Many of you rely on reviews to grow your business—they highlight your amazing hospitality. They’re also a helpful way to get specific feedback on what you’re doing well as a host and where you can improve. But there are times when you feel like a review may be misleading or irrelevant to future guests, and we know that can be painful both personally and professionally.
It’s tricky. Guests and hosts need to be able to share what they feel is important about their experience, so we don’t want to limit what people can and can’t say on the platform. However, it’s also essential that reviews reflect a guest’s stay and that they provide useful information to future hosts and guests. As part of our ongoing journey to get this balance right, here are some of the changes we’re making:
With our updated Review Policy—effective December 11, 2019—we’ve addressed two types of reviews that we know can be frustrating: irrelevant reviews and biased reviews. The updated policy clarifies our expectations and ensures our customer support agents are equipped to remove these types of reviews.
By updating our policy to cover irrelevant and biased reviews, we’re strengthening our commitment to building a community of trust. These review updates build upon our existing Content Policy (which outlines the kind of content that is never allowed on Airbnb) and our new Guest Standards Policy, which will introduce a system for tracking bad guests. Under our updated Review Policy, guests and hosts who repeatedly leave certain kinds of biased reviews may be removed from the platform.
Let’s look at irrelevant reviews and biased reviews in a little more detail:
Reviews that are irrelevant
This policy covers situations where a review contains information that’s irrelevant to you as a host or your listing—and isn’t useful to future guests.
Here are a few examples:
Under the updated policy, both of those reviews would be removed because they contain only irrelevant info.
There are also times when a guest comments on issues outside of your control, or unrelated to the service you provided. Those types of reviews may be removed if they only contain irrelevant content that isn’t useful to future guests. Here are a few examples of irrelevant content that could result in the removal of a review:
These comments have nothing to do with your listing or the service you provide as a host and aren’t useful to future guests. So, under our updated Review Policy, our customer support agents would be empowered to remove both the review content and star rating.
Reviews with biased information
Our community benefits most when reviews share an unbiased view of the member’s experience. Our updated Review Policy covers the removal of reviews with inappropriate bias—this may include situations where the reviewer is attempting to extort the person being reviewed, has a conflict of interest, or competes with the person being reviewed. Here’s a closer look at three types of biased reviews that will be removed under our updated policy:
Guests and hosts who repeatedly violate our updated Review Policy may face consequences, including account suspension and removal from the platform. We’ve also invested in retraining our customer support agents and improving our workflows, so hosts will receive better support in instances when irrelevant or biased reviews happen. As with our new Guest Standards Policy that tracks bad guests, our updated Review Policy includes warnings and education that can lead to suspension or removal of people who repeatedly leave biased reviews.
Updating our Review Policy is another important step in our journey of supporting guests and hosts like you who rely on relevant, useful reviews.
What kinds of reviews will be removed by this updated Review Policy?
A healthy review system is one that respects and protects our community’s genuine feedback. For that reason, we take the removal of any review very seriously and only remove reviews that clearly violate Airbnb’s Review Policy. You can read the updated Review Policy in full, but, in short, this means a review is only removed if:
Guests and hosts who repeatedly violate our updated Review Policy may face consequences, including account suspension and removal from the platform.
What kind of documentation should I have under the updated Review Policy?
We can’t emphasize this enough: Always aim to communicate with guests through the Airbnb platform. If conversations happen off-platform, be sure to keep a record of those conversations too. That way, if you ever need to report a review to our agents, they’ll have—at their fingertips—the information they need to make the right decision. That said, even when you don’t have this preferred documentation, we encourage you to report any reviews that violate our Review Policy because we may be able to identify other evidence or patterns of behavior regarding that guest.
Will all irrelevant review content be removed?
If Airbnb determines that the review contains no relevant information about a host or guest or listing, the review will be removed. Reviews that contain mostly irrelevant information are also subject to removal, but only where the relevant information does not meaningfully inform community members.
Where a review contains information that is unrelated to an experience as a host or guest, or is focused on something beyond the control of the person being reviewed, our team will determine the relevance of the review by considering how useful it is to our community of hosts and guests. To do this, we’ll look at two things:
What’s the difference between extortionary and retaliatory reviews?
