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With virtually all communication on Airbnb happening via messaging, it’s important you get it right. Especially because messages are easily misconstrued, and because communication is one of the major categories in guest reviews!
If your communication game is off, you’re going to get crucified when it comes to review time.
Bad communication = Bad review
It’s not all doom and gloom however. There are some very practical steps you can take to make sure your communication is on point.
So what can you do to build rapport more effectively and improve your chances of getting good communication reviews? Let's find out, shall we?
The goal of all guest messages sent on Airbnb is to inform, educate and build rapport to ensure a seamless, stress-free vacation experience.
The trouble is that when we communicate via written messages alone, we lose much of the body language and expressions that we use to convey messages in real life.
The trick is trying to write and construct your messages in a way that connects with people in a real-world kind of way.
When it comes to crafting Airbnb messages that build trust and rapport the two most important things to consider are:
The voice of your messages will naturally be a reflection of your personality in written words.
However, unlike face-to-face communication where you can express your words with facial expressions, hand gestures, eye contact, vocal pitch etc. you just have plain text instead.
In fact, it’s understood that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and only 7% is the actual words said!
With so much of our natural communication methods removed within standard messaging, you must take extra care in making sure your guests receive the messages the way you intended.
Just because you write in a certain way doesn’t mean it’s received the same way.
The tone of your messages is a reflection of your attitude to the reader of the message ie. your guests.
Tone is used in conjunction with voice to set the mood and feel of the message.
Examples of tone are:
Tone is a difficult one to get right as it can be very subjective. One person may interpret your words in a very different way to the next.
Having said that, here are some guidelines to help you along:
Now that you’ve got an idea of how voice and tone affect how your messages are received by your guests, let’s take a look at a quick example:
“Check-out is at 10am. Please leave the house as you found it, and leave the key in the box”.
Guest interpretation: Get out of my house by 10am or I’ll get angry. If the house isn’t left immaculate I’ll be leaving you a bad review. I’m not grateful for you renting my house, I just want the money.
Just a quick heads up that tomorrow is check-out day. Check-out time is at 10am.
I hope you’ve had an awesome few days in %Your_City%.
If you wouldn’t mind just giving the house a quick spruce before you leave that’d be great. Oh, and one last thing, if you could remember to leave the key in the box after you check-out that’d be amazing.
Hope you’ve had a great stay at our house.
Any questions just let me know.
Guest interpretation: Host is kind and has my interests at heart by letting me know the appropriate check-out times. He’d be really grateful if the house was left neat and tidy. Friendly reminder to put the key in the box. He’s there to help if needed.
This is a pretty extreme example, but it’s easy to see how the voice and tone of the message drastically impact the way that they’re received.
Writing great Airbnb guest messages (as with everything) comes with practice. The more you write, the better you’ll become.
To help you next time you’re constructing a guest message, follow these 7 rules for better Airbnb host communication:
Compose your messages recognizing that the guest may not be in the same mood or emotional state as you. Always try to imagine how the person receiving the message could interpret it.
Tip: When people read a message they attempt to read intention and tone into the words. If your messages are ambiguous, people will automatically read the most negative emotions and intentions to it.
It’s much easier to build rapport with your guests when your messages are written in a conversational tone. Just like you’d speak with a friend.
A quick way to shift things away from dry, corporate speak towards a more conversational style is to use contractions within your messages.
Examples of contractions are:
Simply adding contractions to your written messages will improve the communication dialogue between you and your guests.
Wording things positively helps build relationships.
Framing things in a positive light is easy to do, and will instantly build rapport with your guests.
Kind of goes without saying, but whenever you’re asking someone to do something for you, remember to use please and thank you's... It goes a long way.
Tip: Using “please” with a passive aggressive edge is not courteous!
“Please remember to check out by 10am”
Yes, it’s short and to the point. But, it’s a could put your guests in defensive mode.
Instead try: “Just a quick reminder that check-out is at 10am tommorow”.
Do yourself a favour and don’t use text speak within your guest messages. Not only does it look lazy, but it looks unprofessional too.
CHECK OUT IS AT 1OAM!
A bit dramatic don’t you think?
Using ALL CAPS is widely regarded as the written version of shouting.
Unless you think your guests enjoy being shouted at… Avoid ALL CAPS!
In an era of very limited attention spans, people are less and less willing to read big long (boring) blocks of text.
To make things easier to digest for your guests, layout your messages appropriately:
Taking the time to lay out your messages properly, increases the likelihood that your guests will actually read your messages in the first place.
As a good host, your job is to be there to help. That’s why I always recommend signing off from each of your messages with the offer of more help and assistance if needed.
I usually sign off my messages like this:
“If you need any more help, just let me know”.
Simple, but effective.
Does this mean that you can’t use message templates?
Quite the opposite really.
Having pre-written templates to commonly asked questions gives you the time to write, edit, and re-write your messages so that the message copy is exactly as you’d like it.
Using Airbnb’s “Saved Messages” feature alongside a catalogue of pre-written templates is an awesome time saving hack. If you're a Smartbnb user, you can save your best replies as Canned Messages, and they will even be populated with custom personalized content, if you want.
And, to go one step further, it’s even possible to use Smartbnb’s AI solution to auto detect frequently asked questions within your guest messages, and fire off pre-written template answers (with your pre-approval).
Using this AI feature helps your guests get the answers to their questions quickly.
Pretty cool, eh?
Writing effective Airbnb guest messages takes time and consideration. But, the rewards for doing so are two fold:
Your guests will feel well looked after and nurtured.
You’ll get great communication reviews too, which will improve your placement in Airbnb’s search rankings over time.
So, next time you’re crafting a message to your guests make sure you implement what you’ve learned in this post, and your guests will be very thankful for it.
P.S. Sending each guest message out manually can become a very time consuming practice. If you’d like to learn how to automate much of the guest communication (without looking like a robot) have a look at how Smartbnb can help.
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 maximise their earning potential with minimum effort.