How do you message guests about reviews? I have been experimenting with leaving a review and then writing a simple message such as ‘Hey Dave, Thanks for visiting; I just left you a five-star review.’
However, guests are not always aware of how much a five-star means to hosts. What have you tried that works and does not work?
One of the toughest questions we get here.
The answer is no one really knows how to influence guests to write ‘high-star’ reviews. And from a distance we can’t really help because we only hear one side of the story, and not what a guest expects or wanted versus what they perceive they got.
A couple years ago I put a simple explanation of the star system in my Guest book (next to the restaurant page), with what the stars mean to us. Never really noticed an up-tick or down-tick in our scores though, so not sure whether anyone sees/reads the explanation or we just get consistently 5 str reviews because we work hard to make our place a 5 star experience.
I don’t think messaging the guest is a good idea. As a guest myself, I’ve gotten a few of those messages over the years, and they always come across as ‘begging’ for a good grade rather than a reminder to review the person.
In the coffee area of our kitchen, we have a 8x10 framed page of the star rating explanation. You may have seen those online. It just sits on the counter where I know guests congregate. I don’t know if it helps but I don’t think it hurts. The only other thing I do, on the morning of checkout, is send this brief message:
Safe travels today! I just wanted to thank you so much for choosing “our Airbnb name”. I truly hope it was a 5 star stay
I think this is about all I can do
I only message them the night become check out giving them quick check out instructions and thanking them for being five star guests."
I actually got the idea from this forum six years ago. It’s a way to indirectly bring to their attention the five star review system without asking for a review.
I never discuss (or write about) reviews with guests.
This sounds snooty but the best way to get 5 star reviews is provide 5 star accommodation.
“I just left you a 5* review” sounds totally manipulative to me. The unspoken part, but blatantly obvious, is “Now give me a 5* review”.
If a host sent me that message it would rub me the wrong way and might cause me to leave 3- 4* for communication.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with educating guests as to how the rating system works and that while Airbnb tells them that 4* means Good, they then threaten hosts with suspensions if their rating falls below 4.7.
So an explanation of the rating system in the house manual or posted somewhere seems fine to me. There are many examples of these if you do an online search or search with keywords on this forum or other hosting forums. I like the ones that incorporate humor, as they make it feel like the host doesn’t take themselves too seriously and isn’t blatantly shilling for a 5 star review.
I think it’s important that guests don’t feel they are being strong-armed, just receiving info. After all, not all places deserve 5 stars.
As a homeshare host, I have had the rating discussion with guests in person, if it flows organically when we are sitting around chatting, but that hasn’t happened often, so basically I never talk to guests about reviews nor have any info posted about it, nor do I ever stress about what rating I might get. Hosts get way too pre-occupied and invested in their reviews and ratings, IMO.
I’m in the “just do the best hosting you can (that doesn’t mean bending over backwards to try to please entitled, demanding guests, though- those kinds of people seldom appreciate what you do for them, and won’t leave 5* anyway) and you’ll get good reviews” camp. And I have never gotten a less than 5* review.
What do you write to guests who you have given a four star review. Or lower?
Also telling a guest you have given them a 5* review defeats the entire purpose of the review system being blind. Reviews are supposed to be honest, not incentivized, nor influenced by anything but your true experience.
If everyone gives each other 5* reviews so they’ll get one, too, reviews become pointless and can’t be trusted.
Thanks for the replies; I never looked at it as manipulation to email this to a guest, so that’s a good perspective for me to think through. Airbnb has a fortunate position where nearly 9 out of 10 guests leave a five-star reviews (from their annual reports)
I’m almost at my one-year hosting mark and I have yet to message a guests about leaving a review.
My rental is the whole house and I do all the cleaning and prep myself.
Occasionally, shortly after check-out and once I’ve been to the house (but before ABB prompts me to leave a review), I message the guest to thank them for leaving the house in great shape or to confirm that nothing was left behind. When I first started out, I felt like that was a good way to let them know the house was left as expected. As I’ve become more established, I don’t do that as much, unless they did something really spectacular or we had struck up a friendly rapport.
@Ritz3, have you ever thanked them for being 5 star but then it turned out they weren’t?
We’ve been lucky but I think it’s because it’s a 5 night minimum.
I don’t recommend explicitly requesting a 5-star review from guests, however, a tactful approach can involve reaching out to inquire about their overall experience and any areas for improvements that you can make to your property. This then makes it much more less likely for them to leave you a less than perfect 5-stars.
One thing I have experienced is that guests who have been members for years, travel a lot, and have tons of great, 5* reviews do understand the review ratings and are generous with the stars they give. I just had a guest like that, who told me unless a place is truly awful (and if it’s quite cheap, she understands that she can’t have high expectations) she always gives 5*s, leaving any suggestions for improvements in a private message. She said she wouldn’t want to be responsible for hurting a nice host’s listing.
She had stayed at a place just before mine where she experienced several issues. The other guests who were staying in other rooms were young guys who partied hearty and made a lot of noise. There was also pee on the toilet seat and a dirty sink every time she went to use the shared bathroom.
She talked to the hosts, who she said were quite nice about it, and they talked to the offending guests.
Because the place was quite cheap, and she was aware it was a hostel-type situation when she decided to book there, and the hosts took action on her complaints, she left them 5*s, with some wording in the written review mentioning that if future guests are looking for quiet, this isn’t the place to find that.
Another seasoned guest left me a nice review with 5*s, but messaged me privately to say there was a lot of cat hair on the outside patio cushions. (There’s not much I can do about that and no other guest has mentioned it- it’s a shared space and the cat does sleep there, but I honestly hadn’t noticed it, thanked her for telling me, and now try to remember to vacuum or lint-roller them on a regular basis)
I never mentioned anything to guests about reviews, hope they’re leaving 5*, etc. I really did consider it manipulative and figured they knew to leave a review. I’d say 95% left reviews without any prompting. As a guest many times, I never got any suggestions from hosts about reviews or I might not have left one at all.
I send this message the morning of check out
Good morning and Thanks for staying with us and being great guests:) Just a reminder that checkout is 10:00 and housekeeping is scheduled. The driveway gate will be open just leave the key/remote on table inside when you leave. I will review you this afternoon when I get the email from AirBnb if you could take a moment and do the same that would be great. Thanks again and we look forward to having you back in the future:).
Then later texted direct (not AirBnb message) after I see the place but before I get the review prompt:
Thanks for being a five star guest! We appreciate that you left the place in great shape and you are are welcome back anytime. I will review you this afternoon when I get the email from Airbnb Save my contact information and book direct next time and save the 3rd party fees. www.mywebsite.con
I almost alway get reviewed.
I write a review when I feel like it, usually within a week. Usually the guest writes one in order to read mine. And vice versa! If I see a guest review came in, I write theirs right away.
I recently got a 4* review and texted the guest “sorry you didn’t like the place”. I text all guests before and during their stay btw.
Another recent guest asked me when I told them they left a jacket here that they hoped they were 5 *guests, which I said that they were. I still wrote mine after they wrote theirs. I think they were anxious about it because they did have one bad review from a European host.
99.95% of the time reviews are never mentioned by guests or hosts around here.
I had one guest say when she was checking out, “I hope I was a 5* guest” (she was also a host). She was, so I assured her she was, but I can see a guest saying that being tricky and uncomfortable if they weren’t.
What to say? “No, not really”? Or, “I don’t know yet- I’ll have to see if you left the place a pigsty.”?