So tired of crappy Airbnbs getting good ratings

Ugh. Just checked into another really disappointing airbnb which my brother had reserved for a family reunion. This place has something like 4.97 rating and the reviews are fairly glowing. And it is not inexpensive at all. It is billed as “luxurious”.

And I have to say….it’s pretty awful, in the sense that it is sooo basic. I know Hosts are picky, but it makes me really annoyed that I work so hard to provide a lovely experience for my guests and then places like this have essentially the same ratings.

Specifically - no lights, I mean zero, turned on outside or inside for nighttime arrival on a dark and deserted street. The Air conditioning wasn’t on either, and it was hot and sticky when i arrived - the thermostat was set to 78.

There was nothing whatsoever in terms of welcome snacks or anything. I too describe my place as an oasis of sorts…and it genuinely is! I leave a nice bottle of wine, a bowl of snacks, flowers, a hand-written welcome note, bottled water, coffee, half-n-half, shelf stable oat and soy milk, small individual jars of mustard, mayo, ketchup, maple syrup (I have a griddle), olive oil, vinegar, etc etc.
I also leave a very well-stocked toiletries basket in case anything was forgotten. And plenty (at least 4 per person) nice towel sets, etc.

This place, described as “spa-like” has none of that. It sleeps 8 and there are exactly 6 ratty threadbare towels. The mattresses are the worst ever. They feel like a giant sponge. I’d be surprised if they even came from Walmart. The furniture is cheap, scratched, etc. There are 4 hangers per closet and they advertise as being suitable for long term stays.

Look…. I get that not everything I do at my place is strictly necessary. But when presenting a place as “luxurious” as these folks do, it burns me that they could be so awfully stingy and still get good reviews. I get great reviews, but i honestly no longer trust Airbnb reviews any more than I trust Yelp. I’m getting to the point when I’m pretty much done with staying at airbnbs. I’m always disappointed… not that they don’t do all the things I do, but that they are far less welcoming and reliable than hotels, and the most BASIC things…a nice mattress with great linens and a well-equipped and clean space, are not a given even at high prices.

I’m sure my 9 hour travel time with a nearly missed connection isn’t helping my mood, so maybe after a night of sleep on the sponge I’ll feel better??

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Things you wrote that to me are legitimate gripes, which I would mention in a review:

Everything else, unless contradicted by explicit, specific statements in listing
would be ‘nice’ especially when they lead you to believe it’s ‘luxurious’ but for
me not a problem.

I still might mention some of these in a review to contradict the description of ‘luxurious.’

A gray area for me:

This is unwelcoming and arguably unsafe, but arguably ‘OK.’


I do get your overall point. Like you, I go ‘the extra mile’ and every mile in between. I often wonder which of what I do ‘matters,’ creates genuine value.

I bristle a little inside when newbie guests say “I didn’t realize Airbnbs did all this” as if we were a McDonalds-like franchise, dictated by Airbnb rather than by ourselves.

I reply ‘Each Host has their own style and definition of hospitality’.

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You can’t review about not having things that you’d like to have on welcome - those things are discretionary and honestly, many airbnbs are no longer providing liquor to their guests, for example.

What to review? When you contacted the host, asking for more towels, or hangers, for instance, was the host quick to respond within 24 hours? If not, that’s a good basis for review and if so, and the host did their job fulfilling your request, as well as their obligations as a host. Yes, in a perfect world, The amount of coat hangers would exactly match the amount of clothes you bring. But it’s possible that many guests never bring anything to hang up. Some vacation areas are 100% T shirts and shorts.

Details matter, of course, but not as much as you might think in some areas of a stay. Your personal opinion of a bed is valid, of course, but many folks might prefer a spongy bed. It’s not for you to say, of course… yes, mention that the bed was xxx but -“good” is subjective.

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That’s really my point I guess. I could care less about a bottle of wine; I barely drink. It’s the hospitality aspect. When you ask for an eta and folks say “late” around 10pm, you’d think that ensuring there is some small snacks and/or water and basics for morning coffee and tea would be there. And light on outside, with the temperature at a reasonable level in a hot climate.
I k kw these things are subjective. But when you stay at a luxury hotel, and pay the prices for them, you expect everything to be commensurate. The beds, the linens, the welcoming, etc. It’s not about a basic checkbox as though the Intercontinental Hotel could get away with having same bed, linens, furniture, coffee maker etc as a Motel 6 and legitimately say that the basics were provided and the rest is subjective!
On the mattress — horrible. Not just my opinion. My poor sister slept on the floor rather than subject her back to it. My other sister in law slept on the sofa.
When you charge over $600/night, you ought to be able to buy nice mattresses.
Anyway, I don’t want to ruin my trip by discussing further. I’ll just say that Hosts should think about fact that in the hotel industry there is not just a checklist of amenities which are equal regardless of quality. And hospitality matters. I know we’re not hotels. But we are in the hospitality industry and if you advertise as luxurious, don’t be basic.

