Just got dinged with 4 stars by a happy guest. Grrrr!

Dammit! We’re down to 4.5 from 4.7 thanks to this HAPPY Guest (fairly new to airbnb). Naturally, she had no idea that 4 stars is a negative.

This is the last time that I post a 5 star review for a guest, without getting their review first - so they can change it.

I think it’s time to have a short 1 page welcome sheet in our bnb, with a short bit about the airbnb rating system. Here’s a quick draft - any thoughts?

Welcome to our Riverview Getaway! Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your stay comfortable.

Amy and Jeff

About Airbnb
Please note that the AirBnB rating system is not like a hotel. A 4 star review actually impacts our overall rating.

“Would you stay with us again? This is a 5-star review!”

Thank You for Choosing Us!


I love and am stealing. Short, to the point, and friendly.


The review system is double blind. It doesn’t matter who posts first.

I’m not a fan of coaching people to give a certain review or to give them guidelines on what the stars mean. I’ve been on both sides of the equation, as a host and guest, and also on other platforms (like the multiple emails from the Amazon seller begging for a 5 star review). It’s just a personal quirk, no doubt a product of my years in the classroom being pressured to assign certain grades.

I think most hosts don’t have any problem with “educating” guests about reviews.


It may be time to take a real honest look at the feedback that you are getting and focus on making some improvements, some changes. Ask yourself, could the apartment be cleaner? Is my description fully accurate? How is my communication with the guests?

I’m sorry if this sounds harsh but those are unusually low ratings for only having a few reviews with a new listing. It’s completely possible to turn it around as long as you change things up. And there is a ton of good advice on this forum to help you!


JJD we are still pretty new to airbnb, so even ONE 4 star review holds weight. Both of our 4 star reviews are from new air guests.

Our place is spotless and a great value.

That’s true, but as I posted in another thread recently I suspect that once you have low scores it’s hard to move up. People see the rating and think, oh, this is a 4 star place and they give 4 stars instead of 5. And I’ve had lots of new guests, 100s of new ones have given me 5 stars on cleanliness. That is one category that you should have 100% control over (compared to value and location) and if that’s your lowest category then maybe you should consider some changes.


The way it works is that you should leave an honest review for all your guests. As you say, you’re a new host so it would be a great idea to fully get to know about the review system.

I don’t believe that we should ‘educate’ our customers. If as happy guest thinks that a four star rating is okay, then the chances are that a potential customer will too. Please try not to get so hung up about reviews and ratings - it really isn’t worth it.


So that means you only have 4 reviews and 2 are 4-stars. Even though I don’t think you should get too caught up on ratings, it does put your listing at risk to be below a 4.7. Also, you came here to the forum to tell us about it so I was assuming you came for some help since this isn’t a support group.

Don’t blame the new guests. I love new guests and not one has given me a 4-star rating. It’s not them. There’s just some changes that might be needed. Like anything else new, a listing needs to be tweaked.

If it is indeed spotless (though I find that most people over-estimate the spotlessness) then it must not seem spotless or feel spotless. That might not be fair but it is true that something can be clean but it also needs to look and smell clean.

Sometimes there is actual cleanliness issues that you are overlooking (dust on baseboards, stains on cabinets, spots on glassware) - there are lots of good discussions about cleaning details on the forum. You might consider searching for them just to make sure you aren’t missing something. It seems like in the discussions that just about everyone learned something new.

But even if it is clean, there are some things you can do to make it look clean (clean doesn’t necessarily equal looking clean). For instance, in one of our units, we have a shower stall and we bought a new drain cover for $4 that polishes up completely shiny and glistening. It’s not any cleaner than the old drain cover but it sure looks cleaner and it makes the whole shower look cleaner (even though the shower was already spotless).


In your opinion, but obviously not that of your guests.

Ever considered that maybe your place ain’t that clean and not good value?

Food for thought perchance.

Correct. In This scenario, from your perspective they appear an easy target.



