Star Rating System

Sorry to bring this old chestnut up again but I am still not 100% clear on how we sitters get the final, single rating that eventually appears on our profile.

If I am correct the home host is asked to rate 1-5 stars on Five categories -


If the home host rates 4x5 and 1x4 is a ‘4’ published the sitters profile

If the home host rates 2x5, 2x4 and 1x1 is a ‘1’ published on the sitters profile? Etc…

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Is the category “Happy pets” something new? I looked at our past Reviews and the category is “Pet care” which we feel would be more accurate.

Sure the pets could be happy, but that could be due to the fact that they got fed more treats than they should have :shushing_face:or got to sit on furniture that was normally out of bounds :wink:

We also feel Clean should remain part of the category. People can be tidy, but there could be filth left everywhere (think Tidy bathroom vs Clean & Tidy) :woozy_face:

And I know I am preaching to the choir, but we really do feel a similar star rating system should apply to HOs as well.


Good point , I copied that list off a previous sitters screen shot and did not notice the couple of changes - (edited now)

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HI @Colin so that we can clear away this “old chestnut” for you, I’ve asked the Product team to take a look at your question, will update you when we can.


@PetSitterBug It’s “Happy Pets” and “Clean and Tidy” on the app but “Pet Care” and “Tidy” on the website - another difference between the two formats.


Hi @Colin sorry for the late response, I just wanted to double-check the logic.

We sum up the scores and divide by the number, we then round to the nearest half star. So for example if you got 5,5,5,5,4 it would be 24/5 = 4.8 → 5.0.

When we look at Reviews we are likely to make it simpler by having an overall rating and then a sub-category rating system. This would be for both Owner and Sitters. This is something we plan to look into later this year.

Thanks, Ben


Thanks @Ben-ProductManager

After having quite a lot of experience with Airbnb using this system my view is that the sub-categories are not necessary, cause confusion and bring numerous complaints regarding an otherwise excellent star rating system.
The problem is that everything to do with a sit/sitter can not be covered by the sub-categories so you will have the situation that all the sub categories will be given a ‘5’ - but the overall is given a ‘4’. The reason for this, as I said, is that there was something else not quite right but also not not covered in the sub-categories that made the host/sitter think that, although all the sub categories merited a ‘5’ - Overall, a ‘4’ seemed fair. -
This is a very regular complaint with Airbnb hosts so be prepared for the negativity to the system if you decide to go for this option!
A much better, and simpler system is to ask one question only " On the whole, how would you rate this sit/sitter " Then mark the stars for clarity - Awful/Bad/Ok/Good/Great.
Anyone marking less than 5 will most probably give their reasons in their review anyway, so the sub categories really are not necessary.


To add: I am a former Airbnb host (though in the relatively early days) and a long-term, regular user.

FWIW, I know we default to the Airbnb system in these discussions, but it is far from ideal. For starters, did you know that:

  • Guests have an overall rating that is hidden from them and they’re not permitted to know what it is? This, I find appalling.

  • Hosts can also tick “would not host again” without leaving a review.

  • Hosts can get negative reviews removed quite easily–e.g., if a guest includes anything Airbnb deems “irrelevant” (as simple as noting a lack of coffee shops in the area)-- the host can complain and have it removed. This is mostly a new issue, as customer service has gotten very, very bad. Airbnb cut a substantial portion of its regular workforce at the beginning of the pandemic, and have since outsourced customer service. Hosts and guest alike are complaining.

  • Airbnb hosts consider anything less than 5* a failing grade, because the hit they take due to a few lower reviews can be substantial.

  • Due to the above “grade inflation”, I don’t even look at Airbnbs rated below about 4.85, and then I read the reviews very carefully for hints dropped by previous guests–or an oddly low overall rating compared to the sub-category ratings (indicates when many guests have been uncomfortable leaving reviews–OR that the host has managed to get many negative ones removed).

