December 30

How to get 5 Star reviews on Airbnb

Are you missing out on bookings because of average Airbnb reviews?

Even a 2% drop in occupancy rate can cost you thousands of $$$$ a year.

What if I told you that getting 5-star Airbnb reviews was not a lottery but a science.

And like every science, by following a set of rules we can predict certain outcomes.


In this article, I break down the review system and give you actionable steps to guarantee 5-star Airbnb reviews every time.

What metrics does Airbnb use for its review system?

The backbone of the whole Airbnb sharing economy model is trust.

That’s why Airbnb asks each guest to leave a review and rate their stay with a host.

Guests are asked a series of questions about their stay giving you a star rating between 1-5.

The questions Airbnb asks your guests are:

• Overall experience.
• Share your story.
• Feedback to host.
• Accuracy: how accurately did the photos and description represent the actual space?
• Cleanliness: did the cleanliness match your expectations of the space?
• Check-in: how smooth was the check-in process, within the control of the host?
• Communication: how responsive and accessible was the host before and during your stay?
• Location: how appealing is the neighborhood (safety, convenience, desirability)?
• Value: how would you rate the value of the listing?
• Would you recommend staying here?

Below I share my secrets and give you actionable steps to smash it time after time.

Overall experience.

Your guest’s overall experience is a culmination of how much they enjoyed their stay.

You must make sure that your property, and everything that goes with it, is working as it should.

Guests love to have a moan if things are quite right so don’t give them the ammunition.

Be sure to provide:
• Comfy bed.
• Quality bed linen.
• Clean and fresh house.
• Provide as many creature comforts as possible.
• An easy to follow house manual in case of any issues?
• Welcome pack with Tea and Fresh Coffee (Instant Coffee sucks) and milk.
• Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil etc.

If you give your guests what they expected and MORE!  They’ll be putty in your hands.

5 Stars…

F*#k yeah!

Share your story.

Guests have the opportunity to share their stories about their stay publicly on your listing page.

Airbnb does a great job of encouraging your guests to be nice with their public stories to create the cozy community feel they pride themselves on.

And this is great 🙂

The trick to note is that 90% of the time, the question is answered with a review more about the Host and their character, than the property itself.

What this tells us is, that in order to get smoking HOT write ups from your guests you need to build an epic relationship with them.

If you are a live-in Host, or even a live-next-door Host, you have a massive advantage as you can build rapport person to person.

However, if you manage your Airbnb remotely (like me ✌), who prefers to let their Airbnb trickle feed their bank balance on auto-pilot then things aren’t quite so easy.

I mean, how do you build a good rapport with your guests when you’ve never met them?

The key here is your communication up to, during, and after their stay.

I have a series of Airbnb Saved Messages (that you’ll discover later in this post) that I have set up to fire off at guests at set periods of their stay.

cannon shooting airbnb saved messages

This way, even though I am not there, I’m connecting with my guests, making sure that they’re well looked after and appreciated.

Feedback to Host.

Guests leave private feedback to the host for any improvements or concerns.

This feedback is private and doesn’t count towards your review score.  Yet, this is a hugely valuable resource for improving your property to suit your demographic.

Rookie Host’s often choose to ignore this feedback, or worse still, become irate at the preposterous proposition that their property isn’t 100% perfect.

Do this at your peril.

Use this untapped resource as a direct feedback loop to help you improve your property for your next bookings.

Great Host’s are always looking for ways to improve

Accuracy: How accurately did the photos and description represent the actual space?

Your images and descriptions are scrutinized under the microscope by your guests as they are given the opportunity to rate their accuracy.

Getting 5 stars here should be a breeze right?

I mean, all you have to do is give the guests what they were expecting and that’s it. Boom.  Done.

• Make sure your images create an accurate picture of your property.
• Give an accurate description of your home.
• If there is something about your property that is not the best be sure to mention it. This way your guest won’t feel misinformed.
• Provide accurate locations.

So what I’m really saying here is just to give your guests what they expected without any nasty surprises.

Airbnb false description

And if you can go beyond what they were expecting, even better!

It pays to take a minute, read your descriptions and check our your photo’s just to make sure that what you have on screen is what they are getting when they arrive.

Cleanliness: Did the cleanliness match your expectations of the space?

This is an anonymous star rating out of 5; the results from all reviewers are averaged out and shown on the property’s listing page.

Lot’s of your guests will be clean freaks, searching for dust and dirt with a fine toothed comb.

Cleanliness is an area that you can’t afford to be blase about.

dust anyone

If you do the cleaning yourself then you have no excuses.

If you hire a cleaner though, you’ll need a system in place to make sure the job is done thoroughly.

I only hire cleaners who are willing to work on a bonus system, whereby their bonus is paid upon a successful 5-star cleanliness review.

