You asked: Can Airbnb protect hosts from one-off bad reviews?
Reviews are so important. They not only impact the success of your business, they’re also really personal. We know you put a lot of thought and care into your hospitality and that it’s frustrating when you receive a review that’s uncharacteristically low—be it a mistake, a misunderstanding, or an unfair assessment. You’ve raised concerns about this, and we want you to know that we hear you and we’re taking this issue really seriously. We’ve invested and will continue to invest a lot of thought and effort into how we can make the review system more fair.
The good news is, we’re already making a lot of progress. Here are some updates we can share with you now, below, and we’re committed to keeping you in the loop as we roll out more changes.
A tool to detect outlier reviews
At the last Host Q&A, in June, 2018, we said, specifically, that we’d look into outlier reviews. To be clear, one-off low reviews can be considered outliers when a host has otherwise great review scores, but a single guest leaves a bad rating that seems out of place. Here’s a solution we’ve come up with: We’re working on building new tools that will automatically detect when outlier reviews like this occur— and give us an opportunity to correct them. So let’s say a guest gives you five stars for cleanliness, accuracy, check in, and so on— for each of the sub categories— but then a two-star rating overall. The new tool will flag this and prompt the guest to correct the overall rating. We’re developing this new tool now, and you can expect to see it soon.
Research into how those reviews affect Superhost status
In addition, we’re doing research to see how a single outlier review can impact a host’s ability to gain or retain Superhost status. The ultimate goal is to find ways to make outliers less impactful for terrific hosts and to make sure the review system is fair.
Location, location, location
Finally, we’re looking at the Location rating and how that can affect a host’s standing. It’s worth noting that Location isn’t used in calculating a host’s overall rating. But you’ve told us that you’re frustrated when you get a low rating in this category since where your home is located is out of your control. And we hear that.
This is a tricky one. It’s a hard concern to address because judging the quality of a home’s location is so subjective. Some guests may love that your space is off the beaten path; others might be disappointed it’s not closer to public transit. We’re doing a lot of research into how we can continue giving travelers the information they need and want when they’re making booking decisions and, at the same time, make sure hosts aren’t affected by something that’s out of their control.
So we’re looking into new ways to collect and highlight guest impressions of your home’s location information. While we don’t have a concrete announcement on this yet, you can expect to hear more details soon, perhaps at the next Host Q&A. In the meantime, please know we’re working on this. Keep sending us your feedback on how we can make the review system as fair as possible.
View this and other answers from the Host Q&A here.