Race to the top…and the bottom

I had some thoughts while fixing my coffee this morning….

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on various AirBnB/STR forums lately about how guests seem more entitled these days.

But it isn’t just AirBnB guests; it seems to be people in general are being more demanding and less appreciative, judging by the things I’m reading online. I wonder if it has to do with the ubiquitous review culture? You can’t see a doctor, buy something from Lowes or Home Depot, stay in a hotel, or do a lot of routine, mundane things without being bugged/hounded for reviews. Clerks and staff (forward facing customer service people) tell me anything other than the very top mark gets them in trouble—and I believe them because of the AirBnB rating system.

We have this culture where we are expected to “exceed expectations” all the time. What is the logical outcome of that? People, over time, begin to expect more and more. It gets harder to exceed their expectations. People develop an attitude that they deserve extraordinary efforts ALL THE TIME FROM EVERYONE.

This is exhausting and unsustainable. IMO, this is where these “entitled guests” and customers are coming from.

While AirBnB (and other entities) are pushing their forward facing people in a race to the top to exceed customer expectations, some hosts (and I think AirBnB encourages this with their Smart Pricing BS) are engaged in a race to the bottom on pricing to order to keep their units booked.

While this might be great for guests, it’s hell for hosts. Just my two cents and some random before coffee thoughts….


To my mind, it’s a whole combination of factors. The review culture, the online “celebrity” culture, where people with no skills and no talent other than that for self-promotion, have millions of “followers”, where reality TV has everyone thinking their life and problems are worth sharing with millions of viewers, the marketing terms that play into the me me me culture, like iphone and ipad.

So people end up self-absorbed and self-important, with a sense of entitlement.

My oldest daughter told my granddaughters back when they were in elementary school, “Everyone wants to be a star and mass media gives them the impression they can be. But almost no one gets to be a star, so you’d better find something to do in life that will earn you a living, and helps make the world a better place.”


I appreciate the term “ubiquitous review culture”. I’ve been complaining about it with family and friends a lot. It is similar to my frustration with coupons, loyalty cards, etc. I just wish businesses would set reasonable prices and forget all that drivel.


Unless I REALLY got super excellent and very quick service, I don’t respond to the review requests or tell them that I don’t get paid to do that, so the person’s supervisor should spend time monitoring and supervising, not me.

I never use auto-checkout either, because I’m not getting paid to do that. I want stores to hire real employees for that.

They keep trying to find ways to have customers and their system rate and control their employees, and I’m not buying it. If they want supervision they should pay for it.


When I used to drive back and forth from Mexico to Canada,I drove through Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington. All the gas stations were self-serve except in Oregon, where they actually had gas pumpers. I asked one young guy who pumped my gas why that was, and he said because in Oregon, they believe in giving people jobs, not automating everything or expecting the customer to do it.


Basically they’ve forgotten how to be nice, to the point when people are nice, it’s a surprise.

Last night my Dad asked me if he looks poor. Me, “Were you wearing your favorite shirt again?”

(He has a cotton Oxford white button down long sleeve shirt with monogrammed cuffs. He loves it. the cuffs are frayed. The cotton is soft. I’ve purchased new ones which hang beautifully in his closet. Ok-he keeps his favorite shirt clean so wear it!)

He was in line at the grocery with a couple of deli sandwiches (half price hoagie day). His turn to pay the cashier says, “oh no charge, the lady before you paid for your sandwiches”.

I’m sure that was her random act of kindness like when the person in front of you pays for your coffee at Starbucks.

I explained that was a thing now and to say thank you and roll with it. He kept pondering why she did it. Me, “Maybe she was putting the move on you”. He liked that answer. Pondering stopped.

The point being these days we are so accustomed to people being self-centered when someone is generous or kind, we don’t know how to gracefully accept it.

Sad state of the world…


Different areas have different staffing challenges. In my area, restaurants can’t staff the kitchen & server positions, retailers can’t staff stocker & cashier positions.

