Airbnb review hacks: 5 psychologically-proven techniques that work! | Smartbnb

Airbnb review hacks: 5 psychologically-proven techniques that work! December 04, 2019

By Rowan Clifford

Author of Airbn'b'Smart and Smartbnb user

The Airbnb review criteria is pretty straightforward.

Your guests give you a star rating between 1 - 5 for the following:

Much has been written on the many ways to improve in all of these areas in the quest for better reviews, so I’m not going to cover that here.

Instead, I’m going to teach you a way to influence the subjective review making process of your guests in a way that increases your chances of getting better reviews more often...

Would you like to know more?

I thought you would!

And that’s why I’ve compiled this list of five psychologically proven persuasion techniques for positively influencing Airbnb reviews.

But first...

Persuasion: What moves people to change their behaviour?

Persuasion is the attempt to influence a person’s actions, motivations, behaviour etc.

As outlined by Dr. Robert Cialdini in the Book “Influence”, humans have biological hard trigger responses to certain events/actions. And, it’s these hard triggers that if harnessed can influence the review decisions of your guests.

There are three main persuasion techniques that you can introduce to your Airbnb host ‘game’ and they are:

Reciprocation

The rule of reciprocity states that “…we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us.”

Reciprocation is one of the most powerful techniques that can be used to influence a person's response.

For example:

If somebody buys you a drink, you feel obligated to buy them a drink next time.

Commitment and consistency

This principle of commitment and consistency is about our “…desire to be (and to appear) consistent with what we have already done. Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision.”

For example:

If somebody says “Oh, you’re always so kind!”, you’ll feel obligated to remain consistent with that assumption, and you’ll be committed to showcasing just how kind you are.

Liking

Very simply, this just means we prefer to say “yes” to the requests of people we know and like.

But what are the factors that cause one person to like another person?

5 Psychological hacks for better Airbnb reviews

Alright, now that we know a little about the psychology of persuasion and influence, let me show you how these same techniques can be leveraged to consistently get better reviews on Airbnb.

Build rapport

When we communicate with our guests we have an opportunity to connect with them and build rapport.

After building a deep rapport with your guests, you’ll find that they’ll be more inclined to leave positive reviews.

For example:

Guest: “Hey. Me and my boyfriend are really excited to come stay at your place. We love walking, and sight seeing. Thangs Meg”

Host: “Hey Meg. So happy you and your boyfriend are excited to come stay. I love walking too, and there’s some amazing walks close by. I’ll also give you a few of my secret (little known) spots off the tourist trails where you can soak up the sights away from the masses closer to check-in. In the meantime, if you have ANY questions whatsoever, I’m 100% here to help. Speak soon. Rowan.”

Breakdown:

  1. Checking up during a guests stay

Checking up on your guests during their shows that you care.

And, by framing your message in the right way, you can trigger the reciprocity response which can be leveraged when it comes to review time.

For example:

Host: “Hey Meg. Hope you guys checked in ok and are making yourselves at home. I just wanted to touch base to see if you guys have everything you need, or if there’s anything you needed assistance with? Please don’t hesitate to ask as I want to make sure you guys have a super stress free relaxing time away. It really means a lot to me. Thanks, Rowan.”

Breakdown:

  1. Exceeding expectations

When we create our listing we set certain expectations for our guests.

So, when it comes to review time, you’ll be judged not objectively, instead you’ll be subjectively judged against their preconceived expectations.

For this reason I have a couple of ways to go above and beyond expectations (that won’t cost a penny) with a couple of sneaky tricks that I’ll show you below.

Trick 1.

Offer early check-in: Set the check-in time on your listing 1 hour later than it actually is. Then, on the morning of arrival send your guests a message with the offer of exclusive early check-in.

E.g. “Hey Meg. I’ve just had a quick word with my cleaner to try and push for an earlier check-in time for you, and they’ve given me the go ahead to offer you an early check-in. So you’re now welcome to check-in at %check_in_time%. I know it’s only a small gesture, but every little helps hey! Thanks again. Rowan”.

Trick 2.

Offer late check-out: Similar as offering an early check-in, but offering a late check-out will probably get you even more goodwill from holidaying guests, especially groups.

Trick 3.

Luggage storage: If you have the ability to offer luggage storage for a period of time, offer this to your guests. Let them know that this is normally something you charge for, however on this occasion, you’re going to offer it to them free of charge.

Breakdown:

Compliment your guests

When your guests check-out it’s a great time to offer a compliment. We all love compliments (even if they’re not entirely true), and they go a long way in influencing your guests review decisions.

For example:

Host: “Hey Meg. You guys have been amazing! Thank you so much for being so kind and respectful of our home during your stay. It’s been an absolute pleasure to open up our home to guests like you. I hope you have a super safe journey home. Many thanks. Rowan.”

Breakdown:

Adapt your tone of voice

People like people who are more like themselves. And this likeability can influence behavior.

The messaging tone of voice can be an important way to mimic your guests, which in turn will increase likeability.

Example 1.

Guest: “Good afternoon. My wife and I wish to reserve two nights accommodation at your property. Please advise if the dates requested are available. Kind regards. Mrs Thomas”

Host: “Hello Mrs Thomas. Thank you very much for your enquiry. I can confirm that the dates requested are available, and are free to book at your discretion. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any further questions or assistance needed”.

Example 2.

Guest: “Hey buddy. Me and my girlfriend are trying to book your pad, but just double checking the dates are available? Cheers. Tom.”

Host: “Hey Tom. All is sweet, the dates are free and ready to book. If you need a hand with anything just hit me up. Cheers. Rowan”.

In each example the responses are mimicking the tone of the guest. Mimicking in this way helps to build likability, which in turn will positively affect your reviews.

Breakdown:

Bonus: My Ultimate Checkout Message Template

There’s a lot to digest in this post, and it’s hopefully given you some food for thought.

However, there’s one message, which if sent at the right time, can have the most significant effect on influencing your guests review decisions.

This one message template targets all of the persuasive triggers at once (and it’s VERY effective).

Get my Ultimate Checkout Message Template sent to your inbox (it's a one-off), here:

Conclusion

It’s the compounding effects of all of these triggers stacked upon one another that will lead to an increase in positive reviews.

And, with reveiws playing such a big role in Airbnb’s ranking algorithm and guests booking decisions, these persuasive techniques can make a big difference.

So, start weaving these persuasive triggers into your Airbnb guest flow experience, and see for yourself what a difference they can make.

Peace out.

Rowan.

P.S. Don’t forget to download the Bonus Ultimate Checkout Message Template above!

P.P.S. Also, remember that all of this can be automated using Smartbnb. It’s super easy to set up, and we’re currently offering a free 14 day trial ;)

Rowan Clifford is a serial solopreneur and founder of Airbn’b’Smart, where he writes tips, tricks and hacks for savvy Airbnb hosts looking to maximize their earning potential with minimum effort.