To be designated an Airbnb Superhost is to achieve rarefied status in the Airbnb world: there's a lot to be said for that little Superhost badge when a potential guest is picking from hundreds of otherwise identical apartments filled with IKEA furniture and owned by strangers/psychos. Attaining that status is no easy feat. Superhost — and New York Times contributor — Brian X. Chen says that only seven percent of hosts make the cut.
The question, then, is how to earn the consistent five-star reviews that guarantee the extra exposure (and the extra cash). A primer:
1. Resign yourself to being (or hiring) a butler/concierge/therapist/all-purpose everything for the duration of your guests' stay. (As Chen puts it: "You had better be as hospitable, friendly and communicative as a hotel.")
2. Lying will get you nowhere. Even if you weren't lying in the first place, because every guest will show up at your house with five-star expectations even at a one-dollar-sign shack. Also, people are unreasonable, always. (Chen: "In my experience, guests were surprised in the summer that the house lacked air-conditioning, even though the listing never said it had air-conditioning.")
3. Guests will scream bloody murder if anything goes wrong. So try to have the patience of a monk and two of everything they might need/want. (Chen: "If a remote control was misplaced or stolen by a previous group, have a backup remote ready in a drawer.")
4. Pay as much as you have to for cleaners. Because guests won't be happy until you're cleaning your oven with your toothbrush. (Chen: "Airbnb attracts travelers from all over the world, and it is remarkable how standards for cleanliness differ from person to person.")
5. Get as much cash as you can, when you can, so you can pay off your mortgage and never do this again. (Chen: "If you hope to ever make a profit, you will want to set prices higher during peak rental seasons, and reduce prices during slow seasons.")
6. When prospective guests tell you they're assholes the first time, believe them. (Chen: "When guests request the house, I ask them the purpose of the visit and ask them to carefully read and agree to my house rules, including one about loud noise.")
7. Your house is going to get f*cked up, so take pictures. (Chen: "Diligently document everything valuable in your house.")
Got all that down? You're golden.
And FYI: Chen's about to pay off the cabin in Northern California he rents through the service. It just might be worth all the aggravation.