100% 5 stars but some 4 stars for.... value?

The reviews seem to be all raves, but a small percentage of guests give me 4 stars on value.

Since ‘value’ is subjective, I am assuming they would all like the pricing to be lower, to make it more of a ‘value’. But is that the only way, or is there another way to up the value?

The other alternative is to provide more.

Based on the poll I saw on this forum where as I recall 37% of the respondent Hosts provide snacks, I started providing snacks on this three-tiered circular tray on the kitchen island.

Since that time I get compliments on almost every review on the snacks – even when it looks like they haven’t eaten many of them. [When I provided snacks in the pantry I received no compliments; presentation is important (no surprise there).

If you’re not already providing snacks, I’d consider providing them. It’s not all that expensive. I get them at boxed.com and supplement them with some I get from the grocery store and/or nuts.com.


I think that you can up the value by providing coffee and tea. I also leave a welcome basket with goodies I purchase at the Dollar Store. Even leaving a bottle of wine might up the value if you don’t wish to leave a welcome basket. I think these little extras go far.


I would look for ways to provide more before I drop my price.

After all, you say it’s just a small percentage who give you 4’s on value.

One thing I do – I don’t know if guests perceive value in it – is I have printed out in color two copies of our guide to the Area. We’ve worked hard on these to really curate where to go, how far things are and provide personal tips.

We’ve also just recently provided a color, wire-bound House Manual, illustrated with pictures. I don’t know the perceptions but I think that at the least the guests perceive that we’re ‘trying.’ Whether that turns into value received I don’t know.

I’d consider whether you provide (and how much and of what quality) paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, toiletries etc. These might also shape perception of value. The cost to provide might be less than dropping the price, although if you ‘up’ these things you are in effect dropping your price but I think by a smaller amount.

I’m making dinner so don’t have time to reply. But see the link about how I add value.


Some guests will mark down on value I think, simply because they would have liked to pay less- nothing you can do about those types.

But providing things you don’t offer in your listing, even small things they didn’t expect, can up their perception of value. For instance, once I have a confirmed booking and find out the guest is taking the bus to my town, I offer to pick them up at the bus station. It’s only a 5 minute drive for me, and my place is hard to find the first time, so it saves them hauling their luggage for 15 minutes down the dirt roads and maybe getting lost, or taking a taxi. I usually need something at the store anyway, so it doesn’t really cost me anything extra in gas or time, and guests really appreciate it. I also drive them back to the bus station when they leave.

It’s something I didn’t want to promise in my listing, as I didn’t want to be bound to it if, for instance, my vehicle was at the mechanic’s or went out to the car to find I had a flat tire.

I started offering it from the time I had my first guest, not because I thought it would earn me better reviews and ratings, nor because I had ever heard the phrase at that point “underpromise and overdeliver”, but just because I was stressed about guests maybe having a hard time finding my place. But from guests’ comments about how nice it was of me to pick them up, both personally and in some reviews, I realized it probably upped their perception of getting good service and value.

And because I’m a homeshare host, if I’m going to the big grocery store a half hour away, I’ll ask guests if they want me to pick anything up for them they can’t get at the local corner stores here. Even if they don’t need anything, just asking can make them appreciative that I thought of them.

But I wouldn’t worry too much about the value rating- it’s extremely subjective, and unless you have competition in the type of accommodation you offer that is significantly less expensive, where they have also booked in the past, they really have no base point from which to compare and judge value, it’s just personal perception based on pretty much nothing.


I think our property is the most expensive in our neighborhood on a per-person basis, but it’s usually a lot cheaper per person than the comparable nearby hotels. Most of our guests give us 5 stars on value, but we get the odd ones here and there that downgrade us on it, presumably, as @muddy said, that they’d like to pay less or get what we have for the price of a 2 star hotel.

I gave up worrying about it years ago. As mentioned on another thread, also by @muddy, “customers of any business can expect only two out of 3 things- price, service, and quality. So if you get great service and quality, you can’t expect that to come at bargain basement prices” Our model is great service and quality.


I had the same issue and I asked why and was told “I don’t like all the fees that you charge.” Once I explained that ABB charges both of us fees, they were incredibly apologetic.

Ask, go back into ABB messenger and say "Hey, I saw that you rated a 5* experience but 4 on value. Why is that and what did we miss?


Excellent ideas for this! I wonder how this can be transmitted BEFORE they review and give a 4 star for value? After all, their incredible apology does not remove the star rating…

I’m sure you are aware that some hosts leave a “How Airbnb Reviews Work” blurb in the house manual. Several examples of such have been posted here and on other hosting forums. While some hosts consider it tacky, others have found it led to better ratings. (It certainly needs to be worded in such a way that it comes across as general info, rather than shilling for a 5* review).

Mention of the fact that the service charges go to Airbnb, rather than the host, and that hosts also have an Airbnb service charge deducted from their payout, could be included in that.

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Agreed, the only way to address this is ask up-front (as a home share host, this can be in a conversation) "How was your ABB booking experience? " followed by a newbie discussion about ratings and reviews. “What do you think of the fee structure? We also pay ABB fees and they keep your $$ for 24 hrs, we don’t get it right away, so please check in”

I put it more elegantly, but that’s the gist.

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One thing that I’ve noticed as I’ve started hosting is that people’s reviews often parrot back the language I use in my listing.

So for example, back when the listing title said something like “Comfort and style only steps from the beach,” people would comment on how comfortable the place was.

Then I changed the first line in the listing to say something about it was a “hidden gem” because it’s behind locked wrought iron gates. (I wanted to emphasise the security aspects and frame it as intriguingly hidden rather than a pain in the butt to find and access.) I noticed a couple people then used the word “gem” in reviews.

