In the 5.6 million-strong worldwide active Airbnb listings, it seems easy to get lost in the crowd. Airbnb created two programs to ensure that Airbnb hosts delivering exceptional standards or service and accommodation reaped heightened visibility benefits.
The Superhost and Airbnb Plus programs offer great benefits, so which one is better for you as an Airbnb property owner?
When considering Airbnb Superhost vs. Plus, Superhost suits owners whose revenue would suffer from the Plus exclusivity clause and the time to devote to their rentals. Airbnb Plus serves those who have the resources to upgrade their rentals to high design standards and host exclusively on Airbnb.
If you seek to stand out from your competitors and increase your occupancy, Superhost and Plus are great options in highly competitive markets. However, that’s only part of the story. If you wish to learn more about each Airbnb program’s requirements and benefits, please read on.
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What Is Airbnb Superhost?
In 2016, Airbnb decided to create a Superhost program to highlight exceptional hosts who provided top tier service in their Airbnb rentals. Up until then, it was challenging for an Airbnb owner to stand out from a surplus of highly-rated Airbnb competitors in a visible manner.
For guests, the Superhost tag is like an endorsement from Airbnb that their stay is going to be consistent with the reviews and we have seen that guests will filter out non-Superhost listings from their searches.
Benefits of Airbnb Superhost
Airbnb service providers that delivered exceptional service and high standard accommodation stood to receive benefits as follows:
- Increase in revenue. Increased visibility and trusted status may gain your property increased business and corresponding revenue.
- Increased number of bookings. With the Superhost status, guests are assured quality stays. They also have the option of filtering their search results according to Superhost status.
- Airbnb exclusive rewards. Superhosts receive an extra 20% on top of the usual bonus in host referrals. After a year of hosting, owners receive a travel coupon of $100 from Airbnb.
Qualification Requirements for Airbnb Superhost
Airbnb established the criteria for Superhost status in the following four areas:
- A minimum of 10 stays in a calendar year
- Quick response rate to guest queries and a 90% and higher overall response rate
- Average of 4.8 out of 5-star guest reviews
- Provide a zero host cancellation rate
Does Airbnb Superhost Status Increase Revenue?
An interesting analysis by AirDNA found that Superhosts tended to charge 11% less than the national average for their nightly stays. Behind this fact is the notion of perceived value in that guests will have a better experience if they perceive they have been given a ‘good deal’ and be more inclined to give higher ratings.
Although the average nightly stay costs were lower than average, Superhosts had an 81% increase in occupancy. This correlation highlighted the importance of dynamic pricing as a substantial component of increasing revenue and increasing an owner’s chances for Superhost status.
In a 2019 survey by Alltherooms Analytics, Superhosts continuously earned more throughout 2019 with $100 million more revenue in July 2019 alone.
RevPAR or ‘Revenue per Available Rental’ is a reliable metric for comparing property performance. According to Airbnb data, Superhosts earned 60% more revenue per available day because their bookings were almost double their non Superhost competitors.
Disadvantages of Superhost Status
- It takes a lot of work to maintain Superhost status. This is often a drawback for casual Airbnb property owners who indulge in hosting as a side gig. It is more suited to serious hosts who use their rentals as a primary income source.
- There has been some contention that more active Airbnb property hosts that handle 500-600 bookings a year are unfairly disadvantaged in attaining Superhost status. The possibilities of cancellations and the sheer amount of possible complications with bookings can make Superhost status almost impossible to maintain compared to an owner who only hosts ten times a year.
What Is Airbnb Plus?
Many hosts that have Superhost status have also gone on to acquire Airbnb Plus accreditation.
Although the requirements between a Superhost and an Airbnb Plus host cover much of the same ground, the Plus designation does not only recognize exceptional hosting. The Plus status recognizes hosts who maintain impeccable standards in terms of the rental space design, amenities, and hosting exclusively on the Airbnb platform.
Qualification Requirements for Airbnb Plus
- An average of 4.8 and above over a full year
- 0 host cancellations per year (outside of extenuating circumstances.)
- Accepted 95% and above booking requests
- Hosts must maintain Airbnb hospitality standards.
- Exclusive listing on Airbnb (you cannot list the property on another platform)
Above the standards set for exceptional hospitality, the Plus status also requires that hosts display other standards of outstanding service, including:
- Delighting guests with warmth and impeccable attention to detail
- Responsive, engaging, and committed to delivering top tier accommodation and hospitality.
