Improvements to guest reviews, house rules, cancellations & more in the latest Host Update

Improvements to guest reviews, house rules, cancellations & more in the latest Host Update

*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:

  1. Key house rules—like not allowing smoking or pets—will be visible at the top of your listing page so that they’re more prominent as guests search
  2. All the house rules you’ve listed, including important safety disclosures, will be visible in the details of your listing page
  3. House rules will be displayed again on the booking confirmation page to help better ensure that guests understand and agree to them before completing a reservation
  4. They’ll also be included in the booking confirmation email to remind guests of your expectations before they arrive

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.

282 Replies 282
Level 3
Queensland, Australia

Hi Catherine.  This has not been my experience at all!


My last guest guest made up lies to leave early then wrote a review saying their are hidden cameras and listening devices in my place. Airbnb allowed him to cancel and gave him a refund without discussing this with me despite my super host status and outstanding previous reviews. I called to ask for the review to be removed as it is libellous and was told that they can't remove it or "mediate" In addition my account has been suspended. Airbnb have still not contacted me or removed the review. My account is suspended, until I remove the cameras and listening devises that do not exist?





Level 3
Claremont, CA

The house rules updates from the video have not happened as far as I can see. I took a screenshot from the video. In the proposed change the house rules are moved back to the top of the listing. On my one listing they are not in that spot, but at the very bottom. What happened @Catherine Powell? 



Level 1
Hafnarfjordur, Iceland

Revenge reviews should not be allowed where it clearle says in the listing that complaints about apartment should be reported to host immitiately allowing him room for improvement 


Pets live on property. Guest should not be allowed full refund due to allergy to dogs or cats when it clearly says in listing that pets live on property. Had a case in the spring and airbnb agreed to full refund. Not acceptable I find

Level 2
Hyderabad, India

I fully agree that Superhosts should have an option to remove 10% of reviews if they want to.


In India, the problem of free stays is not there but the threat of a bad review is very much present.

So much so that Airbnb hosting is no longer a fun thing. It is very stressful.

We continue because of it is a source of a much needed income and because of a lack of a strong competitor.


I have never seen any empathetic response from any of the Airbnb senior management to any posts in this forum.


Airbnb top management. Please wake up to this very genuine problem 

Level 2
Bernards, NJ

Hi Catherine,

There is a big flaw in Airbnb review system that makes Airbnb infamous as paradise of scammers.

The fact is that one out ten guests there is a scammer looking for a free stay. It isn't a matter of them being unhappy with their stay- they want to stay for free, or give you a bad review that could stop all future booking. The supper hosts are their top target because you tend to pay them to keep the Supper title.

The review system applies ONLY to Hosts, not to guests because they can open a new account easily. These scammers will torture you till you have a nerve breaking down.

It is hard to fight scammers but Airbnb should at least reward Superhosts the right to remove a bad review, say per half year or every ten good reviews. But Airbnb did nothing! 

Level 2
Austin, TX

Hello, It was suggested that I try to contact @Catherine Powell. I need some help with a fake review from a user who did not stay in our hotel and promoted another hotel in a 1 star listing of ours. I was told the review would be taken down in 24 hours. A day later, Airbnb said it had "changed its mind". 

Rick Culleton
Level 4
El Paso, TX

Oh no, I had not noticed.  I'll have to add them to my greeting. Hate to hear the support is over.

Level 3
Claremont, CA

@Catherine-Powell Thank you for the advocacy regarding the house rules. I noticed in the last week that the rules are no longer at the top of the page as they used to be. They are now at the bottom. Also, I’m a host and a guest and in ju most recent guest trip booking, the confirmation email does not show the rules. Rather, there is a category lower in the email called “know what to expect,” with a hyperlink that says “house rules” to the right. Clicking this link brings me to the whole listing page, not the house rules, so again I am not seeing the rules unless I scroll to the bottom of the page.


This isn’t front and center as it should be and it doesn’t match what is mentioned and shown in the video.


Please update us in terms of this user experience, as the rules are harder to find than ever. Appreciate your time — thank you!

Level 2
San Diego, CA

Hi AB&B community center 

It’s nice to meet you.

I always have a question regarding the value weight and proportion written by a one night stay versus a one month stay. 
for example. If you have a guest stayed for one month and gave you a 5 stars.  Later one guest stayed for one night gave you a 3 star.  Does that average out to be a 4 star?     
Thank you for reading my question. I appreciate your time and research.  I always wonder how AB&B average out reviews.  Thank you and wish everyone a happy and healthy weekend. 

Level 2
Birch Bay, WA

We have on two occasions rented to guests who seemed fine initially on line and upon meeting them. Unfortunately, they caused a great deal of damage and we wanted to warn other hosts about them. But the review process makes it difficult to do so. I reported honestly in my first review and my husband was so concerned about retaliation from them that I pleaded with Airbnb to withdraw my review. They did, saying I could not post another, and that was fine except that I had no way to warn other hosts. The second disastrous guests I simply did not review, as there was nothing good to say and again we did not want to incur retaliation from people who knew our address and seemed like scammers. Airbnb should have a separate review system that is exclusive to hosts for hosts.

