For most online services and products, reviews can be a one-sided affair; customers hold influence over businesses, for better or worse. But since its start in 2008, Airbnb’s review process has been different: The guest (aka “customer”) and the host (aka “business”) both submit reviews, which means they can hold each other accountable for how good (or god-awful) an experience was. Infamous example: The orgy party from hell.
Now, home rental website Airbnb is tweaking how reviews are submitted in the hopes of generating more honest feedback for its 600,000+ listings worldwide.
Starting July 10, reviews from guests and hosts will be revealed simultaneously, and only when both parties have given their assessments of the trip. This way, guests and hosts aren’t guilted into posting something overly positive or seeking revenge by posting something overly critical. Airbnb is also shortening its review period to 14 days to get feedback while it’s fresh on everyone’s mind, as well as prompting guests to leave, in a private message, something they loved about their stay and something that needs improvement.
With guest and host reviews at the core of Airbnb’s business model, this shift toward more transparency couldn’t come at a better time for the company, as it positions itself for new initiatives to become a full-service hospitality brand.