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Seeing reviews help


+100. I will take this a step further –

  • “Bad” reviews are a paradoxical sign of integrity. Anyone with all good reviews has a fair likelihood of relying heavily on fake reviews. Anyone with a few “bads” sprinkled in is running a clean operation without fake reviewers and just running into the simple and inevitable numerical fact of flaky guests booking.
  • As TheInsider notes, potential guests actually DO understand this so paradoxically, the very occasional bad review HELPS you. Here’s a link describing the phenomenon from the publishing world –
    Why It’s Good to Get Bad Reviews - Self-Publishing Advice Center


+100 hearts on this post


Are you sure?

I had a CS rep tell me a shady guest’s review of their stay wasn’t that bad and hinted something about the guest complaining about cameras. I hadn’t submitted my review yet. When I did, it matched what the CS agent told me.

The rest of the story: I had a bad guest who brought 6 people to my 4-person (440sf!!!) 2-BR listing. The first night he brought 5 people and I worked with CS to get payment.

This was my learning lesson: once someone has broken your house rules, just go ahead and kick them out because all you’ve done is show them your house rules don’t matter.

The second night the guest brought 6 people. Again, not telling me - and he was made very aware of the “no unregistered guests on the property” house rule on day 1. I caught them on the Ring video leaving in the morning and submitted another extra guest fee.

In quick succession: he accepted payment, submitted a review, and payment failed. I called in to CS the next day about the failed payment. They were sympathetic to my concerns about a bad review when it was only the guests’ actions that caused a bad stay. It seemed the agent was able to read the review and assured me it wasn’t that bad. (The entire review was: “Great location. Clean spot. Being watched through video cameras was a little creepy.”)


Hmm. This is a dilemma for me. I have almost all good reviews. A one star review was a mistake. My only earned 3 star was 4 years ago during my first year of hosting. Although the guest was at fault for part of the issues, I tackled and solved those problems and learned a great deal. I’ve posted extensively about what I think accounts for this but it seems to boil down to hosting travelers, not tourists. Even the bad review was from people who flew in to El Paso as their destination. Not tourists per se as they came for their son’s wedding but the same principle as people who are tourists. Also it was when it was a shared home. Giving guests their own entrance and no shared space solves a lot of issues.

So in order to make my listing credible I need some fake bad reviews. Maybe someone here would volunteer to make a fake booking and write a bad review?


You seem fairly set on how you address things so I won’t go too far in responding. With that said, make sure your ring system is disclosed on listing ad and remember that seeing people coming and going doesn’t mean it’s an additional guest and you can’t charge them for it unless they admitted it was an extra guest and not just someone visiting whom happened to stay and hang out overnight. (Guests win that battle daily) which is why I always say make sure you as a host have a no visitors policy so you won’t need any proof other than a ring snapshot.

If there was an agent who gave you the review details prior to them being public then: he knows more than I do, he won’t be an agent much longer, and he is in clear violation of the double blinded review system. I’m the agent who’ll bend every rule to help a host or guest in some situations but telling a host about an upcoming review just to help them 'match" their review is not only something I’d never do, don’t know how to do, but is honestly down right wrong on all levels. Who cares about a needy/bitchy guest leaving a “bad” review? It shows other guests that everyone is human, personality conflicts happen, Airbnb is a community, and not every reso is picture perfect. I’ll pick a host property that has 500 4-5 star reviews over a picture perfect 5 star rating from every guest because it’s just not realistic expectations.


This is a very imperfect policy. I don’t mind visitors but I don’t want overnighters. I don’t get many visitors due to the space being too small and I have travelers going through not so much visiting my town.

If the policy is something like no visitors after xx PM and a host submits video of person arriving at 6pm and exiting at 6am will we be backed up?


Backed up yes, that’s a very good middle ground and shows flexibility as a host. However, just keep in mind even with that house rule being broken, and with proof, the agent will most likely educate the guest on rules again, ask if they’ll payout the additional fee, and that’s that. If they don’t pay, open an RC case, wait for them to ignore you for 72 hours, hit the button to involve Air and let the agent throw you some cushion money for the inconvenience. Follow up by an honest but blunt review so future hosts know what’s up too.


Yeah, I’ve been hosting for almost 5 years now (I’m a SH with 98% 5*), so I have my ducks in a row. :sunglasses: My house rules say “Only registered guests are allowed on the property” and my Ring camera was properly disclosed.

It wasn’t a case of someone dropping by for a minute (I’m not that much of a hard-ass!). They arrived after 11pm with 5 guests on the first night, clearly staying the night. The second night 6 people arrived late and all had luggage in hand when they left in the morning.

I agree the CS agent shouldn’t have hinted at the contents of the guest’s review. I was just pointing out that your experience of the reviews being completely blind to host, guest, AND agents may not be true for all agents.

Thank you again for your exceeding valuable help in understanding the process from the agent’s perspective!