I also pass on all positive and negative guest feedback directly to my cleaners. If your cleaner has a vested interest in your reviews, you’ll never have to worry about getting a 5-star Airbnb cleanliness ratings again.

Check-in experience: How smooth was the check-in process, within the control of the host?

This is an anonymous star rating out of 5; the results from all reviewers are averaged out and shown on the property’s listing page.

Bare in mind you are judged on things within a Host’s control.

If you’re a live-in Host and prefer to handle your check-in’s in person, you should breeze through this.  So long as you are helpful and not a creep your 5-star review should be safe.

However, I am a firm believer in having an external secure coded key lock for your guests to gain access to your place when they arrive for a number of reasons.

Firstly, no host with a life wants to be waiting around all day for their guests to arrive.

Secondly, it saves time and hassle trying to coordinate arrival times.

And thirdly… What could be smoother than your guest arriving at any time, on their terms, with simple easy access without a mollycoddling host faffing over their every move!

Location: How appealing is the neighborhood (safety, convenience, desirability)?

Guest’s will rate your location out of 5 and it will be displayed on your listing page.

Now there ain’t a whole lot you can do if your place isn’t in a prime location.  This much we just have to suck up.

However, there are a few things you can do to make the most of what you’ve got.

This is where you need to get creative…

You gotta Rock’Watcha’Got!!!

For example, your home might be super close to transport links, have a killer bar in the local area, be close to a park or woodlands etc.

You see, just because your house is not in a prime location doesn’t mean that your area has nothing to offer.

So don’t let your guests come and go from your place without at least being aware of what is around them.

Value: How would you rate the value of the listing?

Rated out of 5; Did your guest feel that the money they paid to stay at your place was worth it?


A culmination of it all really.

It’s all very well charging top dollar for your pad, but if your guests feel like they are getting ripped off, you’ll soon pay the price.

The goal of every Airbnb Host is to maximize their earnings.  I mean we all want better occupancy rates at higher prices.


And this is what I am here to help you achieve.

But, you don’t get something for nothing in this world my friend.  It’s all about fair exchange.

This doesn’t mean drop your prices.  What this means is that you need to add more value!!!

And it doesn’t have to cost you arm and a leg.  In fact, it often doesn’t have to cost you a penny.  But you do need to provide value for money.

It could be as simple as providing a hair dryer or a bottle of wine on arrival, or it could be reaching out to your guests to let them know they can check-in early or check-out late.

Whatever it is.  Always be on the lookout for ways to add more value. Always give more than your guests expected.

Communication.How responsive and accessible was the host before and during your stay?

This is an anonymous star rating out of 5; the results from all reviewers are averaged out and shown on the property’s listing page.

How do you communicate with your guests?  Do they feel comfortable and well looked after when they stay at your place?

This is an absolute must.

Communication is key!

communication is everything

To achieve 5-star reviews every time, this is the area where you must excel.

Your communication starts from the very first message and doesn’t end until you’ve received your final review.

You must appear to be constantly on hand to offer help to your guests. You want to create a genuine rapport with them.

Chat informally, as a friend rather than a formal host.

Communicating this way will build a friendship and trust, that will consistently drive 5-star reviews your way.

As I mentioned earlier I have a set of Saved Airbnb Messages (These Saved Messages are effectively message templates that are stored on Airbnb to help save time responding to guests) that I have perfected over time, that I fire off at set intervals during a guests stay.

Two clicks and I’m done.

Would you recommend staying here?

A yes/no question that is anonymous and not linked to the reviewer.

Yes, yes and yes!

Of course they should.

You’ve followed what I’ve been teaching you right?

Then sit back, relax, and take another sip of that Mai-Thai.

Our work is done here.


Do you have any tactics that you use to get 5-Star reviews?

Anything you’d like to ask me about?

If so, chuck it in the comments, I’d love to hear about it.

I answer ever comment personally!

About the author 

Rowan Clifford

Hey, I'm Rowan.  I'm a bit of a nerd, and froth a little too hard when it comes to Airbnb. And, I LOVE anything that makes my life as a host easier and more lucrative (which is pretty much exclusively all I write about on this blog). Tools, tips, tricks and sneaky hacks are my kinda thing...

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  • Great tips. I use to check on them during their stay and recommend them special activities. It´s quite time consumer, to be honest.

    • Yeah I know Zuzka. I was the same. I used to have a message template saved in my “Airbnb Saved Messages” ready to fire out manually approx 4 hours before check-in. I just found it so hard to remember to do it every time though, and I’m often in different time zones which made it even harder. And I must say, on more than one occasion I forgot, and the whole system felt really messy to me. I know have all this information automated for me, which has had a massive positive effect for me, and my guests. They now get all the information they need, at the right time every time. And I never have to stress about forgetting again… If you’d like to learn how to automate these messages you can find out more here:

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