By Rowan Clifford
Author of Airbn’b’Smart and Smartbnb user
With virtually all communication on Airbnb happening via messaging, it’s important you get it right. Especially because Airbnb 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.
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?
Airbnb messages: can they substitute all communication means?
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.
The two things that matter most with Airbnb guest communication
When it comes to crafting Airbnb messages that build trust and rapport, the two most important things to consider are:
The voice of your Airbnb 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, 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.
The tone is used in conjunction with voice to set the mood and feel of the message.
Examples of tone are:
The 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:
Example of messaging interpretation:
Now that you’ve got an idea of how voice and tone affect how your Airbnb messages are received by your guests, let’s take a look at a quick example:
Bad guest message example:
“Check-out is at 10 a.m. Please leave the house as you found it and leave the key in the box”.
Guest interpretation: Get out of my house by 10 a.m. 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.
Good guest message example:
Just a quick heads up that tomorrow is check-out day. Check-out time is at 10 a.m.
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: The 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.
That's a nice message template
Your guest wouldn't notice it wasn't you. Sweet? Sweet!
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.
How to write better Airbnb guest messages
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 eight rules for better Airbnb host communication:
1. Leave no room for misinterpretation
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.
2. Write Conversationally
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:
- I’m: I am
- Can’t: can not
- We’ve: we have
- Should’ve: should have
- Could’ve: could have
- She’ll: she will
- He’s: he is
Simply adding contractions to your written messages will improve the communication dialogue between you and your guests.
3. Be Positive
Wording things positively helps build relationships.
Framing things in a positive light is easy to do, and will instantly build rapport with your guests.
4. Use please and thank you’s
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.
“Please remember to check out by 10 a.m.”
Yes, it’s short and to the point. But, it could put your guests in defensive mode.
Instead, try: “Just a quick reminder that check-out is at 10 a.m. tomorrow”.
5. Don’t use text speak
Do yourself a favor, and don’t use text speak within your guest messages. Not only does it look lazy, but it looks unprofessional too.
6. Don’t use ALL CAPS
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!
7. Use good layout
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:
- Use spacing to break up sentences and paragraphs.
- Use bullet points/ lists where possible.
Taking the time to layout your messages properly increases the likelihood that your guests will actually read your messages in the first place.
8. Always sign off with an offer of more help
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.
What about message templates?
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.
More great stuff for our users
Start with a 14-day free trial.
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.
Guest communication automation is just the first step in making your STR business more efficient. Download our list of automation strategies that will boost your revenue.
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.
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!
Never heard of a shortcode before?
Don’t worry, this article has got you covered.
Shortcodes are little snippets of code (unique to Smartbnb) that allow you to do some pretty nifty little things with your guest messaging on Airbnb.
Communicating effectively with guests improves the guest experience. This leads to better ratings and reviews, which are crucial to be successful as a short term rental host.
Bear with us for an actionable portion of advice to master your communication skills with guests.