I agree with @JJD and @JohnF. Airbnb-clean isn’t like ordinary-clean or hotel-clean. Airbnb rentals have to be completely immaculate.

I’ve stayed in Airbnb rentals that have had five star cleanliness ratings but to me, they haven’t been Airbnb standard. There might be things you’ve overlooked - dust on the lightbulbs in table lamps? Less than perfect shower curtain? Dusty bit under the bed? Fingermarks on the windows? Grimy areas by the door key? Grimy TV remote? Those are just a few examples.

If you employ a cleaner, be sure that he/she is used to Airbnb standards not just a regular cleaning person. You’ve also got to make sure that the bedding, for instance, is totally fresh-smelling (not just clean) and that there are no funky smells anywhere in the rental. The fridge is another area that must be immaculate.

If guests don’t see your rental as good value, then there are plenty of ways of adding value without spending money.

So often, sadly, it’s the host who is being judged to some extent. A survey by the restaurant industry found that customers were more impressed by friendly and efficient staff than they were by the decor or even the quality of the food. Amazing but true.


I don’t understand what you mean, here. You can’t get their review first, unless you ask them to tell you how they plan to rate you, which is a little awkward, but so is review coaching.

I hadn’t really thought about that until it was brought up a few weeks ago, but unfortunately, I believe it’s a very plausible explanation for why guests keep giving scores similar to previous guests (whether lower or higher).

Some guests equate items that are out-of style or have visible wear-and-tear as being dirty, so that can be a contributing factor.


So, so true.

Only ever been marked down on cleanliness once; Airbnb and BDC, fives and tens respectively all the way.

BDC guest, from Sevilla. Wife ok, him a complete knob. Complained about everything, from the shape of the moon through to the oxygen content in the air in Jerez.

I know where he lives (next door to my old Seviana local) and I just hope I don’t happen to have a tube of superglue in my pocket next time I’m up there.

Joke! Honest!



lol. I had a neighbor who marked me down on location of all things. I see him now and then and I dutifully glare.


We got marked down once too and it was for “fruit flies”. Ugh. They weren’t actually fruit flies but we had a new plant that must’ve spawned some gnats or something overnight. It was so annoying.

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Jefferson, did the guest give you fours for every category? What amenities do you provide? Guest will ding you for just about anything. I was dinged not long ago because the guest said the fan blades were dusty. Now that’s the first thing I clean!

Sometimes small little touches can help boost your ratings. For example, providing coffee, tea and snacks. Also providing a basket of books, games for a rainy day and a list of things to do in the area. Hang in there!

To be honest, if it hadn’t been up to scratch I’d happily have taken it on the chin.

But it was.

He was just pissed that when he turned up, two hours before check in time, he wasn’t allowed into the apartment. Took us four/five months of reviews on BDC to recover from that one, for that apartment.


I think that beats my most famous complainers who texted me from the beach to complain that the ocean wasn’t blue enough :slight_smile:


I’m just a bit tee’d off. We want to hit superhost, and we were right there at 4.7. We just needed one more 5 then to keep it up.

I had a brief text interaction with the last guest this afternoon. She confirmed that everything was great and thanked us for the stay. She confirmed that she THOUGHT that 4 stars was “a good rating” (is new to airbnb). She truly had no idea that air looks at it differently.

I’m definitely going to put together something to leave in the unit. For guests with under 3 reviews, I’ll probably have a custom thank you msg after their stay that also informs them on the system.


I had a guy give me a four overall because he showed up early and I had the temerity to say something about it. But I still let him in. The only 4 I’ve gotten on cleanliness in the last 3 years was due to ants in the room. They were coming in through a tiny gap in the caulk at the front entry. Before that I had a handful of 4s when they were in my part of the house. Keeping an entire house clean for $50 a night or less was just not tenable.


Hmm. If what @JJD quoted is correct, i.e. two out of (your only) four reviews are 4*, then you either need to up your game or revise your expectations.