Like you, the only thing I’ve gotten below 5 stars on is “value.” So, as my prices have gone up for the summer season, I’ve started thinking that maybe I should say something about “value” in the listing blurb – something about how, for less than the cost of a hotel room in Manly (my suburb of Sydney), you get an entire apartment with a fully stocked kitchen.

It wouldn’t be a totally fair comparison because there’s hardly any hotels in Manly, and hotels have amenities that an Airbnb doesn’t. We both provide value, just differently. And the comparison is not really between my apartment and a hotel, it’s between me and other Airbnb listings, since there’s so few hotels compared to Airbnb listings in my area.

Nevertheless, it’s an interesting psychological phenomenon that when you use a term, or highlight something in a picture, that helps to train people’s attention on it. I’ve seen that in action since they literally use the words from the listing to review me.

In fact, I have a colleague at university who does this with students – the university gives out these teaching evaluation forms every semester that ask students a standard set of questions. Some of the questions ask about things that most students never pay attention to, so we score low on those. Like, “This class meets the stated learning objectives.” The “learning objectives” are in the syllabus which students never read. Students who have no idea what are the learning objectives feel like they can’t accurately answer this question. So they just give us a 3, the median score. What my colleague Greg does is, 2 weeks before the teaching evaluations, he spends time in lecture reviewing the learning objectives and tying them in with the lecture topics. Students remember that and he accordingly gets almost perfect scores on that question, where the rest of us don’t.

The thing is, every course we teach in my department meets the stated learning objectives. (They’re phrased vaguely enough that it would be almost impossible not to.) So the only thing that’s different is that Greg tells students that he does it (he says he literally peppers his lecture with phrasing about “meeting the learning objectives”), and they reflect that back at him.

So, assuming you already provide value (and @jaquo 's tips are excellent), the question is: how can you draw people’s attention to it? We could probably wordsmith some phrasing for your listing that gets the message across but not too crassly. I’ve love to hear other people’s ideas.


You are definitely right. I call this the Jedi Host technique. Years ago when I was a workshop leader I would ask the audience to answer the evaluation honestly, that I hoped they found the workshop [fill in the blank]. Well, whatever words I used tended to be the words you then found in the evaluation.

Why? I think because some people are lazy in doing the cognitive work in evaluating anything. So they grasp on to the words you give them. Or maybe they see through this, understand that you want those words and so long as they don’t find those words materially ‘off’ they give it to you. The truth is that I don’t know why the technique works but it does.

In another post I described this phenomenon but was criticized by a few here for ‘putting words in the guests’ mouth.’ I do think that your suggestion of putting the words in the listing is more subtle than doing it later in the process. The concern of putting the ‘value’ word in the listing is that guests might have read that long ago.

There was a magician on one of these talent shows who would guess certain words that the contestants would pick. The magician later revealed how the trick was done – the words that the contestants chose were actually spread throughout the presentation in ways so subtle that they were not consciously noticed. But the unconscious noticed.

So you can imagine that in your note to ask the guests for the review you might say how much you value their feedback.

In addition, I still find that if you ‘give’ something to the guest, something that was not promised, something clearly ‘extra’ that guests will likely perceive more value.

For the Jedi reference:

Clever idea!

Okay so I’m trying to think of other ways to put “value” in the listing description, but I’m really fumbling here. I keep thinking something along the lines of “Large living space and fully stocked kitchen add value…” but that sounds clunky as hell

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You can also use phrases that rhyme with value.

Phrases like ‘for you.’ :rofl:

You can also say “You’ll value the your large living space, your fully stocked kitchen . . .”

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+1 to this. Lowering the price just attracts a different guest who is stretching their budget, and therefore they think you are too expensive (for them). You can’t win.

If a guest mentions they are coming for a specific reason like bday or anniversary, we put a bottle of wine in (appropriate as we are in a wine region), and I get a 50% discount at our local winery.

I prefer to operate by the “under promise, over deliver” method. I had a group staying last week who told me I should be advertising our calf feeding experience as a farm feature, but I prefer to offer it as a surprise, and it seems to wow 90% of our guests. It’ll be a shame when he’s weaned… I might have to get chickens or something else.


How about a capybara? I think that would really rock the “underpromise and overdeliver” concept.

Gotta love how that gal is using bed pillows without any pillowcases, in addition to sleeping with a giant rodent. How’d you like to have her as a guest, showing up with her undisclosed “service animal”.


Adding on to what others are saying about providing snacks and other goodies… value is obviously perceptive, so the “Surprise and Delight” factor gives your added goodies a heavier weight. In other words, if you decide to provide added snacks, or leave a chocolate on the bed, or whatever it is… don’t advertise that you do this. Attempt to make it a surprise, so that they are literally getting more than what they thought they were going to get. If you can somehow tie it into the theme of your listing, or the location, the better. The more novel you can make it, the more points you’ll get. And it doesn’t need to be very expensive, unless your theme is on the luxurious side.


I strongly agree with your ‘underpromise and overdeliver’ message.

I just discovered a local artisan maker of ice creams where I live. I’m going to taste them and if they’re really good I’ll be putting some in the freezer for guests and advising them of that in their pre-check-in note.

I believe that guests appreciate the gesture and if the item is really good, well they’ll appreciate that much more.

Also, if somehow there is some other minor slip-up I would think most guests would be inclined to be forgiving when they see the effort that the Host is making.

Finally, such efforts to ‘delight’ your guests will likely translate to reviews that are enthusiastic. Prospective guests will be able to feel the difference in the reviews. Repeat business – if that’s your market – might be more likely.

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Bahaha that capybara looks so sly – like “Yeah you know it, I chewed on those covers and they tasted great. Now let me nap.”