OK, I know I should be used to it by now

… but it still sets me off!

They were lovely guests, We got on amazingly well … I invited them to watch England vs Colombia on our TV, They invited me to share a bottle of wine. They adored the pool and the apartment, want to come back next year, gave us a glowing review and …

… (yes, you’ve guessed) left 4**** for cleanliness.

It’s happened before and I think I know the problem. It’s either the mud-coloured tiles of the living-room floor (but clean, clean, clean!) or it’s the garden … it’s lovely but it’s surrounded by pine trees which drop needles at the merest breath of wind. I seem to be always sweeping the pool surround and terrace, but quite honestly if I were to catch each needle and dropped bouganvillea blossom as they fall I’d spend 3 hours every day cleaning the garden.

I don’t usually believe in challenging guests over their reviews (unless they’re really innacurate) but this time I REALLY want to know. And I think I may start the begging for 5*s trick as well. I mean, if you really loved everything as much as you said, really would it hurt you to leave the full five?!!

OK, venting done …and the mud-coloured tiles will be GONE before nexr season!


That would bug me too. Since you had a great rapport with them, you might consider sending them a thank-you message and also mention that you would really like to address whatever it is they found needs improvement on cleaning and would appreciate their feedback.

If they do, you’re ahead (rather than guessing what it might be), and if they don’t, make a note to put their next request to stay, in File 13. :angry:


Could someone explain to me why a guest should give 5 stars across the board just because they liked the place/the host/shared wine/watched TV/saved them money with tips about something local/etc? The cleanliness rating is based on their perception of cleanliness. Now, I’m not saying the 4 stars was deserved, I have no idea, what I don’t understand is all the other information about the friendly relationship. I seen this posted a lot, complaints about less than 5 stars but “relationship” “congeniality” or “friendliess” are not rated categories.


I agree with this. Wouldn’t it be nice though, since the relationship was so good, if the guests would leave private feedback on what was not clean? Oh well.


Well, that’s certainly put me in my place!

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Yes, especially as the review says they’re going to recommend me to all their friends!

But yes, I am planning to do what you suggest, in a polite and friendly way - you wording sounds very good to me and it’s true, if there in fact is something I can do I’d like to address it

@KKC I do actually see what you mean (and I think it’s quite a shame that friendliness isn’t a rated category!) and it was more the fact that they said how much they loved the apartment … though I suppose they might do that even if it isn’t “sparkling clean”! which is something I keep seeing on listings: "5 guests described this place as “sparkling clean”!


Friendliness isn’t genuine for everyone unfortunately. Many people just use it to get what they want from people. I don’t take friendliness very seriously. In people I don’t know well, it’s useful to look at it as charm. At the end of the day host/guest is a working relationship. I have been lucky enough to make a few friends through hosting, but I don’t count on it.


Yes me too. But it started with Airbnb since before I had no chance to meet so many people .
I had the most friendly guests who trashed me in review.

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Ha. Well, your place is a lofty one as you are one of the most respected hosts on the forum in my estimation. It just simply occured to me to ask after reading your post. I’d hate to think if I stayed at an airbnb I liked and socialized with the host that I would lose my right to leave anything less than 5 stars if I thought less than 5 was deserved.

It will be fascinating to see if replacing the tile is indeed the magic trick you need.

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Ha - flattery will get you everywhere, Karma (with me anyway!) I’m desperate to change the tile …it was originally laid exactly because it was mud-coloured, when we thought our apartment would be mostly used by family and grandchildren would be trailing dirt and sand through the place!


I have exactly the same problem. The tiles, which I hate, are original 1940s Cuban tiles which so many people love but never look clean. You could forget about plates and eat dinner from the rental floor, it’s so bloody clean. But it looks gross. They look blotchy and ugly. But there’s no budget available for replacements. Actually, it would probably be impossible to remove them, we’d have to cover them with something else.

And the garden is a disgrace and it’s mentioned in review that the exterior ‘needs some TLC’ but that not up to us. All the apartments are separately owned so it’s the condo association that has to get its finger out, not me.

Yeah, I should be used to it too…


A private ask wouldn’t hurt.Maybe they’re used to hotels and used that rating system, or expected clean sheets and towels daily, or you had some papers and stuff lying about when you invited them to watch TV (under the “no good deed goes unpunished” category).
I used to think it was beneath me but I’ve added a ratings whore note to the first page of my welcome book
“A word on Airbnb ratings: If you booked with Airbnb and choose to leave a rating, generally 5 stars means all expectations were well met, and 4 stars means good but something was lacking, inaccurate, or needs to be improved. We strive for 5 stars! Please don’t hesitate to bring any concerns to the host’s attention.”
So Air wants us to do whatever it takes to get those 5 stars, and we want to not host again anyone who gives us less than 5 stars. Strange system. I wonder if it was invented by that generation where everyone got a trophy just for showing up? (Old person snark, sorry. It is definitely beneath me to stereotype a entire group when the complaint only applies to some, but I’ve seen it in my workplace!)


Gosh that worries me that my 5 star reviews for my very old but character filled listing could be advertised as ‘sparkling clean’ by Airbnb. Me thinks this could only leave me to disappointed guests :thinking:

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Not a snark. Recent research in the psychiatry and psychology fields has shown strong evidence the participation trophy has created a generation of resentful, bitter, over sensitive and ill equipped adults who cannot cope with failure or criticism. It was supposed to enhance self esteem and it’s had quite a contrary effect.


I hope they gave 5 stars overall, at least.

I feel your pain! I installed tile and ripped up the linoleum in my house a few years after purchasing but I stupidly chose ivory/white colored grout, telling myself I could keep it clean. The kitchen grout looks disgusting and takes a toothbrush and a ton of ‘clorox cleanup’ to get it back to white. Of course the grout sealant has long been eaten away by the bleach so after scrubbing, the kitchen grout quickly goes back to looking filthy and “mud” brown. Or worse. Sigh.

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Hi @jaquo,

What color tiles would you recommend? My rental room has gray/brown tiles, which I chose myself, so I can’t blame anyone for them. I haven’t had any complaints about them, and I’m not sure if they look dirty or not. They do have a lot of crack-type markings running across them - they’re not a uniform color.

I’ve seen this as well. “5 guests recently described this listings as sparkling clean!” Or something right along those lines. I am pretty sure this message is not tied to stars, but rather to people actually using the word “clean” in their reviews.

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I don’t like any tiles that aren’t a uniform colour. The logic is good - that because of the variations in colour marks won’t show - but I find that it isn’t the case. This is because the mottley coloured bits look like dirty marks. For instance, the Cuban tiles are dark brown and the first time I had a guest with a dog in there I thought the dog had thrown up but it’s just the so-called irregular pattern on the tiles.

This sounds daft but the easiest floor I ever had was white tile. A good doormat, shoes off inside and when raining, a thick towelling bathmat over the doormat. Of course, with flooring a lot depends on where you are and the climate.

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Oh no! I have white tiles in my kitchen and they never look clean even right after I’ve scrubbed the floor and the grout looks dirty too! I can’t wait to change them.