Suggestions on receiving a 3 star rating and having to write a review

I just wanted to say that first off that I’ve been reading this forum for a while now although I have just registered. I’m also relatively new to AirBnB, but have been pretty much booked solid since I started it on Nov 28th. I started with low rates because it is off season here and I wanted to get experience before the busy summer season. I have been reading everything on this forum to give me insights into a lot of things.

I know this will be a learning experience - and I am taking everything I am doing right now with AirBnB as a learning experience. I just need some insights into this and I know it is long - but please bare with me. It was a long 8 days, not to mention two months when they first booked. The people rent a private room in the upstairs which is itself private for AirBnB guests with a shared bathroom downstairs.

This last group of guests I was concerned were going to be a problem from the moment they booked, but I didn’t realize how much of problem until I just found out what rating they gave me. A 3 star rating. All my other’s have been 5 stars. Because of this rating - I am not going to review this guest until the last minute on the 14th day. I have three groups of guests right now coming in during the next two weeks with the possibility of even more guests booking. Hopefully they will all give more positive reviews and make this 3 star review a non-issue. At this point - because I haven’t reviewed her - I don’t know exactly what she said about her stay. What bothers me is that short of allowing them to use my car - which they actually asked to do - I bent over backwards for them.

I need to know how I should review this guest though based on things - not everything will be mentioned in my review because not everything I feel is pertinent for the review,. Also - what do people think the ramifications are of receiving this 3 star rating? Up to this point I have had 12 reviews which were all five stars. I have a 100% Commitment rate. 100% response rate. 5 star trips; 100%. In actuality - depending how the 3 star rating affects me - I am scheduled to obtain Superhost status on April 1st.

Here is a bulleted list of the issues since they booked…

  1. When they initially book she said she was college student and her and her girlfriend wanted to experience spring break in a small town (since I have instant booking on - I couldn’t decline). I told her that this is the Jersey Shore - it is off season, nothing is open at this time and not much to do. She said that was okay, they would find something even if it was just hiking.

  2. About 3 weeks before they were to arrive, she messaged me saying that they were talking to another friend and were wondering if they could bring her. I told her I only had the one queen size air mattress up there. She said it was not a problem that they understood. So I said okay. I had actually considered contacting AirBnB about this - but I didn’t. Looking back I should have and tried to get this reservation cancelled. This will now be FIRM NO if anyone else asks.

  3. The day they arrive they message me saying they should get here between 4:00 and 5:00. Then they message me around 5:00 saying they are waiting to get access to the zipCar and that it will most likely be 6;30. Now I know they don’t have their own car - which I wasn’t aware of before, but I figured they have transportation covered.

  4. They arrive and their first question they asked was if there was anywhere to rent kayaks in the area. I told them again it is off season at the Jersey Shore - the kayak places are closed for the season. When they went up stairs, I did look it up online anyway and told them that everything is closed as I thought. The fact is though - you would need a wet suit in order to go kayaking right now here - the water is 40 degrees! Tomorrow we are supposed to get 10 inches of snow even.

  5. They asked if they had access to the TV in the living room. I said no - that there is access to the wifi though so I gave them the password for it. In my listing, it does not say that a TV is included and I don’t intend to provide one.

  6. A couple of days go by and they discover that having the ZipCar is going to cost them over $400 for the week while they are here. They call me up and ask me if there is any rental car places in the area that will rent to 18 year olds. I said I don’t think so - most require renters to be 21 or 25. She said that she was told Enterprise would rent to college students. So I looked up enterprise and texted her the contact information for the two locations in the area. She called me back and said that they wouldn’t do it. She then proceeds to ask me if I rent MY car out. I said no. She calls back again and asks if they can work out a schedule with me for using my car - even though I already told her that I do NOT rent it out. I told her I couldn’t anyway because my insurance is written that it doesn’t allow under 25 to use my car. I’m not sure if my policy still has that because I had changed my insurance company - but I needed to use that so they would stop bugging me about using my car - the answer was no which they were NOT accepting. I was about to call AirBnB about this - but again didn’t.

  7. Because of the car situation - or lack of one - I made a special trip to the bus station to get bus schedules for them because they couldn’t figure out the NJ Transit website to look online. I texted them when I got home to let them know - and all they said was “Thanks” but didn’t even come down. It took them coming down for something else a few hours later for me to give them the bus schedules and go over them with them. The thing is they did not ask me for the bus schedules when they came down, I had to remind them that I had gotten them. They did NOT have a car and at this point the bus would be the ONLY way for them to get around if they wanted to do anything.