The Plus designation onus also pays further attention to the rental unit itself and the Airbnb guests’ amenities. These rental space requirements include:
- Well designed rental space
- Fully equipped
- Spotlessly maintained
- High-quality lodgings.
- It must be an entire unit or a private room with a private bathroom
- The rental must be in a location where Plus is available.
Of course, things like “high-quality” and “well designed” are subject to the individual interpretation of whoever is looking at your application, should you be invited into the program.
Benefits of Airbnb Plus
The Plus accreditation rewards hosts that deliver a superior standard of comfort, style, and hospitality. The benefits of the Plus program are:
- Higher visibility on listings
- Higher revenue
- Standing out from other Airbnb competitors
The program also offers benefits such as professional photographers and writing services for the rental listing and interior design advice for even greater visibility to potential guests.
Owners applying for Plus status must undergo rigorous dwelling checks and show the kind of quality lodgings often found in high-end hotels. This requirement includes quality towels and sheets, and visually appealing interiors that offer comfort and superior design.
Airbnb Plus venues attract guests who seek Airbnb value with the amenities expected from a high-end hotel.
Does Airbnb Plus Boost Revenue?
AirDNA’s in-depth survey found that Plus revenues average 15% more occupancy from standard Airbnb rentals and 2% higher than Superhost rentals.
They also found that of the five pilot cities in North America, Plus listed properties earned 400% more than standard Airbnb properties. The substantial revenue differences are evident in Europa Asia, Oceana, and particularly Sydney and Barcelona, with a 300% revenue difference.
Disadvantages of Airbnb Plus
There are downsides to the apparent revenue increase under the Plus program beyond the fairly high fees to receive and maintain owners’ Plus credentials. In fact, many hosts have lamented joining the program for several reasons, including:
- The exclusivity clause in the United States. Airbnb owners under the Plus banner may not accept bookings from any other platform other than Airbnb.
- As of January 2020, there are only 26,000 active plus listings, which is evidence that the Plus listings are hard to come by, and many Airbnb owners may not be able to afford the high standards of design and amenities. This exclusivity favors Airbnb owners who have the resources to spend on their properties lavishly.
- Losing control over the listing and how your property is portrayed. Hosts are often not able to write their own descriptions, change their photos or even select which ones they want to use.
- Guests often expect hotel-like concierge service and don’t understand that they are still booking a private residence.
Which Is Better for Airbnb Owners?
Both Plus and Superhost benefit from increased revenue and boosted listings, which is essential in the Airbnb market with over 5.6 million active listings worldwide. Often prospective guests will not take the time to scan more than a couple of listings, so it stands to reason that increased views mean increased occupancies.
Whether Superhost or Plus is better for you as an Airbnb owner depends on various factors and is up to the individual host to decide if it suits them.
Who Should Choose Airbnb Plus?
- If revenue is your number one focus and you have the resources, capital, and time to achieve Plus status, you should choose Plus over Superhost status. Airbnb Plus properties not only earn more revenue but charge an average of 70% more per night than the national average of Airbnb rentals.
- However, Airbnb hosts who rely on third-party site bookings such as Vrbo and Booking.com will not get Plus status due to their reliance on external rental income. These rentals are typically those based in traditional destination markets such as coastal apartments, or ski resorts may not benefit from the exclusive Plus status.
- Those who have the time and the money to invest in their properties will benefit from the increased visibility and revenue of Plus status.
Who Should Choose Airbnb Superhost?
- Airbnb Superhost status suits those who use their Airbnb rental as a professional business and use their rentals as a primary revenue source. Professional hosts have the time to devote to the efficiency of their Airbnb rentals and benefit most from the increased visibility.
- Superhost may not suit part-time Airbnb hosts who use their rental as a side gig and have less time to devote to achieving and maintaining the many requirements for the Superhost status. However, the Superhost status is automatic.
- Superhosts typically drop their nightly rates to ensure they maintain their booking requirements, so rental owners should be ready to engage in a more dynamic pricing system to benefit from increased occupancy and ratings.
There is no doubt that Superhost and Airbnb Plus status are lucrative, and the evidence is in the substantially increased revenue and occupancy rates.
However, to achieve the above accreditations, it takes time and, in the case of Plus, time and money to ensure owners maintain their standings.
If you have the time and resources, and exclusivity in bookings does not affect your revenue, then Plus is highly recommended. If service excellence and commitment are your forte, then Superhost will ensure you have more guests to impress with your top tier hospitality, and you’ll retain complete control over your listing.