How to improve your value score without dropping your prices?

Hello everyone! We’ve had many discussions here about how useless the value score is. Like location, guests willingly chose a listing in comparison to what else was available. Think something is too expensive? Shop around for something cheaper. Knowing they chose to stay with me, it drives me crazy to be dinged on value. I thought getting dinged would stop once the summer rush was over, but my value score just dropped to a visual 4 and 1/2 stars on my listing (though I’m at 4.8 when I check the “progress” tab).

But I digress; there are plenty of other threads complaining about the value score. What I’d like is ideas on how to make guests feel like they’re getting a great value without having to drop my prices.

What I already do: offer Trader Joe’s brand snacks, beer, and a bottle of 2-Buck Chuck. In summer, if guests are staying multiple nights, I’ll give them a $10 bottle of wine.

I’m not sure if there is a tactful way to educate guests about the local market. I live in a popular neighborhood in Seattle with easy access to all major tourist attractions. We are the most expensive city north of San Francisco, and I think tourists get sticker shock. I rent a 1-bedroom basement apartment for as much as $150 a night in the summer and as low as $55 in the slow winter season. In this price range, I’m a Superhost competing with studios in STR buildings, when I offer more in terms of comfort, space, and amenities. Is there any way to make guests realize this?

Difficult to comment without seeing your listing @Xena and knowing what your competitors with comparable places charge.

I have only been dinged on value once. And this by a guest who said that my place was much nicer than she expected. Go figure.

Have you asked your guests who are marking you down. This is the best way of understanding where this is a mismatch.

I’ll PM the link to my listing. There is no obligation to give feedback. My best guess is that guests don’t know or like how expensive Seattle is, though I have also been dinged on value by guests who are regular visitors to the city.

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No there isn’t but if I get marked down on a particular aspect I sometimes contact the guests and ask them to give me feedback so I can try and improve my listing.

I will consider reaching out next time. This may be another case of guests not realizing that anything less than 5-stars is a bad score in AirBnB’s eyes.

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I don’t know for your market either but I’ll make some general comments. I ascribe my thinking on this to @jaquo. I have a budget listing and I started out with thinking in those terms. I got soap at the dollar store and used towels and linens I already had on hand. There was no TV, fridge or microwave. Over time I’ve added onto the home, bought new things, constantly upgraded. This is hasn’t given me much pricing power but it has given me high ratings and lots of bookings.

I now provide one small chocolate per person, bottled water, instant coffee, green tea and hot chocolate packets in the winter. I buy organic shampoos and soaps that seem fanicier than dollar store but only cost a little more in the long run. When I buy a new TV or lamp I tend to get a bit nicer one, not the cheaper one. It’s just a mind game. Of course that 12 cent chocolate shouldn’t be the difference between 4 and 5 value stars. Another thing I do is consider the guest when choosing the linens. The yoga instructor gets the bright ethnic design, the dentist gets the gray-beige Pottery Barn duvet. Pet owners get a fleece throw (under $3) that they get to take with them, dog waste bags and or kitty litter clean up supplies and a bowl of water on the porch. I’ve got some guests coming on the 29th who have stated they are Alabama fans and asked if the bowl game will be available in their room. They are getting a white duvet cover with crimson shams and a houndstooth blanket (on loan from a friend) as their decor for the night.

I don’t know if those things make the difference given our very different markets.


Unfortunately Value is in the eye of the beholder. If you expect the Ritz Carleton and get Motel 6 you will downgrade on Value. I’m NOT saying you’re comparable to a Motel 6, just making a comparison of high end to something else!!

Your problem could very well be ‘sticker shock’. Send me your listing URL and I’ll look over the wording to see if there’s anyway to get your message across better…


Completely off topic but too cute not to share.

6 years ago when my daughter was 4 we were planning a trip to Seattle and one day my daughter asked me, when are we going to Attles house? I tell her we don’t know anyone named Attle. She starts crying and tells me BUT YOU SAID WE WERE GOING TO SEE ATTLE! Oh baby, that a place not a person we are still going:)



No there is not, not without spending huge amount of money and adding amenities like pool, hot tub, etc.


if you are constantly getting dinged on the value, maybe look at the prices around you again? I mean if by “constantly” you do really mean like out of 10 guests 9 would not like value, maybe experiment with the price?

Thank you everyone who has taken time out of their day to help me consider how I could improve, and especially thank you to the three people who have given private feedback on my listing over PM. I take pride in being the best host I can be, and even after 3 years of on-and-off hosting I am learning new things from you all everyday!

