AirBnB Has Discovered a Way to Make Online Reviewers Nicer


No, it’s not by showing them vaguely sexual line drawings, but that’s surely gotten a smile out of at least a few travelers.

A new research paper comparing more than 600,000 AirBnB and TripAdvisor listings found that properties on the former had mostly 4.5 and 5 star ratings while comparable properties on the latter hovered around an average of 3.8. Are AirBnB accommodations really that much better than traditional hotels? Probably not.

Airbnb has a two-way review system, where people renting these accommodations also get ratings from the property renters, thus there is more incentive on both sides to stay civil, and hence positive. {Skift}

Some listings appeared on both sites, but whether it’s the more personal nature of listings that AirBnB tries to play up or the fact that AirBnB hosts can review guests, the exact same properties were consistently rated lower on TripAdvisor.

AirBnB’s horror stories have been well documented, yet whether it’s a drug addict, sex party host or squatter who just won’t leave, they’ve all been jaw dropping stories about rogue renters. Surely that doesn’t mean there are no shady slumlords renting properties, but the better publicized experiences around insane guests tipped AirBnB’s policies towards hosts fairly early on. From million dollar insurance liability policies and lobbying efforts to establish the legality of their business model (which is currently illegal for some hosts using the platform), it’s clear that happy hosts are the priority.

While hotels and other travel providers can respond to negative reviews on TripAdvisor, the less than stellar guest will never face a bad review following them the internet, even if one might be deserved.

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