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I have to agree with others that the Airbnb is measured by what was not delivered as promised, not what you imagined for you fantasy vacation.

Many people think luxurious and spa like are based on things like design, finish, fittings and landscape, not comsumables. If I could see the listing and then see then towels, mattress, cheap scratched furniture I’d agree but it’s impossible to know. I’m also biased by the fact that I’m almost always happy with my Airbnbs.

You are mostly comparing this listing to yours which is the wrong measurement.

I’ve said here a few times that I realize by staying in other Airbnbs that I’m probably working too hard. It certainly makes me understand why so many guests give over the top compliments about my place. But I’m not doing it for the ratings per se, it’s my standard. I would be unhappy to do it another way. Don’t be annoyed by things you can’t control, just focus on your standard of care.

I’m looking forward to my stay in KY with the complementary bourbon and the open bar. I think I get a better than average experience with hosts because I tend to stay more in places where the host lives.

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I’m like you, I like nice things when I travel, the first Airbnbs I stayed in just blew me away, they were so lovely and well stocked. They were what made me want to have an Airbnb. As the years have gone on, there has definitely been a decline in the quality of stays, I have just come to expect it now and I try to bring the little extras with me.

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I completely agree. I’ve had a couple of very similar stays recently. It’s very disappointing and I am somewhat shocked that these hosts stay in business and are called “superhosts”.

Please rate them accordingly. Don’t forget that 5-stars means “excellent” and what you’re describing is not excellent by anyone’s standards. We have to stop doing each other a disservice by giving places like this 5-stars. I was pissed at the host but I was even more pissed at the 20 or so guests who had stayed before me and had given the place far better ratings than it deserved.

And “OK” is defined as 3-stars on the Airbnb rating scale. So it can be “OK” for you but it’s not ok to rate it as good or excellent when it is just ok because that does nothing but create more bad stays and displeased guests. I would have chosen different places on both of my last two stays had even one guest left an honest review.

(sorry Rolf, I’m not sure how I replied to you, I didn’t mean to. I was replying to @Newbiehost )

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Agree with comments that the poster is going a bit overboard with expectations – comparing the place to theirs, and their level of individual attention to guests.

The poster is insightful in recognizing that their personal situation – travel problems – may be coloring their mood. Also someone else booked for them so they couldn’t do the choosing, for example by scrutinizing the photos.

If I’m already crabby, and I find one thing annoying off the bat, such as, “ugh, it’s hot and sticky in here,” I might catch myself looking for other things to be negative about. Personally (YMMV and I’m working on it!), I tend to overreact to one bad thing as an indicator of more problems to come, particularly if other parts of a trip have not gone according to plan.

I would focus on the experience of the place as it was in the review: “We found the place to be at best serviceable, not luxurious. The towels were thin, the furniture was worn, and the mattresses were not supportive.”

Unless the host promised snacks, no reason to ding them on that. I’m guessing the cleaners were instructed to turn off lights and AC for energy cost savings. And Rolf makes a good point – always give the host a chance to address issues during the stay.

The high rating average is a clue that that an unhappy guest may have different standards than others. Those guests may be responding well to different features, such as lots of space and bathrooms. However, I also think a lot of raters default to 5 to be nice guys, just as some raters never give a 5 because “nothing is perfect,.”

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I’m curious- was this place one of those property-managed places with profiles with dozens of listings? That’s what it sounds like. If so, those places with remote “investor owners” are almost never going to be like listings run by the homeowners or a private co-host. Either the management company are slackers, or the owners don’t want to put money into the place.

Things like crappy mattresses and threadbare towels certainly aren’t okay in any listing unless it’s some $15/night hostel room, but nice little touches like snacks, coffee and tea, making sure the place is a comfortable temp when guests check in, etc, are more common to hands-on owner-run listings.

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To be clear - again … i am not expecting every host to do what I do.
I am, however, expecting that there be some true justification for 5 stars. It would be like giving an “A” grade to every kid who turns in an assignment on time, regardless of quality of work.
I would not ding someone for not having snacks. But I do not by any stretch think that 5 stars should represent “as advertised”, no more no less. 5 stars should be something Hosts work for … otherwise it becomes a totally bogus system.
And buying the absolutely cheapest mattresses and furniture possible, and not replacing it when it gets scuffed up, is not deserving of 5 stars.

