How do you review a subpar Superhost when you're a Superhost?

We bust our butts to keep our Superhost rating, we really do. We starch and iron the pillowcases. Provide Peet’s coffee, fresh fruit and scones for breakfast and always have fresh flowers in the room, brochures about what to see and do in our area. So we’ve been Superhosts for three years.

Last night we booked a room with a so-called Superhost in Tennessee. We had to park a long way from the front door and drag our luggage up a series of stone steps and a 200 foot sidewalk, then up another series of steps to the front porch. There was some confusion as to which room we had rented, and we were told that if both rooms had been rented, what was considered our “private bath” would be shared with the other guests. (The listing states “private bath.”) The swimming pool out back which had also been featured in the listing was full of slimy green water. We were afraid to let our dog go near it. When we woke and started to get ready to get on the road, we asked if there was coffee. She dug out a 5-year-old can of Folgers and brewed up coffee so foul-tasting that we discreetly dumped our mugs into the bathroom sink and made for the nearest Waffle House.

My question is, what kind of a review do I give? I know some Superhosts hate having other Superhosts staying with them because we’re so judgmental. I don’t want to hurt this lady’s reputation because it could cause her to lose her status, and she seems to be in need of the Airbnb income. But then, it totally cheapens the brand of “Superhost” when people have experiences like this and think to themselves, “This is five-star treatment?” I don’t know how to proceed. Advice?

How is that something that the host has any control over? Were the pictures or the listing misleading?

Are pools normally used this time of year wherever you are located? Where I am, people would just let it sit for the winter. A cover would be preferable to looking at slimy water, but were you expecting to swim and were disappointed that you couldn’t??

Did the listing have coffee listed as an amenity? If not, you can’t complain about that either. She tried to accommodate your request, even if she has different taste in coffee than you do.

The only thing I see that you can complain about here is that the listing said private bathroom and you ended up having to share a bathroom.

Super Host doesn’t mean that you’re staying at the Ritz-Carlton. It just means that expectations have been met and that the experience matches what was advertised, in my opinion.

eta: I think that a suggestion of better coffee could absolutely be mentioned in her private feedback, but not liking her brand of coffee is not an excuse to mark someone down on stars.


Please be honest.
She needs to lift her game.
Be gentle in the public review, but be clear in the private feedback.
If she isn’t being told, she needs to be. If she is being told - she isn’t listening.


What thoughtful advice! Thank you.


The bathroom is the main factor here, dishonest. You didnt mention the price bracket.


I think one of the reasons hosts don’t like hosting other hosts, is because some compare it against their own places, rather than against the descriptions and images in the listing they book.

Were the steps and sidewalk not mentioned/shown in the listing? was the pool advertised as being available? Did the host advertise that coffee was available for guests?

My concern is you are judging her against your own listing, rather than hers. Which is unfair.

You should review against the listing description and your experience of being hosted taking into account how the place is advertised. Did she have good communication? Was the listing accurate (if you had to share a bathroom when it was advertised as being private, then say so), was it clean this is what you should look at.

There are all sorts of superhosts - at all sorts of price points. Just because you bust a gut with your place - doesn’t mean others have to. I don’t do any of the things you do and I too have been a superhost for three years.


There’s no set standard for Superhost. As mentioned, I have never and will never starch and iron pillowcases!! I provide full breakfasts; would never put fresh flowers in the cabana. I’ve been a Super host for 3 years as well.


You’re right, I’ll revisit her listing before writing a review. I already saw she does mention the steps. And I’ll open my mind about the definition of being a superhost extending beyond starched pillow cases.

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Please review honestly and not based on her apparent need for income or her reputation or your feeling that hosts don’t want to host other hosts. Without seeing the listing copy and comparing it to the actual place I can’t comment on what kind of review to give her but it’s supposed to be an honest assessment of your experience.


I would venture to say that it’s pretty difficult to avoid SH status if you’ve been hosting for a while. When I look at listings, it seems that everyone and their dog is a superhost. And it’s no guarantee of a dedicated host by any means. We all know what the criteria are and they really aren’t stringent. We are awarded a nice little badge to keep us on our toes but that’s all it means. (And it’s not something that hosts should ‘bust their butts’ to maintain.)

Superhosts, just like any other host, should be reviewed honestly.


Maybe the other factor to consider is price. You don’t say what yours is and I’m hoping you get a little more for the effort you put in. But if the place you stayed is overpriced for the amenities, then that’s something else that affects the “value” equation. If you paid very little (relatively) and the listing was as described, then it seems you came out pretty well and what the host might need more is helpful private hints to be more descriptive in her listing, or suggestions on how to up her game (and maybe price?)


I totally agree! If traveling on on a budget, I expect clean, basic accommodation. If i’m paying for all the bells and whistles then I expect the extras.
I rent to plenty of “Superhosts” that don’t read the basics and can’t get in the front door! I kinda blows me away.


I was in a very similar situation last week (even the slimy pool, a fridge with half eaten food, ceiling fans broken, ac not working in bedrooms, etc. Because I really didn’t want to give a bad rep to superheats I chose to give her 5 star ratings and then send a her private message about some (not all) of the issues I felt were the most important. I posed it as things other guests might complain about but she may not be aware of.

As a fellow host, this is very depressing. You have undermined the accuracy of reviews, made guests potential victims, and made this host feel it is ‘ok’ to continue doing bad things since he will not get reviewed.

Giving people a pass (“I hate to give bad reviews”, “I’m paying it forward” etc) is why guests also feel free to abuse hosts.



Agree x 100…


Would it be better for superhosts to get such a bad rep that are bookings aren’t accepted? I didn’t feel anything was so grievous but felt that there were some issues. In the past I did stay in a place that was so filthy that I did file a claim even after the host begged me not to write a bad review.

This thread makes me feel like I am working way too hard.


It would be better that guests see accurate and honest reviews. The guests can decide what level of filth or inaccuracy they can accept, but to not have the information needed to make those decisions is very wrong.

A superhost is simply a guest who has been successful with their airbnb. It does not imply wisdom, it does not infer that a Superhost is more or less a good guest.


This is a very interesting discussion. We had a sort of similar experience recently.
We are super hosts and have three airbnb’s and we put our heart and soul into making sure that our guests have an amazing stay and do everything in our power to make sure they do- nice soaps, every amenity possible, free breakfast, board games, books, super responsive to questions etc etc. So it really “hurts our feelings” when we get less than a 5 star review (especially when they still say something like “great stay!” and nothing about why it’s not 5 stars.
We stayed at another airbnb recently which was a superhost and there was literally NOTHING wrong with it- it was clean, well set out, had everything we needed, but didn’t have that extra “pizazz” that we go to so much effort to provide. At first I wanted to give them 4 stars because “we put in more effort”- but we did give them 5 stars because although we give 110%, the still gave 100% They did nothing wrong, we do nothing wrong- its the picky guests (who are getting worse!) that are doing the wrong things.


I’ve stayed at more than one airbnb that I gave 5 stars to and yet if they posted their listing here and asked for a critique they would get lots of negative/honest comments. Yet in each case the listing was honestly represented and I picked it for whatever reasons (price, charm, location, private bathroom, etc.) It’s the listing that pictures a pristine pool and you see a science experiment or a “private” bathroom that is shared with others, amenities (like AC or ceiling fans) broken or missing.

Someone stays with me and tells me my space heater rattles and I buy a new heater. That’s what makes me super but I could apparently do must less and still get 5 stars. I just need to work on my little old lady who needs the money routine.