The variety of reasons for no available workers has converged. It isn’t one thing.

I’m the last of baby boomers. It’s been predicted as long as I can remember there would not be enough workers when we boomers are all retired. It is here.

Companies who want to survive must figure out how to provide their services with fewer people.

McDonald’s has the order kiosk. Retailers have self check out.
Many fast food restaurants have order-apps so you order then go pick up.
I went to a restaurant with an order tablet. You place your drink & appetizer order THEN the server comes.
No one will answer the phone or call you back, but they will respond to an email.
The world has changed.

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At my local grocery store I asked if they were adding self checkout and the manager said no, and claimed due to their customer demographic they would have to hire more employees to handle the self checkout lanes. Apparently our demographic is technology impaired.


Truer words have never been spoken. It gets so frustrating to hear “would you take just a moment to take our survey” after waiting on hold for 15 minutes for just about anything these days. I’m boycotting surveys! Oh, but wait, I’m a host and must rate my guests, as they will (hopefully) rate me. People are confused as to what constitutes good. Is it a 5 star, a 10 star or a 3 star? This would make for a great George Carlin rant, wouldn’t you agree?


He fed you a load of crap :joy:

It’s illegal to pump your own gas in OR. It’s a law left over from the 1950s prior to having safety features on gas pumps.


I’ve had similar thoughts and decided to vet my guests more thoroughly, keep my prices where I get booked just enough (I seem to have found the sweet spot). and basically ignore ABB “advice” and manage my own booking.

Pre-booking messages let me know about entitlement and I can just say “This isn’t a good fit for you, please look elsewhere and enjoy your trip.” Then I wander away and ignore that person.


True. Then we become suspicious and the joy evaporates.

BTW, my Dad had a couple of those shirts. Drove me batty. He loved them.

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We have one unit, and so not relying on it to make us a ton of money. So we decided to offer excellent accommodation and service at a fair (not rock bottom) price. You are right, we see the race to the bottom - people offering decent places larger than ours for less money. But we are maintaining our pricing scheme to match the level of design, comfort, and service that we offer and deliver to our guests. The “Smart” pricing would have us at almost half of what the place is worth because of what we provide. So we serve the guests who appreciate the excellence, and are willing to pay for it. The other guests and hosts can go on the race to the bottom.


Exactly! I’ve found my sweet spot for the space and pricing and I’m getting the kind of guests who are the reason I started this journey in the first place.

We manage our businesses in different ways and I refuse to bow to a smart pricing system that is a misnomer. :wink:


Airbnb is always telling us to drop our place to $116 or so - our daily rate fluctuates from 250 to $350 LOL - and people book at our rates.

Ironically - I’m also listed on VRBO - and their pricing advising thing is almost always suggesting we raise rates for future nights.

I’ve chosen to ignore the airbnb suggestions


I worked retail for years. Essentially, your feedback from customers is your performance review. That’s why they are always bugging you.

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I believe that the 5 star rating system is flawed.

In order to hit 5 stars, one must significantly exceed expectations. If you as a host have a long history of 5 stars, what would make the next guest experience exceed their expectations?

How realistic is 5 stars? The Burj only gets 4.5/5 on Trip Advisor.


Agreed. 5-stars should be the exception not the rule. Airbnb has completely perverted the 5-point rating system.

Some hosts like to say that guests confuse the ratings with hotel star-ratings, which are amenity-based, and yet that doesn’t prove true when you look at hotel quality ratings. No one thinks that a hotel rated 5-star for their amenity selection is necessarily a 5-star stay and 5-star hotels don’t have a 5 quality rating. No hotels have a 5 quality rating. Most hotels are rated between 3.5 and 4.5, with a distribution more like a bell curve, regardless of their amenity star rating. And plenty of 3-star hotels have a 4.5 quality rating. It really isn’t related. It is only an Airbnb thing.