I understand. Thanks for being a great SH! I don’t agree with the agents who bend the rules that far. I don’t know how to see reviews prior to publicly posting of them nor do I care I believe the blind system works and is good protection for both parties to honestly give feedback but again it’s my opinion and not all agents are the same. It’s very interesting that it is possible though; I’m going to explore today with that knowledge.


You are the 1 host in 500,000 that has an airtight setup (listing is not shared, nor is it far away … separate entrance if I understand correctly) so you can nip close to 100% of potential problems in the bud by being able to supervise things AND not have them within your own domicile.

So superb and consistent reviews are going to be legit in your instance, IMO.

(Honestly your setup is the only one I truly consider viable under AirBNB … as I said in a recent interview, EVERY off-site investor host will eventually get their property destroyed by someone, and EVERY homesharing host will run into some untenable situation from crazies under their roof … but your separate-ish unit is the best of all worlds.)


Is a guest who thinks “too good to be true” going to think this way? Seriously I’m really sitting in the catbird seat. I’m booked almost 100% of the time I want anyway. Still, it’s slightly distressing to think anyone would skip me because they think I’m padded with fake reviews.

There are millions of listings. Yes there are hundreds of horror stories but as a percentage? Think about stores who write off x% for theft. They are still viable. I think you are underestimating Airbnb, I think we all have at some point. I guess we will know much more when they go public.


You never considered that some folks just run a really tight ship and as a result get good feedback?

Ok you, I’ll rip yours to shreds and you can do the same with mine :wink: then we’ll be validated…



Fret not, fret not. Yours I’m sure look and feel 1000% legit. I am mainly attempting to point out that for the REST of us, with bad reviews, it is not the end of the world.

Point being, if 6% of reservations per time period (say 1 year) result in some kind of conflict and note on your AirBNB file, and eventual termination, it’s a numbers game that catches up to long-term hosts – interestingly enough, usually around the five-year mark …

By year 2, you have a 12% chance of something kooky happening … by year 5, 30%… one in three … and so on.

My exact point is that yes, every, single, non-fake review host barring a handful of those with fairly airtight setups WILL get bad reviews despite running a tight ship. You can count on it. Law of averages.

A tight ship does nothing whatsoever to deter a bad review from a member of the general public with a few screws loose.


Added thought –

My observation is that every day and every year, the AirBNB guest population gets more and more … unpredictable and difficult.

I said in a recent interview, “AirBNB started being cool travelers, and now is much bigger and catering to the general public. And you do NOT want the general public in your property.”

So bad reviews, here they come.


You actually believe those stats you just made up? They are just so wrong, so misleading and full of limited perspective assumptions it beggars belief that you actually posted them.



Sorry folks coming in kind of late here. I’m going to switch gears back to OP and the original topic for a second because I think I have something that could help.

Read your guest’s reviews of other hosts before accepting the reservation. I did that for a guest and quickly realized she was going to write me a bad review because I could see what kinds of reviews she was writing. She was the kind of person who complains every time and even has to add something negative when there is nothing legitimate to complain about. I just messaged the guest and let her know that my place wasn’t up to her standards and she cancelled the request. Problem solved. We’re both happy.

If you could, follow up and let us know how the guest reviews other hosts for curiosity sake.


Sorry, should have attributed that figure, which is not mine, to our AirBNBInsider’s thread, where he had the 6% figure. Whatever the figure is, 1%, 6%, 10%, it would compound over time.

The real point is this: Review results to me involve a four-point matrix:

GOOD REVIEWS come from:

  1. Tight-ship host and tight-ship guest

BAD REVIEWS come from:
2. Slipshod host and tight-ship guest
3. Tight-ship host and slipshod guest
4. Slipshod host and slipshod guest

If I understand you correctly, you feel that situation #3, tight-ship host, does NOT result in a bad review even if the guest is slipshod. Am I understanding you here?

Whereas my observation is (based on every Air host forum out there) that wacko guests torpedo tight-ship hosts day in and day out.


I’m in a special niche with my two person guest room. I’ve hosted the original way with guests down the hall using the bathroom across the hall and now with my separate from me, private entry ensuite. I’ve hosted over 600 guests and they review at about 80% and I’ve decided that the key difference is that I rarely host tourists, I have travellers. I don’t think I’m anything superhost like, I’m just lucky with the kind of people who book.

I agree with this. I wonder if that’s what Airbnb is experiencing. For example did they used to have 4% problems now they have 6%?


No, that’s not true. Some of us earn consistent good reviews.



This matches what I’ve heard on the Facebook hosting group I’m in.

This is why I haven’t called to “test” what I’ve heard about CS agents telling hosts what to expect in a review. If I have any doubt about getting a good review, I review on the last day of the review window anyways. But then, I have a few new good reviews to show up over the bad one.

Did you ever get your payment?

I know you’re being playful here, but if I were the guest, I wouldn’t question a listing with 400 positive reviews, and I wouldn’t scroll back for years to find the one bad one!

I look forward to hearing what you find out.

Did your case get press coverage? I’m behind on reading your thread.

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