Making reviews more fair for hosts

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 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 meant 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!

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1,271 Replies

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

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.

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

in
Richmond, TX
Level 6

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. 

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

in
White Plains, NY
Level 3

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......

 

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

in
Oregon, US
Level 10

@Dawn211 

 

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.

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

in
Gloucester, United Kingdom
Level 2

Airbnb have done nothing to help me with not one single guest. Even when they have damaged my property, i have sent pictures and the guests then leaves unfair bad reviews simply because i asked them tpo pay for the damage. Two such reviews have lost me my superhpst status and the guests didnt even bother paying up for the damages. Even with evidence they dont help you. Npot to mention the hundreds of robots you have to get through before you even get to any person only to hear then say 'computer says no, sorry'

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

in
Fallbrook, CA
Level 2

Hi Ryl,  That exactly is true people are now booking for 1 but then they bring more guests over.  Then when I asked what was he going to do. He started to make very extortionist outbursts about the bedding, the bunk beds,  the small space.  And plus he had a toddler which because of the pool are not allowed 

i waited until he left a review and then I told the truth about his poor manners.

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

in
Nancy, KY
Level 2

@Sarah977 I just had a guest cost me my superhost statis. I thought the reviews were to be about only the property that you rent and not other places around you. Next door to me they have been tearing down a couple of trailers that out of state people were using for fishing/hunting cabins when they came down to lake. It's a clean construction tear down, they did leave some rolled up carpet on there property(not mine) and he said that I had carpet in my driveway which I did not. Our places are very close together. He said he took pictures and of course Airbnb doesn't allow pictures of someone else's property but the review is still there. I though it could only be about the place they are renting and not other properties. He thought a telephone jack was loose electrical wiring, smh. The house was spotless all but the guy who cleaned it last forgot to dust a ceiling fan in the living room. He unscrewed the light bulbs on the back patio and left the back door unlocked, so he could get back in. Why does Airbnb allow people to continue to lie just to get a free ride? I doesn't matter how many 5 stars you get when someone gives you an undeserved one star. 

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

in
Matthews, NC
Level 2

So so true!  Very frustrated with an unfair review.  Thanks.

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

in
Gloucester, United Kingdom
Level 2

You see Airbnb get most of their money from the guests paying so they are bias toward the guest. Booking.com are soooooo much more helpful to hosts. 

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

in
Bucaramanga, Colombia
Level 1

de acuerdo,  cuando una persona es mentirosa y lo descubren habla mal y pone por el suelo al que le dice la verdad.   estos comentarios no deben permitirse para que otros huespedes lo vean.

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

in
New York, NY
Level 3

@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. 

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

in
Paducah, KY
Level 4

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

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@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.

Re: Making reviews more fair for hosts

in
Paducah, KY
Level 4

That makes absolute sense. We agree 100%

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