Making reviews more fair for hosts




 Many of you have asked us how Airbnb can protect hosts from one-off bad reviews. When this question came up at the most recent Host Q&A, we told you we were working on ways to make the review process more fair for hosts. Specifically, we made 2 promises:

  1. We committed to launching a tool to detect outlier reviews—or one-off bad reviews. A common example is when there’s a discrepancy between the overall rating and the category ratings provided by a guest (when a guest gives a host 5 stars for cleanliness, accuracy, and the other categories but a 2-star rating overall, for instance).
  2. Based on your feedback, we also committed to exploring ways to help guests better understand that the location category rating is mean to be objective. The location category rating doesn’t impact your overall rating (or Superhost status), but we know it’s important to you, and we want to make sure the whole system is as fair as possible.


Today, we’re excited to announce two improvements to the review process that directly address these issues. Since these changes have been introduced, we’ve already noticed a tangible uptick in more accurate, fair reviews for hosts, and we hope they solve some of your pain points. Here’s what’s new:


One-off review alerts

We’ve added a step to the review process for guests when they give a host an inconsistent overall rating. For instance, the guest may have given 4-star or higher ratings for all the categories (cleanliness, accuracy, etc.), but then give an overall rating of less than 3 stars.


The new pop up screen asks guests: “Is this right?” And goes on to explain that they rated their overall stay lower than they rated it in specific categories. It gives guests an option to either change the rating or ignore the alert.


This new alert has led to higher overall review ratings for hosts. Since we launched, we’ve seen a 2.8% drop in 3-star reviews and a 3.9% drop in 2-star reviews. While these percentages may seem small, they’re driving real improvements in the accuracy of our review system, and hosts are benefitting.

Location, location, location

We’ve heard from you that the location rating can be particularly frustrating because some of you have experienced guests dinging you in this category, unexpectedly, after great stays. This category is tricky. It gives valuable information to prospective travelers, which we don’t want to lose. At the same time, we hear your concern that you’re being graded for something you can’t control: guests’ opinion of your location. This opinion is inherently subjective—one person’s “rustic rural retreat” may be another’s “too far from public transportation.” So we made it more clear in the review process that guests are rating the accuracy of your location description, rather than the location itself.


Now, when a guest goes to rate you in the location category, if they give you less than 3 stars, they see an explanation: “Was the listing’s location not described accurately?” So far, this has led to a 0.8% increase in the average rating for location.

While we were working on this, we also made similar improvements to the value category. If a guest gives you less than 3 stars there, they’ll see this message: “What would have made this listing a better value?” This has led to a 0.25% increase in the average rating for value.

These changes were designed to begin to address your concerns around unfair reviews, and to help make sure that guests understand what ratings mean. We still have a journey ahead of us to keep making the review system better, and you’ll continue to see updates from us on this throughout the year. Thank you for hosting!

Labels (1)
56 Replies
Sarah in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Airbnb   Thank you. This is an admirable beginning to addressing the outlier review issue. I can see that it would definitely help in cases where a guest has star rated something accidentally, or simply doesn't understand what accuracy or location refer to.


However, it doesn't address one of the most distressing things about outlier reviews- guests who purposely give bad ratings and inaccurate reviews simply because they were called out on something by the host- asked repeatedly to follow house rules, which they ignored, or caught sneaking in unregistered guests and requested to pay for the extra guests, or requested to pay for damages they caused, for example. Those types of guests will still be able to do this and they certainly won't change what they have to say because of a pop-up screen. And Airbnb still lets reviews like this stand, insisting that it's a reflection of the guest's "experience".


A tool to detect outlier reviews which only prompts a guest to change the review or ratings, but doesn't alert Airbnb to look at the review in question, claiming that the listing was filthy, when there are 100 reviews which say that the place was spotless, for example, leading to Airbnb deleting it, or asking the host if they wish to delete what is obviously not a truthful review, is not that useful, IMO, as it only addresses the reviews of basically good, but confused, guests and ignores the reviews of bad guests with an axe to grind.


So, a decent start, but still leaving the entire process to the guest's discretion. Hosts want to be able to have reviews deleted if they are obviously at total odds with the rest of their reviews. Those types of reviews do not, in fact, reflect the guest's experience- they reflect the desire of the guest to harm hosts and their listings.

Kath in
Albany, Australia
Level 10

@Airbnb, these changes seem to be definitely moving in the right direction for hosts, so thank you.

