Issue with reviews

Hi! I just created this account to discuss an issue we have been experiencing lately. We have a few Airbnb’s, and up until fairly recently we were receiving nothing but perfect reviews. For seemingly no reason, we’ve been getting a lot of 4 star reviews. People will leave a comment saying “Absolutey perfect!” But then only leave 4 stars.

We are unsure what to do about it, so we’re hoping others could maybe discuss their experience in relation to this?

No way to know what a guest is thinking. Perhaps you could message the guests and ask them why only four stars.
Anything we say here is pure speculation.

One thing I’ve tried with some success is groveling.
I usually do this after check out or if I’ve detected a super happy guest.

I message them…

Thanks for leaving the apartment in such great shape! I can leave you five stars and would love five stars in return. Thanks again!

In some desperate cases, I will also add…

Would love five stars in return as without one more I will lose my Super Ho status on July 1 and just need one more five star review! Thanks!

It’s pathetic but it has worked to eliminate the 4 star habit. Just ask them for five. But only do it with the guests you feel would really be open to it.

I recently had some darling guests who told me that Airbnb were so irritating and annoying. Guests are starting to get fed up too and we bonded over that. :weary: They left me five stars.

Haven’t other hosts found that things go in cycles? I’m crossing my fingers (toes and everything else) that I don’t have a ‘bad review’ cycle but I’m not surprised that it happens for no real reason.

There’s always a reason, even if you don’t know what it is.

As for what to do, you could ask for 5 star reviews as kona suggests. Some people have had good luck trying to educate guests about what the stars mean. The other thing would be not to worry about it. Are you concerned you’ll drop below the 4.7 average they say they want?

What were the 4 stars for? Overall? or some specific category?

I had a guest who said everything was wonderful but left me 4*, I messaged her and asked what was wrong. She said; “something bad happened in your place a long time ago and you need to smudge”.
I looked up what smudging meant… and then replied, “I smudged before you came, do you think there is a problem with my technique?”…
She replied; “I am so sorry I am sure your technique is just fine”

It gave me a giggle and now my listings say: We smudge between guests.

As if my cleaner doesn’t have enough to do!


You can win for losing! You may lose more booking with stating that you smudge between guests since so many people are sensitive to scents or are just creeped out by the religious connotations.

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Its in the “fine print”, every couple of months I get a message from a guest saying they are pleased that I smudge, it makes them happy to book…
I shouldn’t say anymore…

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I think it is kind of ridiculous that guest expected you to smudge, and your reply was hilarious. However, I probably wouldn’t go as far as saying you smudge between stays if you aren’t since it is a practice with religious-connotations.

My cabin has a history, small town here the plumber told me the story. If anyone told me what your guest told you the hairs on my neck would stand straight up, and then I would smudge. I may smudge anyway.


In Australia we don’t consider smudging is a religious practice, it is considered New Age/alternative.

The guest who decided I didn’t deserve 5* because she “thought” something “bad” had happened in my home was definitely an Aussie.

Many of us don’t consider there to be any difference between the those two things.


Ask a few 4 markers, was there anything you could do to improve their stay.
You could leave an explanation of star rating in your information folders.
I would never ask a guest to give me 5 stars, i never discuss ratings with any guest on any platforms. Maybe its cultural different depending on where you live. I have read here that we want hosts to give honest reviews on guests but if we are saying you give me 5 and i will give you 5, where is the honesty in that?
There will always be a low marker, you cant please everybody all the time but the odd few lower ones should stand out against higher reviews.
You mentioned you have several listings, perhaps you are over stretched a bit and attention to detail is slipping just a little. I have 2 rooms, one more in the pipeline , i could not cope with the level of cleaning required (i clean myself) with anymore.
It must be really hard running several listings.

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There was an update to a June 2017 post about it a few weeks back: “AirBnB explaining star rating to guests when writing reviews”

1 Star = Terrible
2 Star = Bad
3 Star = Ok
4 Star = Good
5 Star = Great

Okay I NEED TO KNOW! What is smudging? I googled it and still none the wiser?

Burning a sage bundle or similar fragrant plant in a ceremonial fashion. Some people believe it removes the bad juju from a space. How it’s done and what effect it supposedly has varies among practitioners

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Using smoke to clear bad energy

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I had a close acquaintance do a smudging in her hair salon right before she opened for business. All her hairstylists and family members and friends were there (waiting for the wine/cheese part of the festivities, no doubt).

The shaman-looking guy with long hair had sprigs of smoking herbs and other green things in one hand and a small clay (?) pot in his other and went through the several rooms chanting while everyone looked on. It smelled awful but we were all respectful.

Didn’t help. She went bankrupt within two years.


Even places with good energy can suffer from a bad business person…

Im gonna smudge to be on the safe side:)


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