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Extremely critical guests


I’m relatively new to Airbnb. It’s been about 3 months and I have 3 units. For the most part things are going well. I’ve been thinking a lot on this whole extremely picky and overly critical guest review issue. I spend a lot of time cleaning. Bedding is not more than 3 months and I have extra sets I rotate through. I’ve had a few guest knock me a star on cleanliness and I can’t even think of where the issue was. They didn’t say anything, just knocked the star. One guy did say a few things - one was dust in the corner (I move the furniture everytime I vacuum and wash floors. But after ready other people’s horror stories I’m wondering if there is a better way that Airbnb can monitor the over critical. Since they are so tough on hosts and track all of the details. Maybe there is a way to track guests review / star leaving. Ex: the guests last 5 reviews have been 4 stars or less to there host. Maybe they would lose there instant book abilities or something. I don’t know. I just think this whole system is a lot of pressure and it’s creating monster guests. The bar keeps getting set higher and higher and people are expecting everything for nothing.


It might be helpful to contact guests who lower a star for cleanliness and ask them what you can do to improve the cleaning. I do notice threads on here where hosts with older homes write they’ve lost a star or two for cleanliness. Some people oddly equate old or worn with unclean. Might that be the problem in your case?


Airbnb cleaning is not like household cleaning.
At every turnover in every home I let, I do one room completely - brush the ceiling with a clean broom, clean the fan, wipe off the top of the wardrobe, wipe the doors and architraves, wash the walls and windows, move and wipe all the furniture and pictures, shampoo the rug, wash the base boards and then vacuum and mop the floor . So if a house has 9 rooms - the house is cycled through in 9 turnovers - the rest of the house is vacuumed and dusted and never gets really dirty.
If you have had guests pulling out the tv unit to look for dust like I have…


I guess I should have clarified that I have a 4.9 rating and I’m a superhost. I manage an apartment block full of furnished rentals and only 3 of them are Airbnb’s. My rating is good. I do clean really well. There only bachelor units, so it’s not hard to do it well. I think that’s why I have taken it so personally when a few only gave 4 stars. I realize that there will always be those guests that just need to find something.
I think I just wanted to start the conversation about how maybe they can make the rating better. If there going to be so critical of hosts stats then why not of guests. I’ve read comments on forums of guests that never leave 5 stars and I don’t think that’s fare.


I thought I cleaned really well too but was getting the occasional 4 star. I made these changes and have only gotten 5 starts since.

  1. I added in my listing that it is a 100 year old home.
  2. Besides my cleaning, I hired a professional cleaner who comes once a month to do a deep clean.
  3. I changed all my linens, towels and bathmats to white, and use a replaceable tub liner (in white) that is washed for each new guest.
  4. I spray bleach into the toilet once cleaned so that when it’s first used it seam like it’s clean to guests. (of course its clean but this seem to make guest think it’s cleaner).
    5, Use a peppermint diffuser while I clean to freshen up the suite without making it to heavy in scent.


I agree with you. I just got a 4 star from one of the nicest guests. When I looked back he gave all his stays a 4 star. He raved about our property, and us, but decided he would have preferred to rent at the beach, and he will choose a beach house next time rather than a neighborhood. It was also July 4th week and trash pickup was delayed by the town in the neighborhood, so he did not like seeing the trash , and down rated the neighborhood, all the while stating it was safe. Combined with my last thrilled guest who failed to leave a review because her Dad had a heart attack, I am headed towards a loss of rating.


In some ways, the ‘cleanliness’ rating is a catch-all for several issues that have little if anything to do with cleaning. We are evaluated by guests on the following:

  • Accuracy
  • Check-in
  • Cleanliness
  • Communication
  • Location
  • Value

Guests are likely to mark us down a notch if:

  • The driveway is untidy
  • The garden could do with a little attention
  • There are fallen leaves on the balcony
  • A fence needs repair
  • The bath or loo has an irremovable stain
  • There’s no or little paper towel in the kitchen
  • A vacuum cleaner isn’t provided
  • And many MANY more

For several of these issues (which aren’t very reasonable), the guest doesn’t really have anywhere to mark us down (‘there was no spare garbage bag - I can’t put that under communication or check in. I know, I’ll just leave four stars for cleanliness. It is a cleaning issue, after all.’) So it does happen that a four star rating for cleanliness has nothing to do with the cleanliness of the accommodation itself.

So I don’t think it’s a case of making the ratings better but making Airbnb more tolerant of the occasional low star rating due to guests being guests.


WOW- you all are scaring me! It generally takes about 3-4 hours for me to clean out a long term room. That does NOT include washing a ceiling. And in all probability, it never will.