Helen in
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 10

@Airbnb @Kath @Sarah 


That's great to see that Guests are been asked to justify there decision on how they are rating Hosts with reviews, alas we all need to be mindful that sometimes these "not kind" reviews are when a person first starts Hosting which can add to the challenges of new Hosts/ Guests.


What steps are been undertaken to educate Customer Services on Laws and moving forward with removing reviews that are inaccurate, misleading and not relevant to one's listing?


The later which when English, or whatever language of the Guest is not there 1st language and things can and do get "Lost in Translation"?


Thanks in advance



Branka & Silvia in
Zagreb, Croatia
Level 10

@Sarah  said it all.


A few months ago Airbnb was thinking about the possibility of removing 1 outlier review-rating out of XX and it was a great idea. And what happened with that idea? We have a saying: "Tresla se brda - rodio se miš "  ( Hills were shaking - the mouse was born)


3,8% ...0,8%... 0,25%....  wow!  impressive.

Shawna in
Columbia, MO
Level 5

All of this also ignores the guests who simply refuse to give a5 star review because there was room for improvement, which there is always room for improvement. Or the guests who leave no review, even though we know they had a great stay. In particular, my extended stay or frequent stay guest often don't continue to review.

Andrea in
Los Angeles, CA
Level 3

Thanks @Airbnb but a pop up window that guests CAN IGNORE will do very little to help. You are basically assuming that low ratings are mostly given due to overlooking/error on guest's part? smh.


Also, all guests should be prompted to give an explanation for every rating less than 5 - like why start at 3?? How does it help me as a host to improve if I only see 4 stars and no explanation why so?


An explanation to each rating criteria should be visible straight away to everyone, not just to guests who gave 3 stars. Again, why starting at 3? 


Good start though :-)

Ben in
Wellington, New Zealand
Level 10

@Airbnb  thank you for sharing this update.


I'm overjoyed to see some movement and improvement in the right direction.  Getting this element is crucial for the continued loyalty of hosts, especially ones who know their true worth.  I know my true worth and I must say I'm not thrilled at the prospect of receiving continued 4 star reviews because "New Zealand is much larger than guests realise"... it has to stop somewhere.  Guests are running amok.


Whilst I don't believe any system can be idiot proof (someone will simply make a better idiot), I think the obvious changes, like the ones this update is addressing, very much needed to happen. 


I do, however, have some suggestions for additional improvements to the review system...


Changes to solve revenge reviews from last minute guest cancellations

Once a last minute cancellation request is in the hands of Airbnb, there should be no ability for guest or host to review each other automatically.  Allowing a guest to review encourages them to act unethically.  However, I accept that some last minute cancellations are becuase a guest arrives at the property on check-in day to find it is unacceptable. 


To ensure a minimal protection, a benign automated message should be generated against both the host and guest to say "[Host Name] received a last minute cancellation from [Guest Name] on [Date]". 


The reason this approach works is becuase, if all past reviews are positive, future guests will read this automated message as an "opportunity to book", as in "oh yay, the place is free at the last minute! Lets book!".  However, if some or all past reviews are... questionable... or if there are a series of these automated messages in a line... guests will know this isn't a good place to book. 


Likewise, if a host can see a string of these automated messages against a guests profile, it will indicate that this is a guest who cancels often. 


Hence, with this suggestion, both sides of the issue are covered in a fair and reasonable manner.


Changes to solve revenge reviews from resolution centre dispute

When a dispute is escalated through the resolution centre to Airbnb to seek damages, refunds, mid-booking cancellations... anything at all to do with money... an automatic "lock" should be placed on the ability for host or guest to give a review.  This lock should be removed, however, if both host and guest agree to it in advance


The reason this works is because, generally once a disute over money is raised, most often neither guest or host are objective from that point on, even if Airbnb resolve the case. 


On a rare occasion, a guest may cancel their active booking a few days early for perfectly valid reasons.  In that instance, if both host and guest part ways happily, they should have the option of agreeing to an ordinary review, hence remove the lock.


