London, United Kingdom Online Community Manager
Hosting connects you to strangers from around the world that you’d likely never cross paths with if you weren’t a Host on Airbnb. Reviews are an essential part and natural conclusion to each stay – whether a Host rates a guest or a guest rates the experience they had during their stay, reviews are displayed publicly for everyone to see. With that being said, sometimes reviews left by guests may feel unfair. You’ve told us that you’re frustrated with the current reviews system, so we’re updating the way reviews work as a result of your requests.
Feel more comfortable hosting guests without worrying about the possibility of receiving a retaliatory review or not having enough info about potential guests with the following upgrades:
Early next year, we’re also introducing a chatbot to make it easier for you to initiate a review dispute—without having to contact Community Support.
The same process applies to the reviews guests leave for you. Guests will still choose one to five stars for their overall stay. They can now also add a star rating—and specify what went well or could have gone better—in several categories. Only your overall star rating is factored into Superhost criteria, so your star ratings and feedback in specific categories won’t impact your Superhost status.
Read more about it on the Resource Center.
Unfortunately one of my listings was deleted by Airbnb due to a complaint by someone who isn't even an Airbnb member (a family friend booked the accommodation for them, and they complained to her). How crazy is that? And repeated requests for Airbnb to review the deletion have met with silence. Not a discussion of the facts and a justification for the deletion, just silence. No answer. Nothing.
As a result I have suspended my other listings on Airbnb and am actively investigating other platforms.
Airbnb is far too guest-centric. Hosts are the finite resource that Airbnb needs to court. It is already being overloaded with "professional" landlords with cookie-cutter city centre apartments who are just hoteliers in disguise. The individual host with their unique cabin, barn, spare room etc that formed the basis for the genesis of Airbnb is being driven out by unreasonable demands and an appalling attitude to customer (host) relations. If a problem arises despite your best efforts to solve it, look out! You can expect no help from Airbnb.
There are a growing number of alternatives to Airbnb.
After careful consideration, it has occurred to me that the new review process encourages guests to evaluate hosts for things that are beyond a host's control. In the past irrelevancy has meant we hosts could get the reviews removed. With the new sub-categories is that no longer possible?
For example, if a guest gave a poor review based on the fact "there are no restaurants within walking distance" or, "there aren't any sidewalks so walking isn't safe", we could have it removed because it was not relevant to the stay in our home and beyond our control.
Now you are encouraging guests to consider things in reviews that are beyond a host's control in their review of us. You can call them "optional extras" all you want, but in fact you are prompting guests on HOW they should review hosts.
Guests will absolutely feel that if they can't check all of the boxes for "optional extras", the host does not deserve 5*. I will be furious if I get a review where I receive less than 5* because a guest decided that because there are no "great" restaurants near me (there is no commercial business within 6 miles of my home) I don't deserve 5*. Which is complete bull poop.
Hosts cannot control if there are restaurants in the area. They certainly cannot if the restaurants are "great" or if they suck. Some people say Outback Steakhouse is great. Some people say it's not even a real steak house and isn't very good. So you are opening the door for hosts to be punished because of something so subjective as a restaurant.
Hosts cannot control if there are sidewalks. Hosts can't control if there are places to walk off the property. But you have now put it in the guest's heads that if there aren't sidewalks, the location isn't good.
Now, let's define "lots to do". Well, that is also a very subjective term. There is a park 1 mile down the road from me where you can play golf, fish in the lake, walk the trails, play tennis, play Frisbee Golf, hike the trails and more. That's a nice list of things to do and qualifies as "lots to do". Unless you're someone who doesn't participate in outdoor activities, in which case there's not much to do at all.
Moving on to "Beautiful Surroundings". Some people think that perfectly manicured cookie-cutter subdivisions with perfect houses as far as the eye can see is "beautiful scenery". I call it urban blight. Some people think that a fields of hay are lovely scenes; others think it's just untidy grass that needs to be mowed. Again a super subjective area that a host has no control over.
You really need to pass the word that optional extras that are neither realistic (pristine, spotless) or under a hosts control (great restaurants, walkability, lots to do, beautiful surroundings) need to be removed. Host don't have the option to evaluate guests on subjective topics. Why cant we be allowed to evaluate a guest on their ability to park their cars or how they dress? I know! Let's have a category for guests: "Has cool tattoos". These categories are every bit as relevant about the quality of a guest as "walkability" is about the quality of a host's accommodation.
Like the review policy states, "Reviews must provide relevant information about the reviewer’s experience with the Host." Whether or not the restaurant down the street is awful or great should not have any bearing on how a guest reviews a host. Remove the subjective crap and stick to facts with the "optional extras".
Location should be removed altogether, but if you're going to have it, the ONLY criteria should be, "Is the accommodation's location accurate". In other words, it wasn't a bait and switch location.
