Help please - How would you rate this stay?

Hi ya’ll. Now that I’ve been hosting for several months, I’m sympathetic to other hosts and don’t even intend to be a picky traveler who tears apart another’s home during a review unless it’s absolutely necessary.

I just completed a trip to ATL and stayed at a highly rated AirBnB house. 22 reviews and a 5 star rating.

Here’s what left a bad taste in my mouth about the stay. I’d like some feedback on if these items warrant the 3 star rating I’m considering giving.

  • Host never sent instructions on how to access the house so I had to e-mail her on where to find the key. She did respond relatively quickly. (There were also no check-out instructions provided.)

-. Only 1 key is provided for a house that accommodates 4 people. A 2 key minimum seems to be a good idea as not everyone was doing the same activities. Not a huge deal, but something to think about.

  • There is no microwave in the kitchen and this is not mentioned in the listing. I didn’t even notice there wasn’t a microwave until I was looking to reheat some leftovers. For a full size kitchen, I feel like this is an essential. If you don’t have one, at least call it out in the listing.

  • No face towels provided (nor was it mentioned in the listing that it wasn’t provided), so a friend who lives locally had to bring some over. (I realize face towels aren’t commonly provided in Europe, but it is an expectation in the US.)

  • The listing says that breakfast is provided, however there wasn’t anything in the kitchen. When I e-mailed the host, she said that her husband got confused and wasn’t sure when he should drop off the breakfast. She came over during her lunch and dropped off the breakfast. The breakfast consisted of a bag of apples, instant oatmeal and a bag who whole bean coffee for a 4 day stay. If you’re going to advertise breakfast I would at least provide a continental breakfast, or I just wouldn’t include it as an amenity at all.

  • In the kitchen, there were 4 glasses in the sink when we arrived. No paper towels were provided and the only thing to clean the countertops and dishes was an old sponge that had been used many times and smelled like mildew. My friend who lives locally brought over some dish clothes.

  • The listing says the house has cable tv, but it does not. The TV has a cable box, but only gets local channels.

The location of the house was awesome, overall, the house was clean, but I don’t think the host delivered on the basic amenities. None of the above bullet points are a huge deal, but I feel the totality of them combined resulted in a lackluster experience.

Would any of these details warrant a 3 star rating or am I being picky?

Hi @MissKris816,

Whatever else you do, I’d let the host know about these issues, so she can fix them. Did you tell her about any of them during your stay? Some of those sound easily fixable. I agree a kitchen should have a microwave, for example, but this is also something I’d definitely mention to a host - probably immediately. I can imagine myself looking around and saying - where’s the microwave? Plus they cost next to nothing, at least in the US.

A 3 star rating is pretty bad from Airbnb’s pov. This sounds more like a 4 star experience at worst. Basics are really things more like cleanliness, whether the bathroom worked ok, the bed was comfortable to sleep in, whether it was quiet, and whether the host was courteous, professional, and had good communication skills. Also, of course, the price factors into it. If you are paying a high price, you have the right to expect more.

Oh, and

That’s certainly a significant oversight, but everyone makes mistakes. If you think her check-in/check-out instructions and/or guide are deficient, you should by all means offer constructive criticism. Any host with sense should be grateful for constructive feedback.

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Hi @faheem -

The price was $190/night, so I’m not sure if this is considered an expensive rate but I thought it was on the medium to higher end of the scale.
According to Air, 4 stars is considered “great”, which I think seems generous. I may just end up giving her 4 stars since I can’t do 3.5 stars. I was planning on giving her most of this information as private feedback.

Thanks for your response. :slight_smile:

That’s 6 times my nightly rate, but I gather it’s not unusual in the US. For that price, she really should have a microwave, and cable tv, though.

Where did you read that? The concensus on this forum is that anything under 5 stars is considered, effectively, bad. This may be a species of grade inflation. Something like:

5 excellent, 4 good, 3 mediocre, 2 bad, 1 terrible

would be a reasonable scale, but in practice Airbnb will start penalizing you after a few 4 stars reviews. At least, this is my strong impression, though I’m a relative newcomer here.