  8. I had to go to a conference two days and my brother was going to be staying at the house - which I let them know about. He was also going to be doing work downstairs replacing the windows. They said it was fine. I left for the conference, left two rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom for them - which I thought would be more than enough because I am going to be gone only TWO nights. I left Wednesday at 5:45pm for the conference. Thursday night around 8:30pm I get a text asking if there is anymore toilet paper. I tell her that more is down in the basement. I also text my brother and talk to him who is about 2 blocks away getting ready to eat dinner at the diner. He says he will leave if he needs to and even calls them to see if everything is okay. In the meantime I have also confirmed that they have gotten the toilet paper with no problems.

  9. Before I left for the conference I heard a lot of fooling around upstairs on the air mattress. All three of the girls were very heavy and even though I was concerned about the condition of the air mattress - I didn’t say anything to them. When I came back - I heard them putting more air into the mattress several times in a single day. This is a REALLY good air mattress that can go weeks without needing air. I now knew that they must have put a hole into it - but they never said anything. They left today and I go up stairs, and they did put holes into the air mattress that they tried to fix with the LockTite I have up there. They obviously didn’t do it right because when I sprayed soapy water it bubbled up like crazy. I now have the air mattress properly repaired for tomorrow’s guest.

  10. Last night they text me and ask if there are 18 year or under clubs in the area. I said there are - but once again I told them - it is off season. I’m not sure what is open for 18 years and younger at this time. I looked online and I found one that may be open, so I sent them the information for it. I never heard anything back.

  11. I go into the kitchen after they leave to start getting the room ready for the guests coming in tomorrow. I bought a $40 bag of salt water taffy and I leave at least 5 pieces in the room for each guests, depending on how long they will be staying. The bag is no longer on the counter and I can’t find it anywhere. I don’t know if they took it or not - so I am not going to say anything.

  12. I get a chance to talk to my brother today because he comes up to take more measurements on the trim around the windows and we also went to eat. I asked him how everything went while they were here. He said they told him I was very nice, I knew the area really well that I was very helpful and that they were talking about staying again during the tourist season. To be honest - for the most part, personally they were nice.

  13. I get a notification that they have reviewed me. Tonight I find out that it was a 3 star review. I came on here and searched for how to handle it, read some threads on it - saw that some people had actually been deactivated for it and had to agree that they will fix the problems in order to get relisted. I am now concerned that just when I am getting started this one group of guests can make all of my hard work come to a screeching halt.

As I said - I am not reviewing them until the last minute, hoping that that the other people who will be staying here will be negating that. I have one guest who keeps booking because he is on an internship in the neighboring town Whenever I am not available he comes back saying how much he missed my place because he has to stay at another AirBnB spot.

I have no idea what was wrong with these people because they never said anything was wrong while they actually stayed here. The few issue that I did know about - I tried to fix - which had nothing to do with the house, but things to do during the OFF SEASON… i can’t help it they came here without a car. I can’t help it they decided to come to the Jersey Shore in the off season when I told them it was and nothing to do right now. I can’t help if that they put holes in the air mattress which they didn’t tell me about because they were fooling around and basically having 800 pounds on the bed.

The things I am thinking about putting in the review - is the fact that they came here in the off season without a car, proceeded to ask to use my car when they found out they couldn’t get a rental car and the zipCar was going to be $400, asked to have a third person join them beyond my 2 person max which I allowed and put holes in the air mattress due to fooling around. I just have to figure out how to word all of this. I have no desire to have them staying here again - and I felt that way BEFORE I found out what the star rating was they gave me. If you went through this - what would you put? Everyone has been really great so far and this is the first group that I have had an issue with.

BTW - when they booked, it was before I raised my nightly rate and stopped going with the AirBnB suggested rate. As I said - I was just starting out and getting my feet wet. Needless to say they booked for $12/night. So for 3 people - they paid a whopping $4 a night. And for this - they gave me a 3 star rating. If they had booked now they would be paying twice as much as that because I raised it based on people who had PREVIOUSLY stayed here telling me what I should be charging.

