Are Airbnb reviews reliable?

Old Feb 22, 19, 4:23 pm
  #31  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 46
Hate how airbnb review system works!
I have recently booked an airbnb house for a group of eight for our business trip, first time being the one that books.
At very early communications I started to sense the difference between copy/pasted messages (long and friendly) and hand-written ones (short and somewhat impatient and just unclear and grammatically ill - the moment I saw "your welcome" I knew it wasn't going to end well!!). I asked about the bedroom/bathroom layouts for sleeping arrangements (we had boys and girls). The host did respond promptly but we later found out the information did not match the property - the host talked about the bedrooms in first and second floors, but the real house is one-storey. This is one of many hints that this is not a "real" airbnb but a managed property.
The door to the laundry room was broken but we did not care and did not report (we certainly should have!). After check out the host asked about the broken door (short hand-written message), and I explained it was broken when we got there and we just didn't care. The host replied and thanked me for the information in broken sentences I still haven't quite worked out the full meaning which gave me an impression that this issue just passed. After the mutually warm and amicable reviews were exchanged, the second day airbnb sent me the host's request of $100 additional payment to fix the door. I just felt backstabbed! The host wrote in the claim that an "in tac" door was left broken and we NEVER came back to her inquiry about it. I replied strong-wordedly that we clearly and promptly answered her question, the door was not *intact, and would not pay for anything that is not our responsibility but an existing condition. I also took screenshots and saved all our communications in case I needed to show that 1. We DID come back and answered her questions. 2. the host gave us false information of the house.
There is no development after some months and I think it has just passed. I just deeply dislike how the review system works in a way that everyone is friendly on the website surface but things are wildly different under the cover.
Agosti is offline  
Old Feb 27, 19, 1:31 pm
  #32  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: HPN
Programs: not anymore! I'm FREE!
Posts: 3,198
Originally Posted by dr freeze View Post
Hosts should have more exposure if they cancel. Reasons for cancelation should be relayed to guests. Finally, when a host cancels like this, there should be the opportunity to review them so that the rest of the community may be aware of the particular host's proclivities.
If a host cancels, a notification that it happens is placed in the reviews section. So if a host makes a habit of it, potential guests can see it in the record.

I once had an AirBnB reservation, and the host contacted me a day before to say that there was a sudden leak and the place was uninhabitable. He arranged a room for us in a decent nearby hotel at no extra charge (the room cost a bit more than the AirBnB rental). I think he did that to avoid the "host canceled" notification.


Originally Posted by Agosti View Post
I just deeply dislike how the review system works in a way that everyone is friendly on the website surface but things are wildly different under the cover.
Well, I've rented a bunch of AirBnBs, and to be honest I've encountered nothing but honest and friendly hosts. I'm not sure why you're complaining about the review system: it could in fact be the case that no previous guest actually had a problem with this host. After you post your negative review, that will help to clue potential guests in to a possible problem - precisely what reviews are supposed to do.
snic is offline  
Old May 1, 19, 3:38 pm
  #33  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 5
For me, it's legit.

You have to book to be able to leave a review.

I've hosted dozens of bookings myself and never had any issues.

I get 5 stars pretty much every time, it's really the guests that fluctuate.
travelbufftim is offline  
Old Nov 20, 19, 9:07 pm
  #34  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 16,360
Originally Posted by pnt1 View Post
10000% skepitcal of airbnb reviews.

Even myself, I only give 5 stars or no reviews. Unless something terrible happens, in which case I give a 1 star.
I believe this is typical behavior of guests, and is why many experienced travellers (including myself) use airbnb as their last option for booking accommodations.

It's actually funny to read hotel reviews, where guests complain about EVERYTHING, and then read airbnb reviews, where guests complain about NOTHING. While both systems are a bit weird, at least the hotel reviews are "real," and you can choose to filter out the negative reviews which seem petty or not deal-breaking. The problem with the airbnb system is that there is virtually no constructive criticism. Your best shot is to look for code words: like a "cozy space" is actually a " very small room."

