Reviewing a guest vs reviewing a host

In another thread I ran across this quote:[quote=“jaquo, post:3, topic:38790”]
It might just be me, but I expect five star guests to be fantastic, not just okay.

To me that sounds reasonable, a five star rating means exceeds expectations.

But wouldn’t that be from both sides? If the pictures are accurate and everything works as stated but the place is just ok, does it deserve less than a 5?

This week I’m a guest. The place has a great location, which is why I picked it. It’s clean, but a bit more cluttered than the pictures, and is weak on the kitchen amenities (no glasses, only a few mugs) but pretty much is exactly what I expected. Checkin and settling was a bit problematic, as the host had the wrong passwords for entry, but we worked it out pretty quickly. I think that would be smoother for the next guests. Do I give it less than a 5 because it doesn’t exceed expectations?

A 5 should be for met expectations or slightly better. Because going much above would mean a 6☆ rating and that’s not possible. If you were underwhelmed 3ven based on what you expected- then deduct from there

IMHO, because “pretty much what I expected” is a 5* starting point (because unlike Yelp or G+ reviews, a 3 isn’t good on Air) and then we as guests can add compliments like “sparkling clean” “thoughtful touches” that bring the 5* to the 6* level.

I’d tell the host about the kitchen amenities and allow them to bring you glassware and mention that the pics are less cluttered and as a host you’re just sharing your thoughts.

If host fixes issues, I leave 5*. If ignored…

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I think you know what I’m going to say. :slight_smile:

Yes definitely give it less than five. When we are guests, all we have to go on when choosing a listing, are the photographs and the listing blurb (including the reviews, of course). This isn’t the last century when advertisers exaggerated their goods just to get sales. It’s only by having accurate information on a listing that we can be sure that our guests chose the right place, have a good time and don’t lower our ratings because our listings were inaccurate. (Or lying, to put it bluntly).

Most of us here take a great deal of pride in our rentals and in making sure that our guests have a great time. So it’s hardly fair to all of us when a slapdash host gets a good rating. It’s not fair to we hosts, not fair to potential guests and not fair to the image of Airbnb.


You give it what you think it deserves, and if you think the clutter and the glassware aren’t fitting for the public review, then mention those in the private feedback, but the fact that you bring them up here means they are worth mentioning.

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t give this host 5-stars for the check-in category, even though you worked it out pretty quickly.

I would hope that you would give these hosts the same courtesy and rating that you’d expect from your guests.

  • The entry codes may have caused a slight disruption but they were quick to resolve. … we all have glitches but the fact that they were right on it, I think sets them ahead.

  • It is “exactly what you expected” but you want to mark them down because it didn’t exceed your expectations? I’d give it a 5 because you weren’t misled.

I’d provide some private comments and suggestions, and if there’s anything wrong or that needs attention, contact them. We all know the AirBNB rating system sucks, and you, as a host, know it better than most guests, so unless there is some glaring issue, I don’t think you would want your guests to rate you a 4 more than these hosts would want such from you.

Caveat - I have never been an AirBNB guest so I can’t say honestly that I’ve been in your shoes. I just know that I’d try to look at it as I described above.


If I were you and if nothing else bothered me I’d give it 5 stars. It happened to me once to have fat fingers and typed in the wrong lockbox code in the last message i sent to a guest, although in the first it was OK. But he figured out when he checked my first message. I would have been pissed if he gave me 4* just for that.
Clutter, I don’t mind. It’s their house, not mine. If the room I’m renting is what I saw in the pics it’s ok, I don’t care how cluttered is the rest of the house. As for the glasses, just ask. I usually eat out and if I need to drink something or take a pill or something, mugs will do. I am not picky. If it’s clean, warm, comfy, the rest I don’t really care.


Generally I would agree. But…but… things happen. Nobody’s place is perfect no matter how much pride you have or how hard you work. Knowing how the crappy and ridiculous rating system works with Airbnb, it would have to be really bad before I left less than 5* for a host.

I mostly get good guests and can easily give them all 5*. Sometimes I have some who weren’t quite as great on, say, communication prior to check-in. But once they arrive and are so sweet and friendly, it’s hard to dock them. I always take a star off for any cleanliness issues, though!


So unless a guest was really bad you would leave them a 5* review? Do you mention less than perfect behavior in their review?

