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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124 Replies 124
Kristi5
Level 9
Washington, United States

Really really hate the "updated" review section. I'm not sure WHY airbnb chooses to constantly try to update something that is actually working quite well.

 

I agree with the wording; I can't even get "pristine" in a 5 star hotel but to ask guests if their stay in someone's home was "pristine" is asking for trouble and stars will go down from this.

 

I think (as a guest and a host) if the room is very clean, no hairs in the tub or bed and the bathroom doesn't look like a crime scene .... if I see a tiny dust bunny that was missed, I'm not gonna dock those hosts for that. It doesn't make sense and there is no reason to dock them for that.

 

airbnb is asking for something that is really hard to achieve within the bounds of someone's living space; especially if someone is renting a room in their own home. I have an apartment so it's completely separate from any family space but to expect a host who is renting a room to have it pristine is ridiculous. 

 

K

 

 

Bhumika
Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager
Toronto, Canada

Hi @Kristi5 ! Thanks for sharing your concerns. I understand your worry about the recent review changes , especially when you feel what already existed was good enough.

 

About this update in particular, the extra things guests can choose - like "pristine'' - are just like it says, optional extras. You'll still receive an overall rating, which is what counts. In case of retaliatory reviews, you can always request re-review, in case the remarks are removed, the ratings will also be removed. Hence, it will not impact you negatively. Guests won't be rating you on these extras, but can select them if any of them stand out. 

 

I hope this curbs your concern. Again, Thank you for the feedback!

 

Bhumika

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Kristi5
Level 9
Washington, United States

BUT don't you see??? That's the point. If a guest thinks "well it was clean, but wasn't '_pristine_,' so I can't give them a 5 overall score; I'll dock a star" is exactly where this is leading. 

 

Guests have a difficult time giving 5 stars anyway due to the psychology of "5 stars seems too much so I'll give 4 so it doesn't seem like I'm just giving away stars. They'll still have a good rating." Many of my guests are first-timers and don't understand the importance, as a host, of those stars.

 

We have another business and many MANY times, our clients have said "I didn't want to give 5 stars as that seems excessive, but 4 is good, right?"

NO. Four stars in airbnb isn't going to cut it. 

 

I'm in complete agreement that as hosts, we need to keep our lodgings as clean as possible; our reputation rides on our ability to give our guests the best possible place.

 

But when airbnb starts adding extra things to the review mix, those guests will not be able to decipher what is what.

 

From experience, if you give a kid more than say, five choices of something, they'll have a hard time figuring out what they really want and they'll just pick the easiest thing. 

 

I'm not insinuating guests aren't bright, but knowing that when I have clear instructions of where everything is in the apartment and I still get numerous phone calls and texts asking "exactly where is ______" when I've bulleted where that thing is .... makes me concerned about how guests will read and comprehend and answer the new reviews.

 

Sadly, this comment (as all of the ones others have made) will be filed away as "thanks for playing!" and nothing will be done about it.

 

Salma17
Level 2
Rochester, NY

Hi there all, I have to agree with the many hosts like @Kristi5 who have concerns about the new optional details regarding guests leaving reviews.

 

@Bhumika while I can appreciate that additional tags like "pristine" are optional, a guest who would easily leave a 5 star review for cleanliness would no doubt, pause and reassess that 5* rating once seeing the word "pristine".

 

Our lsiting has been up for 3+ years, we've had consistent 5* reviews, have maintained superhost status for the etire time and we work REALLY hard to keep it immaculate, but even I find the errant hair or dust bunny in obscure places after it's been cleaned from top to bottom.  If I was a guest in my own place, and was about to offer 5 stars, then saw that word "pristine" amongst other options, I might back track to a 4* if it wasn't absolutely perfect and didn't meet all the "optional" criteria.  It's simple psychology and it will have a profound (negative) impact on hosts who put in a great deal of effort to survive in this increasingly challenging environment.

 

I have worked exceptionally hard to maintain a high star rating, and I am very worried that these changes are going to make it even more difficult to stay in the game.

  

Do hosts a favour and eliminate the extra verbiage that's causing guests to second guess a great expereince.

Planting unrealistic optional extras serves only to detract from their own impression of their stay.

 

A while back Aribnb, used to give guests the option to select from a list of things the host did really well (after completing the stadard 5 start reviews of cleanliness, communication, check-in, locaton etc)  They could offer compliments on "extra touches, info on local attractions, outstanding ammenities, etc.. This was a far better system that allowed guests to give more detail in their reviews without influencing the star rating they way these new changes will.  That was definitely a better model. 

