Hosting on Airbnb can be extremely rewarding. You get to build relationships with guests and earn extra income. But that’s not to say that hosting is always going to be sunshine and rainbows. Great hosting takes time and work. But it’s not rare for hosts to feel burnt out from having to juggle Airbnb hosting with other personal and professional responsibilities. This is called Airbnb host fatigue, and it’s a common problem that many Airbnb hosts face.
For many new hosts, hosting on Airbnb is extremely fun. But as time goes on, a lot of hosts start losing their excitement. It turns out to be more work than expected or guests' behavior starts to be less-than-desireable.
This can be especially frustrating if you’re not getting the results you want or have had several bad experiences.
In this article, I’m going to share my top seven tips on how you can prevent Airbnb host fatigue and what you can do when you get it.
When I first began hosting on Airbnb in 2012, I was in Amsterdam, renting out my two-bedroom apartment. I remember feeling super excited and humbled that random strangers, who were maybe spending their only holiday of the year in my apartment, were booking my home.
They were putting their trust and faith in my ability as a host. I felt incredible. The extra income didn’t hurt, especially since I was getting paid more than if I decided to rent long-term. Being able to keep full control of my unit (which is not the case with a long-term renter) was an additional perk of hosting on Airbnb.
To this day, I still remember my first booking very vividly. It was a magical moment, almost surreal. I was sitting on the couch, waiting for the first group of guests to arrive. I remember feeling curious and excited to meet them and to show them around my apartment and the neighborhood.
I wanted to meet all my guests because I was super curious about who was using the platform. I would ask my guests where they were from and what they planned on doing in Amsterdam. And, for the first couple of months, I loved the experience.
I got to meet all these cool people. I took a lot of my guests out to coffee and walked them around the neighborhood. From these experiences, I ended up making friends with many of my guests – some of which I still stay in touch with today!
When I later moved out of Amsterdam, I still found the experience rewarding, so I decided to become a remote host. I had someone managing the physical property, but I continued managing the listing and all guest communications.
After a couple years of this, hosting became a bit of a chore. I didn’t find the same enjoyment in hosting that I did when I first started. I started getting annoyed with guests when they wouldn't read the information I sent them. When they'd ask the same questions over and over.
I even had some guests complain about things that I couldn’t do much about. One complained about the smell of the street! hat's when Airbnb host fatigue reared its ugly face.
These little annoyances started to build up. Soon, I found myself getting tired of hosting. I ended up not caring as much, and I looked for ways to automate things to avoid dealing with guests.
This frustration was particularly present when I continued receiving four-star reviews after I improved my offering. I’ll explain the problem with the Airbnb review system later. In any case, I found myself feeling tired of dealing with guests complaining about random little things. Airbnb host fatigue can play tricks on an otherwise motivated host.
When I started caring less about hosting and my guests, my Airbnb ratings dropped accordingly. I lost my Superhost status (which was also a result of me charging a higher price), and I even contemplated selling my apartment. I quickly realized that this wasn’t a good thing. I wanted to be a good host, and that means caring about your guests, building a relationship with them, and making sure they have the best stay possible.
When I realized I was experiencing Airbnb host fatigue and burnout, I took a step back and asked myself:
“How can I reignite my passion for hosting?”
I decided the first thing I’d do would be to change how I hosted. I had a look at my listing and identified several ways to improve and make progress. After all, progress is happiness, or at least, that’s what they say.
It was around this time I discovered Hostfully and made my first guidebook. The act of creating something new helped a lot in reigniting my passion for hosting. My guests really appreciated the guidebook and gave positive feedback. This made me feel way more positive about hosting. I also started communicating with guests more often and more in-depth.
I used WhatsApp and created WhatsApp groups to better connect with them. I’d send pictures to my guests and maybe even a little welcome video. My whole goal was to engage with them more.
After a while, my ratings went back up, and I got my Superhost status back.
I don’t think my experiences with Airbnb host fatigue is all that rare. Most Airbnb guests go through a similar process where they lose their initial excitement and start getting annoyed with guests, so don’t feel like something’s wrong with you if you’re feeling burned out.
The biggest problem with Airbnb’s review system is the discrepancy between what Airbnb thinks it’s about and what guests think it’s about. This is one of the biggest drivers of Airbnb host fatigue.
A lot of guests, especially if they’re new to the platform, automatically assume Airbnb’s rating system is similar to that of the hotel industry. But they’re two completely different rating systems. The hotel industry’s rating system is dependent upon meeting certain standards and having certain amenities.
Unfortunately, a lot of Airbnb guests base their ratings on their hotel experiences. To them, a five-star rating means an Airbnb is comparable to a Sheraton, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, or Four Seasons.
