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Guests with good reviews turning out to be a disaster?

Hi everyone! I’m new here (and only about a year into the bnb business)
Ever since Ohio went into lockdown, the amount of local people wanting to book has sky rocketed. And almost every time, in all of my units (I’m involved with 5) they have a party and leave the place absolutely trashed.
The confusing thing is, these people have 5 star reviews! EVERY TIME. We generally don’t rent to no review guests, for this reason. But how can these people be getting great reviews from multiple other hosts, and then destroying our properties? The last group threw a glass lamp into the wall, left weed ash all over AND stole 4 pillows! They had great reviews.
Is there a way that people are manipulating their own reviews? I understand once in awhile but this has happened at least half a dozen times in the last month, and I’m really getting sick of it. Then of course air bnb is no help, they can’t collect on fines or extra cleaning fees…we are just not sure what to do. We began a 2 night minimum thinking it would curb parties but now they just party two nights instead of one. Is our next step to completely cut out locals?


That’s why I have a 5 night min. The 1,2,3 night stays seem to be the party folks. Have you sent a request for funds through the resolution center directly to the guest? I had an issue with a guest last year and sent a request for $140 and the guest paid and also apologized. Someone in his group broke a dining chair. Try it and see what happens. Also make sure to mention the party and mess when you write their review.


5 nights might be too long for our area. I myself have stayed in several bnb’s but the longest I’ve stayed was 3…
Having said that, the people we are having trouble with are not the kind of people who are going to pay. When I say the place is trashed I mean it is TRASHED…clear remnants of large parties. I even had to throw a group out mid party at 11am, they were still going from the night before past check out time! Buckets with vomit left in bedrooms, used condoms on the floor, the smell of weed and black milds in the air…

I guess my question is how on earth are these people getting good reviews? One or two bad guests with decent reviews is one thing but…we have had so many since Ohio went on lockdown-bars are closed so locals need a new place to gather and party…it’s becoming a pandemic in itself


I found a similar situation with great reviews and the guests left the place less than stellar. Fair bit of damage to linens and some games etc. Fortunately I was able to collect on the damaged goods.
Turned out the hosts great reviews were from him travelling alone. Not with this group. Maybe that is your situation?
I don’t understand how they can take 4 pillows and you cannot collect through the resolution centre for compensation?
As for hosting locally. I denied my most recent guest request. Coming to the city to visit family and friends in the area. My house is a stand alone home with a private pool. NO way was I accepting that reservation. Would definitely have been a party fest.
I hope you can collect on something…


Thanks! Me too but I will be surprised! Of all the claims we have filed we have been reimbursed only once and that was when the guest admitted in writing that they forgot the code so they tried to break into the unit and caused a ton of damage.

Definitely consider excluding locals (or make sure they have a really good reason to use your property) and also take a look at your listing to see why you’re attracting the people you are. Are you advertising an amenity that would appeal to partiers (pool, large deck/yard)? Is your price super low compared to your competitors? What are the guests saying in their introductory message to you–anything that might give you a clue that they are there to party? Do you have outdoor cameras so you can monitor if more guests arrive than are on the listing? Do you have instant book on (if so, consider turning it off so you can screen your guests in advance)? What were your guests like before the lockdown–did you have the same issue or is this new?

You should also make sure you really emphasize the no parties rule in your listing–i.e. in the first paragraph, state that partiers should not book here, or even put a picture of a “No parties” sign in your pictures–I did that for one of my most important rules and haven’t had a problem since. Also consider adding a fine for guests that show up and aren’t on the reservation, so you have some recourse if people do sneak in extra guests.

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Do you converse with your guests through the messaging when they book or request to book? I’m not sure how you manage to get all these consistent partiers, but perhaps you’re not asking the right questions?
Ther are many hosts who are loathe to leave a bad review. It’s a real annoyance. I’ve read host posts where the host is asking how to review, saying they don’t want to be “mean”, when the guests totally disrespected the home and the house rules. I just don’t get it.
One thing I do is cross-reference reviews if I have any doubts. If a review just says “Nice guests” or “Great guests!”, I check out how this host reviews his other guests. What I’ve found is that those kinds of reviews- the hosts reviews every single one of their guests like that. They just have a saved review and click on it. Seems like many of those hosts are property managers with tons of listings. Most probably never even meet the guests, so unless the place was trashed, everyone gets “Great guests!”
I don’t see the point of reviewing at all if hosts are going to be that lazy and give so little info to help out other hosts. Not to mention it’s often totally misleading.


We only rarely accept locals, and turn away most of them without booking. If the situation looks fine then proceed but always do a check-in IN PERSON. If they show up with extra people, pets, etc then they don’t get in, and get cancelled on the spot.

Sounds like you need some outside cameras …

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I think you yourself have hit the nail on the head in our perverse times.

There’s plenty of evidence of people worldwide who believe themselves immune to the virus, even that it’s a hoax, and that they have the right to break the rules. Add cabin fever, family pressures or social isolation into the mix, and they come up with an answer on FB or their chosen social media, to like minded others.

You’ve had good advice already, and I can only endorse not hosting locals, deposits and getting cameras.


Knowing your place is attracting local partygoers @Agirlfromcle , what vetting procedures have you put in place before accepting a booking, such as removing iB, asking guests about their plans, having CCTV at the entrance to each apartment, you or your co-host meeting guests on check in and reminding them of your house rules around noise, no extra visitors no parties etc.

i agree that extending the length of stay i.e. two nights and only accepting bookings a minimum of two or three nights before a stay starts will also help.

