Our Host Experience with Airbnb Plus

If you’re an Airbnb host and curious whether you should apply for the Airbnb Plus program then this is the post for you. Stick around to get an inside look on what is Airbnb Plus, why we joined the program, what we needed to do to get approved and what are the results.

What is Airbnb Plus?

Airbnb Plus is a selection of homes that have been verified for design and quality. These hosts take the time, thought and care to make sure their homes are tastefully decorated, well-equipped and meticulously maintained. And let’s face it. If you’ve been an Airbnb guest before, you can probably tell us your fair share of disappointing homes you’ve stayed in. We once stayed in a bachelor’s pad and he had a workout set where his dining room was supposed to be. The knob for the shower was finicky and the water was either arctic-freezing cold or skin-burning hot. For some travelers looking for a good deal, that’s just fine. For others, aesthetics and comfort is important. They want to have the peace of mind that they are staying with a reliable host.

Why we joined the Airbnb Plus program

Our Tailgate HQ listing is conveniently located in downtown Atlanta. We’re one mile away from key destinations such as Georgia World Congress Center, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Centennial Olympic Park. We do pretty well with bookings but wanted to test Airbnb Plus and see if we would get a significant lift. Right before Thanksgiving, we received an invitation from Airbnb to upgrade our listing to Airbnb Plus. They incentivized us by waiving the $149 program fee as long as we schedule our inspection before the end of November. We scheduled it after Thanksgiving, giving ourselves three weeks to prepare for the inspection.

With the Airbnb Plus program, hosts can expect to get a verified Plus badge, new design and layout for listing page, professional photography, access to resources and more. However, the NUMBER ONE reason why we joined the program is for better placement and better visibility in search results. Every day more and more people are listing their home or room on Airbnb which means this is a CROWDED playing field. We anticipated that Superbowl LIII would create a plethora of new hosts hoping to cash in on the big game. The competition to be on the first page of Airbnb’s search results is fierce. With more hosts on the platform it’s easy to for your listing to get buried. Solely relying on organic optimization is not enough. Think of Airbnb Plus like the Google Ads that you see on top of organic search results. If you’re interested in optimizing your listing organically then be sure to check out Optimize My Airbnb. We refer to this book regularly to make sure we refresh our listing for better placement too.

What we had to do to get approved for the Airbnb Plus program

Fortunately we had already met most of the requirements for the program. You can see the full list of requirements here. Airbnb’s official partner, Meero, conducted the inspection. It was a LONG visit so you should set aside about four hours. The first two hours was the photographer going down the inspection checklist to make sure we met the requirements. He took pictures of with his camera phone and checked/noted each item in an app. Afterwards, he spent another two hours taking professional pictures. A week later we received an email from Airbnb with a link to a portal where we can review small fixes that need to be completed.

Airbnb’s Fix List:

  • Add wine glasses and corkscrew
  • Clean residue from shower cleanser
  • Have a printed house manual
  • Take a screenshot of the wireless speed test
  • Add check-in instructions 

It took us three weeks to complete the list and resubmitted to Airbnb for final review. It took a little longer than we anticipated because we wanted to make sure our House Manual had personalized content, top recommendations and was professionally designed. Airbnb gave us a $30 incentive to finish our fixes so we submitted everything 8 days before their deadline.

Before and After of our Airbnb Listing

Two weeks after we submitted our fixes, Airbnb notified us that we were approved! We got a first look at the professional photography, new design and copy for our listing. We also noticed that they changed our listing name from “Tailgate HQ, Conference Basecamp, Downtown Tourist” to “Clean and Comfortable Modern House Close to Attractions”. We did not make any additional changes so we can gather data on how the regular listing performed against the new listing.

Before Airbnb Plus 

Click here or image below to see the full listing.

After Airbnb Plus

Click here or image below to see the full listing.

Does Airbnb Plus help boost bookings?

We’re only 2.5 months into the program and have preliminary data that the Airbnb Plus distinction does help boost bookings. We’ve noticed that after Superbowl LIII we’ve had a decline in inquiries and bookings with our other listing while our Airbnb Plus listing continues to get plenty of inquiries and bookings each week. However, January and February tend to be slow months and we can provide percentages after our busy season is over. We plan to do an Airbnb Plus update after Labor Day.

Click here to see the full Airbnb Plus listing. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on the products we use in our rental and a downloadable house manual template. Thanks for reading!

-Victor & Ann

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