They sound AWFUL and I’m sure you’ll get lots of helpful review suggestions. I’ll have a think and get back to you. I recently wrote my worst review ever for our worst ever guest.

What has me puzzled though, is how did you find out how many stars they left you before the review was published?

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Oh dear. Well you basically summarized the review already…
I don’t think you need to wait until the last minute. I would do it now and get it out of the way. How do you know they left you three stars by the way?

Unfortunately, xx were difficult to host. Against my better judgment, I accepted these two young college students who were unprepared for an off season vacation at the jersey shore. They arrived without sorting their transportation and even pressured me to let them use my car, which I refused. Against my better judgement I allowed a free third guest to stay with them, and this person put holes in my air mattress by roughhousing. I supply a small bag of our famous salt water taffy with our rentals but the girls raided my main stash downstairs and left me with zero. I cannot recommend these immature, helpless, inexperienced and disrespectful guests to any host.


As your guests’ review hasn’t been published yet; how do you know it’s three stars?

There seems to be a glitch in AirBnB’s system, In the stats it updates the overall star ratings and I could see it. Since I had only ever gotten 5 stars, the change from Overall Rating changing from 5 stars to 4.9 stars and 5 star Reviews 100% to 5 star Reviews 94% and the 5 star and 3 star BOTH appearing on the graph, stood out like a sore thumb. The total reviews had also changed from 17 to 18.

I then texted the person and asked…
Me: "HI name, I was just curious did you rate your stay here as just 3 stars?"
Guest: Yes, yes I did.

I am sure if AirBnB knows that the rating is appearing before the review is readable they are going to change it.

That is strange. I can’t see updates to my stats page until the review is published. If I were you, I would include in your review that your guests completely lacked self sufficiency and that although you warned them, they didn’t understand how sleepy your town is during the off season. I would also take off Instant Book during off season and have a discussion with potential guests to make sure that they know what to expect.

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Thanks for the great response. After reading this forum for the last three months - I am very familiar with your posts, although you have just heard from me - which probably seems a bit odd. :slight_smile:

That being said - I wasn’t sure if I should mention the missing Salt Water Taffy since I have no actual proof they took it. Of course it was only ever me, my brother and them in the house. No one else is here - and I don’t rent to multiple groups of guests. The bag isn’t small and easily lost, it was about 4 pounds of salt water taffy.

Needless to say, I had to make a special trip to the boardwalk at 5:30pm to buy another bag of Salt Water Taffy for my guest from London who comes in tomorrow which cost me $40 for a little more than 4 pounds…

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If you really think those girls didn’t grab your stash, I have some land under the erupting volcanic vent to sell you! :laughing:

Glad you have posted and I wish you better guests soon!

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I have thought about taking off instant booking - but until now it hasn’t been a problem. Now the issue is that we are getting into the months that people can book for the summer. Six Flags Great Adventure will be opening up on the weekends come April 1st, the boardwalk amusements and rides are opening next weekend. Everything starts gearing up around Easter time here - although still mostly on the weekends. Then Memorial Day weekend hits and everything is in full swing.

I’m not sure if instant book would have even have helped under this circumstance. They weren’t fazed at all when I told them it was off season. In addition, I have flexible cancellation - so they could have easily have cancelled the trip. I had a person yesterday who booked and cancelled within a few hours of each other. They booked, asked me how to get to my place with public transportation, I guess they looked it up on their own because the next inquiry before I even had a chance to respond was “it is VERY hard to get there!” and cancelled.

I was joking before but honestly those little brats stole $40 hard earned dollars right out your pocket by stealing your taffy. That was about what you made on their reservation at $12 per night? I don’t rent to under 25 after my last youngster left trash all over my carport, the apartment a mess and my worst review ever. Luckily she got a bad one from me.

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Oh - I’m 99.9999999% sure they took the salt water taffy. It just wouldn’t hold up in a court of law. :slight_smile: Once I review them and see what they have said - I do intend to respond to their review. Most likely repeat most of the stuff that was in my review for them so it is in both places.

They didn’t have any reviews so there was nothing for me to go off when they booked, but I have had a number of first time AirBnBers who were all great… These guests won’t be happy though because my review will be only one on their listing, unlike on my listing which has many reviews. I would be surprised if anyone would want to rent to them with just one review saying what a nightmare they were. I was so concerned about them when they booked - that I looked her up on LinkedIn because she had that as one of her identity validation things. Going by her LinkedIn - I was thinking, maybe I’m judging her wrong. Her LinkedIn looked great.

