In this post, I'm going to explain two things to you: how to become an Airbnb superhost, and why you'd want to become one.
I'm going to lay out the benefits of being a superhost (sometimes it's not as important as you think!), and the steps that the most dedicated hosts take to meet the Airbnb superhost requirements.
The Airbnb Superhost Program launched in 2009 and aimed to recognize their top performing hosts- the hosts that made it all happen, that set the bar and raised the standard for hospitality as an Airbnb host. The program showcases the top dogs in the Airbnb community.
What is a superhost on Airbnb?
The Airbnb Superhost program focuses on the core elements of hospitality, elements adapted by all exceptional Airbnb hosts.
Just because you're staying in a home doesn't mean you shouldn't experience hospitality. I'm talking about commitment to quality, guest-host communication, guest satisfaction and the entire experience leading to the “wow” factor.
While hosting comes in all shapes and sizes, these elements are the common denominator in hospitality expectations. These are the elements that time and time again make all the difference.
Related Post: 3 Proven Hospitality Strategies That Boost Reviews
Airbnb superhost requirements
The question goes beyond how many reviews it takes to become an Airbnb superhost. The status is earned by excelling in the following areas, measured over a year's time:
- Communication: At least 90% response rate to guests
- Commitment: No cancellations (barring extenuating circumstances or IB cancellations)
- Guest satisfaction: At least 80% of reviews are 5-star
- Experience: Hosted at least 10 completed trips
What is the benefit of becoming a superhost?
There are perks to becoming an Airbnb superhost, such as the famous Superhost Badge.
- A Superhost badge on hosts’ listing and profile pages
- Travel coupons on Airbnb (after a year of Superhost status)
- Airbnb product previews
- Priority support from Airbnb
Want to know where you're at?
Hosts are tracked using the key hosting metrics in their host dashboard. Hosts can track their progress and know exactly where they are and where they're heading at all times. This makes being a part of the Superhost Program an attainable goal for every Airbnb host.
Requirements to become an Airbnb superhost
Now let's get into the nitty-gritty of becoming an Airbnb superhost. Of the four requirements, getting 80% five star ratings is by far the hardest one to achieve. But before I get into that, let me provide some tips on how to tick off the three easier boxes.
1. Hosting at least 10 trips
Not much to be said here. If you haven't hosted 10 trips yet, just get as many bookings as quickly as you can, make sure to optimize your listing's search ranking to get more bookings and start out with a competitive price.
2. No cancellations in the last year
You can't have any cancellations in the last 365 days, but there are two exceptions. The first exception applies if you're using instant book. In that case, you're allowed to cancel three times penalty-free if you feel uncomfortable with the guest(s). Note that a calendar that wasn't updated is not a valid reason to cancel!
The second exception applies when there are extenuating circumstances, such as an unexpected death or serious illness, significant natural disasters or severe weather incidents or urgent travel restrictions.
Word of caution: If you have set a booking window in your calendar settings, you need to be aware of a potential issue. Let's say you only want to rent out the next two months and you've set your calendar to a 3-month booking window. You can manually make the dates for the third month unavailable.
Your calendar will then only show availability in the next two months. However, every day that booking window will move forward. So a week later, you'll have a week of availability showing in your calendar, during a period that you may not be able to host. If someone books in this week, you'll have to cancel and lose your superhost status for a whole year.
To prevent this issue, if you can only host until a fixed date (because you have a long term renter or you're moving back into your house), don't use the booking window setting but manually manage your calendar's availability.
3. At least 90% response rate
Again this is fairly easy, but there could be some confusion as to how this is measured so it's worth elaborating a bit. Here's what's stated on Airbnb's website:
Your response rate is the percentage of new inquiries and reservation requests you responded to (by either accepting/pre-approving or declining) within 24 hours in the past 30 days. Your response time is the average amount of time it took you to respond to all the new messages in the past 30 days.
If you’ve received fewer than 10 new message threads in the past 30 days, your response rate and response time will be based on the 10 most recent message threads from the past 90 days.
The response rate to determine Superhost status is calculated differently and is based on your responses over the past 365 days.
You can easily get a 100% response rate if you automate your guest communication with a tool like Hospitable. It's affordable and totally worth it if you really want to get superhost status. Airdna did a study on why 1.6 million hosts didn't qualify for Airbnb Superhost Status, and a whopping 67,000 hosts didn't respond to 90% of questions within 24 hours. This is such a no-brainer since you can do this automatically without any extra work.
>> Read my detailed review of Hospitable
At least 80% five-star reviews
This is the toughest condition to become a superhost. The reason is that this is outside of your control. Your guests are free to rate their stays as they see fit and there are all sorts of reasons why you could miss out on a five-star review, even if you put in a lot of effort to provide a great guest experience.
Some guests make mistakes or don't understand how to use the rating system
You may think selecting the right amount of stars is quite simple, and it is. However, mistakes do occur. I've had three one-star reviews in my Airbnb career, and in all three instances the written review was quite positive and I didn't receive any negative private feedback.
As you can see the written review doesn't reflect a one-star experience, and I'm sure they didn't mean to leave a one-star review.
I didn't know it was possible, but as you can see below you can even get a zero-star review. Again, all these guests were actually very satisfied with their stay but this actually caused me to lose my superhost status for a while.
I have a lot more of these “zero-star reviews,” too many to post here. Fortunately, Airbnb has improved their guest education so recently this doesn't happen much anymore.
Some guests think that a four-star rating is really good
For a host, all that matters is a five-star rating. Anything below is a no-go as far as getting the superhost status is concerned. Guests aren't aware of that and they probably don't realize that a four-star rating hurts the host. I've had a lot of glaring written reviews and no private feedback but I still got a four-star review.
Ratings are subjective, some people only give a five-star rating if everything is perfect (and it may never be in their eyes) while some guests give a five-star rating even if there were some small issues. This has more to do with cultural differences and the personality of the guest than the experience.
Do the best you can
The factors I mentioned above are things that are outside of your control. All you can do as a host is to provide the best guest experience as possible. That's the best way to get five star reviews.