Airbnb just quietly rolled out a new feature, and it could be a game-changer. If you're a traveler who uses the platform, you're gonna wanna know about this.
For years, hosts like me have assigned star ratings to guests in three categories: cleanliness, communication, and observance of house rules; this is in addition to their overall rating, and of course the review itself. But those star ratings weren't public — until now.
Hosts who allow instant bookings (Airbnb's favorite toy, although not beloved by many hosts) now have access to the star ratings of our booked guests. At least, I can confirm that I do, as of last night, and I'm seeing other hosts sit up and take note, too.
So, why is this such a big deal? you might ask.
While hosts live in mortal dread of a bad review or anything less than a five-star rating, guests could practically slaughter a pig in the kitchen for dinner with impunity because of this fact: Hosts don't like to leave bad reviews because it could deter future guests from booking with them.
Instead, we agonize over every word of a review meant to warn future hosts about a bad experience without coming off like a meanie to future guests. Then we ding the troublemaker in the star ratings, which, until now never saw light of day.
But the truth is in the stars. Anything less than a five on house rules or cleanliness is going to be a huge red flag. These people are coming into our homes and sleeping in our beds.
So heads up, readers.
We know you all are the kind of guests hosts dream of — clean, friendly, all-around nice people — and really, most folks are. Knock on wood, I have had 99 percent amazing people come through our current home.
But for the small percentage who take advantage of the lopsided rating system, who break lamps and hide them in the closet, who trash the kitchen, who throw paper towels in toilets of hundred-year-old homes, who break record players, who somehow manage to break the doorknob and leave it lying on the floor and don't tell us, who smoke in the house, who leave their garbage strewn about, well, your get-out-of-jail-free card is gone. We're all playing by the same rules now, and I for one can breathe a little easier.