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:
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!
@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.
Yah completely agree with Sarah! Airbnb should have a way to detect this type of reviews or host should have a way to appeal and get some inaccurate liar reviews deleted. I recently received 2 stars out of 5, and guest intentionally put all the bad feedbacks he can give to intentionally hurt me/my listing. He put as feedback, “host didn’t communicate, host late reply, no communication, missing tissue, missing soap, dirty, etc.” - basically just put it all even when its not true. But left “none” as public review. The guest doesn’t even have guts to explain why he rated me like that because its all lies. I have 32 reviews - all 5 stars and one guest come along to just ruin all the work i put in. I was messaging the guest during his stay to make sure he was okay and if he needed any help, i even extended one more hour for his check out because he didnt message me when he check out, next time i hear from his is through review and it was 2 stars out of 5 with all the bad negative feedback he could put. I asked the guest about his rating, he said the tissue was not convenient for him but he put “no tissue”. That’s outright lie already, the tissue is hanging on the wall near the toilet (typical placement) and i asked him where should it be put to make it convenient for him and he didn’t reply anymore. I think this all boils down to him hating because when he booked, he put “1 guest”, and i found out it’s actually “4 guest” and of course i asked for extra charge for that. How is that my fault when he lied to me during booking? Please airbnb!!! Fix this kind of reviews. Help the hosts out.
I do not think that air b& b try to understand some issues from the host point of views...
Like...I booked one guest but the night before he check out he brought in an uninvited guest (female without my knowledge..
I found out the next morning..
I wanted him to pay the original nightly price for the night....for that unwelcome guest but air b&b suggested thet I take the extra fee..that I would have charge for my invited guests....how unreasonable...
So I add to my house rules guest who brought in
uninvited guest will b charged twice the amount of the nightly fee......
I see you're renting a room in your home.
I'd be unsettled by finding an extra "who are you?" wandering around my home the morning after as well.
It's truly inconsiderate, unsafe, and bad form for any guest to treat your home like a motel, and unfortunately, even if we're very clear about everything we can think of in our house rules, most prospective guests dont read them and the backup from our booking platform isn't always there for us.
It's YOUR home, YOUR business, and YOUR safety.
If we don't have backup from airbnb, the only recourse we have is our own pre-booking screening procedures, coommversation including their agreement to all house rules, and after a bad stay, leaving an honest, tactful, and professional review of the guest, because I'd want a warning about this from a previous host before I considered inviting that guest into my home.
@Airbnb I totally agree with Sarah.
I sometimes even go so far to let unregistered unpaying guests stay for free because I am afraid that they would leave negative reviews. Guests could always find something to complain about such as the bad/cold weather or the firmness/unfirmness of the bed.
My issue is also with guests who are unhappy with one thing or another, cancel their booking to receive a full refund only to be allowed to still review. No matter how happy I try to make some of my guests, they still leave a negative review.
Sometimes it feels that they own the house and I am the outsider.
One guest didn't check out until a day later and I didn't notice because I was busy. When I told him that he should either check out or pay for more nights, he left without paying for the extra night. He ignored a money request that I sent him, and I didn't follow up fearing that he would leave me a negative review. More is needed to be done that just asking the guest if they are sure about leaving a rating or a review. When they decide to rate or leave a review, they rarely change their mind especially those who are planning to already leave a negative review/rating.
It would seem that in the above bad guest note, we hosts also review the guests. Maybe there is an algorythm to detect the negative review that matches with the negative review from the host. And maybe the two should cancel each other out?
Pinecone Retreat, Paducah, KY
@Char14 There is nothing wrong with negative reviews being allowed to stand if they are true. If another host has a terrible guest who made their life hell, I want that bad review of the guest to stand to warn other hosts not to accept this guest. Likewise for reviews of hosts. While most hosts, and for sure the majority who participate in these forums are great and doing their utmost best, there in fact are some nasty, clueless hosts out there who don't clean their rentals, who nit-pick every little thing a guest does, who impose upon a guest's privacy, etc, and they should be called out.