When I am a guest, I appreciate the various reviews to help me choose a place, but as a super host I know that I cannot always access true information about a potential guest. It puts us at risk.

A similar topic, I am currently hosting someone, they also have a reservation next month, and I don't want to have them again, not sure how I can cancel this without repercussions

Level 3
Stowe, VT

@Catherine-PowellOn an unrelated topic, it would be super helpful if hosts could designate different cancellation policies for different times of the year. I reverted to STRICT after one July someone booked Christmas week, six months ahead and then canceled  on Dec. 17. . I don't necessarily always need STRICT but right now have no choice if I don't want that to happen again, right?  Thank you, Lisa

Level 10
England, United Kingdom

@Lisa1980 I do hope Airbnb listen to you here. @Scott is this possible to add into rule-sets? We will be reverting to our strict policy post the pandemic but don't really need this except for a few months of the summer and Christmas so could offer a more flexible solution for the rest of the year.

Level 1
Chicago, IL

@ Catherine Powell has Airbnb have had any ideas or input on helping host with not so friendly city/towns with the Airbnb community? For example Chicago? Their city regulations and policies just make it impossible to grow within the Airbnb community. We just want to make a legit business.   Any input will be greatly appreciated.

I am sorry to mention, after requests after request,Catherine, you are not monitoring RATES + GUEST'S behavior especially from INDIA.

Pl. do so, NO QUARANTINE here in my home, I am 74, would not take chance.

God bless you.

Level 7
Salt Lake City, UT

Reviewing should be a privilege and not a right. If house rules are broken the guest should forfeit the ability to review. With no consequence of breaking house rules they are of little meaning. Of course the review would be retaliatory and of no value to the reputation of the host and listing nor illuminating to future guests. Hosts are  penalized twice by suffering the guests breaking house rules and then suffering the penalty of their review. Frequently we allow guests to break our rules bc of our fear of a bad review. Where are the grown-ups here? Time for a host bill of rights of basic common sense rules. 

Level 2
Campbell River, Canada

I have been a host since June 2020 with a lower level suite in my home. Overall the experience has been very positive with mostly all great guests. There are two key areas that I feel need to be addressed to protect AirBnB Hosts.



Having searched online, I am one of MANY hosts who are complaining about being penalized in listing rankings for declining stays; this has been a complaint from hosts for years.


I am specifically referring to requests from people who don't meet the criteria in the listing but try to book anyway. We have a "No children under 10" and "No pets" policy with both being clearly stated in the listing in more than one place. I have declined several stays from people who request to book anyway and then message me to ask is it ok to bring a child or pet. This has further been an issue with the COVID pandemic as I have also had to decline reservation that were in direct violation of the BC Health Order making the requested stays illegal. 


When I contacted AirBnB to discuss this issue, the only solution offered was a suggestion to turn of Auto Book. However, when I went to do that, I got several warnings from the AirBnB system telling me that this is probably going to reduce the number of bookings and it would penalize my online listing rankings. The system did everything to discourage me from doing what was recommended by support. In other words, either way I'm getting punished.


With today's technology, if a host sets the listing option with "No Pet" and/or "No Children" options, why is there not a confirmation popup box? When they click to reserve, they should be asked if they are traveling with children or pets and if they answer yes, the system should politely decline their stay with explanation. It is completely unfair that Hosts are continually punished for something that is no fault of their own.


Also as a side note, it would potentially serve the guests better if the listing setting didn't have a set age for children; let hosts set the age and don't restrict it to age 12.



I understand that AirBnB has been implementing changes with how and where House Rules appear in the listings. The reality is that not everyone is reading the rules and in particular, the "Additional House Rules" section appears to be the most overlooked. Booking technology should have a popup where potential guests have to scroll through the entire list of ALL rules and specifically ACCEPT the rules before being able to book; much like software/computer operating systems require before installing. It won't make them read it but the certainly doesn't support the argument that "I didn't know that". 


I just recently had my worst guests. Even after warning, they continued to violate the no vaping and Marijuana/Cannabis use on the property. The 11pm quiet time rule was also ignored and I gave the final warning just before 2a.m. In the house rules, it is noted that there is zero tolerance on the Smoking/Vaping/Drug policy and that any violation would result in termination of stay with no refund and loss of security deposit. I was more patient with this group than I should have been since it was my first bad experience. After they checked out I did more research and did discover that hosts are not permitted to retain security deposits for this reason and I have since revised the listing. 


It would be of great service to not only the hosts but also their neighbours if AirBnB would adapt a policy that allows some type of financial penalty specifically for serious rule violations (ie. noise, parties, disorderly behaviour, etc.). AirBnB should implement specific optional penalty amounts with a STRICT detailed list of requirements that must be met for a successful claim (ie. video surveillance, police report etc). AirBnB needs to back hosts better and send a clear message to guests that serious rule violations will not be tolerated. The unfortunate reality for hosts is that "Damage" is not limited to physical property and the true cost of bad guests can result in disgruntled neighbours and by-law fines. 