I was talking about reviewing a host. For guests, it depends. If they were noisy and I asked them to be quiet and they apologised and didn’t do it again, I don’t see the need to bring it up. If they were overly demanding, I would say something like ‘required more attention than my usual guests’.
But yes, I’m pretty generous in my reviews of guests because most of them have been fine. The really difficult ones have usually been the friend/spouse/partner of the booking guest and that’s always tricky.

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I default to a 5 unless there is something wrong, or solidly inaccurate, that the host won’t or can’t fix when brought to their attention. I don’t want to eff up anyone’s home business over a shortfall in the cutlery sets. But if I’m in some soulless unit in a rentalpreneur’s portfolio staring at the lone drip painted skyline poster stuck on the wall while perched on the sparse and cheapo furniture (try to avoid 'em but sometimes it can’t be helped), I’m less tolerant of a dusty surface or a meager towel, and will downgrade accordingly.


Same here. I recently stayed in a place that I really disliked. It was fussy and ugly and the owner was …not someone I took to, let’s say. It made the rather mucky placemats stand out hugely, particularly as most of the reviews mentioned ‘sparkling clean’.
But the beds were comfortable and nothing was missing or inaccurate. Luckily I wasn’t the one who booked so didn’t have the burden of leaving a review!

That answers my question, if people have the same standards for hosts and guests. Perusing this forum it sometimes sounds like people are likely to down grade a guest for things that wouldn’t bother me. But if they would also downgrade a host for equally small issues they are consistent.

I also tend to have different criteria for a professional host. Where I’m staying now is apparently someone’s home that they only rent out when they are out of town, maybe twice a year for a few days. I gleaned that from the interaction when booking. So when I give a 5 star review it would mention I went in with that expectation.

On the other hand, if this were a super host that had 30 reviews this year I‘d have much different expectations.

That said, the one 5 star review I could give with no hesitation whatsoever was a family that had finished out their basement in Seattle. We may well have been their first guest, and they hit it out of the ballpark. I’d recommend their place to anyone, with no reservations.

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I agree with @HH_AZ and others. 5 stars is “the listing was accurate and met expectations”.

They did resolve the code issue quickly. I would privately advise the host on the clutter and to add glassware etc - so they can avoid a harsher review from other guests.

It would be nice if airbnb had a way to indicate a difference between “listing was accurate and met expections” to a bonus “exceeded”. But it is what it is.

We try to be reasonably forgiving as guests. In retrospect, we probably should have given 4 instead of 5 to a host in southern France for not having a fan in the apt during the summer. But, it was a massive heatwave that overwhelmed all the thick masonry - so we suffered that night and let it go.

A private message is very helpful to the host. In summation, if you were overall satisfied, award accordingly.

A couple of people on this thread went down the path of tell the host so they have a chance to fix it.

I’m for that. I’m staying in my Airbnb rental and just realized the large frying pan, the 8qt pot and refillable water bottles are gone. They are stored in a cabinet so not easily recognized as missing. The water bottles were freebie promotional items so really not a desirable item to take. People…just people.

I other words the host may not know items are needed.

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Would it matter if the last review, three months earlier, also mentioned the problem?

I won’t knock a star off this particular one, because it is her home, and for the occasional rental it makes no sense for her to buy items she apparently doesn’t use and has little space to store. Believe me, this apartment was maxed out on storage. I couldn’t put away the pile of clean dishes in the dish drainer when I showed up because I could not figure out where most of it could go.

I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to give a host a 4 star or lower review if they deserve it. It’s just that there is no way I can know if they deserve it unless I see the listing, go through the guest process and see it in person. Do what you know is right. Guest v host status should be irrelevant.

I agree so much that guests should do this if there’s any sort of problem. But I was in an Airbnb rental recently that was about half the size than it appeared on the photographs. I didn’t tell the host to fix it because there’s no way to make a place bigger.

The desk on the photographs was completely gone, presumably because there was simply no space for it. Again, there was no point in telling the host because a desk just couldn’t have been crammed in.

You’re much kinder than me. :slight_smile:

I really wouldn’t be able to think that way, I’m afraid. If someone is taking my money to provide me with a service, it doesn’t matter if that person is a part-timer, I still want the full service.

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