As I'm hosting more and more guests and delve into each review that I receive and give, I find that there are quite a few major flaws in Airbnb review system. I do think that Airbnb should reconsider it and maybe seek to revise it--
1) Lenient Hosts and Inaccurately Positive Reviews of Guests
I have found that many fellow hosts are too lenient to their guests and thus leave inacurately positive reviews for their guests. For example, I have had a guest whose reviews from previous hosts indicate that he is "a joy to host," and leaves the room clean and tidy. Only one review expresses the host's "disappointment." The fact of the matter is that this guest is not a joy to host, but turns out to be a pain in the ass. Also, I have received tips on writing reviews from some fellow hosts that ask me to write polite words while ascribe their misconduct to "language and cultural differences."
2) Irrational Star Rating for Location
The location of my place cannot be better. I purchased this house only because of its location, and my realtor reminded me "location, location, location!" However, I don't know why two of my previous guests gave my location 4 stars. Was it just because my place was not next door to their faroroute tourist attraction? How do you evluate location? What's the criteria? I think this is way too subjective!
This has happened a couple of times. While my place is immacurately clean, one guest would give the cleanliness 4 stars only because another guest did not keep the bathroom clean after use. I have announced in my House Mannual that I do clean the guest bathroom on a daily basis, but I'm UNABLE to clean it after everyone, so I would ask all guests to maintain the cleanliness. Most of my guests would clean the bathroom after their use, but one or two have been really really inconsiderate and untidy, leaving stains, water and fallen head and body hair everywhere. This has affected others' stay. It turns out that two previous guests leave feedback (one made it public and one in private) about the problematic cleanliness of the guest bathroom caused by his/her fellow guest.
I feel that it will be probably hard for Airbnb to think of a better way to resolve these issues, but I do think that as hosts we are vulnerable, we open our home to strangers, and we need more objective and fair reviews. Currently, it seems that guests have more control over the review system than hosts.
Well, United didn't want to make any changes to their overbooking/compensation policy until one day, Dr. Dao was dragged off the flight...
I take it from your lead in comments that some of what you were saying related to advice I have given to others where reviews are concerned! Look it is entirely up to you what you say in your review or your public response. Basically all we as other hosts ask is that you tell us....would you host this guest again, yes or no! If the guests stay has been just ok and has not been a disaster, give the guest a bit of credit where you can because, ultimately you are the one that will suffer if you choose to crucify a guest over something that the guest may have misinterpreted.
All I am saying is don't give a guest a clean slate when they have been seriously difficult to host but try to do it in a concilatory way.
I have found throughout my life, soft soothing words get you much further than waving a big verbal stick!
I have way too "soft and soothing" words for my guests, even for the guests who used my bathtowel to wipe their dirty suitcase. Later, I found that the guests' new review was not great at all, which suggests that they have made another host disappointed! Thus, being accurate is more important than being "soft." Because if I had put the wiping-suitcase-with-bathtowel issue in my review, they would not have caused pain to another host! I still feel guilty that I was too lenient in reviewing them!
That's fine Huai, you do it your way, I will do it mine.
You speak here on the forum as though you have had nothing but trouble with your guests, but your reviews don't show that. Almost all your guests have given you good reviews. The only comment I would make, you don't take criticism well!! If a guest has mentioned some totally minor little thing they felt was not completely perfect for them, you have launched into them with a countering response!
In the long term I don't think that will do you the world of good. Prospective guests do read past reviews and as they become more experienced with Airbnb they take even more notice of past reviews, and yours show you as a host not to argued with! And personally Huai, I don't find that a good trait.
One guest said of you "Huai is a great host and I definitely recommend this room for anyone that's looking for a centrally located accommodation on a budget." In addition to that she made a 7 word throw away line that it was 15 mins to the Skytrain...not a criticism, just that it took her 15 mins,that's all.... which you then proceeded to tell her in your entire reponse that you step it out and it's 6 mins. You disagreed with her from your perspective not hers, so once having read that I feel she probably would feel less inclined to book with you again, or recommend you!
If you want to keep on taking good guests like that to task, fine Huai, that's up to you.
I have had over 110 hostings now....... 65 pretty good ones on Airbnb, and I have found over the last few years that one has to be prepared to accept and listen to feedback, in most instances it is not telling what was wrong, it's telling what can make you better, and that is all I try to do with my posts here.
But, as I said it's your call!
Thanks for your feedback/input. But I think you are judging me. You don't know me, and there is 99% info about myself and my guests you do not know of. You base your judgement on my post and the reviews on my listing. I can tell you that even though you meant well and wanted to offer constructive input, you are being judgemental.
1) You take my counter-reponse as INability to accept criticism. This is so so so INaccurate! You have no idea of how taking criticism has made me a better host! Since I started last Novemver, I have had guests offering criticism on the texture of linen, on the lack of an iron, on the lack of a mirror in the room... I accepted all these suggestions immediately and thanked them for helping me improve!
