Review questions

Being new to this (we’re on our 5th guest) we had questions about the review process. Can someone share their knowledge here?

  • Can reviews by either party be changed?
  • Is there a basic “guest was okay” template anyone uses that they like for reviews?

I just gave a good review “welcome back anytime” type but I wish I had been more vague. Does anyone have general language they use?

Their review was “We enjoyed the view” and 5 stars overall but they marked 4 stars for the value, location and accuracy.

My thoughts…

  • Location = dumb, it’s on the map and they picked it.
  • Value = 6 guest at $168/n. And you have a value problem? There is a Best Western nearby. Better luck there next time, jerk.
  • Accuracy … They picked “size of home” (from an Airbnb list, I guess?) … What does this even mean? There are ample pictures of the house. I know guests don’t read … but are pictures too complicated?

Yes I’m mad, dang it.

This guy was a p.i.t.a from the beginning with questions about how do I change my credit card, how do I pay for a reservation, etc, so I am not surprised that he required constant hand holding … Augh.

I want to message him “Being new to this and in light of the other 5 star reviews we’ve received, I’m baffled by your mark down for location and accuracy/house size. Can you explain?” But I’m afraid he’ll retaliate and change his review.

Any thoughts? Maybe I should be singing “let it go” but I have a daughter and lived through Elsa too much already, haha!

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From the guests’ point of view, 4 stars is good, unfortunately. I think th app even describes 4 stars as good and 5 stars as great, all the while AirBnB pressures us to get 5 stars reviews. It is frustrating.

Most of my 4-star reviews have been from guests who praised my listing in the written review. It’s aggravating, but something we can’t control. Best to let it go.

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Thank you Xena :blush: I’ve never traveled with AirBNB before, do you know how “size of house” can be something the guest can pick as a possible issue?

The house is listed as a 2 bed 2 bath with a loft with additional beds. Pictures reflect that, as well as pictures from the outside. I didn’t lose square footage … At least not that I am aware of, ha! What on Earth could this have been a “negative” about? Such a weird thing to pick …

Reviews cannot be changed. They can be responded to, but that is often not a good thing to do unless you can be totally non-emotional (which you aren’t right now).

I do not recommend “boilerplate” copy and paste responses. Similar, yes, but read the recent post by the host who realized after copy and pasting several reviews, that he was somehow copying and pasting a phrase in a foreign language that makes him look like a boob.
Remember, reviews aren’t so much for the guest as they are for your fellow hosts. If they were good guests, say it like you mean it. If they weren’t, tell us dispassionately, why they were not.

Location is dumb – granted. We can’t change where we live. But not everyone likes where we live.

Value – not really a bad thing. This one time, perhaps not “fair” but if you get too many zings on value it may be that your rates are too high compared to other Air in the area.

Accuracy – not a good thing its true, unless you’re raving over a 5 star place in a one star neighborhood (or that is the perception that the guest has).

Neither you, nor we are going to convince Air to change those measures easily. Learn to live with it. Interact with your guests and explain the system to them.

PITA guests are a fact of life in the hospitality biz. Thankfully not all guests are that way. If this was a first-time guest, it was your responsibility to educate them into how Airbnb works.


Thank you Ken. He was a newbie guest. You mention that it is my responsibility to educate him how it works, but can you advise a bit more what you mean? Should I question him as to his review or just leave it be? I’m not sure what educating I should/can do … But am willing to help. After I stop wanting to growl at him, that is. Hah

[…travel weary - omitted]

Its sucks, its pinches, it irritates and makes you mad. At end of the day you can’t change their opinion. I have 400 reviews 80% are 5 stars. 1% 1 star and 16% 4 stars. I fought with air bnb that they lied in the review but airbnb doesn’t change it. People are mean and penny stringent. The ones that are picky. You can download the app from chrome where you can see past reviews. If they like to write elaborate reviews and nit pick. They might be hard to deal with. I also run from guests that start off with too many questions.

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Hello @LCL

My thoughts…

Rather than getting annoyed at the guest - used it as a learning experience to help you manage expectations through your copy and images.

Of course you shouldn’t harangue your guest and demand that they explain their review. Just send them a friendly message. Say you are starting out with Airbnb and would appreciate feedback on their ratings to help you improve.

“Location = dumb, it’s on the map and they picked it.”

  1. How can you better describe your location so they feel it would be more accurate?

“Value = 6 guest at $168/n. And you have a value problem? There is a Best Western nearby. Better luck there next time, jerk”…

  1. Is this the total price they pay including Airbnb fees? Value is subjective. Ask them what would make it better value for trhen?

“Accuracy … They picked “size of home” (from an Airbnb list, I guess?) … What does this even mean? There are ample pictures of the house. I know guests don’t read … but are pictures too complicated?”
3. Ask them to let you know what they feel was inaccurate about how the listing was described? Maybe there is something about the location or your home that they would have liked to know about which you didn’t include.

I know you are just sounding off on a forum, but try and use guest feedback to help you as a new host. Yes it is frustrating and this particular guest may have been completely unreasonable, but sometimes guests will give you great feedback that helps you improve your listing.

Having said that I had a guest mark me down for accuracy because my guest room looked much better in the photos and for accuracy because they had to wait for a bus so it took them longer to get into the city centre than the 15 minutes I said it did in my description.

By the way the Airbnb Help Centre will answer your FAQs including information around how reviews work.


Your thoughts on location are pretty much what we all think. We’ve all had the occasaional somewhat disappointing reviews and have learned to live with it and not respond unless they specifically mention something which needs to be corrected. When you’ve only had a small number of guests it can seem like a disaster but the best thing is to move on and get over it as soon as possible. Leaving a long and ranty reply to a short so-so review will just attract the attention of people looking and make you look like a bit of a nutter (I know this because a friend who keeps an eye on my reviews told me to stop doing it early on). Good luck! You’ll be fine :blush:

Also: what @Helsi said

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I would let his one go, and chalk it up to experience. You can’t really “question him as to his review” because there is no back and forth dialogue available, really. You can “respond” to his review, but there’s only a slight chance he’ll ever read it, and you risk sounding “petty”.

New guest education includes some conversation about how Airbnb works – the ‘checks and balances’ of having guests review hosts and hosts review guests. How our review can damage their ability to get rooms elsewhere, and their review can be instrumental in driving us out of business. Talk about the 5 Stars that we all strive for, and that 4 stars isn’t good. Explain that there’s nothing you can do about Location, and that as far as Value goes, your place is a LOT nicer and better than that BW or Motel 6 down the road. Tell them that you try hard to give them a 5 Star experience and hope that they appreciate your efforts.

My personal experience of 70s years is that almost nothing in the universe is “perfect” – a Perfect 10 is a myth. On a 10 scale I give lots of 9s and occasionally an 8. But on a 5 scale I’m not going to ding someone for things they can’t control; nor am I going to mark down for a minor little thing here and there.

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