 

I'm looking forward to Airbnb taking host feedback into account.

Bubba-Lee0
Level 9
null

I think you're missing the point @Bhumika . By putting in key words such as "pristine" and "sparkling clean" out there in a guest's face, you are setting an unrealistic and unachievable standard of expectations for guests.  We are home owners sharing our homes. Homes that are lived in and not hermetically sealed. They are not "pristine". 

Guests will feel that if they can't check all these "bonus" areas that less than 5* isn't deserved.

I had the pleasure of staying in a very high end hotel in White Sulphur Springs, WV. Room rates start at $350/night up to $500+ per night for a room that is 150 square ft (10 x 15) with a double bed. I felt the rooms were very clean and the presentation was 5*. But they weren't perfect.  I have experienced more than a few AirBNB guests who would have given this room a 4* for cleanliness. This is a professionally managed top drawer Boutique hotel and guests expect me to be better than them!  Google "Greenbrier Hotel West Virginia".

We are simply home owners and both AirBNB and our guests are being pushed to expect *perfection* from us.. 

We already have professional scammer guests demanding refunds of cleaning fees because they find an errant cobweb that a spider erected in the 3 hours between cleaning and the time the guest checked in. Now you are prompting guests that normally are tolerant of the stray dust mote, or the water spot on the faucet to rethink "what is clean"? There are literally guests who look for a missed speck of dust that in no way affects their stay and would not be seen by anyone who didn't actively search for it and they exploit the "anything less than 5* is failure" standard that AirBNB has set to get discounts and refunds. Failing that, they leave less than 5* reviews, being careful not to violate the Extortion Policy, for hosts who won't be extorted into refunding cleaning fees or 25% off their stay.

A friend of mine who is a host had a guest go through her 100 year old house and turn over every rug and mat until she found a tiny bit of dirt. Within 30 minutes of checking in, my friend received 4 photos of "dirt". A tiny bit under a rug. A bit of lint from the duster that snagged on the bottom of a piece of furniture. And a photo of the banister area of the stairs showing a tiny paint chip the size of a pin head.  Clearly unrealistic. And the punishment was a 4* review.

Y'all need to stop pushing for perfection from hosts. And stop training guests to suck.

Bhumika
Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager
Toronto, Canada

Hello , @Bubba-Lee0. Thanks for the detailed experience you have shared.  Will make sure that this particular feedback reaches the team.

 

 

Bhumika

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Bubba-Lee0
Level 9
null

@Bhumika  it is the use of superlatives that is concerning.

I finally had a chance to review my first guest with the "new" review format.  The review asks if the guest left the place clean, if they communicated well, etc. The guest review is either, "Yes, they did X" or "Not quite and here is where they were deficient." 

No where are superlatives used to set the expectation of perfect behavior by the guest.  No where does it say, "Guest left home in pristine condition". 

The reviews of hosts by guests should set the same standard. "Was the home clean when you arrived?" No optional superlatives like "pristine" or "Squeaky Clean" should influence the guest in their review.

Guests will not see these as extra or bonus options, but as the criteria for whether or not the standard of 5* is earned. If they can't check off all the "options", they're going to feel the host was deficient and mark us down accordingly. It won't matter that we provided every thing as promised in our listing. The guest will consider the lack of optional check-offs as deficiencies in the host's performance.

And honestly, the location review really needs to go away. Guests can look on a map and see where a property is located. It's up to them to do their due diligence.  In most cases, they can even use G00gle Street View to see the neighborhood. A host is incapable of changing the location.  No one is forcing a guest to choose a particular location. 

Nothing is more infuriating than to have a guest book your less than prime location because it's less expensive than a more central (downtown) location only to have them mark you down and state they marked you down because you're not in a central location.  That's the reason it was less expensive. The guest chose value over convenience and punishes the host because they couldn't have their cake and eat it, too.

Wende2
Level 10
Church Creek, MD

@Bubba-Lee0...Hello...I have been complaining about location as a star for yrs.  I had a guest book for a golf tournament, he told me I was a 2 hr drive round trip, I'm thinking why didn't you go on maps and put my location and the tournaments in.  He gave me 3* for location, I'm sure there's probably millions of us that have gotten less than 5* from such people. 

Lorna103
Level 2
Springwood, Australia

I agree with your comment about location. What does it even mean in terms of an airbnb rental ???

Guests should be aware of the approximate location when they book and if it doesn't suit their criteria they should look elsewhere.

