Big Bear Lake, CA Level 9
We ask all our guest for suggests and criticisms on how to improve our home so we can make the airbnb experience better , we do ask them to leave all criticisms in private and not in the review .
I tell all our guest that we only give 5* REVIEWS in the hopes that we receive 5 * reviews with nice words to follow .
So far , so good . Except one guest did not like that .
Are we doing something wrong ??
Thanks in advance
I did post this in another forum
@Paul6548 you can ask the guest during their stay if everything is okay, and as they leave maybe check all went okay ,via messaging, but blatant digging for five star reviews in what is supposed to be an independant review is somewhat frowned upon if not completely no go.The guest also has a part to pop in suggestions and/or criticisms. It is a different practice for some other people here. I personally would not like to be asked ........ but I am a big girl and always take pity on my fellow hosts because I know how hard they work and would never give less than five stars for trivial reasons. H
You can always add as they leave and after you have asked if their stay was okay ,if they could remember to leave a review . and you can send an automatic reminder. H
While I wouldn't promise someone a five star review I would definitely try to keep things as friendly as possible so they don't know where I really stand on their review. It's basic hospitality 101 to simply be friendly and responsive.
I absolutely think it's fine to ask for a good review.
We approach the issue in two ways.
First, we let them know in the check-in notes, in the welcome note we leave with their gift basket, in a framed sign sitting next to the welcome basket, and in their check-out notes that we want them to call us if they have any problems or questions. We make it clear we will do our level best to make their stay as expected if they just call us. We give them two cell phone numbers every time.
Second, we tell them in the check-in notes, in the welcome letter, and in the check-out notes how much we love hosting and that we hope they will leave us a good review.
It reads something like this: "We love hosting [authentic explanation of why we love hosting]. We' are honored that you chose to stay with us [authentic explanation of how much we enjoy creating a good experience for our guests]. Of course, we hope for a good review, but we also hope you will reach out to us separately if there is anything lacking or if something goes wrong. If we can make your stay better while you are still here we are happy to do that. You can call us at..."
So far, our guests really do call us when there is an issue; and we always treat it as an urgent matter. Making it clear that we care and making problem resolution a priority goes a long way with guests. Also, not freaking out when their child throws up on the carpet or someone breaks something helps too.
I am pretty generous about reviewing our guests. The guest experience can be a bit daunting when one is going to stay at a stranger's home. I don't expect guests to have the same cleanliness standards as I do. I don't have many house rules, but the only house rules I really care about are the occupancy and safety rules. Not all guests start out as great communicators, but as long as we establish some basic communication I'm pretty happy. And if they call me when they have issues, I am thrilled not by the issue, but by the opportunity to do something about it.
It works both ways, as a few months ago I had a guest message me to say that he would leave me a 5 star review and expected me to leave him the same. I think from memory I gave him 3 stars on most things as he was not great.
I thought of this thread after a guest who rented last week. There were flags -- she had cancelled her previous AirBnB reservation, and then wanted to use a free credit that AirBnB gave her, so she shortened her stay and then added a second stay using the credit. She wanted to be refunded the second cleaning fee, which I did of course, but then was very concerned about the second AirBnB service fee (around 15 dollars!) which I told her I could not refund. Then she left a day early and asked for a refund, which I also declined, though I said if I rented the place for that night I would give her the money.
I write this because I could have rated her a troublesome guest, and I did contemplate doing so, but then I thought -- give benefit of the doubt, she had a bad experience in the previous AirBnB, she's a woman in her late sixties, traveling alone with her dog, first holiday since covid, and needs to be careful with her money. So I just let it slide.
Without explanation she gave me a low rating (perhaps a 1?) with the only possible explanation, I think, that I didn't refund her money that she was given by AirBnB as a credit!
I don't think in retrospect that I would have given her a bad rating. I went down, from a 4.5 to a 4.3 -- though that is still a large drop given that I have almost a hundred ratings.
I wish that AirBnB would change the rating system, because when I use it as a rentor I look for places over 4, and as a host I should know better! It's a pernicious system. So @Paul6548 you have my sympathies.
I have always been of the opinion that one should do the best they can by their guests and reviews will take care of themselves naturally, without the host fretting about it.
@Paul6548 you made a good decision bc asking for a 5* or even explaining how important the rating is for hosts would hit you back sooner or later.
Here is my experience -
For a while, Airbnb has been disinforming guests how the ratings work so I decided (like many hosts) to explain to my guests how it really works.
I printed the following info and placed it in our "house manual":
HOW RATINGS REALLY WORK ON AIRBNB
WHAT DOES AIRBNB SAY TO GUESTS
5* = far more than expected,
4*= more than expected,
3= as expected,
2*= less than expected
1* = bad.
