If you’ve used Airbnb, or browsed the site, then you’ll know that guests can leave reviews for their hosts and vice versa. This is an excellent system as it keeps everyone accountable.
Increasingly, I’m seeing online questions from guests whose hosts have not left them a good review – or a mediocre one. Why, they ask? The explain that they were clean and polite, that they didn’t break or damage anything so why aren’t they getting glowing reviews?
Here’s the reason. Arguably, hosts are taking more of a risk when they decide to take a stranger into their home. In many cases, it is their own home containing their prized possessions, their pets and possibly even their kids. And hosts feel that they have a duty to fellow-hosts to describe their experiences with their guests accurately.
Hosts carefully read a guest’s reviews before they accept them so how can you, as a guest, make sure that you get great reviews?
START BEFORE YOU EVEN BOOK
A common complaint from hosts is that guests haven’t properly read the listing before they book. This is understandable, especially on the app because listings are long and that’s a lot of scrolling. It’s much easier to check that the location and the price are right, and that the host has several five star reviews so simply book.
But to avoid disappointment for both the guest and the host, be sure to read thoroughly. You don’t want to arrive and find to your surprise that you have to share a bathroom or that the place is nowhere near the metro or whatever. If you’re not satisfied, your host may realise and this may result in a less-than-perfect review.
THE HOUSE RULES
Every host has house rules. These are as many and varied as the listings themselves. Some will be very simple such as ‘please be respectful of our property’ whereas others may go into lengthy detail. Often the lengthy rules are due to the host’s experiences in the past so please abide by them. They are in the listing and most hosts will also have a copy in your room, suite or apartment.
CHECK OUT PROCEDURE
Similarly, hosts will have a check out procedure that they’d like you to follow. This may consist of minor chores such as taking out the trash, putting used towels in the laundry basket, washing dishes and so on. Just like the house rules, this will vary from host to host. To get a great review be sure to complete these tasks. Scroll down to see how to get bonus points from your host.
WHEN THE HOST REVIEWS YOU….
Many guests are not aware that the host awards them a star rating for their behaviour when they write the review. This is the first stage a host sees when writing your review:
As you can see, the host has 500 words with which to explain to other hosts about the pros and cons of having you stay. Then, we get to rate you on several factors:
Remember, you will not see this. This feedback is for Airbnb use only. Let’s take these factors separately.
- Cleanliness. This is very important to hosts. Many do not have a cleaning crew (to keep prices down for guests) and they prepare the rooms themselves. So if you have left mounds of dirty dishes, if you’ve stained towels with your hair dye or if you’ve left used condoms under the bed you are going to be marked way down
- Communication. Again, vital for hosts. If you’ve told your host that you’ll be arriving at 4 pm but keep them waiting up until midnight without letting them know, then you’re not a good communicator. Hosts understand only too well that travel delays happen and most hosts will wait up until midnight to greet you but do let them know. (And we make allowance for guests who don’t speak our language so don’t worry about that aspect)
- Observance of house rules. As explained above, most hosts have developed their rules based on previous guests. So if the rules say that you can’t smoke, then don’t, because you’ll be marked down for any transgression of the house rules
- Would you recommend these guests? This is the real killer. Thumbs up or thumbs down? Guests may not realise but some hosts have the system set that guests who are not recommended by other hosts (in other words, received the thumbs down) are automatically declined by the system.
The next screen we are taken to is, believe it on not, even worse for the guest.
Hosts are permitted to send private feedback to Airbnb. Guests won’t see this. Other hosts won’t see this, But Airbnb will. You can be blacklisted. No-one knows how many thumbs down have to be given before a guest is blacklisted – it’s likely to be a percentage – but if you want to continue using Airbnb, it’s not worth the risk.
Now some hosts are way more tolerant than others. Levels differ. For example, stay in our rental and if you don’t take the trash out or if you leave a few dishes in the sink then you’re going to get a great review if you were otherwise lovely.
GET BONUS POINTS
Here are a few ways to be a truly superb guest!
- If you break anything during your stay (hosts know that accidents happen) let your host know and apologise. No host is going to freak over a broken wine glass but we distrust guests who hide the damage. Be honest and upfront. You can even offer to pay for the damage as the likelihood is that the host will appreciate being told and say ‘hey, no problem’
- Similarly, we all know that accidental stains or marks on towels or sheets become set in if they aren’t treated. Let your host know and apologise – they’ll be grateful
- Be sure to leave before check out time. Hosts are often annoyed by guests who dawdle, especially as most hosts will have other guests coming in on the same day and need to prepare
- Turn off the AC or heating and make sure that no windows are open
- Be sure to comply with your host’s wishes regarding leaving the key as instructed and make sure that the place is secure
- Via the Airbnb message system, send your host a thank you message
- Leave a token of your appreciation. We don’t expect cash tips or gifts (although they are most welcome!) but a simple note saying that you’ve had a great time goes a long way
- Be sure to leave the toilet clean!
Finally, if you’ve had a good stay, please leave a five star review 🙂
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.