As Airbnb turned 10 on February 22, 2018, they announced a new service called Airbnb Plus. This new service is aimed at travellers who want the luxury and consistency of a hotel but want to book on the home sharing platform and stay in a “unique” accommodation. More importantly, it’s aimed at hosts in a brilliant marketing strategy to get them to improve their listings to try and qualify to be a part of this elite new program. Airbnb states that Plus homes have an average nightly listing rate of $250 USD – music to many hosts’ ears. So what do you need to know as a host to apply and how can you improve your chances of getting accepted into this program?

Basic Qualifications

  1. It must be in one of the cities where Airbnb Plus is available for now – Austin, Barcelona, Cape Town, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Melbourne, Milan, Rome, San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney, or Toronto. Anywhere else and you’re out of luck for now.*
  2. Must have had at least 1 booking already (sorry newbies!)
  3. Have an average rating of at least 4.8 out of 5 stars
  4. Accept at least 95% of reservations (bye bye picky Polly!)
  5. Have no last-minute cancellations in the last year
  6. Must offer a listing for an entire home or a private room with a private bathroom

*Airbnb will expand to over 75,000 homes across 50+ cities by the end of 2018, and are launching in 13 more cities mid-year (Athens, Auckland, Bali, Beijing, Chengdu, Crete, Lisbon, Mexico City, Montreal, Phoenix, Prague, Riviera Maya, and Seattle).

Sizing Your Listing Up

Hosts that apply must pass a 100 point quality checklist. An approved Airbnb photographer and inspector will visit your listing and determine if your listing is up to snuff based on the following:

Is it thoughtfully designed?

  • Cohesive interior design with personal touches (save those macaroni bead necklaces from your kids to hang on the wall!)
  • Thoughtful and non-cluttered furniture layout
  • Artwork and photographs that reflect the host’s style
  • Everything is either aesthetic (i.e. for looks/design) or can be used by the guest (i.e. functional)
  • Counters and cabinets are organized and clutter free
  • Wires and cables for electronics are hidden and out of sight

Is it comfortable?

  • Easy check in (e.g. lockbox, digital lock etc)
  • Beds are elevated off the floor and have flat mattresses, great linens and at least 2 sleeping pillows for each guest
  • Private bedrooms must have a private bathroom with a shower or bathtub
  • At least two sets of plush towels, hand towels, and washcloths in each bathroom
  • At least eight clothing hangers and an empty drawer or shelf are provided for guests’ clothes
  • Window treatments such as curtains or frosted glass for privacy

Is it well equipped?

  • Fast Wi-Fi with at least 5 Mbps download speed
  • Printed house manual which includes host and emergency contact info, Wi-Fi password, and checkout procedures
  • TV with remote control and access to entertainment, such as cable, Netflix, or Roku
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Ironing board and iron are available
  • Filtered water, and a supply of either coffee or tea
  • Washrooms have a hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, and body soap
  • Kitchen essentials e a frying pan, salt, pepper, and cooking oil

Is it well maintained?

  • Outdoor areas are well-kept, with no overgrowth or dead plants
  • Entrances to the listing are clean and illuminated
  • Door to listing closes properly and has a lock
  • Furniture is in good condition, without stains, scuffs, breaks, or tears
  • Walls, floors, and ceilings don’t have visible scuffs, cracks, stains, buckling, cobwebs, or dust
  • Carpets and rugs aren’t stained or too worn
  • Windows and mirrors are clean and not cracked
  • Lights work in all guest spaces
  • Neutral or pleasant aroma in every room
  • No signs of pests
  • Kitchen appliances are clean and not damaged
  • Showerheads, faucets, cabinet handles, and other fixtures aren’t loose or leaking
  • Washrooms including medicine cabinet, counters, shower curtain, and shower or bath are clean, not mildewed, and free of hosts’ personal items
  • Depending on local climate, air conditioning and/or heating available and in good working condition
  • Strong water pressure with hot and cold water
  Benefits
  1. Higher nightly rate (average of $250 USD)
  2. A verified Airbnb Plus badge on your listing
  3. Higher placement and increased visibility in Airbnb’s internal search rankings
  4. A new listing page to help you stand out as a Plus host
  5. Updated photography to make your beautiful listing even more beautiful
  6. A photo home tour so guests can fall in love with your space
  7. Premium customer support options

Application

If the long list of requirements hasn’t scared you off, you can apply to be considered here. There is a one time application fee of $149 USD.

Our Take

Having been a staunch supporter of Airbnb for so long, their latest plans are interesting as they are now recognizing hotels on their site as well, in hopes that travellers will more easily discover their listings through sites like Expedia and Travelocity. The Plus Program sounds great in theory but also seems highly reminiscent of when the Superhost program was first rolled out (hello dedicated support options and higher search rankings!). This seems like another marketing gimmick aimed at getting hosts to increase their standards and listing quality even more than they are now. My concern is that it may make being a host even more competitive and difficult to get bookings.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you planning to apply to the Plus program? If it’s not available in your city, will you consider it when they expand to your city?