$12 a night? For real? This was your main mistake, even to get bookings your utilities and other overheads must be more than this. I would emphasize in your review you have them the special rate of $12 a night for the whole booking and accordingly are so disappointed at their behaviour. For me as s host to know someone treated you so bad when you weee basically giving them free accommodation is just the worst. I hope you have at least lifted your rate to $50.

They were booked for 8 nights - so it was $83, but still a big hit with losing $40 worth of taffy. I made $43 off of their stay, but then of course there was the water usage, not to mention the toilet paper usage. :slight_smile: All for a 3 star rating.

Like I said - I was trying things out and they were my first bad guests in a long string of guests. Basically I wanted to see how the AirBnB price tips worked and if it was good or not. I found out it was not good at all - and people on here have said not to use it. After researching those threads along with several guests telling me I need to raise to it to at least $20 because they were concerned what the catch was - I raised it to $25. During the summer season I am listing it at $45 - $65 right now. $25 is my minimum right now.

I would totally mention the taffy! My last nightmares stole a $20 guidebook from my room, and if I had discovered it sooner I would have put it in the review. No one else could have done it. I don’t think Air reviews need a preponderance of the evidence like a court of law would. :smiley:

yes for sure raise your rates. You should be charging in the range of $55-60 in the off season. That is expected and will attract a better caliber of guest. Depending on proximity to beach you could get $75 minimum in summer!

I’m a substitute teacher and even my first graders know not to take candy that doesn’t belong to them. Sheesh.

They wasted your time and drained your energy and you only made a lousy $83? I mean $43. Post taffy.

What little sh*ts.


You forgot that then after all that - they gave a 3 star review. :stuck_out_tongue: At least I feel better about it now. I had even called my brother and asked him - did they say ANYTHING else when you were here. :slight_smile: I just don’t want the 3 star review killing my summer season before it even gets started.

If anyone steals my candy they’ll regret it. I take my sugary treats seriously.


I would be most pissed about the taffy, not the three star. I wonder what they will say in the review. Little nightmares!!!

My son’s currently on study abroad in Japan. It’s their spring and winter break right now so a whole group of them traveled to another island of Japan where they stayed at an Airbnb. He said they worked like dogs getting it all spotless before checkout because the one who booked it didn’t want a bad review. I am sure they were perfect angels too, because they are all seniors and over the indiscriminate party phase. Not all young people are monster,s so I’m very sorry you got a bad group. You’ll recover from the 3 stars but I wonder what their damn review said. She was quite dumb to admit to leaving the three star review, does she not realize that gives you the heads up to leave them a bad review. They don’t sound like the brightest crayons in the box.

There is definitely a glitch in the system I noticed it myself after another host reported it on here. Basically if you go to stats the numbers of reviews with x stars changes … but you can’t see the review and the change isn’t posted publicly. I’m not sure Airbnb are aware it’s happening but it definitely means you can tell what the guest left you and compose your review accordingly.

Where say you had all five stars you would be able to see the three. And in a case like this it would be very noticeable. Mines a bit mixed up with 5 and 4 stars so I get a vague indication based on what I can remember; if I wrote everything down I would be able to tell instantly.

And the reason to wait 14 days for the review is so the text and the stars don’t appear publicly. This gives the host 14 more days to get bookings under her belt before the review comes out and knocks things sideways a bit.

Personally I think you’re paying for the location not being as they wanted. Note I didn’t say ‘not as expected.’ They booked your place because it suited their budget, and didn’t believe everything could really be closed due to off season. It was exactly as you warned them however somehow it’s also your fault. Cue crap review.

Had the same situation over Christmas. And got punished for it in the same way.


I know this is just them personally and not her age group in particular. The thing is - they were rather friendly. She always said hi when she came in, said good bye when they were leaving, asked if they use something - granted the car was over the top though. Even when I went into the room after the checked out - I was expecting a mess and it wasn’t. All the sheets and everything were off the bed and folded on the floor for me to wash. Not even any stains on the bed spread from eating and drinking coffee up there.

As for admitting she left the 3 star review - I think she thought I could see the review itself. When I asked her why - she said “I’ve written my reasoning in the review, Read the review.”

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