As you know I share a lot of your feedback with Airbnb teams.
The Superhost team is currently evaluating the Superhost criteria. They’ve been hearing a lot of feedback from hosts both here in the Community Center and during research sessions. Here are some of the things they’re considering:
They would like to hear directly from you on these potential changes:
I will share the feedback you submit on THIS topic specifically with the Superhost team. These are not the only things the team is currently looking into, but they wanted to run these ideas by you first.
Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing from you.
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Excellent point about the 4.7 v 4.8 ratings. @Jessica0 and Henry, It’s too narrow a margin.
A four isn’t bad at all in the lodging business. A 5 is coveted, but a lot of the best hotels don’t maintain it.
We are not hotels and guests should not be comparing us to them, but airbnb is using the same language, so it’s going to happen.
It might be easier for the guest if the term were smiles or emojis or a scale from thumbs down to thumbs up.
Here I am, on the end of the line again!! :-))
I am so glad to see that the tech team are (A.) trying to improve the Superhost workability and (B) actually taking notice of something that us humble hosts say!
Thanks for the opportunity to have a say here Lizzie.
Okay @Lizzie - here I am once again with questions and a need for more clarity... because what I see in this new criteria are giant holes of misunderstanding and misinterpretation.
Also, I am starting from a different position than most looking for the rules to be looser - to me, the criteria to be a Superhost is not strict enough. There are too many Superhosts. There is almost no delineator between this "class" of host and any other host. As many have pointed out, there is little difference between a 4.7 non-superhost and a 4.8 Superhost. Airbnb is diluting the "benefit" of having a search function that allows for a guest to search only for Superhosts. Do a simple search for yourself of any city and see the listings that rise to the top without the status and then, with the status criteria turned on, the change will be almost imperceptible.
So, in general, I am not in favor of any of these changes personally. But knowing that my position will be in the minority, let me ask a few clarifying questions about this new "criteria":
@Lizzie- thank you for giving us a platform to offer our ideas and opinions. My opinions are often not popular so I hope that they can further any discussions about the topic.
P.S. And when are they going to fix the bugginess of the @ option? I still cannot pick from the drop down list at all....
I concur about the specifics regarding categories and stars and that airbnb Support needs clear follow through protocol surrounding backup when there are disputes.
Hosts have been penalized by “airbnb support” going against policy even with corroborating evidence, and it’s created harm and lost revenue.
It can be hard work to write good policy, but doesn’t have to be. It’s a professional necessity and it begins with very clear and simple policy language.
I found the numerical order of the points in the original post in this thread helpful, but the language frustrating.
10, 30, 25 days, 365 days (except wednesday’s and friday’s in leap years?). Too complicated.
4.7 vs 4.8...if .1% is the only difference between a host and a superhost, then what’s the big deal?
Im a big fan of the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method because it works.
@Lizzie1 how about this for simple:
1- maximum of one legitimate cancellation allowed per year and consider special procedures for chronic cancelers. (If airbnb eases up in the instant book cancellation penalties I might consider switching over.)
2- If the only thing that makes a superhost is .1% point..why is it so special?
3- all provable rogue and retaliatory reviews should be removed because they don’t reflect reality and create unfair harm.
A- the glowing narrative review that shows 1-3 stars. Clearly a misunderstanding of the star rating system.
B- the revenge review by a bad guest
In each of those circumstances there is evidence to substantiate the removal request.
4- change the ratings system by:
A- eliminating the location category
B- choosing new symbolism and nomenclature other than stars to eliminate the comparison to hotels.
Describe the new system clearly, simply, and specifically. Clearly, specifically and simply identify exactly what the guest is reviewing ie: the guest can only review if they stayed and may only rate/review based on personal experience during that stay.
1. For the sake of understanding, I would make the cancellation policy one cancellation per year AS LONG AS they do not take away the current instant booking cancellation policy or try to make that the host's one cancellation. We strive exceedingly hard to maintain our calendars across several platforms and multiple homes, but an occassional mistake does happen and it would be extremely helpful to have a grace cancellation even while we continue to strive for zero cancellations. This would also help solve Airbnb's site glitches of opening days that we have closed. (This has happened a few times).
2. I think the length of time suggestion of 150 days may help some long term hosts to achieve SuperHost easier. Those of us who rent daily will probably never have a problem here.
3. Removal of one outlier will help new hosts achieve Superhost with less worry, knowing that one bad guest will not hurt them. I think Airbnb is looking for a trend of low or high scores anyway (the reason for 10 trips).
Overall I feel the suggestions are an improvement to the system with the caveat in point #1. Thank you and the team for listening. Now if we just just improve the rating system...
