I am starting this conversation to bring attention to the MANY flaws in the Air BNB guest review system and the impact these flaws have on us as hosts.
Id like to start off by saying that I love the entire rest of the platform, app etc and have nothing but good things to say about it all.
The Guest review system and Air BNBs complete lack of concerns for my complaints regarding have been EXTREMELY frustrating. I have called in several times now to outline and detail these flaws, have received the exact same “non response” every time and there’s been absolutely no follow up or changes whatsoever.
I will list the issues below in short form. I can go into much more detail on all of them and add ideas for solutions if Air BNB is actually interested in hearing it.
Please add to this conversation so that MAYBE they will actually address the issues.
1) Guests do not have to justify all or any of their reviews in any way at all. Explanation should be required.
2) Guests do not have to raise concerns by contacting a host during their stay which would give us an opportunity to address them. Instead they can say nothing the entire time and blast you in a public review.
3) Guests can outright lie in their reviews and as long as it doesn’t violate Air BNBs conduct policy Air BNB will not do anything about it.
4) Guests can leave 5 stars in every individual category and then a 4 star overall rating (for no particular reason) and it ends up being the 4 star that goes on our record. It SHOULD BE averaged across the categories
5) Air BNB offers no help to hosts when it comes to explaining to guests exactly how the review system works and exactly how much it affects us as hosts.
6) The “Value” category should not be a part of it that affects us as hosts at all. I have absolutely no control over what a person perceived as good or bad “value”
7) When guests have negative feedback that is Air BNBs fault or there own because they don’t know how to use the site/app properly it can potentially harm our ratings but there is no contingency for that. (I had a guest claim that claims he didn’t receive any checkin instructions in an email and also didn’t have access to them in the app who then waited until they arrived and were already angry to inform of me of this)
8) When trying to address these issues with Air BNB they have been incredibly unhelpful with no promises of addressing any of these issues or of a follow up of any kind at all.
Actually @Brock11, this is what would be considered a retaliatory review and is the precise reason that we can't see reviews until we've left one (a policy I happen to strongly agree with). Guests should be rated on their behaviour as guests, not the review they have left! Unfortunately this is out of our control. However, another good thing is that we do have the opportunity to respond to reviews publicly, thank goodness, because imagine how much more frustrating it would be if we couldn't!
I understand and agree with what you’re saying but regardless of being able to “respond” the review stands no matter what and affects our average no matter what and there is absolutely no way of warning other hosts about these particular type of ignorant guests.
I've been a super host for two years and in all that time I've never given a bad review, just an occasional mediocre one! AirBnB used to ask if we had private comments to share with them, but that option seems to have disappeared. Since then, if something has been of concern to me as a host, I've been reluctant to review the guest except with a more bland word such as "fine." But I will select "no" when asked if I would recommend (which has happened maybe three times!).
It's a dicey process. Can be challenging on both sides. And different for different types of rental situations (in owner's home, separate, location, etc.).
THAT is the problem. I had a guest that communicated with me every day about where to eat, where to see redwoods, which beaches to go to, etc. I gave them 5 stars for communication. Turns out that the deadbolt on my door was not working (the handle was fine and the door was able to be locked) and they never mentioned it in all those communications. It is a full house rental, but I live on the property about 20 feet away, they could easily have told me in person, sent a message, left a note, anything. They also said only one bed was comfy. I have been hosting 3 years and never heard that, but had they told me that while they were here, I would have done everything to make it better. It took me about one minute to fix the lock, and I would have gone immediately to get a mattress pad or whatever they'd have needed. Instead, 3 star review! One of 5 total in almost 3 years, the others from way back when I started. Oh yeah, I ALWAYS ask, pretty much each day a guest is here, if they need anything or if they are having any issues! So they get 5 stars for communication when in fact they were not communicating well at all....
I totally agree, I have been too nice in my reviews because everyone seems so lovely, and generally I only meet them on arrival as the Annex is entirely self contained.
I just received my first ever negative review ( it was done privately thank goodness) but the guest gave me 3*. To date I’ve only had 5* review and I am ridiculous upset by his untruths and I assume I’m going to lose my super host status.