Sorry to ramble on and thanks for considering input from Hosts!

Level 2
Melbourne, Australia

Hi Stuart,


With regard to requests from people who don't meet the criteria in the listing but try to book anyway, I have a related situation.


I have different minimum stays depending on how far in advance someone books. Airbnb has no provision for this with regard to instant bookings, so the only option I have is to place a BLOCK LETTER warning in the very first line of the listing.


Airbnb supports my position when I ask guests to cancel bookings that contravene the clear rules. The problem is that all the new rules that are displayed at the top of the listing take up so much space, that my very clear warning does not appear in the opening view of the property; and so many people don't scroll down. I cannot believe the number of people who book a property without reading the info on it. 


I don't see any solution to this, as long as the Airbnb rules take up so much space at the top. Clearly hosts are having bigger problems with these issues.


Perhaps a solution for some of the problem areas may be for guests to sign a statement that they have read the property description and rules before they are allowed to book?

Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Stuart296  Don't let those scare tactics about turning off Instant Book affect what you do. Hosts have to do what works best for them. Plenty of hosts, including me, have never used IB, or have stopped using it. Yes, it will lower your search ranking, but that doesn't mean guests won't find it and book. The encouragement to use IB is about Airbnb getting bookings fast, with no impediments to guests, and collecting their service fees, not about what's best for you as a host. 


And turning off IB isn't some irreversible thing you'll be stuck with forever- you can turn it off for a month and see if it seriously impacts your bookings, and turn it back on again if you want to.



I have been working towards reaching back the 4.8 / 5 stars overall rating for a few years now, but it seems impossible! I was amongst the first generation of Airbnb Super Hosts back when Airbnb first launched the program. I even received a book about Airbnb and an exciting congratulation letter by snail mail that cheer me and kept me going till today! Airbnb changed my life and gave me a new and better way to live my life and I am grateful for it, except I am not exactly cheered up now. I am frustrated, I feel I am not good enough, and I am tired to try to prove it that I am a Super Host, that has become at times a silly mentally and physically draining thing, is like a brown oxide stain in a brand new set of white cotton bed sheets, or hard dying blue all over you recently remodeled studio, or kids banana stain fingers that don't look like banana stains all over your new couch, yeah it takes the love of hosting out of you quickly unless you are like me and try to see an opportunity in everything, but it shouldn't be this hard, or does it? At that time Airbnb was still young and I was living in tow and then upgraded to a three-bedroom apartment in Santa Cruz, California...then things start changing quickly with Airbnb, guests, and hosts.


I am grateful I discovered the platform back in 2012 and started hosting in 2014, I even made it my new career full time with listings in two different countries, Uruguay and the United States. I even help and brought a lot of people into the platform, guests, and hosts alike. I got really good at it, and I love doing it despite I can’t seem to be good enough to be recognized for my effort. I also spend thousands of hours learning from the best hosts and trying to think from both ends, the guest and the host end. I am detailed oriented worked in Graphic Design for years as well as high-end restaurants. I stayed in "Super Host" homes to see why I wasn't one. The problem I came across and I have been too busy to write it down till now, was a step in the guest review process that leads to confusion and guests feeling unsure of themselves, second-guessing themselves and then you get that 3 stars rate that kills your hard-earned reputation, we can't even making a point and stuck with you hoping the next season the planets align and mercury is back to direct if you even question that as a possibility why you got stuck. I think guests are generally good intended and trying to be fair and helpful, but they are most likely confused in how to properly leave an honest review, especially when it comes to rating, new and season guests alike. Can we make the guest reviews simpler? that one question they are asked from yo 1 to 5 stars to rate their overall experience, whether comes first or last after they gave you 5 stars in all rating categories such as cleaning, communication, accuracy...what seems to be happening is that when you ask a guest to rate from 1 to 5 everything about their experience and they find everything great, they rate everything 5 stars and even the written review is spectacular but you still end up getting a 3-star rating when they rated you 5 in everything, I think is that question that has to be the rock in the shoe and here is why? because after they qualify you with 5 stars in everything then you give them a choice to rate the overall experience and unless they really want to hurt you and/or have too much time to ponder how this thing was designed, this rating step of "how was your overall experience..." is bad user experience, is very confusing and because of because it, guests are lead to second guess themselves, and if they already believe you are worth 5 stars in everything you asked them,  asking again is like saying them "are you sure? are you sure everything was great with your stay, are you sure you want to give a 5 stars review? or is it @Airbnb that doesn't really want us to become Super Hosts? Anyways I have consistent evidence proving my  "3-star average crap theory" that keeps bringing my average down below 4.8 every time...can we please take a look at this! I can't take it anymore. Thanks for your time and hopefully this will help in some way

Make @Airbnb Airbnb great again!



Explore Resource Center articles

Making your home ready for guests
Tips from Airbnb plus hosts: How to add thoughtful touches
Supporting guests during their stay