Can someone explain the star rating system?

in
Rapid City, SD
Level 10
220 Views

In this platform, hosts are rated on the basis of one to five stars. However, in reality it's binary. Four stars is a failure, and five stars is acceptable. A host who gets 100 four star reviews will be delisted. Why is it not a thumbs up, thumbs down system, and why are the guests lead to believe that four stars is an excellent review?

6 Replies

Re: Can someone explain the star rating system?

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

Re: Can someone explain the star rating system?

in
Rapid City, SD
Level 10

@Andrew0thank you, but I don't need help in explaining the system to the guest. I need help understanding WHY it is how it is. Why does Chesky think it's helpful or beneficial to have a binary rating system disguised as an incremented rating system? 

Re: Can someone explain the star rating system?

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Jennie131  It is a behavior modification tool. They want hosts to operate in such dread of anything other than a 5 star review, that they will bow and scrape trying to please a guest's every demand, and allow guests to get away with any outrageous behavior. Not to mention being afraid to file a damage claim.

 

And it works. There are posts here daily from distraught hosts, with horrid guests in residence or who left the place a disaster, saying they are scared to leave an honest review, or demand compensation for damages, because they are afraid of a bad review or retaliation.

 

Re: Can someone explain the star rating system?

in
Rapid City, SD
Level 10

Seems like an abusive relationship to me. My first husband set unrealistically high standards for me to achieve, knowing that these standards were not attainable. When I failed, as I did, he berated me, threatened me, and revoked "privileges" that were actually expected rights. I lived in fear, under an inordinate amount of stress, and bent over backwards trying to please him. Meanwhile, his co-workers thought he was a great guy, and often told me how lucky I was to have such a wonderful husband.

 

This is very much the same.

Re: Can someone explain the star rating system?

in
Berlin, Germany
Level 10

@Jennie131   I know that's a lengthy thread to read through, but the various digressions in it offer a summary of pretty much all the hundreds of threads on this topic. 

 

More directly to your question, obviously this system is not helpful or beneficial to hosts or guests - but it's not meant to be. So the real question is, how is it beneficial to Airbnb as a company?

 

A few ways it benefits their bottom line:

 

1)  Hosts are manipulated with both with carrots (Superhost badge, appropriately orange) and sticks (threats to delist)  into subservience to their listing service, often overperforming for their price point at their own expense.

 

2)  Hosts are kept so fearful about imperfect ratings that they act against their own interests to appease bad guests. Airbnb saves money every time bookings aren't terminated for rule violations, and damage claims aren't filed.

 

3) The dynamic sets up a subtle social pressure that inflates the rating scores, in effect overvaluing the quality of Airbnb's inventory.

 

I  would also prefer a simple thumbs up/down instead of all this, but star ratings generate thicker reams of data, and when you aggregate enough data it's a sellable commodity in itself.

 

 

 

Re: Can someone explain the star rating system?

in
Rapid City, SD
Level 10

It seems counter productive to aggregate data if the data is inherently skewed. 

 

Not only does this create an impossible standard for hosts, which fosters dissatisfaction and fear, but it also creates a horrible guest culture of entitlement and disrespect. Both are recipes for disaster for all involved. 

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