In the instance that neither host nor guest agree to an ordinary review process, however, they should both receive an automated message in their review history similar to one of the following:


  1. "[Host Name] received additional funds from [Guest Name] following their stay on [Date]" - or
  2. "[Guest Name] received additional funds from [Host Name] followoing their stay on [Date]" - or
  3. "[Host Name] received funds from Airbnb Host Guarantee following [Guest Name]'s stay" - or
  4. "[Host Name] received funds from Airbnb Host Protection Insurance following [Guest Name]'s stay" - or
  5. "Airbnb were unable to resolve differences between [Host Name] and [Guest Name]"


In the above senario, again if a host or guest have good past reviews, then the automated message will not be taken in the wrong manner, so I believe it is a relatively benign solution to a complex problem.


That's all my brain has for complex problems today...! <3


~ Ben


Sarah in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Ben  Excellent and well-thought out suggestions. Bravo.

Cathie in
Darwin, Australia
Level 10

It’s wonderful @Airbnb , to see you working with your partners, the hosts. A good start, which hopefully will see even stronger collaboration on making the review system user friendly and purposely fair. I would also like to thank fellow hosts  @Sarah , @Ben , @Andrea  & @Shawna  for their excellent input to this discussion.


However areas still not being addressed:

 1) The retaliation review from a guest who was caught out disobeying serious house rules still needs addressing: the removal of these outlier reviews as well as procedurally, an internal Airbnb investigative look at how that type of guest reviews all hosts. If they are consistent in their negative methodology, then should they be allowed to stay within the Airbnb platform?

2) The Guest who consistently DOES NOT review, should also receive some level of penalty, so that hosts can clearly see this guest as a negative.  If a host chooses not to accept a booking from such a guest this should be penalty free. This “non-reviewing” guest should also be restricted from instant booking, as they are not participating in the Airbnb community requirements.

This is especially an issue for hosts who do not have high rotation or turnover of guests either due to longer stays or shorter rental seasons. These are hobbyist and business risks that can’t be mitigated or controlled by the host, and the resulting outcomes totally affect the host percentages, listing reputation and KPIs.

Sally in
Berkeley, CA
Level 10

 There should be some way to provide recourse for those stung by a revenge review- I just had a guest who booked last minute  (last night) cancel today, the day she was meant to arrive- I agreed to give her a full refund to avoid getting a bad review.  She is also from our area, looked teen age young in her profile picture and wanted to "get together with friends" so I'm actually quite  glad she did cancel- probably after realizing that we are on site hosts.

  Removing outlier reviews and putting a hold on reviews if a dispute arises are obvious improvements that we are still waiting and hoping for, the guest who ghosts is a different issue. I hate it when a guest, especially one who I've gone over and above for, doesn't do the right thing & I'm a short stay lady with a year round season. What about a blurb from Airbnb on the bookings side of the platform about how reviews from guests keep the community thriving in those special short season places and long stay options?  Sally


Geri in
Bellevue Heights, Australia
Level 3

I've just turned off the instant booking for both my spaces so guests who have rated unfairly cannot book again without my knowledge. My last guest rated my full equipped, full size kitchen, queen bed, private ensuite and own washing facilities with no cleaning fees as 4* value at $65 p/night - seriously!  He also commented that it was dusty behind the headboard - how many people pull out the bed to vacuum in their own homes - which I can't do anyway as it is a Murphy Bed....I am seriously considering adding a  cleaning fee to my bookings to at least combat these type of guests.  Oh, and he failed to mention anywhere in his review that I did not charge him for the extra guest he brought n and the refund he received for cancelling 3 days into his trip for a personal emergency that seem to be able to wait for 48 hours until he got home....

As a host, I would like the option to review booking requests from previous guests if their rating / commens are disproportionate to their personal feedback, but for now, I will stick to review every request from every guest...

Kim in
Tasmania, Australia
Level 3

@@Ben ...New Zealand is bigger than guests realise!!!!!! 😂😂😂 5 stars

Lionel in
Melbourne, Australia
Level 2

@Kim and @Ben, not only bigger, but the roads are windier!!


Olivia & Olivier in
Ann Arbor, MI
Level 4

It s just a veeeery tiny step in what Airbnb has to fix in the process for being fair to hosts.


In Accepting/Denying a request from a guest, there is less and less info about the guest, so heck why not just open the door and let anyone come in? There s no info a host can go by, so why accept anymore ?


when calling their 1800, after a long wait and a number of clicks to authenticate oneself, the call gets dropped right when you’re about to talk to a real person. Smh

Helen in
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 10




No, no, no, our roads here in Auckland , New Zealand are not windier than those in Wellington...😉


Having had a run of guests this year from Australia I'm very pleased that Closer Economic Relations (CER) is working very well in the Airbnb community.