Needless to say muggins here gave him a lovely glowing review! So unfair, I will be less friendly in the future cause you just never know!
Well I must be doing something wrong @Kath9 As quite a few times Ive written reviews for guests that have never been published and when I have asked CS I was told they would be published only IF the guest also wrote a review.
I can say though that I have only had one really bad guest that I wrote a review for and it was taken down because CS claimed it was racist as I mentioned it was an Indian family.
Ordinarily I write reviews for all my guests, But I cant be bothered hassling guests to write a review for me, and unless im doing something really wrong they are not all being published even when they are usually praising a good guest.
Maybe next time :)
@Lynette57 Reviews are ALWAYS posted when the 14 days of review period is over. They are not posted in chronological order - so that could be the reason why you didn't notice them? If only one part leaves a review the review is not published before after the 14 day review period is over.
The points listed above are very valid. And there are tons of complaints related to them in this forum. I can add two to the lists which had been mentioned and had annoyed hosts a lot
(1) A guest could still leave a review without staying in the host's place as long as the booking is not canceled 12 or 24 hours prior to check in.
(2) A guest is allowed to leave a retaliatory review when there are some kinds of confrontations such as arguments for some issues, damage claims, violation of house rules, guests wanted to cancel after checkin etc.
The remedy for those two are just not allow reviews on both sides if Airbnb wants to be fair to both sides.
Ebay has a mutual revision process for reviews. I personally would never. Pay a guest to revise it, but sometimes they just simply don’t understand how detrimental it is to Host to get four stars as many mentioned here. Some of those guests will happily revise if they learn the consequences for their review
@Brock11, I 100% agree with all of your points, which as others have said, have been raised many many times before. The review system is good in some ways (e.g. reviews being hidden until both parties have posted) but deeply flawed in so many other ways.
I'm surprised to see @Stephanie weigh in as this almost never happens. Stephanie, hearing hosts' frutrations and actually doing something about them would be a much better use of your time than asking about people's best travel snaps or most interesting jobs! You asked for some suggestions in response to Brock's grievances so here are some for what it's worth:
3) If there is clear evidence of lies (although this could be difficult to substantiate) the review should be removed.
4) 100% agree on this one. Why are stars averaged for guests but not hosts? For Petes sake, just average the stars!!!!!
5) There should be a clear explanation on the review page about how reviews work. Nowadays, guests think Airbnbs = hotels and simply fail to consider the price they are paying. For example, my listing is for travellers on a budget - my fee is far too low to cover professional cleaning and I work full-time so it is simply not possible to have sparkling clean windows and zero cobwebs 365 days per year.
6) Get rid of value and location. Stick to cleanliness, communication, accuracy and check in.
7) 100% agree, in particular where guests have rated down based on their own failure to read the listing! These reviews are usually not difficult to substantiate and should be removed, full stop.
I can see from Airbnb's perspective that there would be many cases of he said, she said, and that it would be difficult to look into every single case. So how about allowing at least Superhosts to have 2 outlier reviews removed per year?
I love the Airbnb platform and for the most part have had lovely guests, more bookings than expected, and overall good experience.
At the same time I totally agree with the frustration expressed here.
Forums are filled with good hosts and honest people who are at their wits end, losing sleep and extremely distressed due to the unfairness of (1) being subjected to "superhost" pressure and threat to appear lower in search results (2) not being able to remove an unfair, dishonest, retaliatory review.
In fact, highest human stress occurs when (1) you feel something was unfair and (2) you feel out of control to do anything about it. The Airbnb algorithm seems almost purposely developed to exploit this.
Some very clear and practical suggestions for improvement:
- Let hosts introduce 1 case per year (or 1 case for every 20, 30 guests?) to remove an outlier dishonest review.
- If host flags the guest for violation of house rules, guest should not be able to leave a review.
- If host introduces a substantiated damage claim, guest should not be able to leave a review.
- If guest cancels and does not come to the property, guest should not be able to leave a review.
- If host can show thru texts and messages that the guest did not read house rules or listing, guest should not be able to leave a review.