I have had 3 4-stars on cleanliness. Generally this is from females working in hospitals. Call me a slob, but at an average of $30CAD a night i’m not going to worry about it.

Some of the shortcuts include no carpets, covered mattresses/pillowcases, all white bedding, towels, and blackout curtains that are easy to clean, and yes, all white walls that are easy to wipe.


I do an escrow clean every time. Top of fridge, every Venetian blind slat, tracks of slider doors, top of fans…etc… and still get cracked. I have been cracked for not having a dishwasher (I have a granny flat), for not providing daily maid service, for not having snorkel gear that fits them (this is a courtesy only and not guaranteed) and much more.

I don’t want to be negative but you could clean it like a surgical suite and people will still delight in knocking you for not being clean enough. Some have so little power in their lives that they relish a chance to use it on someone. There’s a psychology dissertation thesis in that somewhere.

Air has done this to us. It’s been an issue for years. Air has made the review system count and matter so much that it’s just become untenable.
I have heard of hosts getting cracked because the ceiling fan blades run opposite of how they think they should, and other ridiculous things that are completely unreasonable.

What can ya do?


We need to have that embroidered onto a sampler and sent to all hosts. Brilliant.


I apply this also to the control freak lady at the education office which hires me to sub in the summer. You better not call too early to ask if checks are ready or try to come in the office to pick up your check or ask a question without signing in (it’s a small office, so ridiculous). It’s her little fiefdom and you better follow her little rules!!!

Had me wondering where else in her life is she lacking control?


That’s so true. It’s not fun that we can work so hard and be effected so easily by guests. Maybe there should be some more awareness given to guests about how the host is effected by there ratings. I don’t know.


It would truly be wonderful if there was some sort of guest education along with a ‘superguest’ status - the equivalent of superhost. I tend to think that these titles are pretty infant-school (like a gold star or something) but at least they give hosts and guests something to aim for and try to maintain. I suppose the answer is that Airbnb is an advertising service - or let’s take that a bit further and call it a ‘dating service’, putting compatible people together - and therefore think that they have more of a responsibility towards making the hosts provide a good service than creating great guests.


So crazy. Maybe they should have to make an explanation for taking off a star and that it should be moderated. I realize that this is too much work for Airbnb so I’m sure it won’t be done, but ya. I guess there really isn’t a solution. Im relatively new to this and I think my frustration is just catching up. Im sure I’ll just learn to not care.


You will. After all, at the end of the day this is just a business like any other. When guests are critical, it’s not US they are criticising - it just means that even though we have tried so hard, the guests have simply chosen a place that hasn’t exactly met their particular needs. Not our fault at all.


I am right there with you on this. My cleanliness rating has taken a couple unwarranted hits, I am sure because, as was noted, the house is 72 years old. It isn’t fancy, but it is very clean. I had one guest say the entire house could use a good vacuuming after their group had been there a week. Well of course it needed vacuuming, they tracked sand from their research in the nearby sand dunes ALL OVER THE HOUSE! I use a specialty water filter vacuum, and I move everything! I KNOW my house is well vacuumed. Another guest hit me with “I found A cobweb” Reallllly? Well if it bothers you, get a rag or the broom and knock it down. My house is in a neighborhood that butts up against a Redwood Marsh area. A spider may occasionally visit. I evict them as soon as I find them LOL. Since I added the age of the house to my description and made it clear that it is and older home, and if one is looking for sleek and modern, they might want to choose elsewhere, the cleaning dings have pretty much ceased. Other than 2 silly 20 something females with unrealistic expectations, I never got less than a 4 star on cleaning and now get, so far, only 5’s. I also have a brief synopsis in my on site Guidebook about the “Interesting” algorithms in regards to the Airbnb ratings system, thereby educating my guests. That, by the guests telling me, has been a huge help as well. I know it is difficult, but try not to sweat the “small” stuff.


3 posts were split to a new topic: Need help with response for a review


I like the idea of superguest status - like being a 5-star Rider on Uber. I score the driver, and s/he scores me (it’s called the Rider Rating and its posted prominently on your profile). Being aware of that score, and what can drive my score down (slamming a trunk or door, loud & extended use of cell phone, for example), makes me conscious of how I treat the person and the car.


It’s an extra step, but when potential guests have reviews, i click on the hosts they are reviewing and search the hosts reviews until i find the review the guest left them. In essence, i’m reviewing the kind of reviews the potential guest has left. If i see a pattern of hyper criticism - it’s a simple “decline” as i do not feel comfortable with this guest stying in my home and unduly trashing my place!


If you have Chrome for browser, you can get the air review extension that does this automatically for you.

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