Just Venting...But 5 Stars in everything except the OVERALL SCORE WHYYYYYY?

Title says it all. But seriously, why would someone do this. No comment about what we can do better, 5 stars in everything except the overall one…Just…WHY?

Edit…Should I respond to it and say something like, “For future reference 4 stars is sometimes indicative of a problem, but I am glad that you didn’t have any?”

No no… don’t respond. Just let it go. Any response by you will be amplified and draw attention to the issue. Not worth responding to and only makes you look bi* chy.

We cannot get so worked up over these things. Remember when you started out, you knew you had a work in progress or diamond in the rough. You knew there were some things that weren’t perfect. It’s not realistic to always expect five stars every time.

Even the Mauna Lani, Orchid and 4 Seasons here on the resort coast occasionally get 4 stars. It’s just part of this business. You are not always going to get five stars every time.

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I know it must be making you feel absolutely livid and we all feel for you - many of us have been there! It seems so illogical, but from a guest point of view I can see why it might happen. You know, you stay somewhere and you can’t fault the cleanliness, location, communication etc, they’re all fine, but there’s just something … you can’t put your finger on it … but it just doesn’t spell 5-star to you. This is often no reflection on the host, it may be some idiosyncracy on the part of the guest which wouldn’t be relevant for anyone else - say your place was quirky mid-century modern and they preferred beige minimalism, or, like a very picky friend of mine who won’t give anywhere 5 stars that doesn’t have 800-thread count sheets!

Some posters here have suggested educating guests that in Airbnbspeak 5 stars means absolutely fine rather than total perfection, by including something to that effect in your House Manual. You might want to try that, but I bet when you have a few more 5 star reviews under your belt you’ll just shrug and say, as we used to in the North of England “There’s nowt so daft as folks …”


A self centered pompous guest did that to me because I ( - gasp - ) required him to sign an agreement.
Booked our full house for xmas 2017 with 12 people including grandchildren.
Everything in our listing is clear that we require a signature on our contract.
He felt it was a hassle, and he travels all over the world without having to sign anything with ABB. He stalled and was high maintanence. I should have cancelled him early on. Live and learn.
So he gave us a 4. Raved about everything and all 5 stars. But a 4 overall.

Because in every day life ‘4 out of 5’ is still good and guests don’t know any better.

Unfortunately, with airbnb ( where I was suspended for having less than 4 star average when I had just started and had some people who got mad at me for waking them 1.5 hours after check out time and who tore me apart) that is not seen as such.

Often when I do a survey and they have this scale of ‘very unhappy’ to ‘very satisfied’ I circle ‘satisfied’ (not 'very satisfied), not because there was anything wrong, but I figure that satisfied is a great rating and things just weren’t over the top perfect.

So, I think that the average person thinks of 4 stars as a good rating and doesn’t realize that they may be hurting the host.

I’ve said it before. It’s about educating guests how Airbnb’s rating system works. We shouldn’t have to do that. Airbnb should do it but they don’t. After the same thing happened to us several times, we wrote a blurb on a “Welcome letter” in each room. It’s been very effective for us. It says,

"Airbnb’s star rating system- Some people are confused about this subject. It’s understandable because in hospitality a 5 Star rating is only given to the finest hotels and resorts. Airbnb’s system is different from that. In order for us as hosts to maintain our Superhost status, we need to average 4.8 out of 5 stars. (virtually 5 star ratings from every guest)

Basically, 5 stars means everything was good. If we fall short in some way, that’s when you would deduct a star. Some folks who have stayed with us were very pleased with everything yet only gave us 4 stars. That review actually hurts our rating. It is our goal to earn a 5 star review every time. Please let us know if something is not right while you are still here so we can try to rectify it. We always welcome constructive advice on how we can improve."


This really struck a nerve with me because our last-but-one guest did exactly that - five stars for everything but four for overall. I was tempted to drive up to Scotland to petrol-bomb her house. Actually, and realistically, I don’t think the guest warmed to us personally - she was quite a detached, self-contained kind of person and perhaps she found my partner and I a bit too chatty or intrusive? However, I’ve restrained myself from contacting her to ask for her reasoning.


I’ve also said before that I oppose any kind of asking for good reviews directly or indirectly. But now I have a big HOWEVER…now Superhost is going to require a 4.8 average, not 80% five star. So I could see a few bad reviews dropping someone out of SH. Some people think it doesn’t matter but I think in this competitive market SH does matter and I use the $100 voucher. It’s fine if my competition loses it but I don’t want to. So if I drop down to 4.9 I may have to take some pro-active steps. LOL.

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I agree with you and I don’t really think I’m asking for a good review. I’m educating guests how Airbnb’s rating system works. It’s for the benefit of all hosts.


It probably does benefit all hosts but we’ll have to agree to disagree on the message it sends to guests. There are many helpful or harmless things I just won’t do. For example, I won’t put signs and labels all over my guest room. I’d rather suffer, LOL.

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I’ve had a guests like yours that give you high ratings but leave you with a less than 5 star review. One is a sadist that has never given anyone a 5 star, and reviews, amongst other things, the apparent friendliness of a host’s toddler.

Meanwhile, at this end Air has set an unprecidented standard of 4.7 out of 5 for us. I really hope it’s some kind of perverse experiment. Or another woo hoo to stuff in the circular file!

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Few guests do that, maybe they believe 4 star is also a good score. Airbnb should educate guests about what 4 star meant for hosts, before they review.
I believe guests sees 4 star as “great”, but in fact hosts will be forced to shut down if average score drop below 4.2 (or 4.4?).

That’s funny. I have to put a couple on light switches which it may not be obvious what they are for and I don’t want guests turning them on and not off like the backyard light where the chickens roost. But then I figured if started labelling things or putting up notices it would never stop so I bought a label maker but have never used it.

When I started 4 years ago I was okay with a 3 star review and happy with a 4 star review as I was used to Tripadvisors system. Then ABB told me that “hosts in my area” were getting 5 for cleanliness. So I had a look and they were all getting 5s for everything. So I wrote in my guestbook that ABBs ratings were generally higher than others. I don’t think this is begging for good ratings that aren’t deserved it is educating guests. I would be more than happy with an average rating of 4 if that meant what it means in most ratings system and so did others of a similar offering and quality, and leave the 5s to truly excellent places and 5 star resorts.


When you see an average rating of 4.X it sounds very high but it really means that if you only got ratings of 4 or 5 that X% of them had to be 5s hence 4.8 is equivalent to 80% 5s.

For those of a mathematical bent if you have a target rating of R and you get a rating below 5 of P=1,2,3,4 then the number of 5s you need to get to get the rating back to R again is: N=(R-P)/(5-R). So for example if P=3 and R=4.8 then N=5x1.8 = 9. If P=1 then N=5x3.8=19(!).

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Can guests ever get kicked out for a bad review? Does anyone accept guests with bad reviews? Sometime you just need the income. I have also seen guests that are bad with horrible attitude have 5 stars from other host. So they think that they can go anywhere and show the hosts that they will do as they please because they shelled out their big bucks. Any thoughts?

Yikes! I failed Grade 10 math! But from the stool in the corner of the room, 5 X 80% = 4.The point being that getting to a 4.7 goal is a high bar.

Sure, but 4.7/5=94% but you “only” need to get 70% 5s and 30% 4s to achieve it.