I find Airbnb review system useless for hosts

Guests select what to book based on reviews. But hosts are practically required to host bad guests.

I feel that as hosts, we have a ridiculous amount of requirements:

  • 100% response rate: I know I can respond with single word yes/no/thanks/hello to meet this criteria but I shouldn’t be required to respond to guests who have less than 4.7 rating (same as the requirement for hosts).
  • 88% acceptance rate: Usually the only booking requests I get are from problem guests who have been given bad ratings by other guests. Declining them counts against me. So even though I have IB with no requirements, I have to put up with these booking requests from guests who have bad ratings.
  • Penalties for cancellation: even if a guest discloses their intent to break house rules, I can cancel them only three times per year. That is too low if you have a long hosting season. I have a low season of only three months. If I had a peak season of only three months, three might be sufficient. It needs to be more reasonable like 25% of successfully completed stays.

So even if guests have bad reviews, hosts pretty much have to host them. What’s the point of this review system since hosts have very limited ability to avoid bad guests?

The flip side of all this is that as I’m gaining more hosting experience I am continuously raising rates due to the risk of bad guests I have experienced and I read here. I will have fewer nights booked with less total revenue but the profit margin is higher and the risk is lower.

Luckily, I have the type of listing where no damage to property has happened. I can’t imagine hosting a large property on Airbnb.

1 Like

I don’t agree with the concept that you shouldn’t have to respond to guests who have a 4.7 or less rating. That’s really a strange idea to me.

First of all, star ratings are subjective and you have no idea why another host may have marked them down- only honest written reviews can tell you that. A 4.7 rating does not necessarily mean they will be a bad guest, just like a 4.7 rating doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad host- all it takes is one guest or one host who got their nose bent out of shape to tank someone’s rating.

And if you have no requirements to IB, why would you care if a 4.7 guest IBs or sends a request? That makes no sense to me- maybe I’m missing something.

Secondly, responding is part of the job description of being in the hospitality business. Not all aspects of hosting are ones we enjoy.


I agree with your point that 4.7 doesn’t make someone a bad host. But 4.7 is the basic requirement for hosts… hosts have a much stronger requirement than guests.

I have IB on my current listings as they are well suited for IB. Luckily, I have the type of listing where IB with no requirements works.

I hate requests because they block the calendar. Getting a bad guest to withdraw their request is time consuming.

I may be wrong on this one but I believe I can cancel penalty free if it’s IB but if it is a request to book, I will have to pay a penalty to cancel.

So it would be safer for me to get IB (better guests who I can cancel if they want to break house rules) rather than RTB (worse rated guests who I can’t cancel penalty free).

As usual I’m left of center.

The review process for guests of hosts has always been harder on hosts. For example Airbnb’s refusal to remove or allow star change of a 1 star review by a lovely guest whose review was stellar & thought #1 was the best

However this summer I’m getting bookings at the highest $rate I’ve ever charged.

It’s all about the money to me.

Sappy me loves my guests but if I weren’t making $$ I wouldn’t do it.


Oh dear house_plants, I think you are a very lucky ABB host to use Instant Book with no requirements and have no property damage!

I fear it is only a matter of time before things go not so well.

Why not require ID verified, acceptance by other hosts, and a little message about their trip? These things set expectations with the guests.

I do not agree that the ABB system is useless for hosts because I have turned away a couple of guests that I thought would bring trouble.

I was able to turn them away because they did not meet the 3 Instant Book requirements. That pause gave me time to message back and forth with them.

One guy wanted to bring 3 rabbits and have them stay in the house. The other one did not have a verified ID with ABB and she seemed very demanding right from the start.

By the way: Just yesterday I got a message from ABB about a prospective guest who was on hold because she did not have a verified ID on file with ABB. ABB told me she had 24 hours to send her ID or she would be declined. She sent ID in a few hours. She then sent me a message (which I require) and I had the option to decline her.

In my message to guests, I ask them to tell me about their travel plans and the name of their traveling companion and the names of their dog(s), if any.

So this is working well for me.


The Italian guests I had left me 3* on several items and it was retaliatory because I wouldn’t take cash for their last night (caveat - they were a drunken nightmare from day 1, so there’s that). It took my rating below 4.7 for about a week until my next guests gave me 5* all around. Then there are the folks who give 4* for location, value and don’t understand that ABB sets their fees, we don’t and I’ve discussed Florida traffic and local construction in all Messages.

As we should. ABB gets enough clickbait bad press without adding dumps - real dumps - to the mix.


These are my IB requirements and if a previous host has clicked “would not host again” during the review process, they can’t IB and we can message to find out if it’s a fit. This has worked for me since 2017.

1 Like

Thanks for the warning. My listing is a studio without kitchen in a building with a 24-hour security guard. So that minimizes chances of bad behavior compared to a house in the woods where one can throw a raging party and no one would notice.

I ask them to verify ID before check in. If I require acceptance by other hosts, newbies cannot book with me. They are a large portion of my bookings.

Those who cannot IB will send a request to book. As I mentioned before RTB is worse.

1 Like

This is an interesting idea. Do you get any push back?

When we traveled in Europe they took copies of our passports and sometimes even held them until checking out.

It would be great if there was an option to require the names of all guests staying, and the ages of the children.

I host differently than most. You do too. As long as it works for you that’s what matters.


It’s been many years since my listing was active on VRBO. I hear guest lists & stay contracts are common but I don’t have any first hand knowledge.

How is getting that info handled on VRBO?

For Instant Book, if the guest has no reviews yet, they can send a message to the host.

Here’s from the ABB website:

Instant Book guest requirements

In addition to requirements you set here, guests must meet Airbnb standard requirements, agree to your house rules, and acknowledge that Airbnb homes can be different from hotels.

Government-issued ID required

Require guests to submit government ID to Airbnb in order to Instant Book. If they don’t meet this requirement, they will send a request instead.

Host recommendation required

Require guests to have recommendations from other Airbnb Hosts and no negative reviews. If they don’t meet this requirement, they will send a request instead.

Pre-booking message required

Require guests to read and respond to a message before they confirm their reservation.

Please send us a message about your trip. We especially like to know the name(s) of your human traveling companions and the names of your dog(s). Thank you for choosing us!

Yes. And I believe that was the point that house_plants was making.

If they can’t IB then they have to RTB which is more work and more pressure.

And it causes the newbies more work when it should be more of a welcoming. I don’t want the guests with the least amount of familiarity with the platform having to have to work harder than they should.

We send guests a contract on Vrbo and require they fill it in and sign it within 48 hours of booking. Names must be filled out (although we all just ages for minors) as part of the contract. It’s sent through DocuSign so they can do it all online.

For AirBnB, simply put it in your house rules and set a time frame that works for you.