*Post shared October, 20th
In the latest Host Update, Catherine Powell shares how Airbnb is addressing your top concerns from the past few months and provides detailed answers to several direct questions from hosts. Thanks to host feedback voiced in workshops and here in the Community Center, there are several features being put into action.
*To add or change subtitles to the video, hover over the video and click on the little 'Settings' wheel in the bottom right corner. Then select your language.
Airbnb is improving the guest review process to make it feel more fair. This includes rewriting the majority of review questions that guests answer after a stay. For example, instead of asking guests if the description of a listing was inaccurate, we’re now asking if it was accurate instead. These changes will help guests leave reviews that feel more impartial and truly reflect the quality of your hospitality.
Unauthorized parties are another top host concern, and we’re launching several new features to help protect you against them. For example, by the end of this month you’ll be able to immediately cancel a reservation without contacting support if you have valid reason to believe it will lead to a party. As long as your reason is upheld by our review team, you won’t receive financial penalties or have your Superhost status affected.
When our team reviews a cancellation, they’ll search for evidence of a potential party from message threads or previous guest reviews. As always, these cancellations must adhere to Airbnb’s nondiscrimination policy and we’ll carefully monitor them for unfair treatment that violates that policy.
Many hosts have also asked that house rules be more prominent on listing pages so guests can both read and understand them before booking. By next month, your house rules will be visible in four different places when a guest books a stay:
All house rules must be in line with Airbnb’s policies and terms—including our terms of service and nondiscrimination policy.
To read a full overview of all the updates being put into place, visit this Resource Center article. As always, thank you for sharing the topics that matter to you and providing feedback that helps elevate the hosting community. Please let us know what you’d like us to cover in future Host Updates with Catherine.
Two simple ways for Airbnb to resolve the “revenge reviews”
1. Guests should not be allowed to give a rating review in these cases:
Any reservation where a guest violates house rules during their stay, which results in
a. Guest being charge money for breaking or damaging something.
b. Guest is ejected from the property as result of violating the house rules.
c.The person giving the review did not actually stay on the property because they booked for someone else and it was not disclosed.
2. Create a “Review Mulligan” based on a percent of total reviews per quarter or per year.
For example hosts gets 1 mulligan, which allows them to remove a survey if they have more than 12 reviews per quarter. The mulligans cannot be carried over from quarter to quarter.
I had a guest who booked a one bed studio, which clearly states is for two guests maximum on the house rules. The guest booked for one person. Arrived with three children and later in the evening, an adult male arrived bringing the total number of guests to 5 people.
Into a unit the size of a typical hotel room with just one bed.
The guest would not respond to any messages. Would not answer the phone and finally when confronted and asked to leave, she left a 1 star review and stated that we kicked her out to the street with her three children.
We contacted Airbnb to dispute this unfair review. The Airbnb rep refused to remove it or escalated further because it did not violate the Airbnb content policy. This one review cost me Super Host as we missed it by a 10th of a percent.
I am not sure if anyone has encountered a situation where someone tries to book on someone elses account, gives partial payment, holds the booking for 24hrs, and then doesn't complete their transaction. Only to hijack those days when they could be available for some other potential guest with instant booking. I have encountered this 3 times already since I started month and a half ago. Is there anyway that as a host, you could have more control over declining that booking if they don't respond to your message than the 24hrs they are given. To me that is quite on fair.
I counted 51 posts on this thread of now 230 responses, where @Catherine-Powell was tagged in or addressed by name in the first line with a grand total of 7 responses from our new head of hosting. And Airbnb wonders why hosts don't fall all over themselves with gratitude at hearing yet more (empty) promises from people who appear to have been hired for their PR experience, rather than any interest in doing the job they claim to be doing.
So far, as far as I'm aware, there has been one small change for hosts regarding posting a couple of our house rules at the top of the listing.
Meanwhile, hosts continue to post daily about missing payments dating back months or in some cases years, abysmal CS reps who give out incorrect info, are wholly unaware of system glitches which have been reported by multiple hosts, close unresolved cases and in some cases are downright rude, horrid guests who scam refunds which Airbnb hands out like Santa hands out candy canes.
Hosts continue to have their listings suspended pending an "investigation", while Airbnb refuses to tell them what they are being investigated for, any lie a guest tells Airbnb is believed over anything the host has to say (if they are even given an opportunity to say anything), Guests who've trashed hosts homes or cancelled day-of-check-in are still allowed to leave retaliatory reviews which tank long-time hosts' wonderful ratings and reviews.
What exactly have you done for hosts since assuming your position, @Catherine-Powell ? As far as I can tell, all you've done is create placating videos.
Thank you for your message here, and for taking the time out of your day to give such thoughtful and candid feedback.
As I have said to others, unfortunately I cannot respond to every single person who tags me here in the Community, but I do have a team around me, along with the Community Managers, who are very helpful in stepping in when I cannot, and I do my best to get back to as many hosts as possible.