All the best 😊

Rebecca in
Florence, OR
Level 10

Glad to see Airbnb finally taking one small step toward healing the ailing review system. Does this mean that guests will no longer have to fill out 8 - 10 screens of data so that they will actually want to leave reviews for hosts again?

Kim in
Tasmania, Australia
Level 3

@Helen I've had the pleasure of hosting a few Kiwis lately too! 😊

Roxsan & Paul in
Placitas, NM
Level 2

Thank you for your attention to our needs as hosts.  What about when a guest adds in text about the wrong location?  Last year, a guest complained about the "other noisy guests and the pool wasn't clean"  Well, we don't have a pool and there weren't any other guests in our home that week.  So, clearly, the guest confused our review with another location.  While I don't think it really hurt our business, I wonder if there is any recourse for this type of siutation?

Sarah in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Roxsan & Paul You can contact Airbnb and ask them to remove it, based on its obvious inaccuracy. If that fails, you can respond to the review. "Guest appears to have mistakenly reviewed a different property- we do not advertise, nor do we have, a pool, nor were there any other guests present during this reservation."

Helen in
Auckland, New Zealand
Level 10

@Kim, I hope they were all well behaved ;)

Level 2

Thanks so much. Really appreciate the help. Just got dinged on location and I asked the guest if they found my description of the location inaccurate. She said no, but of course it was too late. Thanks, again. 

Tim & Holly in
Tucson, AZ
Level 10


Why did you start with "less than 3?" Why not less than five? We lose business with four stars.


Thank you.

Obinna in
Philadelphia, PA
Level 3

As much as I'd like to say this is a step in the right direction, how does Airbnb rectify hosts that lost Superhost because of low star ratings on location and retaliatory reviews? I recently received a 1-star from a guest who stole from my house. When confronted about it, she lied, but then days later admitted one of her friends did the stealing. She went on to say that my neighborhood is not safe, etc. I asked Airbnb support to remove this review, they simply stated "it did not violate their content policy". Until Airbnb addresses the real issue of allowing guests to have the upper hand, this problem is not going away with these updates. Just my 2 cents.

Alice & Jeff in
Durham, NC
Level 10

@Airbnb - so when a guests gives 3 stars for location and you prompt: Was the listing accurate?  Where exactly are you pointing the guest to look to make this assessment?  The "Getting Around" section, the "Neighborhood" section, or something else?   


THIS has always been the problem - is this a question of how far things are to certain things or is it some measure of the quality of the neighborhood (like the neighbors, the roads, the buildings)?   Because I can tell you, my middle-america guests are frightened by my African-American neighbors or that not every building is renovated to look like new but their bias should not be reflected in my "location" score and it has, more than once, and I have CLEARLY indicated that my neighborhood is diverse and putting a count in the description of how many buildings are renovated.  That doesn't stop people from marking us down and your "threshold" of "accurate" isn't going to solve this either.  

Susan in
Oregon, United States
Level 10

Im appreciative of the modifications by Airbnb for inconsistent reviews and I also concur with @Ben and other hosts who’ve raised valid points about location, cancelled reservations, bad guests, and retaliatory reviews.


Neither guest nor host should be allowed to review a stay that hasn’t happened.  Period.  If there was a cancellation that wasn’t due to an exempted situation, attributing it to the party that cancelled seems fair in order to manage chronic cancels.


Retaliatory reviews should not be allowed and should be removed, and it benefits the whole community if a ‘rogue guest’ is made responsible for thier acts of damages,  breaking house rules, creating safety risks, sneaking in other guests, unethical attempts to stay for free, and unjustified reviews by keeping this platform safer for everyone.


Ive had wonderful luck with my guests up until the new policy of not allowing hosts to see full profiles of prospective guests.  I had  a newbie that tried to sneak 5 people into 3 person max space during a local festival and was surprised and tried to wield their title as a ranking government employee as intimidation when I said no.  


I had another bring an unannounced second guest who nearly caused a fire by burning driftwood in my beautiful fireplace as though it were a fire pit on the beach causing smoke  backup into the dwelling, left sooty finger prints all over my white walls, the kitchen a mess, took every roll of toilet tissue, paper towel, the large bottles of shampoo and conditioner, and every spice in the cupboard that’s clearly labeled as being there for all to share, creating lengthy cleaning to return the place to normal and additional replacement expenses that almost surpassed the cost of thier stay.


