Airbnb Plus: A review from an Airbnb hosts perspective.

Airbnb announced in February 2018 a new wave program for eager hosts to go above and beyond: Airbnb Plus.

The premise stands to separate the excellent listings from the rest, providing increased clicks and revenue for the hosts, and a more comfortable booking experience for guests expecting this standard. The goal, from here is to raise the quality of all Airbnb suites and increase the quality of stay across the board.
The move to roll out a premium program such as this comes from Airbnb’s rapid development; currently the company has more spaces available for rent than the top 4 hotel chains combined (Marriott, Hilton Worldwide, InterContinental Hotels Group, and Wyndham Hotel Group), and their goal is to only continue growing from there. As they continue to take over as the dominant private rental company, Airbnb acknowledged the need to standardize what they expect of hosts, and create uniformity and predictability across all Airbnb experiences.

Airbnb Plus aims to achieve this through a 100 point checklist that the space must fill out, followed by an in person inspection by an Airbnb contractor to ensure quality. Notable items on the Plus checklist range from the basics: “Door to listing closes properly and has a lock. There’s a neutral or pleasant aroma in every room. Smoke and Carbon-monoxide detectors are installed. Everything out in the open is either aesthetic or could be used by a guest.” To some more luxurious requirements, “Beds are elevated off the floor and have flat mattresses, soft matching linens, and two sleeping pillows for every guest. Filtered water. Cohesive interior design with personal touches. All counters and cabinets are organized and clutter-free.”
Finally, Airbnb requires some more difficult requirements of the host themselves, including well received ratings, accepting 95% of all booking requests (to prevent those who might discriminate due to race, sexuality, etc from becoming an Plus host), no cancellations in the past year.

Airbnb’s vice-president of product and home operations, Vlad Loktev said “Plus is just the start of something new,” with Airbnb aiming to continue raising the standard for all hosts and improve the experience for all guests. For hosts looking to separate themselves from the competition, Plus is an olive branch to get off the ground and running before the standard of excellence is raised even higher once again.

Having been a host on Airbnb with my rental company Park Place Suites in Kingston for the past 2 years, I can see extreme value to my business through Airbnb Plus. To us, Plus is an exciting opportunity to separate ourselves and be recognized for consistently going above and beyond for our guests. We take pride in the little things, from the initial introductions to the space, to providing weekly linen exchange services and meticulously cleaned suites, to having an employee on site to handle any issue as it arises and ensure consistent comfort and security for all our guests.
One of the many ways we continue to better our service is through raising the industry standard on vacation rental cleanings. Specifically, CleanPhD provides us with an industry-leading cleaning procedure and checklist program that ensures regardless of who is cleaning our suites, the utmost quality is upheld and nothing is missed. We firmly believe that it is the little things that make a space an amazing experience, and Airbnb’s decision to add in a “Plus” system for hosts such as ourselves, and others that uphold this standard is only going to give us an even greater opportunity to leave the competition further and further behind.

It has always been a mandate here at Park Place Suites that the guest’s initial reaction to a suite is imperative to enjoying their stay, where an entire suite could be spotless, warm and inviting but a missed fingerprint/dusting on the telephone could cause a guest discomfort and make them question the integrity of the entire space. Combined with the meticulous checklist from CleanPhD and their proof of cleaning printout, and an eventual upgrade to Airbnb Plus we are confident that this mandate will only further be expanded upon in the years to come.
It is upsetting to us that unfortunately not all Airbnb hosts believe in upholding a certain standard of cleanliness and quality for their guests. The need for Airbnb to list a door that safely closes and locks as a necessity for Plus, rather than just an Airbnb listing is disappointing in the least. In fact, as an anecdotal personal incident my most recent Airbnb stay was quite the opposite of what I was expecting, and used to regarding guest treatment. I had booked into an expensive suite in a nice neighbourhood, and as a result expected the quality of stay that the price and description had suggested. Instead, upon arrival the apartment was clearly not cleaned properly, with amenities being dramatized in the description and the real kicker, was a Pidgeon nest built in-between the patio door from the bedroom to the balcony and the screen door on the balcony. This led to there being twigs, and bird feces being scattered across the bedroom floor upon opening the patio door, and the idea of sleeping past 4AM being near impossible.

Many discussions with both Airbnb support and the host were held, and ultimately I received a partial refund for my stay and we parted ways so I could look elsewhere to stay. At the time it was clear to me that Airbnb cleaning standards were not in place, and this is another reason why Airbnb Plus excites me as both a host and guest, providing that we are well above the standard for vacation rental cleanings and that guests can take comfort in knowing that, and that I will actively look for Plus hosts to know that I can expect the same standard is upheld.