At the time of writing, despite hosts muttering about the problem for years, Airbnb asks its guests to rate the location of the accommodation they stayed in.
Hosts have, possibly understandably, been up in arms about this issue forever. Well, almost ever.
Let’s say you’re staying at a private, tropical island. An island all to yourselves. You can swim in the crystal clear waters, snorkel to the abundant reefs, make love on the beach, gaze at palm trees whilst sipping a frozen drink … all in all, I imagine you’d think that was a five star location, right?
Now let’s say you’re in the middle of Manchester. Or Birmingham. Or Stoke on Trent.
No snorkelling or clear waters here. The bloke behind the bar at the local pub might give you a funny look if you order a frozen drink. And I really wouldn’t recommend making love alfresco…
So what’s that? A one star location? No. You see, if you’re staying at Stoke on Trent because you’re attending an interview at a local business, or want to be near to the ceramics art gallery (rather good, actually) then being on a tropical island four thousand miles away just won’t do.
Now, we’re all sensible enough to know that the host can’t actually choose where they own their home (in fact, there may be one or two people living in Stoke on Trent who’d prefer a private island, you never know…) so does this location rating mean ‘was the location right for you?’
You see, hosts will tell you that guests rarely read listings thoroughly and that sometimes guests book places without realising the location. The guest who gives a poor rating for the room in Stoke on Trent because ‘it wasn’t near the railway station’ has only himself to blame.
So what’s the answer to the location star rating conundrum?
I really have no idea. If you are a guest, then please bear in mind that much as your host would like to move his terraced house from Stoke on Trent to a Belize private island, he can’t. So go on, give five stars and make your host’s day.
If you are a host, then I have two suggestions for you. Firstly, ignore it if you get a less-than-five-star rating. Most of the population realise there’s little you can do about it. Secondly, take a lesson from the Basil Fawlty School of Hospitality as seen in the video below.
For those who have hearing problems like Mrs. Richards, here’s a transcription of the ‘location’ part.
Mrs. Richards: When I pay for a view, I expect something more interesting than that.
Basil: That is Torquay, madam.
Mrs. Richards: Well it’s not good enough.
Basil: Well, may I ask what you were expecting to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window? Sydney Opera House, perhaps? The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically -?
Mrs. Richards: Don’t be silly. I expect to be able to see the sea.
Basil: You can see the sea, it’s over there between the land and the sky.
Mrs. Richards: I’d need a telescope to see that.
Basil: Well, may I suggest that you consider moving to a hotel closer to the sea? …or preferably in it.
Mrs Richards: Now listen to me. I am not satisfied, but I’ve decided to stay. However, I shall expect a reduction.
Basil: Why, because Krakatoa’s not erupting at the moment, or…?
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.