Navigate forward to access suggested results

    Improvements to guest reviews, house rules & cancellations

    We’re taking steps to help protect against parties and give you more control.
    By Catherine Powell on Oct. 20, 2020
    17 min video
    Updated Nov. 13, 2020


    • We’re revising the guest review process to make it feel more impartial, and highlighting your house rules to help set guest expectations

    • If you have valid reason to believe a reservation will lead to a party, you’ll be able to cancel it without contacting support

    Hi everyone,

    I’m Catherine, Airbnb’s Global Head of Hosting, and I’m back with my sixth Host Update.

    As we continue to gather feedback from hosts, we’ve made progress addressing many of your top issues over the past few months. If you missed my previous updates, you can find them here.

    In this week’s video, I wanted to share in-depth answers to some of the most frequent questions we’ve heard from you. If you don’t have time to watch, here’s a summary of the most recent actions we’re taking to address your concerns:

    Improving the guest review process

    In my last update, I mentioned that one way we measure quality is through star ratings. We know that you take these ratings seriously and we strive to continually improve our rating system to make it balanced and fair.

    In hearing your feedback from the Community Center, and in recent host workshops, we saw an opportunity to refine the questions that guests answer after a stay. We’ve rewritten the majority of the questions so they feel more impartial.

    For example, instead of asking guests if the description of a listing was inaccurate, we’ll be asking if it was accurate. It’s a subtle change, but one that can have big implications on how guests consider their answers.

    We want these changes to lead to more accurate guest reviews that you feel truly reflect the quality of your hospitality.

    Making your house rules more prominent

    Making sure that guests respect your home is an understable concern that we’ve heard from many hosts. In my last update, I shared five new additions to our guest reliability standards—and one of them is the expectation for guests to respect your house rules that comply with our terms and policies.

    We plan to do more to hold guests accountable for failing to respect your rules. The first step is to help ensure that guests both read and understand your house rules, so we’re making them more visible to guests.

    By next month, your house rules will be located in four different places when a guest books a stay:

    1. Key house rules—like not allowing smoking or pets—will appear at the top of your listing page.
    2. All the house rules you’ve listed, including important safety disclosures, will be visible in the details of your listing page, as they are today.
    3. House rules will be listed on the booking confirmation page to help ensure that guests understand and agree to them before reserving your place.
    4. Guests will receive your house rules again in the booking confirmation email to remind them of your expectations before they arrive.

    We designed these updates to help guests read and follow your house rules, and we’ll be monitoring these changes to study any impact they may have on your bookings.

    Note: All house rules must be in line with Airbnb’s policies and terms—including our terms of service and nondiscrimination policy. If you would like to add or edit your house rules, you can do so here.

    Helping protect you against parties

    You’ve asked how we're working to protect you from unauthorized parties. This is a top priority for all of us at Airbnb, so we’re launching four new initiatives and product features:

    1. Guests will be reminded that parties are not allowed in the booking confirmation email they receive before they arrive at your home.
    2. Single-night reservations of entire homes in the U.S. and Canada won’t be allowed over Halloween weekend this year, and we’ll be reimbursing hosts for any canceled reservations. Learn more
    3. Soon, we’ll share alerts in your inbox if we proactively cancel or deter reservations that may have led to a party, based on previous guest reviews that mention parties and other criteria. We know it can be frustrating when reservations are canceled unexpectedly, so we want to give you more context going forward.
    4. Starting in November 2020 for those who use Instant Book, we will begin developing and testing a new feature that will highlight reservations that could potentially lead to a party—such as a reservation from a new guest trying to book an entire home listing for one night nearby—and allow you to manually approve them as you would with reservation requests.

    These are all part of our commitment to help prevent safety issues within our community, and we hope they will result in a better experience for you as a host.

    Enabling easy cancellations in case of potential parties

    We’ve also had hosts ask what to do if they have reason to believe a reservation may lead to a party, but don’t want to be penalized for canceling the reservation. By the end of this month, we’ll allow you to cancel a reservation under those circumstances—without financial penalties or contacting support.

    • You’ll be able to immediately cancel a reservation that you have valid reason to believe will lead to a party, based on message threads or previous guest reviews that mention parties.
    • As long as your reason is upheld by our review team, you won’t receive financial penalties or have your Superhost status affected.
    • When our team reviews a cancellation, they’ll search for evidence of a potential party from message threads or previous guest reviews.
    • These cancellations must follow our nondiscrimination policy, and we’ll carefully monitor them for unfair treatment based on race, color, national origin, age, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, familial status, and other types of discrimination—or any other abuse of the feature overall.
    We want you to feel empowered to stop a potential party before it starts.

    Partnering with hosts

    We understand it’s important to attract guests who will treat you and your space with respect. To that end, we also have many other protections in place already, including Airbnb’s Host Guarantee, community standards, and a number of other features. Read the full details here.

    I’m committed to earning the right to be called your partner, which means truly listening to your feedback. This will take time and requires action—and I hope you feel we’re making progress.

    Please continue sharing your ideas, and we’ll continue to make improvements. Stay tuned for an important letter from our CEO, Brian Chesky, in the next week. In the meantime, as always, you can find me on the Community Center: @Catherine-Powell.

    Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.


    • We’re revising the guest review process to make it feel more impartial, and highlighting your house rules to help set guest expectations

    • If you have valid reason to believe a reservation will lead to a party, you’ll be able to cancel it without contacting support

    Catherine Powell
    Oct. 20, 2020
    Was this helpful?