In both instances I called support and requested the booking guest agree to correct the booking for corrected number of guests via modification for liability reasons, and graciously found another airbnb listing close by that the extra guests beyond my capacity to house could stay in a town that was almost fully booked.


I took photos of the other guests damage but airbnb didn’t support my request for reimbursement for additional cleaning fees even though i’d called to report it during the visit and had photos of the damage and had asked for the proper way to handle it (a tactful written note with verbal backup)...because i hadn’t stated that they could not use “found” wood in the listing...even though I actually state i provide enough wood for an evening fire (saving them the cost of buying seasoned bundles of firewood in town at a premium) and that there is central heat so the fireplace is not fir heat, but for ambience.


I reported the extra guests and was successful in being supported by airbnb because my listing clearly states a 3 guest maximum....and I’d gone to the extra effort of finding alternatives for the extras.


Unjustified negatives render the platform unsafe for everyone and hurt business.


I hope the additional concerns shared in this thread and others will lead to more improvements.




Kate in
East Aurora, NY
Level 3

Thank you for this step. This site will not function without happy hosts, and it seems much of the "improvements" have been geared towards guests. I appreciate the conversation with hosts and hope it continues.

Wende in
Church Creek, MD
Level 4

@Cathie....Great idea for the people who don't leave a review, I'd like to add that they give us a way to search the name of that guest, to see what private message to hosts might be.  I had a horrible couple of guys stay, Thank goodness for just 1 short night and I wished I could tell other host about them, the one who booked had been a member for 3 yrs, no reviews, yes a red flag but I had just started doing this 2 months prior to the booking, an I needed what I could get after I chose to stop having a lease agreement, besides the fact we none know what we're getting til they're gone.  I see no reason why they can't have a place for us to search a name to find if the guest has bad reviews from hosts, whether they leave a host review or not, it would just be nice to know.


I'd like to also ask why location has to be a star rating, that's totally and completely depending upon that guests idea of it being good for them.  I had a guest stay for a visit the local Wildlife Refuge, I'm closest place to it, an yet she gave me 4 stars for location, whilst everyone else has given 5, someone else gave me 4 for value, an entire apt, fully equiped, and I leave fresh baked choco chip cookies for everyone, I'm not just sure what the hell else she expected.

Christopher & Elisa in
Margaret River, Australia
Level 6

Good to see that something is being done to improve the experience for hosts. I’d say this is sorely needed but the changes go nowhere near far enough. They seem to address the extreme cases only.

But what about those guests who are unreasonable and leave unkind reviews, not necessarily terribly bad ones, but nonetheless unfair. Only today we were rated 4 stars overall by a guest. The other 4 was for location. According to them the description of the location was accurate but they thought it too far from the town center (10 min. leisurely walk). If my description was accurate what is the problem, apart from the guest’s perception and why should I be punished for that? How does that warrant a 4 star rating overall?

Last week someone else gave us 4 stars and rated us 4 on all performance markers except cleanliness. The 4 stars for communication are especially jarring considering that their booking email consisted of a full stop (same applies to their ‘review’). Sure, they didn’t need to write anything but wouldn’t it be polite and simply... nice...? Their response to our message re arrival time and check-in was borderline rude and on arrival they didn’t even bother to say ‘hi, I’m so-and-so’. During check-in it was pretty obvious that they were annoyed that they had to deal with me. A week before that we’ve had another pair who must have found meeting the host at the check-in a real imposition - the rated it 2 stars. The overall rating was 4. But we state clearly and repeatedly in our listing that ‘host greets you on arrival’. 

And that’s the thing that upsets me - if a guest gives me a less than perfect rating for things I state clearly in my listing (there is no stove, we greet you in person) or because their perception of how long a 10 min. walk should be I don’t consider this a fair review. I shouldn’t have to put up with it and the review shouldn’t be left standing, because it’s unreasonable. All I can do is give as much information about my place as possible and if the potential guest doesn’t like what they read they can chose not to book with me. If they do... unless I don’t deliver what I’ve promissed in my listing there is no reason for them to take stars of me. Airbnb changes should address that.

Also, there isn’t really a way to lodge a complaint about these kind of problems. There are just provisions for the extreme cases of fake, hateful or inappropriate content etc. (And Airbnb doesn’t necessarily act anyway if you report a case like that. So that would be the first step anyway - take your hosts’ complaints seriously and act on them.) 

And ‘accuracy’ - if a guest rates that less than 5 they should have to explain what they think was inaccurate. Otherwise the feedback is useless. Same applies to value - what does the guest think they should have gotten for the price they’ve paid? Because my impression is that many have no idea what’s involved in hosting, how much work goes into it, and they expect a luxury hotel for the price of a second rate motel. Some people you can never make happy, no matter what, nothing will be good enough.

As others have mentioned already there is also the problem of the serial non-reviewer. In my understanding writing a review is part of the deal and if you don’t review your experience then you didn’t hold up your end of that deal. I think that guests shouldn’t be able to instant book until they write those reviews they owe their hosts and other travellers.

Huma in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

Great to see some progress here, but I agree with most of the other hosts that have posted that this is a very tiny step in the right direction and doesn't really address the bigger issues such as retalitory reviews, reviews from guests who never even arrived and those who don't read anything and mark down for things that were clearly mentioned on the listing.


Also, it's pretty useless if the prompt is only for reviews less than 3 stars, e.g. a 1 or 2. That's like saying 3 stars is okay, which is what Airbnb currently TELLS guests is the case, but we all know is not true when anything less than 4 stars can result in losing Superhost status or even being delisted.


This disconnect between what Airbnb tells guests in the review process and what it expects from hosts is a MAJOR problem that sorely needs to be addressed but, by only prompting guests to reconsider when they score a 1 or 2, Airbnb is clearly demonstrating that they don't plan to do anything about it.

Shawna in
Columbia, MO
Level 5

One thought that I have here is that we should remember when complaining about ratings is that communication is much more than maps and check-in instructions. There are also ways that we communicate when we are not in the property. For example, written notes that they can refer to for things like how to work the television or coffee pot or what to do when the trash can is full? Also, I make it a point to reach out to my guests the day after they check-in and ask how they slept and if they have any questions or if we can do anything to make their stay more comfortable. I often get requests for small things that they would not bother me for otherwise which gives me a chance to really impress them. If they are good, then it was a nice touch that cost me no money and very little time. 

What this really stesses, though, is that what the guest is judging on and what we are assuming is the reason for thier rating may be different. It would be nice to get more clear answers from our guests. Maybe having a line that simply asks what could they have done to earn a 5 star rating? Which has the added benefit of expressing to the guest that Air BnB sees 5 stars as an achievable rating and that anything less than that should be expressable. 

Jenny in
Waikato, New Zealand
Level 2

Its a good step but I'm tired of people giving you bad feedback for petty stuff. There needs to be some recourse like the latest guest, who gave me overall 5 stars but suggested that the whole house needed cleaning 4 stars, (but they said the place was sparkling clean in their compliments so it doesnt add up) photos and description and apparently address was wrong so 4 stars for accuracy And all the reviews given of this guest where excellent however our place was left somewhat untidy. Maybe we need some more things we can grade our guests on. And what grated the most was I let them go in early. 
Does the feedback they give for example no soap etc stay there forever?

Huma in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Jenny  Do you mean the private feedback or the public review? Either way, I believe they stay there forever unless you can get Airbnb to agree to remove the review. However, they are not going to remove it for saying there was no soap. They will have had to have said something in the review that breaches their content policy, e.g. profane language, obvious insults, racism or other discrimination, mention of an Airbnb resolution case.

Jenny in
Waikato, New Zealand
Level 2

It on the app see the bottom of the screen shot. Like we do provide flowing soap but they meant soap in the shower so now we provide body wash. Screenshot_20190315-071022.png


Tom & Lisa in
Kalispell, MT
Level 10

In the last 2-3 years, my overall observation is that Airbnb is doing the absolute minimum to appease hosts.  And thier attitude about doing anything seems to be "Aw, Geeze, do we HAVE to?!?"   The scales are leaning so heavily toward siding with the guest that its obvious to anybody who cares.          The HOST Q & A sessions are a worthless waste of time...most of the initiatives announced never go anywhere (make one wonder if its just lip service).  

I'm not suggesting that hosts should have the scales tipped their way, but BALANCED policies and a sincere effort on Airbnb's part to at least concentrate some effort toward that end, would go a L O N G way.  

Unfortunately, Airbnb has departed so far from it's roots--venturing into new avenues and seemingly being very motivated by its rumored IPO, that those roots are not being nourished.  It's not hard to predict what happens to a plant that's roots are not being cared for.  

Despite sounding negative, I have enjoyed success with the Airbnb, but I must constantly be watchful for Airbnb's changes and missteps to manage my listing and head-off trouble before it occurs.  Any trouble means you (a host) will get sucked into the chaos that is Airbnb dispute rsolution, where their pooly defined policies and customer service reps who interpret them in wildly different ways, will make you sorry you ever listed with them.   I was exclusively listed with Airbnb for a long time, but have begun listing on other platforms for the coming day when Airbnb will burn their bridges with me.

Level 2

Whilst I appreciate any steps to make reviews fairer for hosts these steps do not go nearly far enough. outlier reviews should be flagged and possibly removed

...I cannot understand why guests who never checked in can leave any sort of review (if absolutely necessary maybe a comment without stars)

...I think it needs to be made completely clear to guests what the star ratings mean (ie 5* is as described and expected)




Susie in
Eltham, Australia
Level 10


What about Airbnb educate the guests about that 4 star are actually

bad for the hosts???

Or go with what the majority of people out there that thinks that "What I thought that 4* is good"

Like some of my guests has told me.

Airbnb review system is so wrong in so many,many ways....

Alexandra in
Pershore, United Kingdom
Level 2

Hi Airbnb


This is a helpful step forward and the best thing about this is that you are listening to your owners which is something I feel you dont do terribly well at. However, I feel these changes should not only be effective on three star or less reviews. I work very hard to provide a 5 star experience at my properties and anything less than 5 stars I feel is a negative review. Guests can give 5 stars across the board and then a 4 star overall....we would have benefit from an explanation in regards to this, as it does have a negative affect on an overall score. Can this please be stretched out to cover anything less than 5 star? I find it is especially annoying in the value category because reviews give 5 stars everywhere and then 4 for value.....if everythuing else was perfect what did the guest feel lacked value? They did after all choose to pay the price. I once asked for some feedback from a guest regarding this issue. Their response was that they felt the service fee added by Airbnb was too much, hence they felt the stay lacked in value. This was hardly my fault and certainly nothing i could do anything about but a 4 star result affected my rating.

Rebecca in
London, United Kingdom
Level 2

While this is a great start,  I don’t see why you can not put a referral status in place? For example, where you are rating check in/out, cleanliness etc thehost should be given an opportunity to address this via a form on Airbnb - matters arising perhaps? Stating the apparent issue. If this is not done they should not be able to give a 3 or below rating. In this way hosts actually have an opportunity to set things right and not lose a rating they have worked hard on. Sometimes local competition books in and regrows you very badly to make sure they get business before you do! I’ve had this done to me. There was nothing at all wrong with the room. 

Emilia in
Orono, ME
Level 10

Thank you for taking the steps to move in the right direction. As many other hosts here have mentioned, please do not loose sight of all the retaliatory reviews that we read about everyday on this forum. If a guest cancels on the day of arrival they should NOT be allowed to review a host if they never laid eyes on the property. 

Angela in
Monachil, Spain
Level 2

Nice....but what about those odd 1-star-retaliation-reviews among 99,9% 4 and 5 star reviews? Or those reviews that complain (solely) about things that are clearly listed in the description and /or house rules?

Fab in
Oslo, Norway
Level 2

Many times guests leave our beloved places upside down, dirty, with broken items, and they leave the place before we collect keys.


Hosts feel threatened as any request for funds for additional cleaning could be reflected as a very bad review from the guest that did not respect the house rules.


My proposal is that when there is evidence that the guest broke the house rules; his review could be made public but the score (usually negative as retaliation) will not cont for the overall rating of the property, superhost status , etc.... 


Will Airbnb consider this so we as hosts are more protected from this disrespectful guests?


Thank you!


Suzette in
Washington, DC
Level 2

This is great! A guest just gave us a bad review because we dont have a TV in the apartment (stated clearly in our profile) and there's no daily housekeeping to clean up after her and layout daily fresh linen and towels (our cleaning fee is $40!) We were so concerned but when we look at our ratings we could tell AirBnB rated her review as an outlier. Grateful!

Anthony in
Silver Spring, MD
Level 2

On only my third guest I had an unfair review and it was sparked by her finding a cleaning cloth left under the bed prior to her check-in.  The only way in which the guest would have found that cloth was if she deliberately crawled under the bed looking for an issue.  For this, I received a “3" in cleanliness. 


On feedback, she also falsely stated that she had been given the wrong address for the property – I think she might have been mad she had to walk down a street to the bus stop instead of the bus stop being literally outside the front door.  I didn't pursue this, since overall it was 4 stars from her, but this was still my first taste of a somewhat unfair review.

Sarah in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Airbnb   So you are only doing this for reviews that are 3 stars or less WHY?  Are you aware that guests are marking down on accuracy because the place was better than they expected? Yes, some of your guests are that clueless. And then the host gets punished in their ratings for being too good?

If you are only going to prompt guests who leave 3 stars or less, then you need to stop rating hosts with anything less than 5 stars as failing.

What in the world is wrong with you people?

Julia in
London, United Kingdom
Level 5

Like others I welcome the move in the right direction but really Airbnb do need to reconcile the gulf between telling guests that 3* is OK and telling us we need much more.  Also the changes in the Location rating i.e. challenging low ratings has resulted in less that 1% changing their rating - well whoopy doo that is tiny and obviously more work on this is required e.g. why not ask if location was as described which would be a lot fairer. 

Andrew in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

What exactly is the "valuable information" that the star ratings for Location provides to prospective guests? If the property's position on Google Maps is displayed correctly, guests need only an internet connection to find out just about anything they want to know about the location before booking.  If there is something objectively inaccurate about the listing's depiction of the location, there is already an Accuracy rating.


Similarly, I can't see the usefulness of a Value rating when viewing a listing, since I don't know what nightly price the previous guests paid. 


"Be objective" rings hollow to me in the context of reviews, since the very nature of reviews is subjectivity. Perhaps it's time to admit that much of the data collected in the form of star reviews is not actually helpful to anyone.



Marc & MJ in
Richmond, Australia
Level 2

A great initiative !! We have been saved from the 'one-off' bad guest leaving an unfair review by the outlier review function.

Looking forward to more iniatiatives in this direction from @Airbnb 


Marc & MJ

Short Stay Property Management


Giedre & Andre in
New York, United States
Level 10

No @Sarah

Its "...less than 3 stars..."

So its for 1*  and 2** only.

This will not help (at least me) at all!


Here my recommendation for fair reviews  @Airbnb 

- Was the location representation correct in listing description:   1 - 2 -3 -4 - 5

- If a guest was not moving into his booked place (no show or leaving before getting into the place): NO star rating should be possible for guest and host. Guest and host can leave a written review and a reply to given review.

- If a guest tries to "sneak" extra people into the space: Host should be able to cancel,  NO star rating should be possible for guest and host. Guest and host can leave a written review and a reply to given review.

- If host or guest needs to end a booking during the stay: NO star rating should be possible for guest and host. Guest and host can leave a written review and a reply to given review.

- If there is a discrepancy between category rating and overall rating, a popup window should ask for explanation

(Starting at 2 stars or less, is doing  NOTHING for me! In fact, as of your own statistic: It will NOT doing anything for 99.2% of your Hosts)

- Hosts are in a huge disadvantage reg. star ratings as they need  to get 5 to 8     5*****  to recover from one 3***

- Guests should be blocked from booking (same as hosts) if they not leaving minimum  50% reviews.

- "Compliments": Should be posted in total instead of last/recent guests.

EXAMPLE:  73 guests said this place was sparkling clean, instead of 12 recent guests said this place was sparkling clean.

I understand, the "compliments addition" was created to put extra pressure on hosts to have a even higher quality standard but it feels like "simple 5 stars" are not good enough and there are guests who not doing this extra rating.

Geri in
Bellevue Heights, Australia
Level 3

As per my new thread ' Guest Revenge Review' one recent person left 1* rating and I suspect reported me (I cdon't know how to check if he has) and now both my listings are under threat.   I feel sick about the whole experience and interaction with both the person and Airbnb

Jeff in
Cincinnati, OH
Level 2

With my 2 cents, the rating system aren't set up in a way where hosts like me can

be successful and probably won't know what it's like to be a superhost. More needs to be done with the rating system beyond the initial post above. Plenty of my guests say they had nice stays at my place, only to later get less than 5 stars (mainly 4 stars) in the overall category. Personally there seems to be multiple 1-offs with the ratings I'm getting including some recent ones where the guests communicate nothing after I ask them what can be done to make their stay better. Again way more needs to be done.

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