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For how many people? You mention a brother. a sister and a family reunion. It’s the per-person cost that counts.

My guests get all those extras and great service but they are paying quite a lot. especially with the addition of a hefty preparation fee (which is what I believe the cleaning fee should be called).

If I stay somewhere which is $30 per night per person, my expectations aren’t the same as staying somewhere that charges $200 per person.

And many guests prefer to stay at a less expensive place and are willing to forgo the arrival snacks, the bottle of wine, the great toiletries, fresh flowers, fluffy bathrobes and so on to be able to stay at a place that fits within their budget.

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The design, fittings, finish and landscape are crappy. Super cheesy and basic … as though everything were bought at Costco. Zero design, unless you consider those awful “inspirational” wooden signs written in cursive to qualify as design.
Fittings and furnishings, again - terrible quality. Lowest end of Wayfair at best. In other words, things that mimic design and quality in photos, but which in person are poorly made, cheap looking and feeling, and not comfortable.

202.779.1835

| KKC
April 1 |

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I have to agree with others that the Airbnb is measured by what was not delivered as promised, not what you imagined for you fantasy vacation.

Many people think luxurious and spa like are based on things like design, finish, fittings and landscape, not comsumables. If I could see the listing and then see then towels, mattress, cheap scratched furniture I’d agree but it’s impossible to know. I’m also biased by the fact that I’m almost always happy with my Airbnbs.

You are mostly comparing this listing to yours which is the wrong measurement.

Newbiehost:

makes me really annoyed that I work so hard

I’ve said here a few times that I realize by staying in other Airbnbs that I’m probably working too hard. It certainly makes me understand why so many guests give over the top compliments about my place. But I’m not doing it for the ratings per se, it’s my standard. I would be unhappy to do it another way. Don’t be annoyed by things you can’t control, just focus on your standard of care.

Rolf:

many airbnbs are no longer providing liquor to their guests, for example.

I’m looking forward to my stay in KY with the complementary bourbon and the open bar. I think I get a better than average experience with hosts because I tend to stay more in places where the host lives.

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Can you post the link to the listing? I think we’re all curious at this point!

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But she is also comparing it (quite fairly, in my view) to “$600/night,” “luxurious,” and “spa.”

$600/night luxury means going overboard with everything, and it sounds like this place falls far, far short of the mark.

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I agree that wording of “luxurious” certainly doesn’t indicate threadbare towels and crummy mattresses, but $600/night, as Jacquo asked about, and hasn’t been answered by the OP, can’t really be considered to be expensive without knowing how many guests the place is setup for. If it sleeps 6, that’s a lot different than if it sleeps 15.

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In most of North America, you cannot get a luxury hotel for $600/night.

In the touristy markets, luxury hotels are usually around $1000 per night. The Ritz Carlton on my island rarely goes below a $1000, and on the peak dates like the week after Christmas, it touches $2000 per night for the entry level room.

I do agree that the host may have misled you into believing you can get a luxury place for $600/night. I always under promise in my listing and I get good reviews because of that.

It sounds like this host is no longer going to get the rave reviews. So hopefully you will be the change you want to see.

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There is no price point at which someone should be given threadbare towels or have to arrive to a strange place without a single light to guide them. I’ve stayed in youth hostels and cheap motels all over the world and haven’t dealt with such poor hospitality.

Not if you’re advertising “luxurious” it isn’t. It has a clear definition that is not relative to the number of guests.

There is no universe in which threadbare towels are part of “luxurious” and especially not “spa”.

This host is obviously over-promising and under-delivering. :grin:

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As I said, with a listing wording of “luxurious”, guests should certainly not encounter what the OP did. Whether $600 is “expensive” or not, is a separate issue.
But if I were a guest and was looking at a listing that billed itself as upscale, but had a price that didn’t seem to jive with hype, I would be rather sceptical as to whether it would live up to the advertising.

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As has been discussed on this forum multiple times, “5” doesn’t mean “excellent” in AirBnB’s world. It means “as described” and you would go back. AirBnB interprets a “3” as “it’s horrible”, and “4” as “some significant issues but not enough to leave as soon as I arrived”.

Unfortunately, that also means the ratings are pretty useless. If the place is $50 a night per person in an expensive destination that usually starts at two-three times that price and is as described, then prior guests might have given it a “5”.

My condolences on your bad experience.

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5 stars is a fabulous luxury hotel rating
5 stars on Airbnb is - you got what you paid for and it was nice.
Airbnbs are not hotels and I really wish they would drop the stars as it gives unrealistic expectations
:rose::teddy_bear::heart: would be far better!

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