How do Airbnb reviews work?

Get to know the Airbnb rating system


Airbnb reviews are vital to your success as a vacation home owner. However, they can also be quite the mystery. Understanding how Airbnb reviews work—plus knowing how to increase, respond to, and learn from these reviews—is key to consistently filling your calendar and beating your competition.

Essentially, online reviews are a battleground for guests. The vacation rental that wins their trust, wins their booking. And since travelers trust other travelers, your reviews will prove if your vacation rental is worth the money.

You can’t command guests to leave a glowing review. But there are things you can control. Here’s what to know about Airbnb reviews and how to get the most out of them.

What’s included in an Airbnb review?

Reviews on Airbnb consist of a star rating and a written review (up to 1,000 words)—both are optional for guests and hosts to leave. After checking out, guests are asked to rate their stay (up to 5 stars) for:

  • Overall experience
  • Cleanliness
  • Accuracy of description
  • Value
  • Communication
  • Arrival
  • Location

Hosts need star ratings from at least 3 guests before their overall, aggregated score appears publicly.

How will my Airbnb reviews affect my property’s search rankings?

Airbnb uses a proprietary algorithm to rank properties in search results, but only the platform truly knows how it works. The Airbnb rating system factors in about 100 different criteria for

rankings, including reviews, star ratings, and the number of stays the homeowner has hosted.

While positive reviews help a vacation rental perform well in a search, a small number of negative ratings (or guests skipping reviews) won’t have a major impact on rankings, according to Airbnb.

Good Airbnb reviews and rankings can also help you:

  • Achieve Superhost status, which requires a host to be in good standing and maintain a 4.8 overall rating.

Become eligible for Airbnb Plus, a new designation for the highest-quality homes on the platform.

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How do I get more Airbnb reviews?

While Airbnb automatically asks departing guests to review their stay, you can take matters into your own hands. But don’t wait until guests have already checked out. You should be encouraging guests to leave a glowing review even before they book.

Here are expert tips for getting good reviews on Airbnb, based on the categories guests will use to rate your home:

  • Write your Airbnb listing accurately and truthfully. This ensures that you’re primarily attracting guests who love the bustling energy of your beachfront location, instead of travelers seeking peace and quiet.
  • Make sure your home is pristine before every check-in. This means hiring professional housekeepers and consistently following a vacation rental cleaning checklist.
  • Over-deliver desirable amenities. Want to cater to more families? Provide extras like playpens, easy-to-install baby gates, and non-breakable dinnerware. Cover the essentials first, then focus on going above and beyond.
  • Learn from your competition. This means booking and staying at similar vacation rentals in your area. Read their reviews and see what they’re doing right and wrong.
  • Plant the idea early in your communications. Check in with your guests and ask, “I want you to have a 5-star experience. How else can I provide that to you?”
  • Be direct and ask for a 5-star review. Guests are busy and may not remember to leave a review or understand what it means to you. Go ahead and ask for it.

How do I remove a review from my Airbnb listing?

Airbnb touts trust and transparency throughout the entire process. This means they won’t delete negative reviews because you’re simply unhappy with them. However, if a review is factually incorrect, vacation home owners can appeal to Airbnb and ask for the review to be taken down.

Airbnb will also delete reviews if a guest violates their content policy—such as including illegal or obscene content.

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How should I respond to a negative Airbnb review?

No matter how hard you try to create a perfect, memorable experience for your guests, you may still get a negative review on Airbnb. It may be disheartening, but you can bounce back. Airbnb gives you the opportunity to leave a public response to any guest review or send a private message to the guest.

Adrienne Digles, head of Vacasa’s reputation management team, knows how to best respond to a bad review on Airbnb. Her smart strategies include:

  • Don’t shoot off a quick reply. Mull over your response and think about how you can provide a solution to their complaint.
  • See every negative review as an opportunity to show future guests you’re a trustworthy Airbnb host who cares about their stay.
  • Write a reply specific to the situation, instead of copying and pasting the same general response.
  • Follow a consistent format: thank the guest for their feedback and address how you’ll improve.
  • Use gentle language and don’t be defensive.

Most importantly, Digles encourages vacation home owners to respond to every negative review. According to ReviewTrackers:

  • 53% of consumers expect businesses to respond to a negative review within a week.
  • 45% of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a business if it responds to negative reviews.

Should I leave reviews for Airbnb guests?

Airbnb reviews work as two-way feedback. Just as you rely on guests to leave reviews on your home, your guests also need reviews so they can continue to easily book on Airbnb.

If you had a problematic guest (they left behind a massive mess or tried to throw a party, for example), here’s the best way to handle it:

  1. Leave them a lower star rating
  2. Send them private feedback, instead of publicly expressing any problems

The idea is to keep any grievances or arguments offline. Even if a guest is at fault, seeing a host vent about a guest can be extremely off-putting to future guests.

A lot goes into the Airbnb review process. Understanding how Airbnb’s rating system works can help you get more good reviews, plus bounce back after receiving bad ones—leading to more bookings overall.

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Airbnb reviews FAQ

Airbnb allows guests and hosts to leave star ratings and written reviews for each other within 14 days after check-out. Neither guests nor hosts can see the other’s review until both have been submitted or until the 14-day review period has ended. This is so both parties can be as unbiased and impartial as possible.

Vacation rental reviews matter. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that your reviews have a massive influence on your success. They also matter to guests, who are looking for safe, quality places to stay. Travelers trust other travelers. Reviews can either deter travelers from booking your home or be the reason why they book. Even with beautiful photography, a well-written description, and a professionally decorated home—consistently bad reviews could negate all the positives and send guests looking elsewhere.

Yes, Airbnb hosts can rate guests. One of Airbnb’s values is to instill trust and transparency between both guests and hosts. Guests rely on good feedback so that other Airbnb hosts will accept them into their homes. Airbnb hosts have 14 days after check-out to leave a rating and review for their guests.

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Vacasa Seasonals Inc.
California DRE #02160171

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California DRE #01523013

Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa of Arkansas LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Micah Victory); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Illinois LLC 481.014072, Micah Victory Managing Broker Lic# 471.021837; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 602-330-9934; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Vicki Lyn Brown, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC,45 NH-25, Meredith, NH 03253, Susan Scanlon, Broker of Record; Vacasa Minnesota, Broker: Micah Victory, license #40877637; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Oregon LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Mark Graham, California DRE #00700720; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr. Ste. #2F17, Waikoloa, HI 96738; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M. Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.