As for the star rating: I think guests who are first time users of airbnb may be confused eg. I had a guest who gave 5 stars for every category but gave 3 stars as the overall rating! Of course  that is the one that matters in one's  published rating. 

 

Robbie54
Level 10
North Runcton, United Kingdom

@Bhumika @Jenny if I've read the new update correctly retaliatory reviews can be removed upon request if a guest "commit a serious policy violation".  What if a retaliatory review is done in a manner that on its surface seem a reasonable review but is in fact retaliatory? For example give 3 stars for cleanliness but the place is spotless, or gives 2 or 3 stars for value but the property or room is very reasonable for the price? I could go on, my point is there are a myriad of ways for guests who have an unreasonable issue with a host to give them a low score and there's nothing Airbnb can do about it, because it's the guests "opinion" on their stay. 

Another problem is proving a guest has committed a serious policy violation. In some instances it can be difficult to do so where it ends up as their word against yours. 

Then we have the constant issue of customer services. They are poorly trained staff who don't know their own rules. Even with these changes try getting a retaliatory review removed, virtually impossible according to some recent posts.

And why a "serious" policy violation, why not just a policy violation? In my opinion if a guest has committed a policy violation then they should be exempt from giving a review. 

 

Bhumika
Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager
Toronto, Canada

Hello @Robbie54 

 

I have noted your concern and shared this feedback with team, we are trying to elaborate more on this feedback. Will get back to you once it is addressed. Thanks for bearing with us.

 

Bhumika

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Robbie54
Level 10
North Runcton, United Kingdom

I'll be honest @Bhumika ,Airbnb have, as they always do, over complicate things, they continue to make it worse than before, then more issues arise.

First off, start training your staff properly. Secondly, listen to hosts when they have a guest issue. It's a host's livelihood we're dealing with here, most guests wouldn't care if they get a bad review as they can easily change their profile, hosts cannot. 

I'll be honest again, I'm only with Airbnb because they're relatively cheap compared to other platforms, if you were the same cost as everyone else I'd be with another platform because of your dire customer services and review system. 

Lori2666
Level 3
San Antonio, TX

The new review categories are worrying many guests. They are a really specific set of rules that will hurt our reviews. These are not welcome. 

For instance, some are in downtown locations or just simple neighborhoods and won’t all have “beautiful surroundings”.

 

Now there are too many things for guests to check and subconsciously if they only check one or two this will lower their view of your place.

 

Flexible check-in is also weird. What if guests want to check-in early or checkout late? If the house is not available they will now rate us poorly.

 

And “lots to do” - what if the point is to get away and relax?

 

And “pristine” kitchen? I would think, well it’s very clean, but pristine??? Hmmmmm. That’s a strong word.

 

These are bad news.

Sybe
Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager
London, United Kingdom

Hi @Lori2666 ! Thanks for sharing your concerns. I understand it's a bit daunting to see changes to something like reviews that already have a huge impact on Hosts.

 

The extra things guests can choose - like "lots to do" or "pristine kitchen" - are just like it says, optional extras. You'll still receive an overall rating, which is what counts towards your Superhost status as well. Guests won't be rating you on these extras, but can select them if any of them stand out. 

 

We're passing on all feedback so thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here!

 

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Huma0
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

@Sybe the point that @Lori2666 and others are making is that, if you introduce these 'optional extras' to guests, it is going to make them stop and think about it during the review process and it WILL colour the review and ratings, including the overall rating, for some of those guests.

 

Sure, some might be sensible enough to ignore the extra questions that are irrelevant, but others won't.

 

And what, exactly, is the point of it? Guests can already give a 1-5* rating for cleanliness. Why do they need to specify the listing was 'pristine'? WHY ON EARTH are guests being asked to feedback on how flexible the check in was? I thought that Airbnb was supposed to be helping us by getting guests to RESPECT the house rules, including check in time, not encouraging them to think we could have been more 'flexible' about it.

 

You've said that it's helpful feedback for hosts, but is it? How is it helpful? The host already knows if there is 'lots to do' in their location or if the surroundings are beautiful, and, if there isn't/they are not, what exactly is the host supposed to do about it? 

Bubba-Lee0
Level 9
null

@Sybe  Do you and @Bhumika use the same generic script to respond to queries?  Is it a plug-and-play form letter? You use the identical phrases and formatting... And punctuation.   

Hi @Lori2666 ! Thanks for sharing your concerns. I understand it's a bit daunting to see changes to something like reviews that already have a huge impact on Hosts.

 

The extra things guests can choose - like "lots to do" or "pristine kitchen" - are just like it says, optional extras. You'll still receive an overall rating, which is what counts towards your Superhost status as well. Guests won't be rating you on these extras, but can select them if any of them stand out. 

