There's a huge gap between 4.75 and 5 stars

I just read an article about a study centered on tipping on Uber. This paragraph struck me as being applicable to Airbnb.

Riders rated a perfect five stars tip twice as often as those with 4.75 stars. And when they leave a tip, it’s about 14 percent higher. Riders can’t tip until after they’ve been rated, and drivers can’t see a rider’s past tipping behavior before or during a ride. Drivers with five stars get about 50 percent more in tips than those with just 4.75 stars, and their tips are about 5 percent higher.

I often say the busier you are, the busier you will be. I also think the higher your ratings, the easier it is to maintain and avoid problem guests. If you start out at 4.5-4.7 and try to raise it, it’s going to be very difficult.

A new host really needs to be on top of their game to compete.


I agree. There is another host in a nearby town that hasn’t been hosting for long; they have almost all five star reviews. About a month ago they received an obvious retaliatory bad review from a guest caught with nine (!!!) extra people. I noticed they have not been getting much business since.

Could just be a coincidence, but I suspect that one poor review has hurt them.


It’s one of the reasons I no longer confront guests about breaking rules nor items missing or broke under $100. I do review honestly.

I also take the time to explain the Airbnb ranking system both in the welcome letter and when they check out and ask them to let me know if there is anything that they need to make sure that they feel comfortable letting me know.

Now I have over 350 reviews with over a 4.9 ranking so I know the occasional 3 star (I’ve only had 3) in the last 4 years won’t hurt.

I do fear the random guest that could make false claims and have Airbnb shut me down but by not confronting the guests they often don’t know until I review. (I wait until right before the 14 days are up if it’s going to be a bad review.)


We long established hosts have a huge advantage over the new host for this reason. And if the posts here are any kind of valid sample most of these new hosts are way behind on the learning curve as well.


I think that was a quote, but I don’t think the writer is correct.

A rider can’t tip until after the rider has rated the driver, not after the driver has rated the rider.

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I went to find the original paper (one I cut and pasted from above was the Washington Post.)

The actual study says this:

"A key issue was changing the culture around the nature of tipping as a useful economic tool. After several months of meetings, the company announced that it would introduce the feature in June of 2017 as part of its “180 Days of Change” campaign geared towards improving the driver experience. Upon the introduction of tipping, the core user experience for the rider was as follows: once a trip was completed and the driver rated the rider, the rider would be prompted to return to
the Uber app via a notification on their device asking them to rate the trip and notifying them of the option to tip. They would not be told how the driver rated them. "

As a former quasi-academic and a stickler for correctness in all forms (including political correctness :wink: ) I’m interesting in finding the answer. But it’s irrelevant to my point that those with 5 stars do better. Hosts who are dismissive of the importance of ratings can make themselves feel better but there’s a good probability that they are costing themselves real money.


I agree. I also belong to a FB group and there are even more newbies on that one. Were we ever that naive? LOL

I was and not only in Airbnb but in my dog boarding business as well.

Luckily I found this forum within months of becoming a host and within my first dozen or so stays hosted. I learned so much from the mistakes of others and the excellent advice posted. I do give credit to the forum members for a portion of my success.


There’s a guy in my neighborhood that has a similar listing as mine and probably listed not long after our first listing. (I often run dates to see what’s already booked, prices, etc so am generally aware of what’s going on with the other listings in the neighborhood.) He got a really obnoxious review in April or May. It was terrifying. The woman said all kinds of weird stuff. You could tell it was her and not him. She must have given him 1-3 stars on everything because his ratings completely tanked and then he lost SuperHost right after because of it too. I couldn’t help but keep an eye on it, it was like a train wreck and I felt so bad for him.

So, while everyone else was doubling and even tripling their rates for the busy summer season, he was dropping his rates. I imagine it was a very long summer for him. But, I learned something by watching it. He plugged along through the summer, not making the extra money that we would all expect to but he still booked and got a lot more reviews and raised his ratings back up and just got his superhost badge returned. Saying it out loud, it seems this is the obvious thing to do; however, it was inspiring to watch it happen. And it gave me more confidence that I too could trudge through if needed.