If you’re operating a luxury property and offering similar amenities and services to these five-star hotels, you’re probably going to get five-star reviews. But if you’re operating a budget or sharing your home with guests, it’s unrealistic to expect that level of service and those amenities.
You might get three or four-star reviews, even if you provide guests with an experience that’s completely in line with guest expectations. That's because a lot of guests don’t understand how Airbnb views these reviews.
To Airbnb, if you’re not getting five star reviews, you’re doing something wrong. It’s not so bad now, but you used to need 80% of your reviews to be five stars in order to be a Superhost. Because of that, we used to say that a four-star review was essentially the same as a one-star review. Nowadays, Airbnb will email you telling you to step up your game, if your ratings fall below 4.7 stars.
It can be very frustrating for you if you pour your heart and soul into hosting only to get four-star reviews because you can’t match the experience guests would receive at the Four Seasons. This can even cause some resentment. At that point, a lot of hosts will blame guests for not giving them five-star reviews. Airbnb host fatigue: 1, you: 0.
But you shouldn’t blame guests for leaving a three or four-star review. They may just not know how Airbnb views guest ratings. You can educate your guests about Airbnb’s review system, of course, but I think Airbnb should also better communicate how the review system works to users.
A lot of Airbnb hosting fatigue stems from hosts feeling overwhelmed. Some hosts might be taking on a little too much work, especially if they have a full-time job and are doing this on the side.
If you find yourself feeling burned out, my best advice is to outsource and automate some aspects of hosting. You can breakdown the Airbnb hosting process identifying what you’re doing yourself and what you could outsource/automate. After all, the less time you spend working on your Airbnb, the less chance you have of getting Airbnb host fatigue.
As a host, you really need to understand that you don’t need to be perfect. One bad review isn’t going to kill your business. It is never about what happens to you but how you respond to it. This is a very important step to overcoming Airbnb host fatigue.
If you get a bad review, you should respond politely and professionally. Take the feedback seriously, even if you don’t think it’s completely reasonable. Don’t get defensive and argue with guests. An occasional bad review doesn’t necessarily need to hurt your business.
I strongly believe that responding well to a bad review tells more about a host than the bad review itself. Everyone knows that there’s always going to some people who are hard to please and always complain.
Yes, a bad review can cause you some stress. But it doesn’t have to hurt your business if you’re getting good reviews consistently.
Being a Superhost is nice, but it’s not everything. You don’t need to be a Superhost to be a successful Airbnb host.
When I first became a Superhost, I raised my prices to account for the increased offerings I provided. But losing my Superhost status made me review my offering and improve it. It also made me realize that my most profitable months were when I didn’t have my Superhost status.
You can talk to other hosts (either in-person or online) to share stories, thoughts, frustrations, and experiences. This can help create a feeling of community, where you know you’re not alone and have people you can talk with.
You can see if there are any local Airbnb host meetups or connect with hosts on Facebook. You can also join Facebook groups about Airbnb hosting. Look for a positive environment more than just hosts complaining. You can even start your own meetups, where you invite a bunch of local hosts to meet in a cafe once a month and chat about all things Airbnb.
When you start feeling a little burnt out, you can change things up a little. Create a guidebook. Go through your reviews and feedback to see if there’s anything you can improve. Add more amenities.
Talk to local business owners to see if you can get your guests special discounts. This creates a win-win-win situation, where local business owners get more customers, your guests get to save money, and you have happy guests. Implementing small changes to your offering will lift your spirits and motivate you to keep hosting.
Instead of focusing on bad guest experiences, focus on good experiences. Ask yourself who some of your favorite guests were, what your best Airbnb hosting experience was, and what Airbnb has enabled you to do. For me, Airbnb’s given me the chance to meet cool people and earn extra income.
I’ve definitely had my moments when I felt done with hosting, but I’d always ask myself what the alternatives were. If you want to take a break from hosting, that’s totally fine. You just have to realize that you'll have to look for other ways to earn the extra income you were making from Airbnb.
Switching to long-term renting might seem appealing, but it also has its own issues. You’re stuck with a tenant for a long time, and this can be super frustrating if they’re bad tenants. After all, every alternative comes with its own issues and challenges. That’s why people always say that the grass is always greener on the other side.
At the end of the day, you don’t need to be perfect, have all five-star reviews, or be a Superhost to be successful on Airbnb.
If you just focus on being the best host you can be, you’ll do amazing as an Airbnb host. That means focusing on improving your offering and finding some inspiration (especially when you’re not feeling it or feeling annoyed with your guests).
I know it can get tough, and over the years, I’ve considered quitting so many times. I’m glad I didn't.