Check in -
1. Clear instructions are important.
2. Easy to get inside is important.
Those are the ONLY optional extras you should have.
3. You NEED to lose the "flexibile check in". This is an invitation to guests to demand early check ins even though a host has posted their check in time. And if the host can't accommodate that 6 hour early check in for free, the guest will mark them down.
4. Felt right at home needs to go away, too. A 1 bedroom apartment is not going to feel like home if someone lives in a 3,000 square foot house. There is literally no comparison. Not every stay is a week long vacation stay. There are lots of overnight travelers who simply don't want to stay in a seedy motel.
5. Easy to Find - Another one that needs to go away. We should not be punished because someone is geographically challenged. I am the first house on my road. I'm the ONLY house for the first 1/2 mile. And people still drive past my house because they can't follow directions. Now you're putting it in their heads that because THEY couldn't follow directions, the host is at fault.
1. Responsive is important
2. Local Recommendations are fine.
3. Helpful instructions? Absolutely!
4. Proactive? No. Most guests get annoyed with too much extra communication. And I'm not even going to try to proactively think of what a guest wants to know. Lose this; it's not helpful and most guests don't want it.
5. Friendly? Too subjective and those nuances are easily lost in text. Some people consider "friendly" to be chatty. Some people consider friendly to be "Farts glitter and poops marshmallows". Lose this, too.
@Bubba-Lee0..Hello...I've been complaining about location as a star rating for yrs. I'm sorry I wasn't located where you thought, but keep in mind, I can NOT pick the building up and move it closer. Not sure what's worse, stupid people or ABnB.
Everything in your comment is spot on.
Outback Steakhouse is awful. ✓
cookie cutter subdivisions are urban blight. ✓
Can I ask where you are seeing all these new guest review prompts?
we must have a similar situation, our 5km long dirt road has only 5 properties on it, but they aren't numbered 1-5, they are actually numbered the distance they are from the beginning of the road, haha, how fun is that? the first farm is 234, and we are 252, so of course people drive past our gates, even though i have 2 logos on them and of course i provide full instructions explaining the quaint numbering system, plus photos.
see Resource: guests don't read
also see: embarrassed guests realise they failed, leave bad review. i'm calling these "retaliatory" due to them feeling stupid.
Why cant we be allowed to evaluate a guest on their ability to park their cars
lol, we totally do this though, not in a review, in our family group chat. haha.
but in all seriousness, yes, I agree this will lead guests to being pickier in reviews, which is fine, when 4* means "great", but it doesn't at ABB, we all know 4* means "terrible", thankfully guests don't really know this. I've had a run of 4* reviews with unfair nitpicking over things we don't offer - the usual: guest didn't read the listing, or guest is a twit: guest thought a mini fridge would include a space to house a large tub of ice cream, guest wonders why taking the cover off the pool makes it get colder, guest though a kitchenette should still have an oven, stove and full size fridge, and my new fave: it shouldn't be this cold in Spring! 3*
@Gillian166 they were posted on Facebook, but only for 3 categories, not all 6. For reasons unknown, AirBNB is keeping them a secret from us hosts. Maybe to avoid this kind of backlash because they know these review subcategories (I refuse to call them optional extras) are not realistic and prove yet again AirBNB is catering to guests. Also as Andrew mentioned, there is a strong bias/preference to resort vacation properties with professional management whilst giving the middle finger to traditional hosts. So the managed properties will get 5* for being in the heart of a vacation destination, steps from the beach (walkable) and lots of restaurants... with ocean views. Meanwhile we traditional hosts can't compare to all that so we lose again.
You would think AirBNB would be transparent and show hosts what they are actually being reviewed for. Oh wait, I forgot. AirBNB doesn't do transparent.
Yes, I live in a rural area; perhaps not quite so rural as you. So far guests have not complained that they have driven past my house. But if I'm there and I see a car creeping down the dirt road, I know they're not local* and most likely my (lost) guest. Sure enough, 5 minutes later the same car comes creeping back up the road and turns into my driveway. I have a photo of my mailbox in my check in directions. I also have two columns with large gargoyles sitting on them at the end of the driveway. No one else has gargoyles. I include photos of them as well. And people still drive right on by...
*Locals drive the road like they're Dukes of Hazard (yeehaw!), getting airborne over the bumps in the road and sliding sideways through the 90 degree curve in front of my home. Even the UPS truck "drifts" through the curve. There have been at least a dozen accidents on my 15 mph (24 kph) dead end street including a roll over. 75% of the accidents resulted in totaled vehicles. I've even had to pull the mail truck out of the ditch in front of my home - TWICE! 🤣
@Bubba-Lee0 are you sure we don't live in the same area. 🤣 you've described it almost exactly as what happens here, minus the gargoyles.... ha, but we are building "fancy" gates, and locals do indeed drive like those darn Dukes. We don't get many parcel deliveries though, as they won't drive on unsealed roads, and no one has a mailbox - we have to go to the PO which is only 5km away.