 

We're passing on all feedback so thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Hi @Kristi5 ! Thanks for sharing your concerns. I understand your worry about the recent review changes , especially when you feel what already existed was good enough.

 

About this update in particular, the extra things guests can choose - like "pristine'' - are just like it says, optional extras. You'll still receive an overall rating, which is what counts. In case of retaliatory reviews, you can always request re-review, in case the remarks are removed, the ratings will also be removed. Hence, it will not impact you negatively. Guests won't be rating you on these extras, but can select them if any of them stand out. 

 

I hope this curbs your concern. Again, Thank you for the feedback!"

Bhumika
Online Community Manager
Online Community Manager
Toronto, Canada

Hello, @Bubba-Lee0 

 

Haha, such an inquisitive outlook!!! 😆 I wanted to let you know that I am particularly new to the community center (You can know more about me here.) Having said this, I am still learning on how to relay information more effectively and correctly. 

 

I wanted to make sure that I am giving correct info and keeping a track of each query being replied. So I may have referenced to Sybe's msg to be factually correct. There is no scripting here, just me trying to make sure, that as a newbie, I am still giving a correct response😉. Apologies, if this came out the wrong way.

 

But must say, you sure have an eye for details!!😁 

 

Thanks for understanding,

Bhumika

Bubba-Lee0
Level 9
null

@Sybe  The problem is the "optional extras" will influence a guest's opinion. You're putting preconceived notions in their heads.

For example, I always get 5* for check in because my check in process is flawless and seamless. I even get 5* from guests who have asked for early check ins and were declined because it is just not an option with my schedule.  I have a 6 hour check in window, (5 pm - 11 pm) which is very flexible. Honestly, most of my guests show up after 8 pm because I'm an interstate stop-over en route to other destinations. My guest last night showed up at 10:45 pm and it was no problem for either party.

Now AirBNB has added an optional check box for "flexibility".  So if a guest wants to check in at 2 pm and I don't accommodate them, they will now see the optional "flexibility" which will prompt them to think, "Well, they didn't let me check in early. They weren't flexible. So they don't deserve 5*".

Really, really bad idea.

And location is already problematic enough for us hosts who are not in prime locations. Location is literally my Achilles heel because I'm in a rural area. I'm not convenient to anything. I'm not a destination location. There is no mass transit. I'm 6 miles to the nearest Walmart or gas station. It is not walkable because I live on narrow country roads that if you tried to walk them, you would die. I have a hay field across the street. Nothing scenic. Just rural. I already get 4* for location because I'm not convenient even though guests know exactly where they will be when they make the CHOICE to book a rural location. Now you are prompting them to have even more reasons not to give me 5*.

AirBNB used to be about air mattresses in a room. Now you are catering to Luxury and OMG! locations and really giving the middle finger to those of us who embody the original and traditional concept of AirBNB.

 

Wende2
Level 10
Church Creek, MD

@Bubba-Lee0..I too am very rural, Maryland's eastern shore.  Fields as far as the eye can see, lucky for me I'm just 5 mins from the main attractions for this area, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and The Harriet Tubman museum.  Although depending on when you're here, you may be in a line of traffic, going 20 mph behind a huge tractor, some people won't pass if there's a solid line, wonder what stars I'll get for convenient. 

 

Altho since the "summer release" I've only had 20 bookings since June, I can't compete with OMG! or spectacular pools as advertised in the latest 2 commercials I've seen the past few days. 

Gillian166
Level 10
Hay Valley, Australia

@Bubba-Lee0  yes, agree with all that but i still get 4* for check in..... *sigh* we have self check-in! some people get lost because they didn't read the instructions, even though I tell them TWO times to have the app installed on their phone and to use the How to Get Inside function, which has step by step photos. Still i get people calling me from the other end of the road, even though we have a number on the farm and TWO farm logo signs.  So because they decided to go it on their own, and they really don't have the smarts for that, I get dinged in the review.

 

and Location.... yes I feel you. They want to be on a farm and enjoy the solitude, and see stars without city lights, but will also complain the gas station is 12 mins drive.... and ABB has the audacity to write "tell the host how they could do better" !!! we can't move the location. 🤦🏼

Kristi5
Level 9
Washington, United States

@Jenny @AIRBNB !!!!!!

 

EVERYTHING@Bubba-Lee0  SAID!!!! ☝🏽☝🏽☝🏽☝🏽☝🏽☝🏽☝🏽☝🏽

 

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