One way we’re helping hosts succeed is by observing guest reviews and customer support tickets in order to offer insights and tips on what’s working. Whether it’s hosts sending messages to booked guests, anticipating guest needs, making backup plans, or doing things to surpass guest expectations, here’s a peek into what guests are raving about.

Always be Communicating

Guests love hearing from hosts before and after a booked experience. Messaging with guests through the Airbnb app doesn’t have to be simply about the logistics, it’s also a chance for hosts and guests to show off their personalities, develop a relationship, and ultimately, establish trust.

The more communication you have with your guests, the better, as this gives you a chance to interact with them, get to know a bit about them and what they are looking for ahead of their Experience with you. —Sue, Cape Town: Host of The Green Creatives Experience

Consider sending a welcome message when you receive a new booking: A welcome message through the app is a great opportunity to introduce yourself, include local contact information, directions, and also inquire about the needs of both the main booker and any additional guests on the reservation. For example, checking in regarding dietary preferences and allergies will help you get to know the needs of the entire group before they’re with you in-person.

Follow-up quickly: If a guest sends you a message through the app with questions or an inquiry, responding quickly is a great way to establish a good relationship.

Consider sending a private message a few days before the trip: It’s helpful to send another private message to each booked guest that clarifies and confirms any dietary preferences or personal needs or concerns that were discussed in prior messages. It’s also helpful to include details regarding meetup times, location, and directions. Note that only the primary booker will receive messages in the app. This means that they will need to pass along information and details to their additional guests.

Airbnb Alison

—Guest review from Surfing in Japan

Packing list fun fact: Did you know that all booked guests with an active Airbnb profile could receive an automated email highlighting the packing list items two days before the experience? Guests appreciate this, as it helps them prepare for the day! Make sure you’ve added essentials to your packing list so your guests know what to bring.

Packing list

—Packing list from Jellyfish Flashmob

Consider sending a group message two days before the trip: Sending out a group message to booked guests through the app is a great way to unite everyone before the experience begins. Consider welcoming everyone and including your contact information again, details on what guests should bring, meetup times and locations, and directions. It’s also helpful to outline an estimated itinerary of where the group will be when, in case any guests get lost or are late.

beach patrol

—Andrew, Sydney: Host of Bondi Dawn Patrol

Directions and contact info fun fact: Hosts who offer an experience in multiple languages have found it helpful to include contact information and directions in both English and the native language. This way guests can share the details with locals without worrying about translations.  

Consider following-up after the experience: Sending a thoughtful “thank you” group message through the app after the experience has shown to help guests feel like their host went the extra mile. Some hosts send photos from the experience, while others provide maps, or interesting links and resources. It’s also a great opportunity to kindly remind guests to write a review. Just make sure to personalize messages, and to be considerate of inboxes.

I take pictures of my guests’ activities…A few days after they’re gone, I send them email with their pictures and warmhearted messages. I’m doing this to let my guests remember the moments we had together…Another benefit of sending email is that I can remind them to write a review of my experience.—Hogan, Seoul: Host of Korean Home Food Cooking at Home

Anticipate needs

Guests report feeling more included and at ease when their host anticipates and accommodates for their specific needs. From dietary preferences, to traveling to the experience, successful hosts anticipate the needs of their guests ahead of time.

Garrett, host of Winery hop in a vintage VW in Sonoma understands that people have food allergies and dietary preferences in his experience landing page copy.

Our lunch is always gluten/nut/dairy free. But let us know if you are a vegetarian or if you have any other food allergies.

Lorenzo and Luca, hosts of Cooking in Chianti Hills, start their experience at their countryside home outside of Florence. Since they know that finding the home can be discouraging to some guests, they go and meet their guests at the train station in Florence so they can ride together.

Make backup plans

Guests appreciate resourceful hosts. The hosts that are able to think on their feet, accommodate unforeseen situations, and adapt their experience if needed.

For example, Deo, host of The Captain in Barcelona, has an experience where he takes guests sailing. One day his guests arrived, and as he prepared to begin the experience, he discovered that the boat’s engine wouldn’t start! Rather than disappointing the guests, he rented another boat, and still took them out on the water to show them a great time.

By spending some time thinking through unexpected scenarios, and what you can do to prepare for them, you’ll be able to take on any situation.

Other scenarios to think about:

  • Guest relations: A guest doesn’t show up // A guest arrives with an unbooked friend // Language barriers // Guest allergies
  • External situations: Bad or unplanned weather // Restaurant is closed
  • You: Illness // Injury

Surprise and delight

When guests walk away from your experience, they love feeling like it surpassed their expectations.

Our approach is to always surpass our guests’ expectations, leaving them with a feeling that they’ve received more than what they paid for. We entertain our guests with amusing and historic stories surrounding the sign…We also take many creative photos for our guests so that they have something to remember their experience by.—Jessie and Thomas, Los Angeles: Hosts of The Hollywood Sign Hike

When we set the table, we do not prepare our guests chopsticks. At the beginning of eating, when guests are confused, my little daughter brings chopsticks to them. The reason why these chopsticks are special is that they were made by my hand and I ironed their name on them, one with alphabet and another with Korean letters. Guests are surprised and happy when they get these. They keep these and use even when they get back to their home.—Hogan, Seoul: Host of Korean Home Food Cooking at Home

We’ve got your back: Once your experience is published, your primary point-of-contact is with our Customer Experience (CX) team. You can reach out to them directly by email: experiences@airbnb.com.

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Have you learned some things from your reviews and private guest feedback that you think would be helpful to share? We’re excited to hear what’s working and not working for hosts all over the world. Please share and connect in the Community Center.