I have to assume that most hosts have dealt with guests that have broken a rule, damaged property or were simply not great guests. But the concerns were not grave enough, or because of fear of retaliation, or we gave them pass, that we didn't end up commenting about their behavior on the public review. I think it would be useful for hosts to be able to leave private comments that are available to future hosts in regards to specific guest.
@Juan63 I'm sure no host would object to such a thing, but I can't imagine Airbnb facilitating that in any way, as they seem to think we should accept every guest, no matter what. I know there was a Facebook guest blacklist group that got shut down. I just wish all hosts would be honest in their reviews.
I can definitely see it being used in a horrible fashion. This was more for an open discussion on how it could work. Another idea was a more robust rating system about guests for hosts. Less about writing your grievances, more about better guest vetting.
@Juan63 So what are your ideas on how this could be set up and work?
As far as a more robust rating system, that would be great, but I can't see Airbnb showing any interest in that, either. There's a calculated reason why hosts are only given 3 categories on which to rate guests, when guests are given twice that many to rate hosts, as well as pages of questions asking whether there were things like toilet paper or a towel.
Not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, just being pragmatic. Hosts discuss so many logical improvements here, that are either totally ignored by Airbnb, or addressed in some watered-down fashion that doesn't even come close to solving the issues.
I don't think we know what Airbnb will or will not do and I'm sure it's calculated. As big as they are, they have to be careful who they get mad. I think we should simply have more information. One example: host gives guest three stars for communication. The host should have following up questions that are either multiple choice or write in. This information should be available to hosts. I'm not saying this is the answer but collectively a better solution should be available.
@Juan63 Yes, more explanation of why a rating was given would certainly be helpful. I might rate a guest low on communication because I'm a home-share host and although the guest answered pre-arrival messages and gave their ETA accurately, they might be socially inept and and a poor communicator face-to-face, which isn't a good fit for a home-share. But entire-home listing hosts wouldn't necessarily be fussed about that aspect of communication skills.
Personally, I would like to see star ratings eliminated entirely, because they are so subjective, and, as you say, there is no explanation. And non-IB hosts can't even see guest star ratings, which I don't understand at all, it just seems like a punishment for not using IB. Whereas a written review makes things clearer and hosts can judge for themselves if something one host objected to would be an issue for them.
This obsession with star ratings these days, where people are asked to rate everything from their restaurant meal, to the place that changed their tires, to the service they got from the bank teller, is way over-the-top, IMO.
If there were a function to leave an explanation, I wouldn't want it to be multiple choice, because I just know the choices Airbnb would give would be inadequate. Have you ever gotten one of their rating questionnaires after dealing with CS? The first question is (maybe not an exact quote) "Based on your interaction with XX, how likely are you to recommend Airbnb?" Well, I would never recommend or not recommend a place or a service based on my interaction with one employee, so that question is just stupid and irrelevant to me.
I am sick and tired of posts about reviews....of writing reviews,.... of review reminders and notifications..... of even thinking about them...
I quit playing (and being played by) the Airbnb review game a very long time ago. I never ask guests to leave a review (and never have done), rarely read my own reviews anymore, avoid looking at my star ratings like the plague, and gave up even checking my guests' reviews last year after I had the guest from hell, who somehow had 31 glowing reviews, and 2 mediocre ones. That was the straw that broke the camel's back for me.
Hasn't stopped me being superhost all 22 times since the programme was first implemented, though.
@Juan63 We see this over and over again, when hosts fail to comment on bad behaviors in their reviews of the guest, and it turns out that the guest has given them a bad review, you have a lopsided result where the host trashes the guest in their response while directly contradicting their own review. This ultimately leads prospective guests to assume that the host was the one acting in a retaliatory fashion.
I would not support a system that further undermines what little transparency we already have. As it stands now, hosts have to deal with the annoyance of Airbnb deliberately obscuring photos and surnames of people who are about to receive their sensitive personal data. And hosts who genuinely care about guest screening, the ones who don't use Instant Book, can't see the star ratings. So one more way of making the process yield convoluted results does not strike me as an improvement.
Also, as you noted, the possibility for abuse seems to outweigh any potential benefit. Airbnb is not reviewing each individual submission for violations of the content policy, so a severe violation of guest's privacy would easily go unreported if it weren't visible to the guest. I'd much prefer that hosts summon their backbone and write an honest public review - the language need not be scathing to get the point across that there were issues. Even if you just leave a trail of crumbs, as long as you have an active listing a future host can still contact you with questions.
I also wonder if this forum, with its tendency to magnify the worst-case-scenario situations, might be going a little too far to set up this Guest vs. Host dynamic. I don't think I'd want to enter into a transaction in something as personal as home-sharing if I felt like the interests of both parties were mutually opposed.
I totally understand your opposition but you are asking for transparency and denying hosts the ability to know why a guest received 4.5 stars is the complete opposite. More information is always better and the current system doesn’t allow for that. Throwing your hands up and going along with the status quo isn’t the answer either.
@Juan63 The best way to communicate what influenced your star rating of a guest is to write that in the public review. No denying, there is a censorship problem - it seems like a lot of less flattering guest reviews are getting removed, and that's a thing I would really like to see changed. But aside from that issue (which I've thus far managed to avoid, with some selective language choices) the system does allow for you to communicate what you need to. You just have to have the balls to actually do it.
That is so true @Andrew0 . I've read so many posts here from hosts who describe in detail all the behavior of a horrid guest that no other host would want a booking from, who then ask if they should leave a "bad" review for the guest. Who say they don't want to be "mean". Who fear they'll get a bad review in return, not knowing the guest can't see their review until they are both posted, or the 14 day window is over. Who doubt their own reactions to a nightmare guests and ask if they are just being picky. Who think if they honestly review an objectionable guest, that it will somehow make future guests not want to book with them. Who seem to think they are giving a character reference to the whole person, which will destroy the guest's entire life, rather than accurately reviewing their suitability as a guest.
I kind of wish that everyone would stop referring to "bad or "good" reviews, and just refer to them as "honest" reviews. If reviews aren't honest, there is no point in leaving them at all.
That doesn't mean we have to mention every little thing the guest could improve on. I had a lovely guest who cooked up a storm and always made sure to leave the kitchen clean. She was an awful dishwasher, though, bits of food and grease left on. Not worth mentioning, except to her privately. I'm sure she'll take better care in the future and she was otherwise a guest any host would be happy to have.
I wish hosts would leave an honest review. We have to be able to count on each other and be able to trust that a review is truthful. I've only had two guests that were unspeakably horrible (ironically, one right after another and at Christmas-time.) I told the truth in their review, no matter what they wrote in return. I owe it to everyone else to be warned about what they're getting. For the homeless couple that trashed our apartment to the tune of $1,200, the host the night before gave them a 5 star. There was no warning for me.
Seems to me if Airbnb's algorithms see a guest earn a 5 from one host and a 1 or 2 from the very next guest, their algorithm should automatically and "privately" re-survey the PRIOR host to see whether the prior host doubles down on their "5" rating, or whether they cave and admit "privately" that the guest really was a 3 or less, if truth be told. I bet upon being re-surveyed privately, Airbnb would learn who the bad apples really are given how many of us give folks the benefit of the doubt.