Hi Katie - You have edited your original post that I was responding to so my apologies if anything in my reply is now not relevant to you revised post

I was an Airbnb host for many years am still an admin on one of the largest host forums in the Uk so continue to be really up to date with information/changes in T & Cs etc. The link you added is a Reddit Airbnb complaints thread? It is there for people to complain so it is no surprise that this is where you will find the complaints - Airbnb are the biggest accommodation providers in the world by far so it should not be difficult to find some guest and host complaints. I have no statistics, only my own experience to go on but for every one complaint there must be thousands of fantastic experiences. During my time as a host we hosted literally thousands of guests and can only think of two negative experiences off the top of my head.

I’m not sure where you have your information from, but please let me clarify a few things for you.

Just to begin, The Airbnb review system is not perfect and there will always be the minority of the public that will abuse review systems. I do think though, that it is by far the best review system currently being used by anyone. The blind publishing is it main bonus meaning that there is no or very few reasons for a host or guest not to be honest when leaving their review. Their is a mediation policy to remove any obviously untrue /racist/irrelevant/etc comments.

1 - It is true that hosts are asked if they would host these guests again. No other hosts ever get to see the responses of previous hosts. It is not clear what happens to guests accounts that have been marked ‘NO’ to this question and hosts ask me this many many times. What I do know for sure is that if a host says they would not host the guest again bizarrely it does not block that specific guest from requesting to book again. I have heard a theory that guests marked this way, for the future, can only request to book and are barred from using the ‘instant book’ function - I have no evidence to say whether or not this is true but in any case hosts only have the evidence of past host reviews to decide whether or not they want to host each request as it comes through.
I have never known a host to tick the 'won’t host again option without giving a very detailed description of why!

I am not sure why you think it is appalling that hosts can say that they would not host a specific guest again - trust me there will be a very good reason that they are saying that - The appalling thing is that future hosts are not warned that these guests have had this negative comment on their review!

2 - It does feel sometimes that Airbnb is getting more expensive and there are a few reasons for this including

  • some hosts employ management agencies to run their business - they obviously add their costs onto the price.
    -many top end ‘boutique’ hotels now advertise on Airbnb - these don’t come cheap!
    -many smaller platforms advertise on Airbnb so you will be paying commission twice
    -supply and demand - Last year was a record year for most UK holiday destinations because of the ‘staycation’ craze. Holiday accommodation in many areas has been 100% capacity all year and many hosts, rightly or wrongly, have cashed in on the soaring demand

I book at least one, usually 2 Airbnbs a month, There are still many great deals to be had, you just have to look a bit more closely than you used to.

The Airbnb commission to guests has not increased, in fact there is a new system being rolled out where Airbnb will charge a maximum 15% plus VAT

3 - It is notoriously difficult for both hosts and guests to have negative reviews removed. I have tried and failed a couple of times! There are guidelines that must be followed. A review stating that there is a lack of coffee shops in the area would only be removed if it was untrue. Many disgruntled guests false accusations can be proved simply by reading past reviews.

4- It is true that Airbnb aim for its hosts to get 5* reviews - When a guest do their review they are told that a 4* equates to ‘GOOD’ and a 5* equates to ‘GREAT’ . Almost all guests that have enjoyed their stay will mark ‘great’ Airbnb does not consider a 4* a failing grade, it considers continual 4*s a failing grade - thereis a very important difference. It is VERY RARE for a host to be de-listed because of failing grades and those that are, frankly deserve to be.

5- It is a good idea to take into account low ratings - That is what they are there for! - 4.85 is a tad harsh, I would go 4.7 and above. In my opinion there is no need to look for hints in a guest review, they tend to say exactly what they think.

6 - I have no idea why some guests choose not to review, Airbnb used to punish hosts that had a low review rate but they have now stopped this as hosts can not force guests to review. Some forget, some never review anything. My % usually hovers around 80% do and 20% don’t. I used to chase them up but I now don’t bother. A no review for a host is better than a 4 star.

7 - Although the rating system is worth noting, reading previous guest reviews is far more important - they will tell you what guests really think.