Review System Needs To Be Revised

in
Florence, OR
Level 10
4,519 Views

New standards for hosts are coming into play this year. Unless I am misunderstanding something, all hosts must maintain at least a 4.7 overall performance rating to remain on the AIrbnb platform. Super Hosts must maintain a 4.8 overall performance rating. Ratings will be based on the lifetime performance of the host (please correct me if I am wrong on this).

 

Those of us who have looked closely at the new method of rating our 'performance' believe it will result in many excellent, conscientious, well-reviewed hosts receiving warnings about their performance, including threats of having their listing deactivated; Super Hosts may lose their Super Host status. This should be a concern not only to all of us Hosts, but also to Airbnb Guests and Airbnb Corporate (the entire Community, really) for the following reasons:

 

1) Hosts will feel even more uncertain about how to intervene when guests are breaking House Rules, fearing a retaliatory review.

2)  Hosts will feel even less confident about enabling Instant Booking, as one poorly behaved guest could torpedo their ratings with an unfair / retaliatory review as 'Overall Experience' ratings appear to be calculated via a bell curve methodology versus a weighted average.

3) Competent, experienced, well-performing hosts may be driven out of the system / have their listings deactivated due to unfair reviews - Even one unfair / retaliatory review could cause untold damage to a host's business and reputation; in fact, it appears their listing could actually be de-activated if their rating is brought down below 4.7, even from just one review.

4) Super Hosts may lose their hard-earned Super Host status due to an unfair, retaliatory review.

5) Guests who cancelled are for some inexplicable reason allowed to leave reviews. So someone who never stayed in our listing could give a  host a 4 star or less 'Overall Experience' rating and our listing could be negatively impacted - Perhaps drastically.

6) From what I heard from Hosts who also travel through Airbnb as guests, when guests receive the prompt to review their stay, and their host, they are led to believe that a 4 Star rating is 'Good'; a 5 Star rating is 'Fantastic'. The truth of the matter is, a 4 Star rating is not 'Good' for us hosts at all, and can negatively impact our stats, our status, and our listing.

7) Hosts that have longevity on Airbnb will be unfairly penalized when the Overall Performance rating is determined by his or her lifetime statistics because a bell curve methodology is being used, versus a weighted average. Some hosts who have been listed on Airbnb for years are even discussing the need to delete their listing and all of their hard-earned reviews so that they can start over again with a clean slate. Also, new listings / new hosts sometimes need a learning period; they should not be forever penalized by ratings they incurred when just starting out. 

 

The other issue is that Airbnb seemingly is becoming more and more guest-centric - to the point where Hosts / Super Hosts fear retaliatory guest behaviors, including 'bad' reviews, for simply doing things like enforcing their House Rules or pointing out House Rules that were clearly stated in their listing, but the guest did not read. Also, guests who may have violated House Rules intentionally and blatantly are still allowed to leave reviews, which is of particular concern if the Host had to intervene when a guest was obviously breaking a rule. Sometimes these unfair / malicious / retaliatory reviews destroy a host's stats and can cause them to receive warnings that they need to 'improve' etc, or even cause a high-performing host to lose their Super Host status. 

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on all of this before putting this out on Host Voice - Particularly if I am not understanding the new rating system being rolled out in July.  I actually hope that I am grossly misunderstanding something - Maybe it is not as dire as I currently believe! My initial suggestion is that a weighted average be used, not a bell curve, and all sub-categories be factored into the 'Overall Experience (aka 'Performance') rating (currently they are not - I confirmed this with an Airbnb customer support rep and his manager);  I'd love to get suggestions from all of you to incorporate into my eventual 'Host Voice' post (unless another host beats me to it!)

237 Replies

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

in
Austin, TX
Level 10

@Rebecca181I agree that the review system is a problem. My biggest beef is: if a host can prove that the guest broke a rule (bad behavior, unreported guests, smoking, noise) or damaged the property then that unhappy review should not be allowed to factor into the host's stats. (A compromise is that the text could remain but the stars would not be used in the equation). Additionally, if the listing clearly shows that the guest is just flat out wrong about the thing that they are upset about then that review should be tossed (a fellow host recently gave me a 4* review bc: I charged her for an 8hour late checkout, did not have the ability to house her luggage after checkout & that I have guests sign a rental agreement. Hmmmm, ok, don't think I have to give you time for free, nor store your things after your stay and the contract is clearly listed in the listing. There was absolutely nothing that I did "wrong" other than she wanted something more than I offered. Why should I be marked down, when she should have booked what she wanted? This is a great example of a star rating that should get tossed.)

 

However, a couple things from your note: SH is calculated on a 365 basis (not lifetime) or the first 10 trips (for hosts who earn SH immediately upon beginning hosting), so the bad retaliatory review does have an expiration date for its ability to effect SH. I'm not sure if the overall rating posted on our listing is lifetime or also 365.

I'm not sure what you mean about bell curve for calculation, explain?

Guests and hosts may only post a review for a stay that is cancelled within 24 hours of checkin. (there is a very detailed thread somewhere in CC about why this policy was created)

I'm not sure that I want the minor categories to factor into my Overall score. All those idiotic Location, Value & Accuracy scores could make life worse for many hosts.

I'm definitely in favor of ABB being transparent and telling guests that a 4* is bad or revamping the numbers to reflect that fact the 4 is fine (4.5 or so).

