I’ve got a return guest who has become a friend of mine - I’ll refer to her as A.
A stayed with a host in Paris for a few days and due to some issues with cleanliness thought that the listing deserved a four star rating. She explained the reasons for her rating to the host in private feedback, but concentrated on the positives in the public review.
The host replied and thanked her for her four star rating. A uses a Airbnb a lot when travelling for work, but since this happened has constantly being declined by hosts she hasn’t stayed with before. She believes that the previous host knew this would happen, and did this out of spite.
Now Airbnb do not allow prospective hosts to see the actual star ratings that guests have given previous hosts, just their comments. A is asking me if hosts are allowed to mention the rating that a guest has given to them, when replying to their reviews.
Just to add, A is a great guest. She is upfront without being rude, and has never caused me a problem.
"A" could read the Airbnb policies, @Jane563 , to find out for sure, but I've seen ratings mentioned in replies to reviews, and they have stayed up.
Long shot, but since Customer Service is guest friendly, she could try calling or tweeting and calmly explaining that since that reply went up she has been unable to use the platform. I understand that a guest can have their own review of a host (and vice versa) removed in some circumstances. She might have to sacrifice her own review of the dirty place at which she stayed, but perhaps if it comes down, the reply comes down too?
Worth a try. Reviews are such a mess, aren't they?
@Jane563 The host can't go around telling other hosts about A. But did she give A low stars? If so, other hosts can see those stars when they get a booking.
I got an Instant Book this summer when I was in the car and couldn't investigate. When I got out, I saw the guest had 4 stars, so I messaged him that, given the 4 stars, I would have to have my housekeeper come by every day to check on the house, and if that wouldn't work for him, he could cancel at no penalty. He let me know that, although he couldn't see his star count himself (I can't see my own, either), he thought the low rating might have come from an unreasonable host. I checked his reviews and saw the one he meant, and it did strike me as unreasonable, so I relented and let him know the housekeeper would not need to check on him. He turned out to be an okay guest - not a great guest: he broke a coffee pot and denied it, but did pay to have it replaced.
Anyway, a low star rating for A from the Parisian host is the only thing I can think of. But it would be odd because the host couldn't have known that she would rate the place low overall.
@Ann72 it is a little confusing, but I think what @Jane563 is saying is that the host in question responded publicly to A's review and the response included the information that A left a four-star rating. Other hosts can see this response. I too would decline to host A. Why risk hosting a guest who doesn't understand that Airbnb's review metrics are broken or care about the effect of a four-star review on a host?
@Lisa723 Ah, I see that now. It was unclear because @Jane563 simply wrote that the host replied. When I read it over a rushed lunch at my desk I didn't understand that meant she had replied publicly to the review.
I'm not sure the Parisian host wrote her reply knowing what the consequences would be for A - the platform is so opaque that even the most experienced hosts can't be entirely sure that an undesirable guest will suffer - but she certainly used sarcasm.
@Jane563 I'm assuming that A uses InstantBook and then, after booking, gets declined? She's not sending booking requests?
Overall, though, I agree with @Andrew0 that A should have let the host know immediately about cleanliness issues, and then that she should only have marked her down for cleanliness, not the overall stay. Her action was a bit high-handed and I wouldn't want to host her, either.
I agree. The system of "star reviews" in my opinion is stupid. Do the guests star reviews also show? I had a guest who messed up my 5-stars because she said it took her 12 minutes to open the lockbox. Then she claimed she did not quite understand. I think the stars is bad and Airbnb should probably consider removing them and just leave words. only my opinion
@Debbie605 I totally agree and I've said that before on this forum. The stars are stupid and useless, because they are so subjective. What is clean to one person may look dirty to another. What is a great loaction to one may be a terrible location to another. The only way guests can get a sense of what a place is like is to read written reviews. A guest is lazy and doesn't like walking, so gives the place a 3*s for location. What does that tell a guest who loves to walk and enjoys the 20 minute walk to town and the beach from my place? Absolutely nothing. If they write that they found the 20 minute walk onerous, then the guest who loves to walk just dismisses that, because it doesn't apply to them.
@Jane563 I would first ask why the guest left a 4 star review to other hosts. And I also check reviews left by other guests to the host before I decide to accept this guest. I don't blindly decline any guests' requests for booking because that also has consequences on the listing and host.
Lisa723 has explained it better.
..” I think what @Jane is saying is that the host in question responded publicly to A's review and the response included the information that A left a four-star rating. Other hosts can see this response.”
I won’t let any guest who has given me four stars without an explanation rebook and I tell them why. But my friend wasn’t saying the Paris place was dirty - four stars doesn’t mean that. She gave the host reasons for rating.
She is simply at a loss why she can’t give an honest opinion. So am I.
@Jane563 she can give an honest opinion. And according to Airbnb, the honest opinion expressed by a four-star rating is "this listing should be removed." It's ridiculous, but it is a fact. I wouldn't want to host a guest that has demonstrated that they don't understand this fact; I block any guest that leaves a four-star overall rating from booking with me again. In A's position, if in fact my opinion was not that Airbnb should remove the listing, I would have left a five-star overall review, with four or less for cleanliness and a private message explaining why.
@Lisa723 That is exactly what I did for a host recently I traveled to. The host did have some cleanliness issue because I saw minor stains on the sheets and dirt particles and a few hairs on the floor.
Other than that, the host was nice and communicated well. I left 5 stars overall and other categories but left a 4 star in cleanliness. I also sent private message to the host and pointed that out.
It wasn't dirty, @Jane563 ? I understood that cleanliness was the issue, such an issue that knocking off an overall star, not just a cleanliness star, was well deserved.
An honest opinion is fine in the real world, to a point. My grandmother was always keen to point out people's "faults", calling it honesty, and we all could have done without that, believe me. But four stars in the Airbnb world hurts too much for many hosts to take a chance.
I don't cancel anyone for giving negative reviews, so I wouldn't cancel your guest. But I completely understand those hosts who would. I had a guest a few stays ago who had dished out a few negative reviews. I was very, very careful to make sure she understood what she was getting here, and it turned out fine, but what a worry.
Is "A" going to try calling Customer Service or is she going to give up on Airbnb?
It wasn't dirty, @Jane563 ?
An honest opinion is fine in the real world, to a point. My grandmother was always keen to point out people's "faults", calling it honesty, and we all could have done without that, believe me.
Are we first cousins? My grandmother was "honest" with a bit of a mean streak.