As you know, Airbnb is a service that is run on trust. The guest trusts that the host will provide them with pleasant accommodation and the host, in turn, trusts that his or her guest will be respectful of their property and possessions. With this in mind, both the host and the guest can publicly review their experience on the Airbnb site.
Airbnb, and services like it, operate on a peer-to-peer basis, meaning that everyone – guests and hosts alike – ensure that the service remains useful for everyone. This is why your review counts.
EVERYONE READS REVIEWS
Hosts often complain that guests don’t real the full listing about their accommodation. But we do know that guests read reviews. And when a host is deciding whether they want to accommodate a guest who has sent an inquiry, they find out more about that guest by reading the reviews they’ve received.
This means that it’s important for both guests and hosts to try their best to ensure that they are reviewed well by their peers.
THE DOUBLE-BLIND REVIEW SYSTEM
When you have stayed in Airbnb accommodation, you’re encouraged to write a review. Your host is also asked to review you and you both have fourteen days from checkout in which to write about your experience.
The double-blind system means that if you don’t write a review then your guest or host will not see you review until the end of that fourteen day time period. However, if you both write your reviews within that time, then both reviews will become public.
In summary, you won’t see what the other person has written until a) you also write a review or b) the fourteen day time limit expires. This means that reviews are (or should be) based on honesty, rather than as a response to the other person’s remarks.
This is a fair system and helps to match the guest with the host. So I would urge both hosts and guests to leave reviews whenever possible. Remember, that reviews – according to Airbnb’s official guidelines – should stick to the facts. In other words, any comments about the subjects that we are told to steer away from at dinner parties (religion, politics, sexual orientation etc.) mean that your review might not be published. It’s just a matter of common sense.
Both hosts and guests are able to leave star ratings for various categories. Note that at time of writing, these are visible on the site for hosts but not for guests. Star ratings range from 1 to 5; one-star meaning that your experience was totally horrendous and five-star meaning that everything was great.
At the moment, guests are rated on:
- Cleanliness – did they keep the accommodation clean? Airbnb recommends to guests that they leave the place as they found it
- Communication – this includes pre-arrival communications which shows the importance of letting your host know your time of arrival with as much accuracy as possible
- House rules – most hosts have house rules that are shown in their listing and often repeated in a house manual. Guests are expected to abide by these
Hosts are rated on:
- Accuracy – was the accommodation accurately described on the Airbnb website? If amenities were promised yet not supplied, for example, this is a reason to deduct a star
- Value – did the place represent good value for money? Most hosts price their accommodation competitively so almost invariably receive five stars
- Cleanliness – obviously if sheets weren’t clean or the bathtub was disgusting, stars should be deducted. However, bear in mind that this not not mean five-star hotel-style sanitisation of everything – just a good standard of home cleanliness
- Arrival – here, Airbnb wants to know about any problems you might have had checking in. Did the automatic lock not work? Did the host keep you waiting for hours despite having an agreed meeting time? Did the host not give you clear check in instructions?
Then there is the notorious….
Unlike hoteliers, Airbnb hosts aim for five star reviews. Many hosts find that they are given fewer than five stars because of the location of their home or rental. Bear in mind when you’re choosing the star rating for location that hosts can’t drag their properties nearer the ocean or closer to the mountains 🙂
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.