2) My counter-reponse is sometimes to correct the reviewer's inaccurate feedback. Regarding the walking distance from my place to the Skytrain, I felt necessary to respond and correct the guest, because she apparently missed the tips offered in my House Mannual, where I indicate if you follow GPS, it will take you 12-15 mins, but there is a go-through traffic in our residential complex which is a short cut that will save at least 8 mins. Quite a few previous guests missed the tips. My correction should NO WAY be perceived as inability to take criticism.
Still, thanks for your comments. Have a good weekend.
You are right Huai, you can't judge a book by it's cover, and when we post here on the forum, all others see is a 'snapshot' of that person and all I have to go by is what you have posted and I am reading. Although sounding judgemental, that is not the nature of what I am saying.
I can't begin to tell you how much help other hosts were to me when I started off with my hosting. There were about 5 here that offered good constructive criticism, sure, I could have seen it as judgemental, but I didn't, I saw it as making me a better host.
There is not a solitary contributor on this forum that wants to see another host fail and, lets face it, we could all find another use for our time....particularly as we are not being paid for it. All we want to do is help in any way we can but all we have to offer newer contributors is experience from our perspective!
That is great that you are taking feedback seriously and, acting on it. And you are right, it does make you a better host! But you didn't mention that in your posts, you just said how your guests needed a good 'dressing down'!
I said what I did Huai because, in your posts you almost sounded resentful of your guests, and the more you feel like that the more you will subconsciously look for problems with up-coming guests....'Oh, what sort of havoc is this one going to create'!
I wish you every success with your hosting Huai and if I came across as judgemental I am sorry!
@Robin4 Hi Robin,
Thanks very much for your reply. Sorry if I did not make myself clearer. I was hoping to explore a better evaluation system because the more I host the more flaws I find in Airbnb's current review system.
I agree we should not crucify any guests who have slight misconduct because we all make mistakes. But sometimes you may find certain guests just ignore others and your warning. For example, I have had a guest who drops toilet lid everytime he uses the bathroom. Even at nights when everyone is sound sleeping, he drops the toilet lid and that terrible pounding sound just wakes up everyone. Everytime he drops it, the noise gives me shock. I have messaged him multiple times. I have also put a sign on the toilet lid "Do not drop the lid. Handle with care!" However, he doesn't seem to care and continues to drop it.
I'm thinking getting toilet lid covers, but those covers are hard to clean if anyone leaves any waste stains on it.
My point is, hosts are more likely to leave guests positive reviews, "soft and soothing," forgiving those trivial issues, than the other way around, just in order to appear as great hosts with zero issues on the listing. Guests do not think as much, because their stay at your place could be once in a lifetime, and plus you have no idea where he/she has gone, but he/she could have just left you a negative review (maybe vengeful to your warning/intervention?) only because of his/her problem, not yours!
Yeah some are going to have annoying habits....that's a easy one to fix though Huai, just go to the hardware or the plumbing house and buy a 'soft close' seat....a pnuematic jobbie! That solves everyones problem.These days they cost about the same as the traditional seat and it just makes life easier for everyone. And as a side benefit it encourages males to do the right thing and put the seat down for women who may use the facility. No woman likes to park her butt on the toilet pan, and why should she, just because the male is too lazy to respect that. Particularly where guests are concerned, and for those that do not use one regularly it is something of a novelty just tapping the seat watching it slowly close instead of having to manhandle it all the way down to the pan....or even worse doing what your guest does and just let it drop!
It's a small price to pay and it does come with rewards for everyone!
I wish all problems could be solved as easily as that one!
@Robin4 Thanks! I will for sure check toilet seats tomorrow! Someone has also told me about seat covers, but I don't think that's a good idea because I have been to a friend's house and detected a little poop/diarrhea stains on the cover, and none of the family had noticed it. I imagine they might have been sitting on it for years... lol
YUCK!!!!! I don't agree with fabric of any desciption near a toilet....definitely not hygenic. I would never, but never use one of those toilet mats that are designed to fit around the pan....just the thought of what could be on that makes me shudder!!
Yeah, soft close seat is the way to go, and the mountings are universal, takes 5 minutes to change with no tools required. The only thing you have watch for is that the shape of the seat is the same as the pan!
1) Lenient Hosts and Inaccurately Positive Reviews of Guests
well.. this shouldn't certanly be taken as 100% reliable... I mean if someone stays at my place just 1-2 nights then I can't really evaluate how tidy and clean this guest is. If he stays a week or a month it would be different story.
Then, there are some guests who are maybe not ideal superguests to everyone but we would deffinetly host them again bc we really liked them :) Some things which doesn't bother me maybe would bother someone else.
2) Irrational Star Rating for Location
uuuh.. this topic was on CC and Host voice meny times but no avail... :( location of our apartments is really great (better then the locations of Westin, Hotel International, Esplanade and Sheraton in my town) and we also bought it bc of the location. But there is always someone who thinks location could be better :P The truth is, the location they THINK would be better is in fact worse bc of the noise from trams, bars and night life and they wouldn't be happy there for sure.