I always have been under the impression that the Airbnb review system was originally a great idea, but over time it has sprung many leaks (and led to many abuses) and today it should be reviewed conceptually and perhaps rebuild somewhat.
It appears that Superhost was meant to be a 'reward', a recognition of a job exceptionally well done. If so, consistent high performance should be its primary criteria, not necessarily hosts succesfully traversing a minefield of pitfalls to maintain it once earned. I.e. not falling for the guest-asking-the-host-to-cancel trap, etc.
The 2nd problem with the Superhost problem is like tittering near a sharp precipice: 4.8 is Superhost, 4.7 is cool, 4.6 the 'nasty' letters will begin. If one has too few reviews, one could flip from 'hero' to a total 'looser' in a heartbeat. No wonder Airbnb hosts have become so jumpy over the last few years. Why not make it Superhost 4.7, Superhost + 4.8, Superhost ++ 4.9, & Superhost +++? Make the whole concept a fun game of incremental achievement.
Trying to equate a host that gets a string of 1-night stands to one with few guests per year is a mathematical impossibility. To me, no one should become Superhost unless being a host for 1 full year, for starters, and have a minimum of 10 bookings. The few-guests per year host will eventually qualify, they may have to wait longer, but I wonder how important Superhost really is for long-term renters anyway.
The issue of how to address outlier situations is a complex one. Airbnb's main concern is not to make 'enemies' of guests which today have an amazing amount of options how to hurt (and abuse) others; reviews, social media, the sensational press, etc. Couple that with the fact that there are few consequences to irresponsible behavior. It may behoove Airbnb to accept that reality and eliminate, without hesitation, 'outlier' reviews without apology or fanfare. Besides it doesn't do them any favors having such lunatic reviews and responses in its system by guests (or by hosts) for everyone to see. Some will scream censorship, so what, this is not a campus, it's the real-world where everyone needs to control themselves.
So my vote is, like it has been for years, is:
1. Allow 1 host cancellation per year.
2. 1 year minimum requirement to be eligiable for Superhost, 10 review minimum to accomodate infrequent-bookings.
3. Any review that deviates more than 2 stars from the 'norm' of a host, immediately gets flagged and is reviewed by a human before posting. This serves to prevent an abuse before it happens.
About the "outlier reviews": I think in this case an adjustment to the rating system would be more useful than a tweak to the Superhost criteria. Currently, a large number of the outlier reviews we hear about result from one of two situations:
1) The host has requested compensation for damage or fees for late checkout, extra guests, etc
2) The host evicted the guest due to House Rule violations.
In these scenarios, I feel that Airbnb should allow the text review but disable the star ratings, as they are likelier to be retaliatory than to be honest.
One the other hand, I've privately spoken with several people who have had nightmarish experiences such as being sexually harrassed and even assaulted by well-reviewed Airbnb hosts, and it would be deeply troubling if their reviews were censored and their ratings swept under the rug.
About the cancellations: I agree with @Alice-and-Jeff0 that the current allowances (extenuating circumstances, Instant Book exceptions) already cover justifiable host cancellations. A guest should be able to book a Superhost listing with confidence that the host will conduct themselves professionally and the booking won't get ripped out from under them.
About extending Superhost status to long-term hosts with fewer than 10 bookings in a year: it sounds generous, but if the ratings are generated by only a handful of "guests" (really, tenants in this case) I'd have doubts that they accurately represented the hosting skills in a way that's useful to future guests. It would also make a 4-star review for a 6-month booking extraordinarily devastating for a host. Perhaps 1 year is too short of an evaluation sample.
The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago 4.6 Google 4.5 TripAdvisor 4.0 Yelp
Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park 4.4 Google 4.0 TripAdvisor 3.5 Yelp
Palmer House Chicago 4.3 Google 4.0 TripAdvisor 3.0 Yelp
Those are the star ratings for the 3 top of the line in luxury hotels in Chicago. AirBnB demands that it's hosts do better than them just to fulfill the basic requirements at 4.7, not one of them would make it on AirBnB without threats to delist them.
The fact that AirBnB is talking about removing 1 review a year is not going to help much, when it allows retaliatory and flat out fictitious reviews to remain even when you can prove them to be lies or revenge. Guests know they did damage and you get a horrible review as soon as you make a claim. I suggest if there is a damage claim that until it is resolved no review is allowed to post and then only after it's been reviewed to make sure it's honest and factual which can be reference back to the investigation and messaging system.
AirBnB needs to either inform guests of how their review system works or change it to how the rest of the world sees it where a 5 means exceptional, a 4 a step above good and a 3 good. The expectation that a 5 is good and a 4 or less is bad just doesn't work fairly for any of the hosts if the guests are not aware of this fact. A 4 should be basic requirement at least and the old 80% 5 stars should be brought back or at least make it 4.7 for SuperHost.