That’s definitely a good idea. Hopefully she’ll appreciate it.

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When I hovered over 4 stars, “great” appears on the side. When hovered over 3 stars, “Average” appears. Hovering over 5 stars shows “fantastic”.


Hovered where? Can you point me to a specific page?

I agree with your original rating of 3-stars and for me, these items would be the reason:

  • No access info provided
  • One key for a whole house rental
  • No micro (basic appliance) in a full kitchen
  • Filthy old sponge and no kitchen towels
  • False advertising of cable TV

I can overlook the breakfast fail and face towels.


Yep, it’s on the review page for the listing. On the scale for Overall Rating, once you hover over the stars, it tells you what each rating means.

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Oh, I see. I’ve never stayed as an Airbnb guest, so I would not have seen it. However, I’ll pay attention next time I write a guest review, and see if those same words come up. What’s the full list of words, from 5 stars to 1 star?
Fantastic, Great, Average are the first three, is that right?

5 stars - Fantastic
4 stars - Great
3 stars - Average
2 stars - Not great
1 star - Terrible

Hmm, that’s definitely not in line with how Airbnb actually treats those star ratings. And “Not great” is a copout. What do others think? For example, 3 stars is definitely bad - you’re definitely not going to be giving that as a matter of course.

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Interesting responses. For me the microwave, if there is a picture of the kitchen and no microwave is present, it is a misreading of the listing. However, if breakfast is an amenity, which we all do specifically choose to check or not check, is a bigger oversight. Breakfast for 4 people at a restaurant is actually a real expense that you shouldn’t have to pay if you have already paid for it in the listing. Same with cable TV. If the listing has that checked as an amenity, then it should be there.

No way to clean is a pretty big deal as well. I understand that a self-catering unit might not have enough paper towels for the entire visit, but there should be a “starter” roll, and dishtowels are pretty standard, but I guess not everyone uses them?

Since I only provide one key, that lives in the lockbox so families can go their separate ways without issue, it can work, but not if there is no place designated to keep it during your stay.

And, there is absolutely no excuse for not being in touch in the week before your stay with directions, access instructions, etc. That is a basic premise of hospitality.

I don’t actually think that price is a factor here. It is about meeting the expectations set by the host in their listing. The guest is not asking for anything more than that which was promised.

I think that the dings should be made at communication, arrival, and accuracy. The overall rating could be either a 3 or 4, though it feels like it was a 3 to you.


Thank you for your response. To be honest, I didn’t really look for the microwave in the kitchen picture because I assume a full kitchen has a microwave, just as one would assume a full kitchen has a refrigerator. I just went back to check the listing and this is the only picture of the kitchen.

I don’t consider microwaves to be standard at all, but that just shows you that we all have different ideas of what a standard kitchen means. That is not a particularly information picture. Obviously, this host doesn’t consider the kitchen to be a major selling point to his/her listing.

Since we are on the topic, my only assumptions about a Western kitchen is that there is a sink with running water that can get hot, a fridge with freezer, and a range or stovetop and oven.


I didn’t have a microwave before I started Airbnbing my guest room. I don’t have any moral/scientific objection to microwave ovens, they just aren’t necessary for my style of cooking. Our first guests (from France) said that they were used to using a microwave so we bought an inexpensive one.

Hi @MissKris816,

FYI, you just “outed” the host. :slight_smile: With that image anyone can find the listing in a few seconds by doing a search. No big deal, just thought I’d mention it.

yeah, i was wondering if i should include it. I’ll delete

Like I said, not a big deal. You didn’t promise to keep the host confidential.

@smtucker, @EllenN: hmm, I always thought of a microwave as a pretty basic amenity. Perhaps I’ve been Americanized. :slight_smile:

I don’t understand why showing an image of a listing is a problem or should be pointed out as a potential problem. Airbnb listings are not private or secrets. They are posted on the internet for any and all to view.