Our first 3 star review - Should I send the guest a private message?

Ok we received the following review on MisterBnB:
“As I don’t speak Spanish it was hard communicating with the hosts mum who was preparing breakfast at the hosts place. Wil the host was super friendly. Bathroom small but :+1:. Busy Main Street right there in front of the house.”

He gave us 3 out of 5 stars. My hubby told me he looked happy. I wasn’t there. The busy street we mention in our listing. We have photos that clearly show the small bathroom. It’s compact but functional. To me it’s strange that guests expect a 55yo lady in Latin-America to speak English. While 95% (or more) of the people on Latin-America are not able to put one single English phrase together. But OK, he is entitled to his opinion. It doesn’t make me happy, but that’s life.

The 3 stars does bother me a bit, because it’s a “shut down your listing”-rating. I don’t know if the guest is aware of this, and I am wondering if I should point this out to him. Also in another place he left this kind of rating.
So, should I send him a private message to explain him what kinds of rating he is leaving? Or shouldn’t I bother at all?
And in case I should send him a message, to all talented copywriters here: Please help me :relaxed:.


It won’t do you any good at this point to educate him – he’s already been and gone, said what he said and can’t change his review. You won’t benefit from your feedback.

In the future, pay more attention to what you discover in vetting your guests and rely on what they have said/left for ratings on other stays. You need the lesson, not him.


This was like the first time I didn’t check ratings left earlier :unamused:. I was more thinking of educating him for the bigger cause: Other hosts who might suffer his hotel-rating rating :blush:.

I would be like, “hey, I appreciate your feedback and I’m glad you enjoyed your trip! I respect your rating and please know I am not contending it by saying this… but when you make other bookings, please be aware that 3-star ratings can get a listing removed owing to AirBnB perceiving it as too low to stay listed. Just something to be aware of. :slight_smile:

It’s polite, not contentious, and will hopefully spare future hosts from this type of guest.


Hi @GutHend,

Sorry about the 3 star rating. That sucks.

However, the time to start educating your guest is before they have left. It’s called being proactive. Since Airbnb doesn’t do it, and in fact may give the guest misleading information. I don’t know, I’ve not been an Airbnb guest yet - I’m not sure I could afford it. So us hosts get to do it. Yay!

I’ve described my little speil to the guests about Airbnb star ratings. Should I repeat that again here?


Yes please :relaxed:, I must have missed it. Or please give me the link of where to find it :blush:. Thanks !

See, for example

And I’m not sure what the thread I was referring to was, but here’s a relevant one Air Suspended us for being 4 Stars!

Basically, you want to make the guests feel like if they give you 4 stars, your listing will go down the tubes, you won’t able to pay your mortgage, the bank will repossess, and you’ll be out there living in a cardboard box and washing your hair with rainwater. Like a latter-day Dickens novel. Don’t phrase it that way, naturally. :wink:


Well actually, rainwater catchment is common on Hawaii Island and other places, so it shouldn’t be made into a commentary on homelessness.

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I think he meant, ‘washing your hair with rainwater’… while it is raining!

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Hahaha, you are right! My bad for misreading that! Still, rainwater is really nice on the hair, I have to say!

In my house manual under “Reviews and Ratings” I state

“A 5 star rating on AirBnB means it was a great experience all round, not an amazing 5 star hotel in Phuket with a private beach, international restaurant and staff working 24/7”. 5 stars on AirBnB really means an “A” and 4 stars means a “B”. So if you leave me 4 stars for, say, cleanliness please let me know what could be improved".

Since then I have had 3 months in a row of 100% 5 stars whereas I would occasionally get a 4 star rating even though the review said it was a fantastic place and they would love to come back.

It sounds like your 3 star guy was thinking of hotel ratings where in Europe 3 stars means a comfortable, clean penzione probably with breakfast provided, as your does. This is obviously a real problem on AirBnB, I read an article in Forbes magazine about it, but they seem to be taking some steps to explain the system to guests when reviewing. Yours didn’t get the memo. I wouldn’t bother PMing him. Move on.


Actually, 4 stars in practice means significant problems. That’s certainly how Airbnb treats it. See the thread(s) where people report Airbnb giving them warnings about 4 stars. And if you get multiple 4 stars you get yellow triangles with an exclamation point in them. I wonder what design genius came up with that brainwave.

Rainwater in London on your hair is a disaster. We have acid rain :wink:

I don’t think 4 stars means significant problems; it does mean it wasn’t wonderful for whatever reason. My reason for four stars will be if there are issues with cleanliness, readiness of the room, late check in, unfriendly host etc. Five when everything was as I expected and the host was welcoming and friendly. Certainly no expectations for a 24 hour service.

I’ve had so many shocking reviews now (1 one star, 2 three stars all the rest 4 and 5) that I’m past caring. The crappy reviews were unfair and unreasonable but Airbnb has made me keep them.

@GutHend welcome to the reality of hosting. The one where no matter what you do your guest has unrealistic expectations and knocks you for it. And yes the only way to head this off is to have a talk with your guests in advance, something I personally have always refused to do as its freaking awkward.


We have acid rain here as well due to the volcano.

In many places here in the States it is illegal to even catch rainwater. Presumably because it messes with the evaporative cycle.

That law in Colorado was rescinded in May 2016. Nevada is the only state that capturing rainwater is illegal.


I think that Airbnb thinks it does. Presumably you’re aware that people here reported that they were threatened with shutdown of their account because of a 4 average, and someone did get shut down (but was allowed to reopen it), which seems to serve no purpose besides harassment and humiliation.

And significant problems isn’t a well-defined term, of course, but by that I meant stuff that one can’t shrug off. Random examples - the bed is uncomfortable, the water pressure or low or there isn’t any, the plumbing leaks, the host is unfriendly/rude/hostile or simply absent, there is excessive noise, the room and/or bathroom is dirty etc. etc.But what seems to happen quite a lot is that the guest doesn’t state any problems, but still gives 4 stars overall. Perhaps because it wasn’t a luxury hotel experience or something. The point is that there may not be significant problems, but that doesn’t make it great. And the guest shouldn’t have to get great in order to give 5 stars, imo.

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I had exactly the same a few weeks ago- our first review was 3 stars (overall, with 4x5 stars and 2x4 stars for the individual categories). I wrote to the guest after receiving his review (copied and pasted below) but never heard anything back. I also tried to escalate to Airbnb asking them how someone who gives us 4 and 5s in every category could give us 3 overall but with no luck.

Unfortunately our account WAS shut down several days later but only until we basically ticked off on a declaration that said “i will make things better”- then it was immediately re-opened.

We have since received 4 more reviews, all 5 stars across everything (and people genuinely raving about our listing) but it’s going to take us AGES to get up to a 5 star average- we appear as 4.5 and will continue to do so for quite some time (because of maths), even assuming we continue to get 5 star reviews !

Thanks for reviewing us so quickly. I just wanted to check if you had any other feedback for us given your 3 star rating- I understand the noise was an issue (unfortunately outside of our control given the annual festival that was on during your stay) but we have purchased earplugs and escalated it to the owner of that apartment) but from your lovely note we thought that everything else was good for you. As you probably know your review and star rating is publicly available for all future guests to see so may be quite damaging for our little apartment business that we have put our heart and soul into! We have also received a warning from Airbnb that they could suspend our account based on the 3 star rating so any other feedback you have would be appreciated so we can make improvements to ensure we don’t receive a rating like that again. Many thanks in advance

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Oh dang… Having to grovel to the guest who slammed you. I personally would not bother. They probably will not even answer.

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