I warn people to drive carefully and i've never seen an accident on our road which is a miracle.
I'll be travelling in a few weeks and we'll use airbnb and I will take screenshots of the guest review process. It's very long, from memory, so i hope they havent' made it even more tedious (although i've got enough reviews now that i'm happy if only 1 in 10 guests bothers to leave a review)
given that guests agree to abide by all House Rules I think i'm formulating a new House Rule:
guest agrees to review removal if they complain about things that are clearly disclosed in this listing and the house rules. eg, the weather, the location, the heating, the lack of TV, all these items have been highlighted at least twice, and a low star review based off these items will be considered retaliatory for your own lack of attention.
^still working on this idea, i know our House Rules don't actually get enforced, but it's no harm to slide this in.
Early next year, we’re also introducing a chatbot to make it easier for you to initiate a review dispute—without having to contact Community Support.
just making a prediction now that the chatbot will be programmed to decline all such requests. see y'all in 2023 for confirmation.
@Gillian166 The bot will be there to make this process is easier for all Hosts - we'll keep you updated early next year on the progress and roll-out. 🙂
Hmmm there is already such a bot. Apart from it, most CS in low paid third party companies are not acting better than such a chat bot. Most just want to have a quick shift, to clock out, not hassle with reviewing all these reviews. Imagine you'd get paid like $10 a day. Can't blame those guys. What would really help if Airbnb would hire some serious quality control on all those third party customer service companies.
I'm really sorry that you've had disappointing experience with the Support teams in the past. Did anything happen recently that you perhaps need more help with?
We read and collect all your feedback, so I've made sure your thoughts and concerns regarding the Support teams are part of that.
You will be hard pressed to find anyone who has not encountered the "My shift is ending and I will be away for 3 days. I will review your case when I return" nonsense when contacting CS. It's literally a running joke on Social Media. And not a very funny one either.
It's amazing how many shifts end at 2:14 pm.
I am really interested to know about the sharing guest rating part.
We used to rate our guests without them knowing how we rated them. This was a backdoor for future hosts to take notice of the guest. If, indeed, now the guests are aware of what we rate them, we risk having a returning guest with a retaliation attitude or sending an acquainted to damage our business even more.
So can you please clarify exactly what you are sharing from the reviews we leave for a guest?
@Philip166 I am not so much worried about guest retaliation but another effect it has when a guest has access to their rating. We recently panned a guest for leaving the door to both the apartment and building wide open when they checked out approx 90 minutes late. Surprise surprise when I look at the message system that guest has now deleted his account (and presumably opened another with different email/phone number). Thus there is no protection for future hosts as this guests past behaviour has been lost.
Thanks for your question!
Other hosts are keen to know the answer to this question too, so we've asked the question, and as soon as we have the answer we'll come back here and let you all know.
Thanks for your patience!
but today I left a review for a newbie guest who was ok, but failed to follow any check in instructions, didn't read any messages we sent, oh but she could find the msg box to ask for both early check in and late check out! she was noisy, we dont' have rules about that, but you know .... it's a farm, respect the serenity, they used excess towels and left wet towels on the bed (this is utterly unacceptable as you wouldn't do this to your own bed, it's beyond careless, it's just rude), dishes in the sink (yes, this is fine, we don't ask them to wash up). anyhoo, they are young and it's their first stay, I didn't want to ding them hugely. so I gave her 4* for communication and rules. no doubt she'll still have a 5* rating even after this one stay.
but this is a concern, and i've asked this already so please can someone confirm.
is the guest going to see our feedback, or is it for hosts only?
i know as a guest, the review process suggests my feedback will go to the host.
i know as a host, i receive zero feedback.
and another question, where is the link to log some kind of complaint about her breaking House Rules? exactly how is this new system working? some further details would be appreciated.
(beyond, "we'll ask and get back to you", because surely by the time a new thing is rolled out, you have the answers to give hosts)
I didnt see this thread, If the word "Pristine" is being used which **[Content removed in line with the Community Center Guidelines] came up with that?
That might account for a guest we had the other week who gave us 4 star for cleaning, I never asked her why,
My apartment gets cleaned at least twice a week, I have a good cleaner and I also check myself.
Even a brand new property would never be Pristine.
I have 2 very good friends who I was with this weekend and both of them work for a well known 5 star hotels both of them are managers, they say it's impossible to achieve with some guest.
@Jenny wrote:With regards to flagging the house guest, you should contact CS
If you were a host, and you read the CC boards (and other places) would you contact CS over something like that?
I'm afraid I'd be terrified they'd misunderstand, issue the guest a refund, and suspend me. The advice from most hosts here is to avoid calling CS.
Also, this is adding extra pressure to an already ill-equipped team, is that wise?
Thank you for taking the time to answer our many questions, we appreciate it. 🥂