Prattle & Jaw

Copy, blogs, and bits and bobs

My Gripe with Airbnb

UPDATE: Got a reply. It's at the bottom.

I recently returned from a trip to San Francisco and had an unpleasant experience with my host. Well, hot him, but his flat. I won't go into details, suffice to say that it was nothing like it looked in the photos. Nothing. And it smelt. 

I was unable to leave a review until I arrived back home in Copenhagen, and presumed that the reason I hadn't seen one from him was because our reviews were kept private by Airbnb until both parties had written them, thereby eliminating any bias from a possible negative review. I wrote my rather negative and honest review, but still couldn't see a review from him. I contacted Airbnb just to make sure that my presumptions about their system were correct, but alas, they weren't. 

Firstly, on Twitter, I was directed to their FAQs which drives me mad. Answer my question. Don't just do what your website does.

Secondly, more frustratingly, the don't keep reviews private. Here's the reply I got.

Hello Lara,

Thanks for your question. I'm sorry your experience wasn't great and definitely encourage honesty in your review.

The host sees it before reviewing you if you write it first. The host may write a review first that you would see. It's all dependent on whom writes and submits earlier.

We do require reviews stick to the facts (for host as well).

When creating a review, we ask that you stick to the facts. The best reviews provide constructive information that helps the community make better decisions and is educational for the host or guest in question. We strongly discourage personal insults, opinion that’s not backed up by examples, or generally unsociable behavior.

Our community is built on trust, and trust comes from honest conversation. Therefore, we ask for reviews that are truthful, clear, and helpful to both the review’s recipient and the wider Airbnb community.

If your host responded with anything outside our review guidelines, we would ask him to amend it or remove it.

See our FAQ for more information about the review process: www.airbnb.com/help/question/13

Best regards

I can't for the life of me figure out why they don't keep the reviews private. What is the benefit? Surely it would be far more fair and honest if reviews were written without any influence at all? 

What could possibly be the benefit of doing it the way they are? If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears, but until then, I'm extremely disappointed, and won't be doing my reviewing until I've read the other.

UPDATE

Got this back on Twitter. I understand their standpoint, but do feel that there must be a way of working around both issues. I'll give it some thought. If I remember.

Copyright © 2014, Lara Mulady. All rights reserved.