see them pushing their Airbnb Plus program, which isn’t offered everywhere. I’ll do a show all about this program in the future.
I mentioned that there is a Superhost filter, but a guest has to click it to enable it. And if guests don’t know what is a Superhost will they even click on it?
In the past, your badge used to be next to the listing. Now, it’s “Superhost” written in small letters.
Before, you didn’t have to enable the filter. I’m not crazy about this change. Why does a guest have to take that extra step? Why wouldn’t they want to stay with a Superhost?
In addition to those benefits, Superhosts also get the following:
- Extra referral bonus. Yes, you get an extra 20% when you refer a host.
- For each year of maintaining Superhost status, we now get a choice. A $100 travel coupon or one free professional photo session.
- Priority support. A special number…and it’s nice when you call and they say, “Hello, Superhost.”
- Custom URL: Coming soon! As of August of 2018, Superhosts will get a custom URL to make their listing easier to find and share.
They’re also adding some marketing tools, pricing options, and more.
These benefits aren’t mentioned on the Superhost program page, but I got them in the last email, which began: Hey, you’re a Superhost again.
But I Want It!
I get it! Look, I have the badge, and I use it for marketing purposes. How? If you go to my listing, you’ll see a graphic that states that I’m a Superhost and also what it means.
- High Response Rate
- 5-Star Reviews
- Hosting Experience
My captions under it say: I’m an Airbnb host since 2010.
You also want to mention your Superhost status on social media… thanking your guests because they’re the ones that get you there. Let’s not forget about our guests!
No matter where you are in your journey as an Airbnb host, remember that in my heart you’re all Superhosts.
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