3 out of my last 10 guests marked value as 3-stars. Thankfully my last 21 ratings have been 5-stars overall. My last 4-star overall rating was in the summer. I get more 4-star ratings in the summer when my prices are higher from those who perhaps weren’t the best fit for what I offer. “Seems expensive for what it is,” is the private feedback I’ve gotten, while the next review will publicly say, “this place is a great value.” Go figure!

I think prices are often way too low on Airbnb, due to the race to the bottom. Many listings are priced to not count the equity in the property, so they are uneconomically low. Check your competition of course, but my sense is it’s just entitled guests. Consider the idea of the little extras.

Without seeing your space it is very difficult to judge, but I did take a look at listings in the Seattle area from the $34. to $64 per night, there is an abundance of stunning listings, the competition in your area is tough.

Have you considered asking these guests for extra feedback?

Oooh guests comments. We just had a review on Homeaway who mentioned the TV was dated. It is a smaller flat screen not an old box one. Also mentioned parking in the rear lane alongside the fence. We are a small trendy rural town. They could have parked in front of the house and walked further instead they had a two metre walk in a quiet rear lane. Go figure.

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You might get some ideas here:


This was exactly what I was looking for, thank you!


I love @jaquo’s article!! I was actually going to ask how much local information you provide and also toiletries. Other things have already been mentioned. We are also in Seattle; one price notch up, we are going as low as $65 on some winter weekdays and as high as $250-$300 in the summer for a 1br in an older building. We get almost all 5 stars for value. We often get people commenting that “we thought of everything”. Little things like lots of charging stations, mirrors, lots of toiletries in case they forgot something like razors, toothpaste, hand lotion, sunscreen, etc., etc. We leave a $7 bottle of local wine that looks like it’s pricier based on the label (and I will drink it myself so it’s decent) and a few other things. We provide lots of towels so they have backups if they need them. The thing is, most people don’t use any of this stuff, even if they mention it. So it’s all a matter of perception. We also have tons of maps and tourist information both in an extensive guide I’ve written and I also go down to the Tourist Information office in the Convention Center and periodically (usually every time schedules expire) load up on brochures, bus and ferry schedules, etc. I’m happy to PM you our listing and also take a look at yours if you’d like any additional feedback. I will say this winter seems dreadfully slow so far, but I can’t & won’t lower prices any further. Everything will be changing here soon as you know with the new regulations, so it will be interesting to see how that affects business in 2019.


I will PM! I think I’ve seen you post on the Seattle Facebook group so we may have already viewed each other’s listings. I try to anticipate guest needs with charging stations, toiletries, extra towels, tourist brochures, tour books, and the latest issue of Seattle Met. Most of these go ontouched but occasionally someone mentions they appreciated them.

I’m always looking for more ideas too. I love the idea of the local wine that is under $10. I need to find a brand and buy it by the case. I’d eventually like to be able to charge $200+ a night in summer but not sure if I could get away with it in a basement in-law apartment.

Speaking of the regulations coming to Seattle in 2019: I am hoping this will have its intended effect of encouraging STR buildings to be opened back up to tenants and take some of the competition off the market. Since I’m near Capitol Hill, these are the competitors in my price range. However, the property managers don’t seem nervous about the coming change, so I wonder if they’ve already found a loophole or just plan on paying whatever the fine is.


E@Xena Maybe we’ve even met at a local gathering?? So you’re saying you have buildings with multiple Airbnb’s in them and the owners aren’t concerned about being shut down? I guess I’m too much of a rule follower and I wouldn’t want to risk having to cancel guests’ reservations.
The wine I use is Columbia Crest from Total Wine: Costco used to carry it but stopped. That link says $7.47 but I’m pretty sure we’ve always paid $7.27. There’s a white in the summer that’s a Chateau St Michelle but not sure of the exact one right now. If I won’t drink it I won’t put it in there, which has proved smart since so many 1/2 bottles are left and I have the awful task of finishing them, LOL.

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I haven’t been to any of the local gatherings yet but I’d love to attend. I usually hear about them after the fact!

I am sorry if I wasn’t clear; I own one house, which I live in and I rent the basement apartment. I am just surprised the Seattle hosting community doesn’t seem worried or upset about the new regulations. Maybe they are and I just haven’t heard.

I like Columbia Crest and Chateau St. Michelle, those are both great suggestions for local wines. Yes, I know what you mean by the half-bottles left behind! Mine usually turn into a pasta sauce.