5 stars for everything but 4 stars in overall experience


I am sure this has been discussed numerous times before, I am just posting this to rant a bit.

As you know, as hosts, our average star ratings is based only on the “overall experience” star rating by our guests. I just had a guest rating me 5 stars for every criteria, but rated the “overall experience” 4 stars only (see capture in French below) without any explaination.

That means everything is perfect, except I don’t know what, as the guest also said in its comment that everything is perfect.

I don’t understand how Airbnb lets such a stupid system in place. The “actual” overall rating should be the maximum value between the overall rating and the average rating of all criteria. An average rating (that’s just what “overall rating” should be) that is less than the actual average rating is crazy stupid.


Passive aggressive guests. My only two 4 star reviews are from guests who I said no to. People suck

That being said it is no big deal, it makes your listing more realistic, you cannot please all the people all the time. NEXT!



Yep, have a rant etc, but after that just move on to the next one. In between, a large gin or a bucket full of red wine can be helpful, so I’ve been told.



Don’t worry about it. It happens. Have a rant here, then make sure that your next guests have a truly five star experience. Guests pay very little attention to star ratings even though hosts obsess over them.


It may be other hosts’ experience that it’s the bad guests who do this, but not in mine. I explain the star rating system to most of my guests. The response I get is that they had no idea that Airbnb considers 4* overall to be a fail for hosts. That a Superhost needs to maintain a 4.8 rating. They’re shocked.

I’ve had lovely guests that told me they’ve always given 4s overall because Airbnb tells them 4s is Good. They thanked me for cluing them in and said they’ll make sure to rate 5*s in the future for places they liked, that they would be happy to book again. They simply didn’t know and Airbnb misleads them.

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it is not really the 4 stars rating that annoys me, but the fact that you can have an average of 5 stars but an overall rating that is lower than that.

I think rating a host only on “overall experience”, where “overall experience” does not reflect the average of each criteria is a bad system.


BDC changed their system last year. Previously the rating was an average of the scores from several categories but now it is similar to Airbnb, where the guest selects an overall rating and the ratings from categories are displayed, but not used in any calculation.

We’ve seen the rating for one of our properties fall, despite it consistently getting 10’s across the board in all sub categories.


I fixed the whole situation – I stopped looking at stars!!!


Truly, it’s not worth getting annoyed about. It will happen. I’ve quoted here before several stories but one of my favourites was a guest who gave me 4 star for location (probably the only one ever) because there were roadworks on the road to the beach.

We’re talking about human beings here though so all you can do is shrug. :roll_eyes:

Here’s a true story about why one place was given 4 instead of five stars.

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The thing is, there could be things about the stay or the place that weren’t covered under the other ratings. The place could be 5* for cleanliness, accuracy, etc, but maybe the guest found the mattress to be quite uncomfortable. Maybe they were disturbed by a neighbor’s barking dog. Maybe they found the host, despite communicating professionally and attending to any issues, to be not very friendly. So it’s possible that that an overall 4 actually is because of something like that.
But Airbnb could average the overall and the rest of the ratings to come up with our main rating.
I detest the whole star rating thing, which is everywhere now. It’s far too subjective and doesn’t really tell you anything. What one person considers a great location may be a horrible location for someone else. What one considers clean may not be up the standards of a guest who looks under the fridge for hidden dirt.

Sounds like if we quit testing we will have fewer cases. LOL.


Do you explain the system in person or in writing? If you explain in writing is it in the Guest binder or on the Airbnb communication portal? Thanks!

I host a private room in my home. ( not during COVID, though. Guests share my kitchen and we have quite a lot of interaction. They usually stay for at least 3 days, but the average is 10. So it’s easy for me to bring it up at some point, while we’resitting around having coffee and talking about all kinds of things. What I’m really careful about is not making it sound like I’m shilling for a 5 star review, which is tacky IMO and could backfire. I talk about it in an objective way, just discussing how crazy it is that Airbnb tells guests that 4*s means “Good” and then turns around and warns hosts for anything under 4.7. Most guests have no idea.
I know there are hosts who do leave something in the house manual. But again, you have to be really careful how you word it. There are a number of threads over on the Airbnb CC where hosts have given examples of how they write it up, you might want to search for. Some hosts do it in a humorous way, others just straightforward. What you would want to avoid is making the guest feel they are being pressured to leave a 5 star review.
If i had to write it, I’d definitely leave it in the house manual, not mention it in an Airbnb message.

Thanks so much Muddy!

A year ago when I first started hosting I had nightmare guests who broke most of my house rules and vandalized my condo on their way out. She gave me 5 stars in every category, but a 1 star overall, which took forever to overcome. It’s ridiculous that it’s set up that way.
Most of my bookings come from VRBO now, thank goodness.

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We’ve had 4 stars for location, yet 5 stars for accuracy. If we’ve described our location accurately then how can we get marked down for their choice?
It’s a flawed system driven by humans! One can only expect strange things from our fellow humans. One only needs to see, on this forum, how many guests don’t read the listings.
It’s good to have a rant. But - I came across this the other day and it’s perfect;
If you don’t leave your past in the past,
It will destroy your future.
Live for what today has to offer,
Not for what yesterday has taken away.

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Well this conversation can Cleary be therapeutic for us hosts. Let’s use it as the “hall of rants” to exhaust our frustration coming from stupid / incoherent ratings.

@muddy can you send links of the Airbnb CC where hosts have given examples of how they write it up, including in humorous ways?


As soon as AirBnB and guests stop looking at them then I guess hosts can too. Just don’t see that happening however.

I love that I can refer my guests with questions, especially about cleanliness to my reviews.

I do agree that guests need a bit of encouragement and education about the reviews. I have developed my own system of emails and texts prompting the guest to review me that are working for me.


oh my god this pisses me off so much.
I have had guests, that i’ve done my best to describe the surrounding area, how to use transit, given rough eta’s to various locations by transit. Also made it clear that I can not give them my address/email/phone number until booked because airbnb blocks it/garbles it. But as far as I know they get a rough location when looking at the listings.

to only then have them rate my location as 4 or 3 because i don’t live in downtown vancouver or vancouver itself. I live out in surrey but walking distance of the main metro and it takes you what, 30 seconds to pull up google maps and get a layout of the cities in the lower mainland?

i just find it frustrating how you as a host can go out of your way to help them and yet they still give you low ratings over things you made clear up front.