Airbnb Plus: what, how & why?

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Recently we wrote about Airbnb’s Superhost program; what it is, how to get it and what it’s worth. Now, it’s the turn of Airbnb Plus. How do you get a listing awarded a Plus badge, and what does the data say you stand to gain if you do? Read on for more…

What is Airbnb Plus?

Airbnb introduced the Plus program in order to highlight listings offering superior style and experience. The idea being that those looking for the ultimate in home comforts, convenience and quality spaces have a premium category to search within.

How to get Airbnb Plus

The first thing to note about Plus is that the qualification points are less quantifiable than Superhost for example. Sure, there are still certain hoops to jump through, but the awarding of your badge will come down to an Airbnb inspection of other things too.

The premise is that when reserving a Plus listing, guests can feel safe in the knowledge that they will be staying in a thoughtfully designed and equipped home of the highest quality, with an exceptional host to match, as verified by Airbnb themselves. An effortless check in and dedicated Airbnb support team are guaranteed.

So what does this mean for a host? Well, ultimately, every home is verified through in-person quality inspection to ensure quality and design, where typically Airbnb will take their own professional photos for the listing. To pass muster, your home must be ‘one-of-a-kind, thoughtfully designed, and well-equipped with a higher standard set of amenities’, plus be well maintained, and meet an exceptional standard of check in and hosting to bring the guest experience in-line with what Airbnb Plus promises. (See Airbnb’s advice)

Thoughtfully designed

Airbnb Plus homes are where high quality meets carefully considered design—down to every last detail. With elegant design and personal character, the homes are as welcoming as they are beautiful.

Well-equipped

You can expect the consistent set of amenities you need to live like you do at home–from fast wifi and televisions ready for streaming to full kitchens with all the cooking essentials. For example, you’ll need to provide: filtered or bottled water, cooking essentials including oil, utensils and servingware, quality bed linen and an iron and hairdryer.

Well-maintained

Airbnb Plus hosts take the extra effort to ensure the home is extra clean, clutter-free, and fully functioning–from manicured outdoor spaces to tidy bathrooms with strong water pressure. As a minimum it is expected that all appliances are in working order including lightbulbs etc, functional locks on all bedroom doors in shared spaces and all spaces are neat and tidy.

Exceptional hosts

To be eligible for an invitation to Airbnb Plus, listings must be located in areas we support and hosts must demonstrate Superhost-level hospitality with an average 4.8+ rating and no canceled reservations over the past year (excepting extenuating circumstances). Plus hosts must also demostrate additional exceptional hospitality standards by welcoming guests warmly with thoughtful details and providing an outstanding level of kind, responsive, commited and fair service.

Reliable check-in

Every home must be equipped with a lockbox, keypad, or a host who is on-call to greet you – don’t forget, ‘check-in’ has its own review score!

Premium support

Airbnb Plus dedicates a highly-trained support team committed to great service and faster responses, for both guests and hosts.

What do the numbers say about Airbnb Plus?

As you can see below, there was a steep rise in Airbnb Plus listings worldwide through the first half of 2019. Things then plateaued throughout the remainder of 2019 before dropping again through 2020. This could yet prove to be a symptom of the COVID-19 crisis, as Superhost numbers also declined in 2020; though only 10% to Plus’s 13% fall.

For a more granular representation of these numbers, we looked at Airbnb Plus listing numbers in 4 of the top vacation rental countries. For the most part, Plus listings represent under 0.5% of the total supply. Considering 2020, all but Canada have seen a drop in Plus listings since 2018, however, if we choose to overlook our Coronavirus-complicated year, Canada, Spain and the US all saw relative Plus listings grow.

Is it all worth it?

So we now that the requirements are tall, and we know that they are also more subjective than those of Superhost, but what is it all for? When we get down to the numbers, will Plus, like Superhost, prove to be worth the effort?

First, above, we look at average daily rates (ADR) for Plus listings versus ‘normal’, non-plus listings. The average shows an ADR 58% higher for Plus listings, with Spain (+73%) and the UK (+68%) particularly exceeding in terms of improved rate. So far so good for Plus then.

Below we compare occupancy rates for the two listing types. The news is still positive here; occupancy is 35% higher on average for Plus listings, with Spain again coming out with the biggest benefit (+50%). The US is once again bottom of the pile, showing that while the Plus listing proportion of supply is higher, the benefits reaped are lower.

So both rates and occupancy are substantially better for Plus listings. Let’s see what this amounts to in terms of revenue.

A whopping +112% in revenue from Plus listings on average is your answer. As expected, Spain comes out on top here, with a huge 161% increase on annual revenue if your listing has that coveted, hard-earned Plus badge. The US is around half that at 83%, but we should remember, that’s still approaching double the revenue of a normal listing.

The bottom line

Average increases

It couldn’t be clearer that Airbnb Plus is a significantly worthwhile scheme for hosts, with 112% higher annual revenue.

Average normal listingAverage Plus listingPlus % difference
ADR$88$13960%
Occupancy53%71%35%
Revenue$16,902$35,916112%

However, is this a chicken and egg argument? The requirements for Plus certainly make for successful listings – unique designer homes with extra amenities, top ratings and convenient check-ins in popular locations – and so the badge could be considered a superficial cherry on the top. The cause and effect is open for debate, but the numbers certainly aren’t – all the data points to the Plus effort being worth it.

For granular market insights including rate, reviews and demand in your area, book a free personal demo of our PRO dashboard, or you can take a look around our free dashboard for some high-level, global data.