How to Decode an Airbnb Review

The average Airbnb rating is a whopping 4.7 do-you-want-5-starsout of 5 stars, according to a recent study by Georgios Zervas, an assistant professor of marketing at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. That’s a surprisingly high number when compared to hotel reviews on TripAdvisor, where the average rating is only 3.9 out of 5 stars for hotels with more than 100 reviews, a Cornell survey found.

Zervas suspects there’s a psychological component at play. “People might feel bad leaving a negative review because they know that many hosts are using Airbnb to supplement their income and help support their family,” says Zervas.

Some Airbnb customers might also be hesitant to write a negative review because they fear repercussions. “Hosts also review guests, and future hosts can see every review you leave,” says Emily McNutt, an editor at ThePointsGuy.com. Translation: “if you write a scathing review, a future host might be less inclined to let you stay at their place,” McNutt says.

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