I do hope you are leaving honest reviews and making a claim for damages…it doesn’t matter whether they are the sort of pay or not, Airbnb can charge against their payment method.


This is not directly addressing the question of the good review/bad guest question, sorry. Just a thought about hosting locals. I have been thinking about how I will reboot my business in the new normal. I have read that people maybe more inclined to travel closer to home and we may be getting more local inquiries. I’m looking at ways to upgrade our insurance, our verbiage, our surveillance, our documents, and our property so that we can still enjoy income from the property while accepting bookings from more locals. I’m going to double down on my accessibility project so as to, perhaps, expand in that market. Things are not going to be the same, so I have to change my mindset. Who knows how long it will take for travel to become “a thing” again?

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You mentioned that you are “involved” with 5 units and they are being used for partying. This is a clear indication that you are (truthfully) doing something wrong with the mgt that allows your places to be targeted. I know your question was about the review system…but you already know the answer. The review system is deeply flawed and not to be relied upon. And Obviously the review system is worthless your situation…that has already been proven. Are these apartments? Condos? Free standing homes? What protocals can you put into place to prevent this from happening anymore? Before something horrible takes place ( a shooting ) or before this laxness of oversight draws the authorities to further regulate STR, or before the neighbors turn on you…I suggest implementing tightening procedures asap.

  1. No one night stays…and preferably 3 or more nights only. This stops some of the partying.
  2. A ironclad contract signed and initialed with parameters, clauses, expectations and penalties. Require a photo id. This scares away some of the partiers. They seek an easier target.
  3. Implement “noise aware” immediately. Disclose it into your listing and your contract.
  4. Install exterior cameras immediately. Disclose it into your listing and your contract.
  5. Raise your Security Damage Deposit Fee. Make it potentially painful.
  6. Once you have a booking, get names and emails, and “vet” the guest. Do research. Use search engines and tools such as Spokeo. Know who is booking.
  7. Set an age limit for your guests that you wont take. If they are under that age, become “uncomfortable” with the guest and cancel the booking.
  8. Lower the number of guests you are willing to cram into a place. Dont allow your property to become a crash pad listing.
    Good luck. Good mgt and good oversite helps us all.

Thanks everyone so much for the feedback! We are definitely making some changes and cameras have also been ordered. The main thing I’m questioning is how these people are able to obtain 5star reviews. There has to be some way they are manipulating the system. We have also had accounts completely disappear after check out. There is some kind of loop hole or back way into this platform

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It’s a small point, but meeting guests face to face reminds them that it’s your property. It’s not a hotel.


I’m so glad you posted this. I’ve been having the same issue since we came back on market post pandemic lockdown. I’m seeing WAY MORE parties/bad guests/damages all with STELLAR reviews. Some have as many as 30 five star reviews. And mine aren’t even local!! It’s so frustrating. If I write them a bad review, it looks like I’m the one with issues because I would be going against their long page of glorious reviews. Ugh.

yes. I have rented to locals twice and while I haven’t dealt with wild parties, they’ve been messy and entitled.

Here’s your answer. The reviews are pre-pandemic, correct? Party houses are a big problem here outside Tampa, FL as well until the counties shut down AirBnB STRs. Now it’s long-term only and that’s helped with the parties.

I have the words - “No parties, no outside guests” multiple times throughout my listing just because of the pool. Every request I get from a local for “my girlfriend’s 21st birthday party (or something similar)” gets “This is not a party house. Please remove your inquiry/request/cancel your IB and I’m contacting Air as well.” I call Air, get a penalty-free cancellation, and move on.

All this. It works.


@happilytorn I’m glad I’m not imagining this! I don’t think we have had 30 good reviews but 3-4, enough to believe! I feel like I’m going crazy

I think I had one with 30 some good reviews, another with 7 good reviews, the rest had 3 or 4 like you described. My only guess is like what others have said, the bars aren’t open. Also, my husband pointed out that right now with the virus still pretty rampant, the careful people may still be staying home and the more “adventurous” ones are the ones booking, hence more likely to be “party folks”. Hope I’m not being insensitive or politically incorrect in some way…

You should understand that reviews are difficult for guests with holiday houses some distance from their permanent location. We employ contract cleaners who clean a number of other houses as well as some holiday park caravans and cabins. I have to check with the cleaners before posting any review. Our cleaners are very good a through cleaning but they do not notice details like an owner might. It is so difficult that I do not post a review unless the guest does first. When we find something missing or damaged / soiled or the cleaner reports it is very rare that the cleaner can say definitely it was ok before this guest it happened during this guest stay.
We do not give a good review unless we are sure the guest left the house in good condition. The fact is that the guests who treat your property badly are the ones who will blatantly lie and get very aggressive if you even ask them about some damage. Unless it is immediately after the bi-monthly “spring” clean I do myself, often all we can do is just give no review as we cannot be 100% sure which guest it was. Airbnb system was built around people renting out space in their own home. That is now only a small portion of the total bookings but the system has not changed to reflect this.

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I almost never let locals stay because of bad situations I have had in the past. Because of bad experiences, I went from having a few House Rules to now having “10” detailed House Rules. I lost my Superhost status because of a local stay giving me a “1” star review because he wanted to smoke and wanted AC really cold. My one other “1” star review was from another local when I first became a Host. Just not worth it anymore to me.

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