You've raised concerns about some issues that we take very seriously and are currently working on addressing to better support our host community, including retaliatory reviews, house rule enforcement, and guest standards and education. These are complex issues, and there is still much work to be done, but rest assured that I and the team are well aware of the impact they have on our hosts.
I hope you'll stay tuned for future updates and changes, and I look forward to sharing more in the coming months. Please do keep the feedback coming. I really do appreciate your candor here.
@Catherine-Powell Thank you for responding.
But you have said essentially nothing here. All we ever hear from you or your predecessor is that you are "working"on things, that they are tricky or complex.
There is nothing whatsover complex about ceasing to suspend host's accounts while they are being "investigated" because of a guest accusation, while refusing to tell the host what they are being investigated for. That is the behavior of dictatorships- that you are guilty until proven innocent. How would you like to be arrested, your source of income blocked, with the police refusing to tell you what you are being arrested for?
There is nothing complex about this- you simply stop doing this. It doesn't take weeks or months, you stop doing it today. If a host is being investigated, you tell him transparently what he has been accused of. That's just basic respect
The same goes for retaliation reviews. When a host submits documentation and evidence in the form of photos, videos, messages from guests, all according to the time frame of Airbnb policies, of rule infractions or damages, you simply don't allow that guest to leave a review, because all of those cases result in retaliatory reviews.
This doesn't take weeks or months of meetings and discussion, it's common sense and the policy could be changed tomorrow.
Why are hosts being left to suffer, losing their Superhost status over a 1* retaliatory review, and all the other ways hosts are disrespected, while the powers that be at Airbnb hold endless meetings and create advisory boards, to discuss things that have been brought to your attention, begging for change, continually, for years?
Please stop saying it's tricky or complex- it isn't, and no other listing platform treats its hosts as abyssmally as the company you are working for does.
As for your promises that CS would be back up to speed in November, that has proven to be completely untrue. Not only are hosts waiting weeks and months to have their issue dealt with, they are being dealt with incompetently with what appear to be terrible, ill-trained reps.
Thank you for your dedication to enhancing the hosting experience.
My biggest frustration is being penalized by guest reviews that are clearly in retaliation of the host enforcing their house rules, and, guests that scam the system by creating frictional situations that put the host in negative financial status, or a rating that prevents the host from acquiring Super Host status.
Guest 1 – Airbnb verified; guest has no photo and an international number that was unreachable. My immediate thought was to cancel this reservation but because I was so assumed with not being penalized by Airbnb for the cancelation. The guest booked for 2 individuals to utilize the unit but had 4-5 individuals that snuck in during the late hours, staying in the unit. Additionally, the guest held several parties of 8+ individuals – again, against house rules. The guest left a negative review and rating stating they had no privacy and that the host (me) was rude, etc. As you know, receiving a rating of 1 across the rating standards killed my chance of obtaining Super Host status. Airbnb's response when I asked that this review be blocked or removed was that the review stands and in short, the host had to deal with it.
Guest 2 – Airbnb verified: guest booked the unit for 4 months and was giving a substantial discount for the long-term booking. The guest disclosed later in the booking that they were unemployed and waiting for a settlement and asked for an additional discount, which we could not honor. The guest contacted Airbnb stating that their stay was unsatisfactory because the water was cold, etc. Airbnb canceled their remaining contractual agreement and put the host in a negative financial situation where no monetary benefits would be noticed on future bookings until this negative obligation is met.
These scenarios have had a serious negative impact on our continued desire to host with Airbnb – a platform we had come to love. I understand our guest satisfaction is important, which is why we as hosts go above and beyond for our guests (read my latest review from Demetra Robnett) so that they have no less than an amazing experience. As a host, I feel as though I have been slapped in the face and penalized for my efforts.
What is the plan for addressing such behavior from a guest, or at least not negatively impacting the Airbnb host?
I too have horrible guests, urinating in the front yard in front of the neighbors, driving across the front yard as they were too drunk to back out of the drive. They booked for 7, brought 15. Smoked in the house, and broke every house rule. I spent hours cleaning the ceiling and walls from spewed drinks. I even had to clean bugers off one wall. I sent extra guest charge, and asked for extra cleaning fees. I did ask them to be quiet one night after 2 am. There is a noise ordinance in my town after 10 pm. I also told them extra guests needed to leave. Of course I got a horrible review and air bnb customer service did NOTHING.
@Vicki258 " I did ask them to be quiet one night after 2 am."
I don't understand. If they were disturbing the neighborhood and had more than twice as many people than they booked for, why were you letting them continue to stay? They needed to be evicted. What did you expect from Airbnb when you don't maintain control of your property?
