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Why do reviews tend to be so over-the-top great?

I’ve stayed in 3 different Airbnb rentals the past three weeks. All had glowing reviews filled with superlatives and positive adjectives.

The first two were good places, but not “OMG the best place I ever saw in my whole life,” as the reviews would lead one to believe.

The 3rd place was passable, but with some issues I mentioned in another thread. For that one, I left a public review which pointed out the positives (good water pressure, fast internet etc) and didn’t nitpick on the negatives. It wasn’t glowing like the other reviews, but it wasn’t really negative either- more neutral. Someone could probably read between the lines and figure out that the fact I didn’t say anything about cleanliness meant it wasn’t super clean.

I did point out some things that needed improvement the private feedback.

Those things involve the kind of grime that has been there for years if not decades. It didn’t happen between the last review and me.

Why do people give these kind of places such wonderful reviews when they are clearly aren’t wonderful? I understand that they don’t want to be mean, but you can be “not mean” without outright lying about how perfect the apartment is.


Hi @Garden1Gnome

That’s a very good question. I have also noticed that people tend to be improbably positive in Airbnb reviews. It’s hard to imagine that all these random places are so wonderful. And actually the reviews for my own rental are rather more positive than I think are reasonable. It’s possible a species of grade inflation is at work.

Part of the problem is that Airbnb puts a human face on hosting. If you are staying in a hotel, your host is not a person, it’s the hotel - a faceless entity that is not a person. You can’t offend a hotel, or hurt its feelings. And the hotel only cares about your money. I haven’t really read reviews about hotels, but I bet people have far less of a problem saying bad things about hotels. But it’s harder to say nasty things about that nice person who welcomed you into his or her home with a nice cup of tea. Or whatever it was. So yes, humans are afraid of hurting other humans feelings. Which is fine, I think. It’s one of the better parts of what makes us human. But it does get in the way of an honest review.


I’m with you, @Garden1Gnome, and like @faheem, I feel that people are over-the-top in their reviews of us. Yes, we are friendly, the place is clean, I prepare a nice breakfast, and give good travel info. But several have said ‘best airbnb ever’ which makes me think that many hosts aren’t doing the minimum to make their guests comfy.

I’m currently shopping for a place in the Shenandoah Valley - and the reviews of some of these places are almost (excuse me) orgasmic. So much so that now I’m wondering what is wrong with me that I don’t have guests gushing over my place in the same way.


…on a lighter note I got this review “Nancy var en fantastisk vært” Most of you probably know the word in English “fart” means intestinal gas, that last Danish word was humorous to us. All day we quoted “Nancy is a fantastic vart”. ; )

And I had the experience of staying at a place with gushing, gushing reviews. The house had NO a/c on the first level of the home, there were no windows that we could open, and no screens on the doors. Something had gone very wrong in the basement and the midew/basementy stench was OVERWHELMING, GAGGING. There was not one piece of information about how to get to the nearby ‘swimming hole’, which, seeing as it was 85 in the house and reeked we were most anxious to get to. Also her listing said the swimming hole was walkable but didn’t mention the twisty, narrow road down which the locals sped at at least 60 mph. My review was a bit more honest… (yes we did check-out early and yes, we did get a refund).


Dcmooney said “…makes me think that many hosts aren’t doing the minimum to make their guests comfy…”

IMHO some hosts aren’t doing the minimum; others just barely the minimum, and that’s when people who do go even one-step beyond get glowing reviews. We’ve stayed in a couple of those sub-par places ourselves, and have given truthful-but-tactful public reviews, and then went into the gory details in the private section “from one host to another, we think…” One place here didn’t look as if the windows had been cleaned since WWII!

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This photo shows the kind of thing I’m talking about. I tried to clean it, but much dirt didn’t come up. I’m sure it’s been wiped down recently, but… What actually needs to happen ( assuming complete renovation of the bathroom isn’t possible) is a serious steam cleaning plus scrubbing with lots of elbow grease and Goo Gone or some similar product.

