So, we recently had our first bad guests. We had accepted them as they had 8 reviews with a five star average. All house rules were ignored, cottage left a mess etc etc. They had requested an early check in, which I allowed, but stressed that they needed to check out promptly as we needed to sort out quickly for next guests. Despite this they still checked out late. It was a desperate rush to get things ready in time due to the mess and late checkout. In addition, during their stay they struggled to understand the heating instructions (none of our other previous guests had this problem) and suggested that I could make things clearer. Because I felt that perhaps I had failed in some way, I issued a partial refund, for which I received no thanks or acknowledgement.
After 13 days I left a review for them giving one star for for all categories with the exception of communication as they were very quick to call when they wanted something! They did not leave a review for me. However, their average star rating is still 5 stars!! Wow! Do Airbnb do this deliberately to con hosts into accepting bookings they would probably rather decline? And thinking about it, all our guests have either had full 5 stars or if recently joined none.... clearly, hosts can be knocked down by one poor review and guests don’t.... biased or what?
If I'm not mistaken, you like me don't do Instant Book, meaning we are never privy to Guest Ratings, only Reviews if they have them.
Still, I think like me, you primarily make a decision to accept a prospective guest based on communication.
Consequently, for non IB Hosts, I would suggest there is nothing to be frightened about in respect of Airbnb's Guest Ratings.
Similarly, I've rarely had a Guest who mentions my Star Ratings for better or worse. More frequently they do mention Reviews that encouraged them to book, along with the communication.
@Alon1 You are correct, I don't use IB so a guest's ratings don't really come into play for me personally. But just because it may not affect me, doesn't mean I'm okay with Airbnb puffing up guest ratings. Seeing as how Airbnb guests seem to be getting worse and worse compared to a couple years ago, and that the company keeps taking away more and more of the ways hosts use to vet guests, it is quite frightening that they would do this. Bad guests have no problem giving hosts undeserved bad reviews, so if a guest has proven themselves to be undesirable, making them look like a 5* guest is unconsionable.
re: 'Seeing as how Airbnb guests seem to be getting worse and worse compared to a couple years ago'
Where are you seeing this?
Have your guests got worse and worse compared to a couple years ago?
I can tell you mine haven't.
What we 'see' on the CC is a tiny fraction of the 7 million Airbnb hosts.
The time we see the greatest number of hosts is at quarterly assessment when a bunch of SuperHosts appear out of the blue to mention how wonderful it all is on threads initiated by Lizzie.
@Alon1 No, it is not my personal experience that guests are getting worse. My guests have pretty much all been wonderful. But I think that has a lot to do with the nature of my listing and the type of guests it attracts. When I said they "seem" to be getting worse, that was based on the hundreds of posts I've read here over the past year and a half or so from hosts who've been doing this longer than I have, who say they have seen a marked change in the behavior of Airbnb guests to one of entitlement and cluelessness about what booking an Airbnb means and how it differs from bookig a hotel room.
Which isn't surprising, as Airbnb systematically removes any impediments to booking and pushes IB, which allows guests to book without having to bother themselves to communicate with the host, increasingly takes the guest's side in disputes, and fails to remove bad guests from the platform.
There are several threads here where guests are asking if a listing looks real or if it's "fake". Some of those are obviously scams, as the URL the guest posts isn't an Airbnb URL. But many of them are legit listings. I've suggested to guests here that with those, they just message the host to get a sense of whether it all seems fine or not. The guests usually say, yeah, that's a good idea, I'll do that, as if the idea had never occurred to them- they seem to think that Airbnb means you Instant Book without communication. I think Airbnb has encouraged this concept.
I know this forum represents a tiny fraction of hosts worldwide, but one would think it is representative of hosts worldwide. If 30% of hosts here say that their guests have gotten worse over the years and seem to now expect that it's just a cheaper alternative to a hotel, I would assume that 30% of hosts worldwide are having the same experience. If this forum only consisted of say, US hosts, I wouldn't assume that, but there are hosts from all over the planet who post here.
Sorry, I'm still not convinced by your arguments.
Firstly, IB has been prevalent for about 4 years and there is no obligation to subscribe to it.
Hosts are still perfectly entitled to do their own vetting and insist on level of verification acceptable to them, so satisfy themselves as to the Guests they wish to take. Moreover, Hosts can still demand to see passport of similar ID on arrival.
For this reason my conversion rate has remained remarkably consistent with very few problems. I'm in 7th year of hosting and fielded 1,300 enquiries with a little over 450 bookings. That's less 35% conversion rate. Of the remainder about 50 - 50 is my choice not to host, and other half chose to book elsewhere. (I often then check how those who contacted me got on, and most times without problems, suggesting I dodged just a few bad guests.) -- Clearly I couldn't function as an IB host with these self-imposed strictures.
Secondly, I used to insist on full verification. Ironically, it was Susan whose railings against the shortcomings of Jumio (the 3rd Party Company used for verification) that influenced me not to rely on this process; and I dropped it when I gained confidence in my own judgement and vetting procedures. Many times since I've taken Guests with the most basic details, phone & email, and without even requesting to see ID on arrival. -- Though I believe this way of doing things can only reliably work for a live-in host.
Lastly, I don't believe we get a true or meaningful sample of Hosts on CC. This is based on my recollection of a vibrant London Host Community Hub which was sadly extinguished in favour of the current format. Following, only a small fraction of contributors continued posting on CC. Yet I can see from saved links that many of these London Hosts are still operating and continuing to function perfectly fine. Moreover, as I concentrate my research on my neighbourhood in London, not a single one amongst dozens if not hundreds participates on CC.
All in all there are 80,000 listings in London. I don't know how many thousands of hosts, but evidently well under 10% ever make any kind of comment on CC. Consequently, I would adduce it as a more reliable figure of the global picture that we see on CC.
@Alon1 One thing that seems to have changed about IB is that it is now turned on by default when a host first puts up a listing. I've read many posts here where new hosts didn't even realize it was on and couldn't figure out how they got a confirmed booking without being given the option of approving it.
Now, of course those new hosts obviously didn't go through all the settings to make sure everything was set to their preference, but my point is that when I joined 3 years ago, IB wasn't simply the default- I was given the choice. Now it appears that it is automatically applied to a new listing and the host has to be aware of it and change it.
As far as guests becoming worse, I would think that for some, like us, this hasn't happened, maybe because of the fact that we don't use IB, have a listing that tnds to attract a certain type of guest, and have developed vetting procedures that work well for us. And some places in the world seem to attract worse guests than others- specifically I've noticed that US hosts report the most of these entitled, horror show guests who don't bother to read through the listing desciption, expect kid glove treatment, manage to find a ton of stuff to complain about, think that Airbnb is synonymous with party house, and demand refunds for made-up or totally trivial things.
(1) A guest rating uses the average of three individual categories. Therefore, a guest has one stay and gets three ratings to average while a host rating is determined by one overall rating value. In this guest case, he had 8 reviews of 5 stars, which implies that he has 8x3 = 24 five stars in 8 stays. After he gets 2 one star and 1 five star from @Kate867, his average is (24x5 + 7)/(24+3) = 4.70
(2) When Airbnb displays a guest rating, it is not like the display of a hosts rating. A host’s rating is to leave the precision to two decimals, such as 4.96. You will only see a guest rating is 4.0, 4.5 or 5.0. It is displayed in every 0.5 interval. When a guest has average of 4.7 as calculated above, it will be shown as 5.0. Anything >4.5 will be 5.0. I am not sure if anything between 4 and 4.5 will be displayed as 4.5.
This is just my observation. You may try to verify at your end. Only Airbnb knows how they do the math. I believe that this way is another trick Airbnb uses to manipulate hosts in accepting bookings from guests.
I agree with your calculations, but it assumes all the other hosts gave five stars for every category to this particular guest and as there is no way of checking I shall always wonder? It just seems really skewed towards the guest not using decimal points but applying them to hosts. One four star review from a guest who only gave me four stars for check in process (it is a lockbox and I told him he could check in early, but would not give him the discount he requested) knocked my pristine five star record down and I will never see it again! It is just so disheartening and I will always be suspicious now when taking a booking from a guest. But many thanks for your input :)
I had this same issue recently and contacted Airbnb about a guest who was able to instant book with only a 2 star average. According to an Airbnb rep, the star ratings don't make any difference whatsoever. The algorithm only picks up on negative things written in the review. The guests also don't see any of the ratings you give them when you write a review of them. It's all very stupid and pointless!!