WHAT DOES AIRBNB SAY TO HOSTS
5*= good job, you are superhost
4*= bad, you are delisted
3*= bad, you are delisted
2*= bad, you are delisted
1*= bad, you are delisted
The very first week we got an elderly grumpy couple who were not happy with our accommodation, with each other, their holiday and their life in general 🙂 They left me a bad review and among other things they said they think my good reviews are just a result of my "review rating explanation" and not the real guests' experience.
Of course, it wasn't true because we were hosting a few years already and this "rating explanation" was new but I immediately removed it from the map.
Fortunately, Airbnb changed the rating explanation recently so our guests are now better informed how it works
“Fortunately, Airbnb changed the rating explanation recently so our guests are now better informed how it works”.
@Branka-and-Silvia0 Do guests get this explanation in the process of reviewing? How does it read now?
I don't remember the exact wording but it's like: more than expected, very good, good, not good, bad...
I wonder how come they finally changed it. Maybe hotels asked for it. Bc hosts were complaining for years but to no avail...
@Branka-and-Silvia0 Memo to everyone who cares about star ratings: lower those expectations. No more going on and on about how amazing your (genuinely amazing) property is. Certainly don't go around calling it a "slice of heaven" or "paradise." Delivering what you honestly advertised is only 4 stars at best - by these standards, you're obliged to shock your guests with how much more than merely adequate your listing is.
I had this from a recent guest.
“Hi Jane, thank you for a pleasant stay. I can see in the past you have felt criticized by anything less than 5 stars, but I just want to share with you that in my opinion for somewhere to receive 5 stars it has to be above expectations. I feel that with all the information you provide your accommodation meets expectations and provides a comfortable place to stay. Thanks ———“
Yes we all want five star reviews but I think what this lady is saying is right. I plan on rating guests in the same way from now on.
By the way I lost my Superhost status due to the pandemic but got it back at the last assesment. Once lockdown ended here in the UK, I started getting bookings and am now so busy I’m out of debt. Being a Superhost doesn’t matter.
Thank you for bringing attention to this @Jane563 . It also shows that guests are paying attention to a host's response just as closely as they pay attention to the actual reviews. It is so important for new hosts to understand that when replying to a review, the emphasis should be on feature guests/bookings and not a response to the individual guest (who will never actually see it.)
@Paul6548 In 5 years of hosting I declined 2 requests sent by guests with 1-star reviews. I am grateful to these previous hosts for warning me
I also hosted a few terrible groups with previous great reviews left by hosts who thought like you.
Thank you for all the honest opinions and it sure hit home with me , we are gonna change how we do the review process and not asking for a special review .
It's something we have done only a few times when we thought they might leave a not so good review.
We have been really lucky with a lot of good reviews .
Some times with some people we felt the need to do something more , obviously that was the wrong decision .
Thanks again , we have ended the request for the 5* review
As contributors here we don't know everything, in a lot of instances there is no right way or wrong way, we each host to our own style. But collectively we are here to offer advice, drawn from our experience. I probably would not still be hosting had it not been for all the great advice I got here back in 2015-16....and am still getting. My egotistical self would have no doubt seen me make huge blunders and in the end, give hosting away!
The CC has been the steering wheel of my hosting career.
What I am saying is, you are not always going to get the answers you want to hear, but it says a lot for your character that you are prepared to accept those unpalatable answers and not just act on them but, come back here tell us you may have been in error.
I now feel you may have really earned that badge, good on you!
@Paul6548 good on you! It's great that you've listened to what other host's have had to say on this issue. So, just honest reviews from now on, yes?
WOW! @Paul6548 I am impressed that you have taken to heart the host feedback to your review process in favor of the more honest system that we all need in order for this platform to have some chance to succeed, at least most of the time.
If you are sincere in your change of tactic, you will experience the negative review, revenge review, dishonest review and just plain confusing review...just like the rest of us.
I hope you will also continue to be a member of this community forum and participate in important and informative discussions.
That's an absolute yes from me that you are doing something wrong. I understand the review system can be flawed but basically this is bribery ! It almost saying " I'll give you 5 stars and you give me the same". I totally agree with your guest Natasha's comments. It would make me feel extremely uncomfortable as a guest and maybe you have been lucky so far for not being called out on this more! And for all hosts who work hard for our reviews it makes a mockery of us all. Also hosts who take reviews of potential guests seriously you are doing an enormous disservice to them.
@Paul6548 Are you doing something wrong? Yes, you are contravening Airbnb's review policy, which states in part, "You’re not allowed to incentivize positive reviews." Telling guests you only give 5-star reviews is a blatant attempt to incentivize positive reviews. You can read the whole article here: https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/2673/airbnbs-review-policy