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Talking about stars in my welcome guide

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of ways to get my guests to leave my 5 star reviews, and taken bits and pieces of advice from many of my fellow hosts. This is, of course, after I’ve done everything I can think of to make people comfortable and happy, cleaned my house until it looks like a model home and edited my listing to be accurate and forthcoming in terms of location.

I have a Welcome Guide in a 3 ring binder that has info about the house, as well as places to eat, things to do and so on. I am thinking about putting the text that appears below in italics at the beginning, and I am open to thoughts, comments and feedback.

Thank you for choosing our place for your visit to our town. We are so pleased to be your hosts! We want your stay to be as enjoyable as possible and we strive for a 5 Star Experience for all our Guests. To that end, please don’t hesitate to let us know if you need anything, or if there is something we can do to make your stay more comfortable. You can send us a message through Airbnb at any time. We can be reached by text/phone at XXX-XXX-XXXX.
Throughout your stay, if there is anything that might cause you to rate our hospitality or our property at less than 5 Stars, we hope you’ll let us know. If we can fix it, we will! If not, we thank you for bringing it to our attention so we can address it in the future if possible.


Do you meet your guests for check-in and checkout ?

Yes and my post must be 20 characters long.

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I think you bringing it up with your guests is a smart idea. The quandary with the star system is that ‘5’ is already in use culturally as in ‘5-star hotel’, which few listings on Airbnb can remotely comparable to. I think guests oftentimes are subconsciously using the hotel reference as the benchmark of what ‘5’ should be on an Airbnb listing. What Airbnb has in a way is a ‘bastard’ system, trying to apply one establish system used in hotels and using it and considering it ~the same way~ when it applies to private listings, their main business.

So what you intend to do, is really to try to eliminate any reason for your guest to give you anything but 5 stars. hopefully before they leave. Very smart. You are still fighting however the ‘bias’ of the hotel 5-star system that most guests oftentimes have. So then it should follow that the trick is to ~educate~ the guests of what 5-stars mean in ~an Airbnb reality~, not in a hotel reality.

Despite the fact my guests always say something even more complimentary than the previous one (like the one today), I also do let them know that straight ‘5s’ across the board are also a great compliment. A 5-star ~overall experience~ deserves nothing but straight 5s, without splitting hairs.

Airbnb should put more emphasis on educating their guests how it considers its star system, in case their guests are thinking of the hotel model as a reference, which I suspect many times they are.


Hi Chloe
Perfect timing as I am also upgrading my guests guidebook. Same problem as Mearns has indicated of course is that 5 stars to many mean 24 hours concierge etc etc.

Would like to hear from other hosts how they encourage (in writing) how they request a 5 star review (assuming they are deserving of it of course.) We will then laminate it or something and put in the cottage. We also have a little artist white board where guests are encouraged to “graffiti” a short comment. Some even draw little smileys, flowers and other emojis.

Chloe, I think your review request is great, but would also like to see how other hosts approach this rather delicate matter.

Bring them on please hosties!

Hi @Mearns,

I agree that Air guests often times have the “5 Star Hotel” idea in their heads. I also agree that it would be best if Airbnb would better educate guests about the Air star system, how it should be used and the impact it has on hosts, wherein 5 is good and 4 through 1 are basically levels of bad. I’m not going to hold my breath.

I tried coming up with some language that would succinctly convey that reality, but I’ve not been able to thus far. So, I took the approach of @Artemis and other hosts, which is to subtly get guests thinking about the review they are going to give beforehand, and, as you said, try to head off any issues, perceived or otherwise, off at the pass.

@Clyde, I think some of our fellow hosts on this forum do what I’m considering, but verbally instead of written. I remember a host posting that they talk about “that star thing”, either at check in, check out, or both, in a lighthearted, perhaps almost as an afterthought manner. I think that’s a great idea, but it’s not something I would be able to pull off organically or sincerely. I’d be nervous about even talking about it, and my guests would surely pick up on that.

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I see your point. Some of us come in such direct contact with guests and do feel comfortable discussing the star system, but that is not always the case with other hosts. So yes, via the guide book is another way. The language is the key.

I am in contact with Airbnb for varied reason, their awkward star system is my new crusade.

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And I hope you win :slight_smile:

I decided a while ago simply not to worry about reviews or stars (or Superhost-dom). I aim for a stress-free life so decided not to be too bothered about such things so I never discuss reviews or stars with guests. I just keep my fingers crossed a lot :wink:


I only discuss reviews if a guest mentions it and I don’t say anything in my guest guide. I’ve gotten 5 stars 97% of the time overall and in all categories except location. I wish I knew why so I could share my secret.

@jaquo At the risk of embarrassing you, you are one wise cool lady.

@KKC I do also, prodding or no prodding. At first I prodded them, now (2016) I no longer care what they write; but I keep pleasantly surprising them so they have no choice but to say nice things. :wink:


@Chloe, I’m pretty certain 9 out of 10 of my guests would have no idea about stars or reviews until they receive a message from airbnb indicating that they can review/rate their stay. The great majority of my guests have no history of using airbnb, and even after booking their stay I’m pretty sure they still know very little about airbnb or anything associated to it. I never make references to airbnb, I just consider airbnb the “administrator” of my business. Is everybody’s experience different from mine?

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Hi @Chloe,

I would stop after your 1st paragraph. It says it all. More than that, it focuses on the guest, not you. The 2nd paragraph starts to sound a little self-serving, even if I know that’s not your intent!

I agree with others like @jaquo @KKC @Mearns: invest less energy in trying to push for the great reviews. Instead switch that energy towards fine tuning the various parts of the guest experience.

I’ve stayed in hundreds of hotels, vacation rentals, B&Bs, lodges, etc in my time. The ones that stay in my mind aren’t necessarily the top dollar or prime location ones. I remember those where I’ve felt genuine service. Whether it’s the host making a call 24 hours after check-in to welcome us (Sanibel condo) or the hotel reception surprising my kids with ice-cream (Key West hotel), I’ve felt valued.

Whether those gestures from the condo owner or the hotel manager were self-serving or not I didn’t care. They were hospitable and thoughtful. As a guest on holiday, I appreciated them! The little individual touches (provided everything else is smooth) are the key here, IMHO.

You won’t receive great reviews every single time but that’s a reality of the service industry. :slight_smile:


I love the idea of a surprise! I’ll have to think about what I can do. Could be something as simple as flower delivery.

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Aye @QueenAleta it is the little things that wins the day; either little improvements or small kind gestures that they do not expect.

In my situation they may be a bit more dramatic, but it is all relative. I took (3-reviews-back Elaine and fellow college girlfriend) on a cool boat ride to see other islands, spend time with (2-reviews-back Nicole and group) on the night of the hurricane (no power) and we all told life stories over candle lights; (most-recent Sean) had a fire at night on the island with his wife and that is what stuck in his mind.

Do the best you can and the rest will follow, most importantly the pride that you indeed did your best.

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A recent guest complimented the listing in our messages during his stay, didn’t complain, and was understanding when I apologized about the slow wifi (the unit had been overused by the previous guest). He also left a nice enough review, and gave us a 4 star “overall experience”.
But we were horrified to see that he gave 1 STAR on all the categories!! WTF!
/rant over

Probably got the complimentary order in reverse.

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