Making reviews more fair for hosts
Many of you have asked us how Airbnb can protect hosts from one-off bad reviews. When this question came up at the most recent Host Q&A, we told you we were working on ways to make the review process more fair for hosts. Specifically, we made two promises:
- We committed to launching a tool to detect outlier reviews—or one-off bad reviews. A common example is when there’s a discrepancy between the overall rating and the category ratings provided by a guest (when a guest gives a host 5 stars for cleanliness, accuracy, and the other categories but a 2-star rating overall, for instance).
- Based on your feedback, we also committed to exploring ways to help guests better understand that the location category rating is meant to be objective. The location category rating doesn’t impact your overall rating (or Superhost status), but we know it’s important to you, and we want to make sure the whole system is as fair as possible.
Today, we’re excited to announce two improvements to the review process that directly address these issues. Since these changes have been introduced, we’ve already noticed a tangible uptick in more accurate, fair reviews for hosts, and we hope they solve some of your pain points. Here’s what’s new:
One-off review alerts
We’ve added a step to the review process for guests when they give a host an inconsistent overall rating. For instance, the guest may have given 4-star or higher ratings for all the categories (cleanliness, accuracy, etc.), but then give an overall rating of less than 3 stars.
The new pop-up screen asks guests: “Is this right?” And goes on to explain that they rated their overall stay lower than they rated it in specific categories. It gives guests an option to either change the rating or ignore the alert.
This new alert has led to higher overall review ratings for hosts. Since we launched, we’ve seen a 2.8% drop in 3-star reviews and a 3.9% drop in 2-star reviews. While these percentages may seem small, they’re driving real improvements in the accuracy of our review system, and hosts are benefiting.
Location, location, location
We’ve heard from you that the location rating can be particularly frustrating because some of you have experienced guests dinging you in this category, unexpectedly, after great stays. This category is tricky. It gives valuable information to prospective travelers, which we don’t want to lose. At the same time, we hear your concern that you’re being graded for something you can’t control: guests’ opinion of your location. This opinion is inherently subjective—one person’s “rustic rural retreat” may be another’s “too far from public transportation.” So we made it more clear in the review process that guests are rating the accuracy of your location description, rather than the location itself.
Now, when a guest goes to rate you in the location category, if they give you less than 3 stars, they see an explanation: “Was the listing’s location not described accurately?” So far, this has led to a 0.8% increase in the average rating for location.
While we were working on this, we also made similar improvements to the value category. If a guest gives you less than 3 stars there, they’ll see this message: “What would have made this listing a better value?” This has led to a 0.25% increase in the average rating for value.
These changes were designed to begin to address your concerns around unfair reviews, and to help make sure that guests understand what ratings mean. We still have a journey ahead of us to keep making the review system better, and you’ll continue to see updates from us on this throughout the year. Thank you for hosting!
Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.
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