The trips reviewed is not something a host can control and therefore should be removed as it has no barring on a hosts achievements and performance. This is especially true for hosts that have repeat guests. How many times is a guest suppose to say the same thing before it gets old?
As to cancellations I in all honesty think to be a SuperHost should mean no cancellations without cause. My daughter will only book with SuperHosts for this reason, she was canceled by a few hosts and it caused her extereme problems. She just doesn't want to take a chance anymore on a regular host.
I am more inclined to think that Superhost goes to short term rentals and a new title like Long Term Specialists go to those that do long term rentals. There is a huge difference between the hosting of short term rentals and long term rentals. Just for an example response rate and acceptence vs. declines the impact is no where near the same quanity for a long term host. A short term host can get 1-10 inquiries or requests daily or weekly, a long term host 1 or 2 a month. So comparing the two is just not an accurate picture of the response rating or the acceptance vs. declined rating. It's like comparing apples to oranges, they are both fruit, but that's where the similar traits end.
It's great to hear that some of our feedback is being heard and will hopefully be acted upon.
I think all of these changes would be improvements.
1. Number of trips - as someone who hosts both short and long-term guests, I see this as an improvement. I know that the two are very different experiences, but I don't agree that hosting long-term Airbnb guests is exactly the same as being a landlord (I have been one of those too) or that you can't go above and beyond for a long-term guest. I believe I go above and beyond for all my long-termers and I'm sure many other long-term hosts do and should be rewarded.
2. Number of cancellations - again, I don't agree with a lot of the comments here that it should stay at 0. We can cancel IB guests if we feel uncomfortable about them or they are trying to break house rules, but a host isn't protected at all from exactly the same situations on a request booking and heavily penalised for cancelling. A lot of the time the issues don't emerge until after you've accepted the request. Allowing one cancellation a year or one in 25 bookings would safeguard hosts, albeit only on a rare occasion, from guests that are obviously planning to disregard rules.
3. Overall rating. This would help as I'm sure many experienced hosts have experienced that one 'out there' negative review that they could have done nothing to prevent. However, I agree that the whole review and rating process needs a major overhaul for the reasons already mentioned by others, e.g. the disparity between Airbnb ratings and those in the rest of the hospitality industry, the discrepencies between what guests are told about the star ratings and what they actually mean in reality, the risk of retalitory reviews because of a claim etc.
So, there's still a lot more that could be done, but these are definitely a step in the right direction to my mind.
Re #1, I don't mind whether it is trips or nights. We're all working hard.
Re #2, I would like it to stay at 0 cancellations, with, as is the case now, allowance for extenuating circumstances like floods and discomfort with guests like those who announce they are inviting 12 buddies and their snowmobiles "for a couple of hours". No on-a-whim cancellations. That's me talking as a host and a guest.
Re #3, I'm with those who are looking for the complete overhaul, those who wish guests and hosts were told the same thing when it comes to stars. If 3 is "good" to a guest, then it should be "good" for a host. 1 and 2 can be for appalling listings, sure, then 3 is "good", 4 is "great", and 5 is "this host should be a superhost".
Superhosts would still have to get 5s, but guests would know they are facilitating this. Remove the veil.
I'm with those who wish, if we need to stay at 50% reviewed, that the review system were not so onerous for guests. If it was less an inspection report and more along the lines of how the host reviews the guest - quickly! on one screen! - then they would be more apt to review.
I don't know what to say about the outlier reviews. It's tricky. Others have put it well.
Thanks for asking for opinions!
I think an option to count number of days as well as number of stays would be much fairer. We are hosting in a gateway town, so we never have anyone for longer than two nights. This meant we became Superhosts quite quickly, where it can take a long time for people who host monthly or weekly.
I like the idea of explaining the star ratings. We just got our first overall 3 star rating because the guest didn't notice the check in time & because I was sick. I accept my being unwell ( even though my husband took care of them really well) meant it wasn't our normal 5 star hosting experience, but I think she would possibly have given 4 star if she had realised the consequences of one bad rating can be severe.
I'd like a better scale - 4.5 before you start getting warning letters, maintain a 4.7 average.
Here is what I think about the new proposals
1. 400 days minimum requirement to be eligible for Superhost, 200 nights with guests (50%)
2. Exclude 2 outlier low-reviews in these 400 days
3. Allow 2 host cancellation - with cause - for 400 days
4. Split the reward to be a Superhost in 3 categories - Silver with 80% or 4.7, Gold with 85% or 4.8 and Diamond with 4.9 or 90%. Give a star - as Good guest - to all who have above 4 and 75%.