What does 4 star mean? I always thought very good

In my view 4 stars means very good. I am reading all these posts that guests are terrible for leaving 4 stars, I am a fairly new host and have received mostly 5 star but couple of 4’s on categories and have just tried to take the feedback as constructive. We went on our first trip this month, the place was fine but certainly not 5 star it was in a basement and had a musty odor, it was very sparsely equipped, It slept four but supplied only one pot, there were 4 plates and glasses but only 2 mugs. The rooms were clean but the blinds didn’t work, a fair amount of peeling paint and a few other things. I left a 4 star review with a 5 star for location, The only thing I mentioned with my 4 star on cleanliness was the odor since it seemed air required I leave a detail with the cleanliness ranking. My review read “very basic accommodations in an excellent neighborhood, clean and safe close to restaurants”. My host was not pleased to say the least. I was not aware Air penalized hosts for 4 stars as I said I considered it very good. Air ask guests to review honestly but penalizes hosts for honest feedback. I guess my point is I don’t think guests leave 4 stars as an insult they just don’t realize Air views anything but 5 star as a negative.

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Unfortunately, so do other guests, :slight_smile:

But the fact is that in Airbnb-speak 5 means 'everything was fine and we had no problems. 4 means ‘there were one or two issues’.

Now, in the case of there being a couple of issues, the polite thing for a guest to do is to contact the host as soon as the issue arrives. For example, a lamp isn’t working - call the host and if he/she immediately (or as soon as reasonably possible) brings you a light bulb or a replacement lamp then that’s seen as being 5 star service.

Something that hosts really don’t like is for a guest to mark them down on stars or mention in the review something like ‘we would have liked more towels’ when all they needed to do was ask the host. In most cases, he / she would gladly have provided more. When we know about problems, we want to fix them as soon as we can.

Most hosts want their guests to have a great time. And that means that if a guest has a problem, we want to fix it so that they can enjoy their stay. So we see it as being a little unfair if guests mark us down for things we could have rectified. For example, I imagine that your host would have provided a couple more mugs if you’d asked. This only applies, of course, if the host is local or has a nearby manager.

Another matter is the price. Some Airbnb guests think that Airbnb accommodations should be like hotels, but cheaper :slight_smile:

This isn’t the case. For example, in this area anyway, if a place was $200 per night and slept four people that’s only $50 per night per person and even the most horrible motels here charge more than that.

It does sound though that your review was very fair.


I’m somewhat confused.

You start by saying in your mind 4 stars is very good. You then say you stayed somewhere where there was a broken blind, odour, peeling paint and a few other things. You rated the place 4 stars.

Are you sure you think 4 stars is very good? Because I’m my mind all of those issues dont equal very good.
Were you attempting to be generous when you left four stars or did you honestly think 4 stars was fair?


I also realized I was staying in an older home, living in an 1880’s house myself I know things will not be perfect, there was peeling paint but not chips all over the floor. There were also many good things, the size of the place the location. I was trying to be generous being a host myself, but also trying to help people to have a realistic expectation of what they were getting.

I think the problem is with Airbnb’s rating system. I know of no other venue where 4 stars is a bad review. I certainly would have called the host if I needed anything. We happened to be traveling with our children so 2 coffee cups were OK, I was just trying to give an example of the sparseness of amenities. I wanted to be fair to the hosts AND to future guests so they would have realistic expectations.


Yes, the Airbnb rating system is something that’s easily open to interpretation. But sadly, it’s true that hosts who fall behind with their star ratings can be penalised - to the extent of them being de-listed.

The good news is that most hosts work very hard to keep their guests happy and that the few hosts who don’t will be weeded out - but only if guests understand the system.

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A solid 4 star listing will be at risk of removal from Airbnb. 4 stars sounds reasonable for the place you stayed but I would question that it was very good. It sounds adequate. 4 stars is adequate on Airbnb. 5 stars is very good to exceptional.

I actually don’t think 2 mugs in a space that sleeps 4 people is at all adequate (regardless if only 2 adults showed up). 4 plates and 4 glasses is also really pushing it and if the place has a kitchen and advertises that, one pot is hardly enough.

This host really needs to better equip their kitchen – I hope you left specific suggestions in the private feedback section.