It’s considered extortion if a guest attempts to use reviews (or review responses) to force a host to do something they aren’t obligated to do. So, for example, if a guest threatens to leave a bad review if you don’t allow them to bring additional guests, that review would be extortionary and would be removed under the updated policy.
Then there are times when a host may feel that a negative review is made in retaliation. This is when, for example, a host doesn’t allow the guest to bring additional guests, and the guest goes on to leave a review about how inflexible their host was, or even writes a negative review about cleanliness or location. However, without evidence of a threat to leave a negative review, this would not be considered extortionary and would not be removed under the updated policy. If this happens, we encourage hosts to use their public response to politely address the issue.
Why aren’t you removing all retaliatory reviews?
While we understand how frustrating it can be when you receive a review that feels retaliatory, we don’t have a crystal ball to tell us what a person’s true motivations are. So, without a documented threat to leave a negative review or other evidence of a biased review, Airbnb won’t intervene. Here’s why:
To reiterate, as outlined in our updated Review Policy, Airbnb can—and will—intervene where there’s evidence of a threat, promise of action that’s dependent on the review, or other conflict of interest and/or competition. Additionally, we will continue to intervene when a guest leaves a review that violates our content policies—including discriminatory content or a violent threat.
Sometimes, a negative review is less about the guest’s experience in your space and more about them not understanding how reviews or the platform work—they can even be the result of an honest mistake. Earlier this year, we built a tool to help address these types of reviews by automatically detecting inconsistencies, and then interrupting the flow to give guests a chance to correct them. So, for example, if a guest gives you 4 or 5 stars in every category (cleanliness, accuracy, and so on) but then a 1-, 2-, or 3-star rating overall, a pop-up will ask if they’re sure about their overall rating.
Similarly, if a guest leaves a low rating for something like location or value—two categories we know can be interpreted differently by guests—a clarifying question will appear.
These interruptions force guests to think a little more about the rating they’re giving, which they can then go back and correct. As a result, we’re already seeing more consistency between the category scores and overall scores. Improvements like these help ensure that guests’ ratings align with their experience—better ratings are more useful to guests and reward the hard work of hosts.
Reviews are the backbone of our community—they help hosts grow their businesses, and they help guests gain the confidence they need to make the booking. We have a dedicated team doing lots of thinking around how to make our entire review experience better for hosts and guests. We’ll continue to improve the review system over time—please keep sending us your feedback about improvements that you’d like to see. In the meantime, we’re excited about these changes and hope you are too.
@Karen2411 Actually guests who ask for discounts at all seem to end up being demanding, entitled people who don't appreciate anything you do for them, so even if you'd given him the discount he wanted, he probably still wouldn't have given a good rating. Discount askers are red flags from the get-go. It's also not advisable to let guests pre-view the space. they should be able to make a decision based on your photos, description, and any questions they they have, i.e. how far it is to XX, they can ask in a message.
@Sarah977 I agree, it seems as though nothing seemed to please him. I had messaged him after he had checked in, and he insisted that everything in the suite was great! What a liar!
Thanks for your helpful ideas!
Oh! Thank you so much! Finally you did it!
My experience,I have had 4 different situations:
1. One gest didn't come but puted 1 and 2 stars about all
2. One gest didn't like my city,put but she put 1-3 stars to my apartment. She choosed the central avenue(!) in my big Saint-Petersburg and in the most famous CENTRAL place, but finally she said she prefer the villages and the places in nature. So, why did she chose the city and the central avenue and my location??
3. One gest would have a big discount, and he blackmailed me with stars
4. For the some gest I were the first experience on Airbnb, and they didn't know what to respond to "General impression"
A recent guest would like to change the star rating she gave us. Is it to late for her to change it as we both have made our reviews.
AIRBNB, you have let a Superhost down…
I had a guest that broke all house rules mentioned in the proper way on my listing and I opened a case to get assistance. I did get that and the guest got evicted from my property before the reservation finished. When she wrote her review, it was of course all retaliation and extorsion, filled with biased comments and non-relevant items.