Because there is no criticism, I'm left with picking only 5-star properties when I need one and, if I have the time, pouring over the photos and reviews for clues as to what I'm really getting. This way, I've avoided terrible properties, but it's still difficult to pick out the gems from the "only OK" listings. For this reason, I prefer booking rooms at smaller properties on booking.com over airbnb, as booking.com customers are far more critical in their comments and give me a better idea of what I'm getting into.

I do think that airbnb knows this is a problem with their review system, but I doubt they have a solution. It's very hard to change a system where all their listings look like great choices. But they need to, as they will lose repeat customers like myself, who know enough to not trust their reviews and who therefore prefer to book though other, more reliable channels .
iahphx is offline  
Old Nov 23, 19, 9:25 am
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: London & Sonoma CA
Programs: UA 1K(until 2022), MM *G for life, Hertz PC, BAEC Silver
Posts: 8,579
Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
I believe this is typical behavior of guests, and is why many experienced travellers (including myself) use airbnb as their last option for booking accommodations.

It's actually funny to read hotel reviews, where guests complain about EVERYTHING, and then read airbnb reviews, where guests complain about NOTHING. While both systems are a bit weird, at least the hotel reviews are "real," and you can choose to filter out the negative reviews which seem petty or not deal-breaking. The problem with the airbnb system is that there is virtually no constructive criticism. Your best shot is to look for code words: like a "cozy space" is actually a " very small room."

Because there is no criticism, I'm left with picking only 5-star properties when I need one and, if I have the time, pouring over the photos and reviews for clues as to what I'm really getting. This way, I've avoided terrible properties, but it's still difficult to pick out the gems from the "only OK" listings. For this reason, I prefer booking rooms at smaller properties on booking.com over airbnb, as booking.com customers are far more critical in their comments and give me a better idea of what I'm getting into.

I do think that airbnb knows this is a problem with their review system, but I doubt they have a solution. It's very hard to change a system where all their listings look like great choices. But they need to, as they will lose repeat customers like myself, who know enough to not trust their reviews and who therefore prefer to book though other, more reliable channels .
As an AirBnB host and renter, I agree completely with what you are saying. When I rent, I invest a significant amount of time for wading through endless mediocre properties. I do rent quite often in the USA and I've discovered that the thing to look for is photos of the bathrooms. These are usually very old-fashioned and unsatisfactory, but occasionally you find a property with an acceptable or even decent one. 95% of properties can be eliminated this way. Only once I've looked at that do I look at the reviews, but they really don't say much.

As a Host, I find the system absurd. To stand out, you have to be a SuperHost, and, to achieve that, you need nearly all your reviews to be 5 stars. This leaves you open to blackmail from unscrupulous guests who threaten (usually immediately on arrival) to give you a one star review if you don't give them a discount. AirBnB knows this is a problem but does little to discourage it. I find that the VRBO system, whilst having some of these failings, seems to offer better properties and doesn't have as many failings. For my own property, because of all the issues with AirBnB, I now charge more for AirBnB rentals than VRBO. Sadly, though, AirBnB dominates the market and so you can't just ignore it.
lhrsfo is offline  
Old Nov 23, 19, 10:14 am
  #36  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: MSY
Programs: BA GfL
Posts: 5,429
Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
As a Host, I find the system absurd. To stand out, you have to be a SuperHost, and, to achieve that, you need nearly all your reviews to be 5 stars. This leaves you open to blackmail from unscrupulous guests who threaten (usually immediately on arrival) to give you a one star review if you don't give them a discount.
Wow, I hosted for 6 years (Superhost the entire time that the designation existed) and never once had this happen.
travelmad478 is offline  
Old Nov 28, 19, 8:54 am
  #37  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 16,360
Originally Posted by travelmad478 View Post
Wow, I hosted for 6 years (Superhost the entire time that the designation existed) and never once had this happen.
Yeah, I know there are bad people in the world, but I would think such a blackmail attempt would be rare. Indeed, the major problem with airbnb -- as I've said before -- is that it's "too personalized." People form a human connection with their host and feel bad about leaving any criticism, even constructive criticism. Kind of like if someone invited you over for dinner, the food sucked, but you still told them it was great. So everything on airbnb sounds wonderful when it isn't. This is understandable given human nature. In contrast, it takes a really horrible person to stay "in your home" and then blackmail you for a discount.
iahphx is offline  
Old Nov 29, 19, 7:50 am
  #38  
stc
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Newton Centre, MA, USA
Programs: DL 2MM Gold, AA Plat Pro; Hilton Lifetime Diamond, Bonvoy Lifetime Titanium (via SPG), IHG Plat
Posts: 2,164
Clearly they are not reliable, but then again neither is Airbnb IMNSHO. So, what do you expect?
stc is offline  
Old Dec 19, 19, 9:15 am
  #39  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Jupiter, FL
Programs: DL PM, Starwood Plat, Marriott Lifetime Plat, Hilton Silver
Posts: 18,923
I always say that they have to be read like a real estate ad.
Lively = Noisy
Cozy = Tiny
etc.