I forgot to add; it was nice of you to give the host some allowances. I personally get so frustrated with guests who book on a lemonade budget and then give four stars because it wasn’t the Hilton.


I forgot to mention something earlier. And this isn’t necessarily in reply to the OP but to any guests who might be browsing here.

It’s important for guests to remember that we hosts also give out star ratings - to our guests. Just like guests do, we have to rate guests on various aspects of their stay including abiding by house rules, leaving the place in great shape and communication.

As I was talking about communicating issues with the host earlier, I’m trying to remember exactly what we are asked but it’s something like ‘how was this guest at communicating regarding arrival and any issues or concerns?’ So any guest who didn’t accurately update the host with their arrival time or didn’t promptly report any issues, is not going to get five stars.

Hosts are now able to see the star ratings of potential guests before they decline or approve a booking. So it’s very much in guests’ interests to make sure that they understand the Airbnb star ratings.


As all guests and hosts should be. :slight_smile:

But guests pay much more attention to reviews than star ratings. Like you, many guests wouldn’t be put off booking a place if it hadn’t got 5 star reviews across the board. They too think that 4 is good. The only people who are going to be concerned about 4 star ratings and the hosts themselves and - even more important - Airbnb.

It makes me so mad how Airbnb chastises hosts if they get less than 5 stars. I can’t even speak coherently about it, the red mist comes down. Why bother with having a rating system if all that matters is getting 5*? Really, why bother? Just have a yes/no or thumbs up/down option. Four stars is ‘Very good’. What the hell is wrong with that?? Their attitude is stupid, ludicrous, insulting, childish, destructive, meaningless… check the thesaurus for “ridiculous”.


Agreed. Thumps up or down. That is the reality in this system. Get rid of the in-betweens. Even if they actually matter in real life…

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I’ve been scolded by Air, and even received a “let us help you do better” phone call because I consistently get 4.5 stars. I have to ASK for five stars now, and only do it from guests I know really LOVE the place.

Yes what does 4 stars mean? Recently a party booked my house on the wrong week and clashed with another party (their fault). We had another room and allowed them to stay there, provided everything we could to help them, found them pretty demanding and they overstayed the check-out time without reaction from us. Then they gave us 4 stars! I am pretty annoyed but what I want to see is the star rating by item - I mean what was their problem, they never mentioned a problem in their review and for the life of me I cannot seem to get below their review words into the stars by category (clean, communication etc?) Surely one can drill these else why have them? Graeme

When the Airbnb Incentive system differentiates between 5 stars (by giving you a superhost status at 80% etc) and the rest, it becomes somewhat binary really - getting 4 stars or less seems practically meaningless.

It’s much like what some folk have said above - it’s like a Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down rating in effect.

So, when guests who appear to be satisfied in every way still give you 4, it can get very frustrating.

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Airbnb used to show you the individual category star breakdown, but they’ve stopped that for a while now. It was useful feedback, you could work on what possibly went wrong - not all guests word their dissatisfaction in the review, especially minor ones which made them give a 4 instead of a 5 for something.

Many of us never had that feature. Wish I had.

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Appreciated the info many thanks. Strange to do away with the things that would assist quite a bit but that’s AirBnB for you and I now fully agree with the sentiment in this thread, 1 to 5 is meaningless, it is just 5= good, 4 = bad due for the most part to the way BnB berate you for dropping below 80% 5’s as happened to me with only 6 reviews, 2 4’s was rather savage on the average - (one 4 was justified, seems we froze them inadvertently but have fixed that). Well anyway that’s the last time I will help out like that. - Graeme


I would think 4 stars is pretty good also. I find the superhost and five star thing pretty dodgy at times. especially as there is one for location.
You book mine you get a period apartment in the residential area of a major city, one of the countries most industrial. If you don’t research your area, which I do for hotels or Airbnb, in order to see what it is like how can you leave a low star rating.
I’ve stayed in places that were different but had less amenities in the apartment, less central and not as clean, but loads of 5 stars. Hosts were nice but so am I.
I also put a mention in about Air’s big warning that I may get suspended and complained about an unfair review to which Air responded that I shouldn’t worry about it, my reviews are great and it won’t affect my incoming traffic.