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

in
Kandos, Australia
Level 5

I think airbnb simply don't want to deal with what would be an avalanche of correspondence if they had to adjudicate on matters. However something needs to change in the review system. Like you Rebecca, similarly, I had a guest who wanted to visit a town which was not very close to where I live. I emailed him back immediately and said, ‘you are aware that we are 1.5 hours away from where you are going, happy if you want to cancel your booking’.  You think I was just a little peeved when he reviewed and gave me 3 stars for location saying’ it’s a little bit far’ . If I want to go to London I don't book a house in Paris and if I want to go to the Blue Moutains Australia I don't book a house in Kandos 1.5 hours away. Hardly my problems but I wear the mark down.

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

in
Halifax, Canada
Level 3

I wrote "my place is 30min drive to downtown, this place is good for guest have a car and travel out town" in the room summary, people without a car will still book my place and leave me a 3 star rate for location.

I really want to know a way to get guest read all the information, and then book.

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

in
Nashville, TN
Level 2

I agree completely!  Guests just mark you down to a four for reasons out of our control.  I noted we live 15 minutes from Downtown and you need a car to get around.  Then we get knocked for "location" and no reason why.  

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

in
Noosa Heads, Australia
Level 3

Once a guest has booked I send a confirming message to check that the guest have read the description, house rules and location.  I totally understand your frustration. It does not seem fair that if your description has everything covered you are penalised for someone's poor decision.

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

Level 3

Completely agree.  I state at least 3 times in my property description that I live 1.1 miles from town.  I was getting so fed up of being marked down to 4 stars for my location that I added a line about my property not being suitable for people who want to be on the doorstep of the town centre.  After adding that, I'm still getting marked down to 4 stars and people are still commenting that I live outside the town centre.  It's really beginning to annoy me now.  What am I supposed to do to make it infinitely explicit to people that I don't live in the town centre and I'm actually 1.1 miles from the town centre?!  I'm fed up of being marked down for something that I'm explicit about and that I can't change.

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

in
Florence, OR
Level 10

@Lisa698 Airbnb is obviously a very 'smart' company. They could not be where they are now if they weren't. So why they allow these sorts of things to continue (e.g., the issue of guests reviewing  location, etc) when it just creates contention and bad feelings for us hosts is beyond me. If certain policies were adjusted / revised, there would be happier hosts who feel *truly* heard and valued, and guests would have better experiences as the power dynamic that currently favors guests and hurts hosts would be resolved. It really wouldn't be that hard to fix. I've already done it in my head. As have others I have heard from here. Why not use all of our (free, excellent) feedback to create REAL and MEANINGFUL change?

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

in
Nashville, TN
Level 2

agreed!  Omit the "location" option all together.  Description covers everything of that nature anyway. 

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

in
Swansea, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Rebecca181 

do tell us your proposal xx

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

in
Florence, OR
Level 10

It was soooo long ago, @Mary996  I can't ever remember! I became very unhappy with Airbnb's treatment of home-sharing hosts and as a form of personal protest I de-listed my very successful and popular offering.

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

in
Florence, OR
Level 10

@Shawn117 @Anna1267 Agreed. All us hosts know the 'Location' rating should not exist, and it pulls l our ratings down. Guests are in most cases not meaning to be malicious when they rate us low on our location, despite knowing exactly where we are,  but still, our ratings go down just the same. It's unfair and unnecessary. Time to get rid of it, Airbnb.

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

in
Kandos, Australia
Level 5

I think 'location' may be appropriate if, as an example, you thought you were booking a lovely beachside bungalow but when you arrived you found a huge sandmine right on the boundry or there were fish markets operating all night long with the smell of fish coming through the window.  BUT, you should have redress for something you specificallty explained like Anna above and myself who get marked down for what we explained in advance, and obviously if it is a problem for the guest they are not compelled to book.

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

Anonymous
Not applicable

Completely agree!!!!

 

Re: Review System Needs To Be Revised

in
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Level 1

I really appreciate you taking the time to high light this topic. AirbandB has unfortunatly has not taken their other end user in mind: the host. I've encountered quite a few things that were very unpleasant: guests that ignored the house rules, left terrible stains and when confronted they went all banshee on me. I did not feel I should have deal with such a stress inducing backlash. Airbandb was too passive, I did not feel supported at all when trying to get the aditional cleaning costs covered by the guests that created them.

 

Seeing NL has a max of 60days permitted by the Goverment to host their home, there is no way a host can make it to the standard of superhost unless they have many bookings of a few days. Which is a main complaint of neighbors in our City: the sound of suitcases coming and going, and new people rotating. This is what caused them to implement the rule in the first place. Yet Airbandb hasn't connected the dots in favor of the host..yet. Perhaps they overlooked the current points system and that NL hosts aren't able to aquire that level unless they've hosted for years with this new rule that's come into play. 

 

As for me having to cancel a guest more than 19days in advance due to unforseen circumstances: I got fined 50$ by airbandb.

That was my second cancellation, the first one was because I was basically hounded into using instant booking when I just became a host, not knowing exactly what it entailed and was still setting up my calender. I had to cancel because the timing didn't work out.

So eventhough I go all out for my guests, by additionally cleaning even the duvets+pillows after every guest, inquiring about their dietary restrictions and leaving them food+drink, having a folder with home manual, maps, emergency numbers, great places to visit and am there for them when they need me. I will due to the current rating system not rank well. 

 

I hope Airbandb is reading this as well, because the customer service seems to be copy paste answers, most probably outsourced to A.I.'s

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