I opened a new case and it was escalated to the review department. I thought I can discuss there, but I simply got the message that her review did not violate your guidelines for reviews. And how it does, even more with the background of her eviction, but still no red flags in AIRBNB. The case manager only had a simple standard answer for me and off he was to the a new case
In addition, after my review for her and even after the 14 days period, she is now claiming all her money back, for the entire time. And the case manager does not see the red flags either.
What is happening? Where is your support for a Superhost ?
47 five star reviews versus 1 one star? Does not look strange? Do you think I woke up one morning and changed completely and decided to make her stay miserable?
Even more that I have presented you all the evidence and in her review she even states how she broke the house rules ? Do you favour the guest over the superhost? Lots of questions and no answers as you are not responding to my messages.
Thank you if you can have a fresh set of unbiased eyes looking at that! I had actually asked for a supervisor or manager to contact me but it was just brushed off and not mentioned anymore. Well to you the review might not matter but to me it’s the world for my listing. And this every day and every hour since those lies and unrelevant statements are up.
SHAME ON YOU, ....learn or teach your people what BIASED means...you have it as a central point in your new guidelines...
I know that many of my previous guests are reading this...feel free to share it...
and from my public post, I have been messaged by my previous guests which told me that they wont use AIRBNB any longer ....so you are just collecting all scammers on your page since you are turning away all good hosts with your UNFAIR support behaviour. Other AIRBNB hosts have also responded and reported that they are making similar experiences.
Guess what? I am no longer interested in listing with you then...since I do not see that you support hosts properly. A person that has never booked with you, no previous review when I accepted her reservation, retaliating and putting out lies, is more important to you. Oh yes, I read, Lies dont matter to you. Sadly, I have proof from Whatsapp that she lies. Is not important to CHARLES G. in the review department! He brushed it off! Next case...
Further to: "Issues outside your control"; when a guest leaves a review similar to your example:
"A guest leaves you a bad review because they were frustrated by public transit in your city:" they generally also give fewer stars on the Location rating.
I've had this happen numerous times because I'm not downtown, my listing title says NEAR THE AIRPORT (not sure how many major cities' airports are downtown, but generally in Canada, you can't have the best of both worlds)
I CAN'T CONTROL WHERE MY LOCATION IS. The guest can control WHERE they book. I would have a 5 star rating if it wasn't for the location rating.
Or maybe instead, you guys can start letting hosts rate guests based on how many questions they ask when the information is clearly stated in the listing??
@Shannon260 " I would have a 5 star rating if it wasn't for the location rating."
The overall rating isn't an average of the other ratings- it'a a separate rating all on its own. Your location rating, or any of the other category ratings don't have any affect on the Overall rating.
@Shannon260 I wasn't trying to belittle your point. Almost all hosts think the location rating should be eliminated, as well as the value rating, as they are both so subjective. There have been many lengthy threads on this here, going back years, which you could find with a search here, but it's obvious that Airbnb as no intention of doing away with it.
@Sara977 Agreed. They seem to not even want to acknowledge it. I was reading the multiple older threads and chose to post to this one since it was the most recent. Hopefully one day they will understand our perspective on this matter and do something about it.
Recently guests gave us 4 out of 5 for accuracy and for cleanliness. When I asked them for feedback they said
1- they didn't understand what accuracy meant therefore only gave us 4
2 - in retrospect they should have given us 5 for cleanliness
It might be a good idea if a guest or a host gives a score of less than 5 then they should be asked for a short sentence explaining in what way(s) the property or guest/host could do better to receive a 5/5. That way it might help both hosts and guests be more specific about the scores they are giving and why.
I have been a host for over 10 years on airbnb. I bought a brand new property recently. It happened to be right before COVID-19. Then as we all know we have had some rough guests for a few months. Then they wrote bad reviews, caused damage etc. Since we all had to drop rates to have anyone staying in the properties. Airbnb has now implemented a new program to take away properties with some bad reviews. The new property I just bought they took down permanently. No warnings. No phone calls. No detailed explanation. Nothing. It should be proper to call the hosts with new programs they are implementing to discuss these matters and find out what transpires so that they understand it better. It would be great to have someone call me as well from airbnb to discuss this matter. Thank you.