I had a guest who told me about a stay he had where the host obviously lived in the "entire cabin" listing when she had no guests and just went to sleep elsewhere when she had a booking. Not only had she made zero attempt to clean up anything, she would just come to the house unannounced, walk right in and start rifling through the drawers looking for her stuff. She did this their first morning when he, his wife and son were lying in bed cuddling and talking. Walked right in the bedroom without so much as a good morning. He said she was obviously mentally unstable. This host deserves a bad review to warn other potential guests.
The issue is that Airbnb should remove reviews that are obviously, to anyone with a brain in their head, not honest. That can be determined by looking at a host or guest's past reveiws. If a host has 50 5* reviews under their belt and glowing written reviews about how spotless and well-equipped the place was, a 3* overall review with claims that the place was filthy is obviously a lie. The same goes for allowing reviews to be submitted when a guest hasn't even stepped foot in the listing, just because they cancelled on check-in day- that this can happen is insane.
...yes, except as a fellow host, I want to see your honest review:
1- to avoid the same experience
2- because it's the ONLY way have at our disposal of deterring other bad behavior from other bad guests.
Yes absolutely agree. As hosts we need to feel supported in our actions to protect our property! If we feel intimidated by guests who threaten bad reviews, we should be able to count on Air BnB support to identify revenge reviews and have them deleted.
otherwise we have no control to keep ourselves and our property safe, for the fear of revenge reviews, which I have been subjected to. It should be clear by the 110+ good reviews that 1 bad is an outlier review from a guest who was called out on breaking house rules.
This! My only bad review came from a guest that did not follow the rules and their kids broke several things in the house. Their comments were false. And Airbnb wouldn’t do anything about it.
Agree. I have experienced almost all of these issues spoken of by all the comments I've read. I had someone say they had a 5 star stay on all counts but gave me 3 stars because they found a dust bunny under the couch. A single dust bunny in my 3500 square foot home. Where she had 2 dogs with her for 9 days. Another docked me for something that is specifically mentioned in my listing several times--only one full bath--which she assured me she was going to be fine with even though they had a large party. Guess what--I got a rave 5 star review on all counts but gave me an overall 4 because "only 1 bathroom did end up being kind of a challenge". 999 out of 1000 things can be perfect but one tiny issue and boom! I also have real trouble with the fact that I have something like 50 5 stars, 2 4's and 1 3 in my entire 2 years of hosting and yet I cannot seem to get out of the 4.8 ghetto...that is messed up. And the guests reviews hold too much weight--they aren't given star ratings...only us, who are doing all the work and taking all the risk...often with our most valuable asset--our home. One guy brought more people than he said--and tried to sneak them in---I caught it and allowed them, but then he actually had the nerve to dock me in my review because they ran out of tp! I've driven 3 hrs roundtrip to replace lightbulbs--yup--for a guest so i would get a 5 star review.....it is insane. I think the star system should go--I think ABNB should generate a form that guests and hosts can use to reviews/comment and are published for illustrative purposes for future guests ONLY and then constructive feedback should be given privately between guest and host. I feel like I am being held hostage and it is not at all creating an atmosphere of hospitality...it's fraught and anxietry producing and creates an "us vs them" mentality which is not why I host people.....I do it because I need the income but also because I really do love people and hosting them to a lovely time in my lovely home....but the star rating review system has to go!
@Sarah977 I entirely agree. Bad, outlier reviews should be removed and I thought in earlier messaging, that Airbnb was implementing this change. Guess not!
To avoid subjectivity, definitions and administration in the removal of an outlier. I would suggest, that over a 12 month period, each host would have their worst (lowest score) review automatically removed. To keep things balanced, the highest scoring review could also be automatically removed.
I completely agree too. Unfortunately as hosts we see the guests as they are and I know it's hard for you at airbnb to really assess people but honestly, some can be even quite nasty. For example an Australian lady who actually turned her nose up at the flat when I was showing her in the door, moved lots of things around and was very rude as it was not to her taste whatsoever,she said. I can't remember her review but she did say in part of it how dowdy the flat was. Yet we have had so many people reviewing it saying how cosy it is and they love it. Surely hers not a correct review, it's just the opinion of one unfortunate person who can't appreciate things for what they are. Another girl reviewed the flat as cold but kept the windows open. I think like Sarah, I had caught her out by asking her to abide by a rule of the flat.
We really are in quite a difficult position and I wish we didn't have to have a review system in an ideal world. I am glad you are trying to make things better airbnb and hope you can.