I was not aware they had more than twice as many guests until the neighbor let me know. It was 2 am, or later, on the last night of their stay. I did herd the extras out. But as the booked guests were drunk I let them finish the night, I weighed letting them sleep it off vs having the police out with flashing lights, etc. creating a bigger disturbance in the middle of the night. They were 20 somethings. More ignorant than threatening. It was after they checked out that I saw the mess inside and saw the videos of what had happened in the front yard. I did get compensated for the extra guests and some of the extra cleaning. For me it was less hassle to send extras home and have a come to Jesus moment with guests who booked, than to wait on police and have everyone in the block woken up in the middle of the night. I gave them an honest review for breaking house rules and leaving a mess. My objection is with air bnb who did not want to see photos or videos when I objected to crap review with no basis in fact, only mad guests who were caught breaking rules. Now I will call police so I have a police report to give air bnb, if they bother to look at it. In truth, I rarely accept air bnb guests anymore, as I only have issues with their guests. Oddly, the only bad apples I have had in 2 years came from air bnb. Other STR sites either back the host better or screen their guests better. Either way, I have no issues with other STR guests.
I too find reviews the scariest thing!
I love genuinely extending hospitality to my guests, making sure everything is primped and preened to perfection for them, standing back and having one last look with satisfaction before closing the door, and it delights me when guests are wowed when they walk in.
I also, of course, want to protect my Superhost status, so it is incredibly painful when, from time to time, guests abuse the community by having unauthorised functions, having extra guests stay that they haven’t booked for, getting drunk, etc, and if I as host try to deal with any of these issues, I put myself at risk of an unkind review. It leaves hosts feeling quite exposed and powerless.
Recently too, I had a guest accidentally give me a 4 instead of 5 for cleanliness. The guest absolutely loved the stay, gave me the full range of compliments and said everything was perfect, but gave me 4 stars for cleanliness. I was very concerned and asked her was there anything not right because we take hygiene very seriously. She said, “no not at all, everything was perfect,” she thought she had given us 5 stars for everything. She then contacted Airbnb for us to see if she could get it corrected, but Airbnb were unable to. How sad, to loose my perfect 5 stars for cleanliness that I have always had because of a genuine mistake!
Please put an end to guests abusing your hosts by ignoring house rules and Airbnb policies without any meaningful action taken against them. The guest centric model that prevails will be the end of this once wonderful platform to share your home with others@Catherine-Powell
@Catherine-Powell I am desperate for your help, I just wanted a few of your videos, and you seem so kind and willing to ensure we have as Hosts what is needed to be successful. I must share how very poorly my experience with joining Airbnb as a new hosts. I have a new property and two guests have checked in and I have had some major concerns. I have spoken to neuromas agents, and left messages for supervisors/managers to call me back., only to receive a message that this supervisor is not over that department that can help me. My first guest left our home a mess! and Violented our contract. In fact he rented the house for his daughter and co-workers ,he never stayed. I also refused to pay for parking. Which I received a bill for. In addition I as billed extra from our cleaning service as this guest left my home dirty, and trashy. Also they left the home door wide open when they left. I have asked for the security deposit to cover the parking and maid service and your company is not helping me collect this. Guest #2 booked at 20% off due to new guests booking, and reported my home with having 2 bugs. Our home is on a campground, the occasional bug will find its way into the home. I have since updated our house rules. I paid for dinner for this family, also sent our Pest control out who can validate that there was 1 dead bug and 1 live at the time. After she filed a claim with Airbnb she was REFUNDED more than 50% of her rent. How can I continue to do business this way? I have closed out my calendar with Airbnb, as no one returns my calls, or responds to my concerns. IF you have any advice or have someone interested in hearing my concerns I would love a callback. There is much more to this story. I am at a LOSS! Thank you
I have received several requests to book over the years for "me and my three buddies looking to relax for a month..." I am not comfortable accepting those because I have no way of knowing whether this is a group 19 year old boys looking to party for a month and potentially trash my place. Why doesn't Airbnb have any sort of option for minimum age requirements?
I find that "seasoned travelers" leave the most honest reviews and I surmise it's due to knowing the ups and downs of a home environment vs a hotel room.
Recently I experienced an example: I was affected in my rating by my guest experiencing early morning noise by those in the household. Although she loved me and her entire stay she graded down one entire star for this and created a line of warning for other potential guests.
I feel that guests should hear MORE from Airbnb about what they could expect from CHOOSING to stay in a private shared home space. If quiet was a strong requirement of their stay an alternative to a separate tiny home or quest house should have been their informed choice, not an occupied home.
I know im not alone in feeling a sense of entitlement coming from some types of guests to pay less, but expect the same accommodations as a hotel. Perhaps more education on the part of the guest could be part of your new traveling updates!
Thank you sincerely
@Ally12 I've luckily never had any guests leave low star or dishonest reviews, but I get a lot of seasoned traveler guests and you're right- they leave reviews that are what reviews should be like- just straightforward, non-emotional information that will be useful for other guests. They'll just state facts, without extraneous stuff, like "Good water pressure, comfortable bed, limited Wifi, as stated in the ad, but lots of cafes in town to hook up if you need higher speeds. All as advertised."
I love seasoned travelers- they don't have unrealistic expectations, they read the info provided, are adaptable and non-fussy, can figure things out for themselves without hand-holding, and are respectful and appreciative.