The reviews system is being updated

Jenny
Community Manager
Community Manager
Galashiels, United Kingdom

The reviews system is being updated

dispute-reviews-XL_(1).jpeg

 

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:

 

  • Learn how you can dispute retaliatory reviews under our updated reviews policy.
  • Flag reviews from guests who commit a serious policy violation or violate your house rules.
  • Read specific details left about guests by other Hosts—and leave these details when any guest stays with you. 

 

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.

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132 Replies 132
Melinda298
Level 2
Western Cape, South Africa

The new review system looks set to drop star rating performance for hosts (and probably for guests too) - and the prospect of remaining a Superhost seem very slim and, for new hosts, the prospect of achieving Superhost status looks close to impossible. In fact, retaining or gaining Superhost status looks Extremely unlikely, even Very unlikely.

As noted by @Brux0, Airbnb considers 4 stars negative and the qualifiers used in the new review system complicate the process and appear predisposed to 4 stars. Even for reviewing guests, I had to force myself to ignore the qualifiers as a guest described by those qualifiers would be truly exceptional!
The 5-star rating system is widely used and understood - the qualifiers are unnecessary.
Perhaps Airbnb is trying to thin out the number of Superhosts, or even their number of listings (considering that a below 4.3-star average can result in Airbnb permanently removing a listing). 

As noted in Thorn Point's handy Airbnb Review Etiquette, "Airbnb holds hosts to a strict 5-star-or-bust expectation. They take any review that is less than 5-stars to indicate that there are major problems with a property or host. ...
Because of this, receiving a 4-star review is very damaging to a host."

While the above remains unchanged, Thorn Point's Guest Rating Guide is sadly no longer applicable (i.e. 5-star: Nobody is perfect, but I enjoyed my stay! 4-star: There are several issues that need to be corrected. 3-star: There are major problems etc), since 5 stars now seems reserved for extremes and 'perfection'.


I now dread reviews (getting And giving), even though I am confident that my listings are great value for price, professionally cleaned and that I have taken considerable care to accurately describe my listings and communicate with guests.

Yes, we totally agree Melinda.  AirBnB has to make it clear that 4 stars is a flag that indicates a problem with the rental and that hosts need a 4.3 average to stay on the site.  That is the very least they can tell guests on the review page if they are going to continue to hold hosts to such a strict standard.

My comment is about the Communication rating of the guest.  As we know, most rental sites that allow both host and guest to review each other work on the double-blind system for obvious reasons. They don’t want the review of one to negatively (or positively) directly affect the other’s review. This is most understandable but there is one issue about this I wanted to throw out there that I have noticed to see if any other hosts had the same concern.

 

One of the aspects we are to rate guests on is their Communication. That means if there was something wrong or needed fixing or that they had any issue with that they will relay it to the host, especially if it is something significant in their mind to impact their review. While we have guests sign their checkout sheet saying they have reported any issues to the host (along with acknowledging that they have performed the short list of basic checkout chores), some have signed it and checked items off that they did not perform, as if the goal was simply to check off boxes.

 

If a guest has absolutely no complaint, or if there is something needing attention they did not inform us about, that is considered poor communication. It is therefore unfair to knock down the host or rental in their review about an item that is too late to be addressed or even verified if true.

Guests of ours from a month ago left the place in great shape and there were no issues or communication from them (even though the night before they departed they completely ignored our text asking how their stay went and if there is anything that wasn’t working or that we should know about whatsoever), so we gave them 5 stars across the board. We should have been a bit wary of the fact they ignored our text because now we know why.

 

Had we seen their review first we would have given them 1 star for poor communication. They made allegations that were false (AC wasn’t working which it was fine with no reports or complaints), criticizing the carpet as “shag” which it is not, and just being negative without explanation. They even went so far as to fault certain decor that was exactly as depicted in the photos when they booked! This to me is unreasonable, especially since we have a long string of satisfied guests who left 5-star reviews, especially for that 2 bed/2 bath premium poolside unit at prices starting at $65/nt). They most likely knew they were being unreasonable and extremely nitpicky (at best), or dishonest (at worst) which is why they didn’t report anything while here, even when directly asked by us.

 

The one thing that was indeed an issue was the electronic lock that worked perfectly their first five days here, but sensed a low battery the last two days so wasn’t locking correctly. Of course they did not report it (new battery takes a minute to change) but instead their solution was to leave the place unlocked when gone (including at checkout) then claim that “the lock didn’t work” in their unfair review.

 

BOTTOM LINE: I feel it is unfair to have to award the guest a Communication score when that all depends if their review makes claims that they never disclosed and/or are untrue. In that case we should be able to reflect that in our review of the guest, but of course we have no way of doing so until we read their review which is obviously too late. Have any of you encountered a similar unexpected ambush in a review?

Brux0
Level 10
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

4 STARS ON CLEANING = VERY CLEAN

I rarely get 4 stars for cleaning (I think I got couple of them in the last 5 years out of 7 apartments) since my maid is amazing and my places are small.
-
However, since the new review system went live a week ago, I got two 4-stars-cleaning-review in a row. I got preoccupied with my maid and had a chat with her. Then I discovered the new system label 4 as very clean.
-
Taking in consideration the fact that airbnb consider 4 stars negative (and even send you "those" emails when you get couple of 4 stars in a row) labelling 4 stars VERY CLEAN - and 5 stars EXTREMELY CLEAN is just a tricky thing.
-
In my opinion, it is a contradiction with the actual value airbnb gives for 4 stars, and a recipe for further complain from hosts about the review system.
What do you guys think about it?
Also, I am not sure the degree of difference between very and extremely. I am extremely happy is how much more than I am very happy? 5% ? and between fairly clean (3 stars) and very clean ? 40% ?
Melinda298
Level 2
Western Cape, South Africa

Agree!
The new review system looks set to drop star rating performance for hosts (and probably for guests too) - and the prospect of remaining a Superhost seem very slim and, for new hosts, the prospect of achieving Superhost status looks close to impossible. In fact, retaining or gaining Superhost status looks Extremely unlikely, even Very unlikely.

Also agree that Airbnb considers 4 stars negative and the qualifiers used complicate the process and appear predisposed to 4 stars. Even for reviewing guests, I had to force myself to ignore the qualifiers as a guest described by those qualifiers would be truly exceptional!
The 5-star rating system is widely used and understood - the qualifiers are unnecessary.
Perhaps Airbnb is trying to thin out the number of Superhosts, or even their number of listings (considering that a below 4.3-star average can result in Airbnb permanently removing a listing). 

As noted in Thorn Point's handy Airbnb Review Etiquette, "Airbnb holds hosts to a strict 5-star-or-bust expectation. They take any review that is less than 5-stars to indicate that there are major problems with a property or host. ...
Because of this, receiving a 4-star review is very damaging to a host."

While the above remains unchanged, Thorn Point's Guest Rating Guide is sadly no longer applicable (i.e. 5-star: Nobody is perfect, but I enjoyed my stay! 4-star: There are several issues that need to be corrected. 3-star: There are major problems etc), since 5 stars now seems reserved for extremes and 'perfection'.


I now dread reviews (getting And giving), even though I am confident that my listings are great value for price, professionally cleaned and that I have taken considerable care to accurately describe my listings and communicate with guests.

Brux0
Level 10
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Paul661
Level 2
Victoria, Australia

Airbnb dont follow the new procedure they keep referring links to old policy when I showed them new one and asked for 15 to be reviewed they denied all of them despite the message thread clearly indicating  they had not read house rules and thus entered into a dialoge where I was explaining things to them then I got 1star obviously because of there mistake . Airbnb did not even remove the one where a guest was sleeping in beds without linen and I had to insist they use the linen.

Emilie
Community Manager
Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

Hi @Paul661,

I'm sorry to hear about this! Thank you for sharing you experience with this new policy here, I'll pass on all your comments to the team to take a closer look.

Emilie

 

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Gisele158
Level 3
New York, NY

I had a horrible guest experience this summer. The guest:

- violated house rules, including letting dogs on the sofa (I asked that he cover the sofa with a sheet)

- damaged my property (broke a wall)

- disputed host fees that were clearly listed AND discussed and agreed to via communication via portal

- left a retaliatory review full of lies. I have photographic evidence to refute not just the damage, but the claims I was controlling the temperature. He put the AC down to 51 degrees (and I let him) and I have photos of the thermostat and the inside temperature

- accused me of extortion and trying to get money from him outside of the system (all of our communication was via the portal


Yet, somehow Airbnb gave him back the pet fee and let his review stand.

I called. I emailed. I tweeted. I chatted. I escalated. I went in circles and got nowhere.

My ratings went down from a perfect 5 star history. Then Airbnb sent me a note saying I was now in danger of having my listing removed.


One of the very worst customer support experiences I have ever had. If there were a viable alternative, I would take it.

I still want this review removed, but can't find anybody who will actually take action until it's resolved.

I just had a new guest do damage to the house and as a result of the above experience, I'm concerned about asking for reimbursement because I don't want to go through the same thing again. 

Airbnb needs to truly support hosts and not just give lip service. 

@Jenny
@Emilie 

@Catherine-Powell 

Bhumika
Community Manager
Community Manager
Toronto, Canada

Hello @Gisele158 , I went on to check about your concern and it seems that there has been no recent open ticket regarding this particular instance. Had you raised this particular concern in August before the updated review policies? If yes, I recommend you connect and follow the process as mentioned in the new updates. I hope you get to solve your issue soon.

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Gisele158
Level 3
New York, NY

Bhumika -

I tried 2x to re-start the conversation and when I tried to open a support ticket, the guest in question is not one of the last 3 guests, so selecting them was not an option.

Ivy wrote to me yesterday and I responded and have not heard back for over 24 hours.


Clara116
Level 10
Pensacola, FL

@Gisele158I read your post and was on your team and felt so bad for you and I was going to post and tag all the top Airbnb folks UNTIL I read your final line (" Airbnb needs to truly support hosts and not just give lip service"). I get it you are frustrated completely BUT your final line does not promote or encourage those folks jumping on board to help you out.

You can tell me to pound salt as they say - but I'd suggest you ask and thank them in advance for their help, cause they are the folks that can do something to get you exactly what you want.

That Honey/vinegar saying is True.

Just my thoughts....good luck Gisele. Peace, Clara

Gisele158
Level 3
New York, NY

Hi Clara -

After 20+ hours, multiple calls, texts, emails, tweets, chats, etc. explaining the story from the beginning each time and getting absolutely nowhere, I ran out of honey.

Wende2
Level 10
Church Creek, MD

@Jenny @Emilie   Hello.....why is it every time there's a supposed update for the host, the next paragraph is always better for the guest.  It really is insulting.

 

I've been complaining about location being horrible as a star rating.  We're getting dinged for not being close to where the guest wanted to visit.  For some reason, they can't think for themselves to put my address and where they plan to go, or the intended event address in maps.  Yrs ago I received 3* from a guest that thought I was located near his golf tournament, a 2 hr around trip drive, he's fault not mine, but guest who lost the 5* rating.

 

And don't get me started on the "summer release", since June I've had 20 bookings to date, and a loss of over $4,000, may not be much to some, but for me it's a hardship.  They keep adding categories, but I don't see Nature Lover as one, which would describe my listing to a T.  Now I see your commercials are guiding people to...spectacular pools & OMG!...isn't that wonderful, guess us everyday nice places don't make the cut.        

Jenny
Community Manager
Community Manager
Galashiels, United Kingdom

Hi @Wende2 

 

Thanks for your feedback - I've made sure to note it for the relevant team to review.

 

We appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

Jenny

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Wende2
Level 10
Church Creek, MD

@Jenny...Hello...Thank you, I appreciate it.

@Jenny  @Catherine-Powell 

Just thought I'd pass along how this new review system is negatively impacting hosts and how guests are NOT using the "optional extras" as bonus points, but rather as defining criteria for awarding fewer stars. 


On Facebook today a 4.99* host just received a 4* review.

First, the guest marked the host down for Accuracy because the listing photos taken in June (summer) were "too nice" and didn't match what the home looked like in November (winter). Stars taken off because the guest didn't feel he could check off "Photos are accurate" because it wasn't as sunny in winter time. 

>>Without the prompting of those "Optional extras" aka "defining criteria", it would never have occurred to the guest to mark the host down for the photos looking different due to seasonal changes.<<


The guest then gave a 3* review for location because there are no sidewalks and the cars drive fast on the roads so the area is not walkable. So the host was marked down because the guest couldn't check "walkability" as a "defining criteria". 
Again...

>>It never would have occurred to this guest to even think about "walkability" or sidewalks (which are 100% beyond a Host's control) if you people hadn't put this  idea in the guest's head. <<  
I personally would fight this review for "conditions beyond my control".

The guest also marked this host down for Value for "bland scenery". In winter. In the woods. You can't make this ** up. **

>>Have I mentioned that had someone ** not come up with these "optional extras" the guest would never have thought that winter seasons = bland scenery?<<

**. They are absolutely oblivious to reality in Hosting. These optional extras need to go away. Now.

Now you have an actual example of what we have been saying since you first mentioned the new system. I'm sure there will be many more bad reviews because you've tainted the guest's opinion.  Do you people FINALLY understand what we hosts are fearing?
Is anyone paying attention? This new review system is an EPIC FAIL.


Fix it.

 

** [Inappropriate content removed in line with the Community Center Guidelines]

Emilie
Community Manager
Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

@JoandJoe0 Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns about the reviews system. I will pass everything you have mentioned to the wider Airbnb team to take into consideration when making future product changes.

 

Your feedback is always important to us as it shapes the updates made to the Hosting experience. 🙏

 

Emilie

 

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Tina9064
Level 5
Fairfield, CA

Please, it is important that hosts' opinions and comments are passed on to the teams at AirBnb. While JoandJoe0 may not be the most diplomatic commentator here, I can assure you this person is speaking for numerous other hosts.

 

Personally, I don't think these recent decisions and changes to AirBnb policies are even remotely in support of or favor hosts, rather significantly skewed towards guests. At some point, AirBnb needs to ask themselves who is supporting the concept on which the company was founded? That would be good and responsible hosts, who opened their homes up to travelers and now must deal with decision after decision that is impacting their safety, earning potential and reputations.

Terrill0
Level 6
Dresden, ME

I’m super happy I booked a stay with Airbnb for this weekend because I cannot wait to see how this new review looks from the guests perspective…

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