That has clearly been there for a while, most likely before the host even joined Airbnb last year.

I just don’t understand how guests can see it and gush in the review about how clean the place is.

Where are those guests, and why aren’t they staying with me? :smile:


Lol. Did you ever make your listing public, @konacoconutz? Perhaps all your guests are saying delightful things about you and you didn’t notice? :slight_smile:

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Grossssss!!! That is something I’d be on my hands and knees to clean!!! I saw way cleaner when I checked my son out of his four-boy college dorm suite (shared by boys of dubious cleanliness for an entire year!)

Are you serious… This is awful and I would have been inclined to leave a negative comment… “Apartment could have been much cleaner, especially the toilet area.”

That’s disgusting as hell.


I’m wondering if maybe people have higher expectations when they go to Hawaii, because it’s such a dream destination for many, and the airfare is really expensive?

Most people know that big cities like New York have insane housing markets and you don’t get much for your money.

(I think that some NYC hosts take advantage of this. Yes, expecting a luxurious and spacious palace in NYC is unrealistic, but expecting a clean one is not.)

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I think much of review inflation comes from guests who are very appreciative of a good value. I recently stayed in a cute and funky cottage near Lake Michigan. Reviews were over the top positive despite the fact that the window AC units were so loud that they clearly needed to be replaced and it was difficult to sleep at night with the combination of noise and heat. Since they were pet-friendly, the place reeked overwhelmingly of febreez. However, the unit was very competitively priced compared to other units in the area and didn’t require a 7 night stay which is very common in these lakeside cottages in Summer. People were grateful to not be paying $450/night and still be walking distance from the beach. I would have loved to stay in a nicer unit for $450/night but there was nothing available for my dates, therefore, I was more inclined to be critical. For cheaply priced units, people are so relieved that it’s not a complete shit hole that they are absolutely delighted with anything above the basics --there’s art on the walls! there are 2 sodas in the fridge! 2 Costco croissants!

I gave my host a very good and accurate review (awesome place for pet-owners and people on a budget) with no nitpicking.

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I tried to clean it, but it wouldn’t come off with paper towels and cleaning solution. I also tried Lysol wipes, just to make myself feel better.

I have no idea what it is, but it’s been there a LONG time.

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LOL! I was nit picked for a cobweb, distance and neighbor noise two reviews ago… Last review was GLOWING as it should be. :smile:

I don’t want to make it public here. If someone wishes to see it, they could PM me,

Possible, but if visiting rural Hawaii, please lower your expectations. :smile: You could find a yurt on a mountainside, scary pavement strips to a rustic coffee shack, neighbors with pit bulls, old cars and trash everywhere, loads of screaming coqui frogs, a house in the deep heart of the jungle 20 miles from the nearest regular road and more. I am in a safe residential neigborhood by the beach with custom homes and spectacular views!

There are no motel 6, no other alternatives, besides the Pineapple Park hostel on the side of a busy highway. It’s $89 for the cheapest dormitory bunk style room. Otherwise it’s a minimum $200/night hotel with $40 nightly resort fee.

So I just don’t see what they are complaining about! I have a great deal here!


It almost looks like the toilet itself is pitted? They need to either resurface it with a polish kit or replace the loo.

What do you guys think of this?

We stayed at an airbnb in the Houston area last year. Once we were there we noticed a house rule manual and read the top page.

They clearly state that they always rate their guests as 5 stars across the board and will say something nice in the comments area even if a guest checked in and out without meeting the host. If they see something that you can do to be a better guest, they will let the guest know in a private message and expect the guest to do the same. This is because of airbnb’s matrix, anything less than a 5 star review reflects a problem and need for improvement.

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I’d be put off by it.

OK… check this out… Regarding expectations… Here’s the kind of host you may find in Hawaii Island’s hinterlands. Not judging, just sharing… To each his own, and live and let live! Peace Out! :smile:


That’s putting it lightly.

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How can you be zoned out and your response rate is 100% within an hour?..

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