You can't leave a bad review, as it would potentially lead to you being rejected for subsequent rentals.
pbiflyer is offline  
Old Feb 7, 20, 12:40 am
  #40  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Here today gone tomorrow
Programs: *G, ow Saph
Posts: 2,865
Standard on this is very different between a "whole property" and a "room" as mentioned above. In whole property, whether it's somebody's second property or a professional manager, you really don't have much interaction with the owner/manager. So there's no personal/reputation incentive around the review process.

My biggest gripe with Airbnb has been the amount of work required to sift through the reviews--and yes, negative reviews are far more revealing than positive ones. I take much the same approach that I do with unknown hotels: read for whether the negative reviewer is crazy and unrealistic, or if there are issues I care about (complaining a budget hotel room in HK is unexpectedly tiny when you've never left the US before, or that the hot/cold taps in an English room are separated rather than combined doesn't get a lot of sympathy from me, for instance, whereas bedbugs is a pretty clear and obvious one).

For business travel, I don't have the time or energy for it, and for leisure travel it only makes sense when I'm looking to base myself somewhere a bit different (like a condo with a kitchen) or where hotel prices are insane. The last few times this has happened, the reservations have been mucked up somehow, either by the host cancelling at the last minute, or my favorite, by Airbnb cancelling due to "suspected host fraud" when I was literally on the way to the destination city.
On that one, amazingly, they not only refunded my money but paid me the difference between that reserved listing and the more expensive hotel I ended up having to book at the last minute. I admit that was impressive CS recovery.
MKE-MR is offline  
Old Mar 16, 20, 5:09 am
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: London & Sonoma CA
Programs: UA 1K(until 2022), MM *G for life, Hertz PC, BAEC Silver
Posts: 8,579
Speaking as a host, I find the review process is a complete scam. I've been hosting a single vacation rental property now for about 5 years. On the whole, guests are delighted. Occasionally there are little niggles and I always am generous with compensation when we can't put it right (one of the two dishwashers broken and waiting for a spare, for example). About once a year I get a renter who basically blackmails me for a good review - give me half my money back or I'll give you a one star review type approach. It's then a question of judgement - do I pay the blackmail and preserve the reviews, or do I just accept the bad review, and leave a reciprocal one for the guest? I've played it both ways, but the deck is stacked in favour of the guest, as they can easily just change email accounts and set up a new profile, something not available to the host.

Also, bear in mind that hosts are penalised by AirBnB if they don't get a very high percentage of 5* reviews, so the pressure is on to pay the blackmail.

Broadly, AirBnB does policies which are designed to further their quasi-monopoly position - they are very unfriendly to hosts and increasingly unfriendly to guests. As a result, I now charge more on AirBnB than I do on better platforms - but amazingly still get more rentals through AirBnB.
lhrsfo is offline  
Old Jul 25, 20, 7:33 pm
  #42  
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: SFO/SJC/OAK
Programs: OZ Diamond (*G), Hilton Diamond
Posts: 1,164
Airbnb review are like Uber. I won't even consider staying in anything under 4.5* because people overrate them like crazy. The way the review process works most guests find it difficult to leave anything less than 4* or 5*. I see a 4* on Airbnb = 3* on Tripadvisor for a hotel.

Make sure you read exactly what the Airbnb reviews say. I find that the words are far more important than the number. Even a 4* or 5* review might mention an important criticism, and if you start seeing the same criticism even in good reviews immediately steer clear.
rickg523 likes this.
zeer0 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: