The reviews system is being updated

Jenny
Online Community Manager
Online 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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111 Replies 111
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.        

JoandJoe0
Level 3
null

@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 utterly inane 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 sh!t up. But apparently some cubicle dweller at AirBNB did. 

>>Have I mentioned that had someone who is obviously desperate to justify his/her paycheck not come up with these stupid "optional extras" the guest would never have thought that winter seasons = bland scenery?<<

Seriously, whoever came up with this really, REALLY crappy idea needs to be let out of their cubicle more often. 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.

Emilie
Online Community Manager
Online 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 3
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 5
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…

Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

@Terrill0  please take screenshots. 

and I'm travelling across the country in a few weeks, we could stay in sydney with friends but i'm opting for an airbnb so I too can see this new guest review system. 

Terrill0
Level 5
Dresden, ME

From my most recent guest’s reviews it looks complicated 😂

JoandJoe0
Level 3
null

Like every other host here and on Social Media, I must add my $0.02 worth to say that what you try to sugar-coat and call "optional extras" will not be viewed that way by guests. They should be more accurately referred to as "defining criteria" for each main category because guests will use those criteria to determine how many stars to assign.  Guests will believe for each box they cannot check, they should deduct a star. And as those defining criteria are in many cases unachievable, i.e. "pristine" and "spotless", there are going to be a lot of really angry hosts not getting 5* for cleanliness because of these absurd sub-categories.

Out of curiosity, why are there no extreme sub-categories for guests?  Such as,
>"Left home in pristine condition".
>"Exemplary grammar in their communication".
>"Showed appreciation and left a lovely host gift".
>"Delightful conversationalist".

The guest categories are a yes or no. Did they follow House Rules? Yes or no. Why not, "They followed them perfectly!"

This new update continues to show that AirBNB is very critical of hosts and very lenient towards guests.




Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia


@JoandJoe0 wrote:

 
>"Exemplary grammar in their communication".

>"Delightful conversationalist".


@JoandJoe0  😂 you cracked me up with that.   

 

 

 

Jo614
Level 2
Cork, Ireland

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.

Sudsrung0
Level 10
Rawai, Thailand

@Jo614 

 

Good post I think you are right about that, 

 

STR Industry needs a reboot, more host like me hahah,

Bubba-Lee0
Level 8
null

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. 


Communication: 
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.


 

Wende2
Level 10
Church Creek, MD

@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.

Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

@Bubba-Lee0 

10000% agree!

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*

 

 

Bubba-Lee0
Level 8
null

@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! 🤣

Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

@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)

Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

given that guests agree to abide by all House Rules I think i'm formulating a new House Rule:

Review Removal:

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. 

Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

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. 

Emilie
Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

@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. 🙂

 

Thanks, 

 

Emilie

 

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Cam26
Level 5
California, United States

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.

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