Why this made me think of it: I could see that it was extra hard for him to get the good reviews again because of the bad one (beyond just getting booked). There’s so much to people just following suit, e.g. good reviews beget good reviews. But once that bad review got pushed down a couple of pages, there was a new momentum for really good reviews. There were also some reviews who specifically countered the bad review, which I also thought was interesting - guests disagreeing with the bad review and taking up for the host :slight_smile:


I’m generally not in the “ask for reviews and coach the guests on star meanings” camp. But if I got an unfair review that was hurting my business I would absolutely ask subsequent guests for their help. Good for him.


Me too! I was even luckier because I found it before I actually listed. I studied it and read pretty much all of the posts while I getting ready to post my first listing. Next week will be our 1-year anniversary of our first booking! All 5-stars! I give tons of credit to this forum. I have no doubt that we are a successful product of the under-promise, over-deliver technique. Can’t imagine not having that as a guide. :heart_eyes:


I was lurking and a little on this forum for a year building up to listing. It :smiling_face_with_three_hearts::heart_eyes::star_struck::kissing_heart:helped so much for our launch in January to be positive and relatively seamless!

We have got all 5*!! Our place is so different and conducive to having an exceptional time. The guests read some fabulous reviews online then see the handwritten notes when here. I never mention reviews only that we want more “love notes” in the booklet:)

There was one girl left 5* overall and then 4’s in 4 of 5 categories, I was so shmiffed… but luckily that did not really affect the 5* or at least not for very long. HAHAHA We just found out that that girl bought the one night for our friends son who she brought here <><>

We are almost as busy as we like and far more than we anticipated. We can only thank our 70 couples very much, the outreach Glamping Hub has done, and our friend guests who were our 1st stays.


Funny you should mention the dog boarding business. I did it for one month and while the money was good, I couldn’t stand the people. They were so disrespectful of my time. I then found some user groups and realized that I needed to set the rules. I might do it again but will have much stricter drop off and pickup times and also not have folks in my house. I’m going to set it up in my basement (I have sliders to the ground floor) and interview them on my porch.

LOL. Isn’t that the truth? But it’s a lot like being a school teacher. You have to train your new clients to the routine and then set your limits.

I do have meet and greets inside my house but once they become clients 90% of the drop offs in good weather are on my front porch and I don’t let them come in. OTOH, over time I’ve developed some good relationships with people. One woman’s husband died in their home while she was out of town. She came home to find him and the dog inside the home. I was one of the first people she called with the news. I’ve since been to dinner at her home. I’ve also been the recipient of the calls when the guest dogs are ill and/or pass away. Those are hard but it’s part of the relationship that develops. Once you get a regular clientele established and get your rules set up, you will find it to be very rewarding. Feel free to message me anytime with questions or problems, I’m happy to help.

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I had a guest who retaliated in stars, dropping me from a perfect 5 to 4.85. Left me 1s and 2s in categories because I wouldn’t take cash for his last night and complained at the special rates I sent him. His wife was really embarrassed.

The guest before him left me a 5 overall but a 4 for location, without explanation. And he’s the one who did laundry at 1am! Against HR, verbal instructions, and my having to sit there with him until 1am because the laundry room is right next to the Master Suite. Sleep on a work night wasn’t an option.

I no longer offer laundry and if someone writes and says “Maybe one more night when I get there,” I will flat out say “Book that extra night now. If over 6 days, you get a 10% discount for the stay. I don’t accept cash or any payments outside of Air.”

So now I’m struggling to get more than my 15 reviews, get my ratings up, because the person without a pool (just a room) in a house that’s not as nice as mine, and charging more, has more visitors and is a Super Host. :cry:

I would like more bookings, please!

Also, you folks here have been invaluable in helping me make changes to the listing and in how I host. Thank you!


I was definitely that naive!

It never occurred to me to look for a Facebook group about hosting, and I just started using this forum a few months ago.

My husband and I have been hosting for 2.5 years.

We’ve learned a lot after hosting >300 guests. And I’m sure there will still be many things to learn.


I need a hug emoji for you!

I am sure things will get better. I’d stay with you!


Thank you!! You and the forum members are always welcome, special rates (and wine) apply!



I recently heard a feature on NPR that only 17% of Uber riders tip. Now I’m wondering if it’s because they don’t want to be bothered rating them.

I think the problem is the online nature of payment. If you have to look someone in the eye (your taxi driver, masseuse, server) when you pay and walk away without tipping you are going to be more likely to tip. If the transaction is already paid for and all you have to do is get out of the car or take the delivery and shut the door, you’re going to be less likely to tip.