I recently stayed in an Airbnb in New York City. It was a pretty decent place to stay – aside from the giant signs right outside telling me that it was illegal to rent on Airbnb in the city.
But after I checked out, I got a message from the host that made me extremely uncomfortable.
It more or less said something along the lines of this: “I’m trying to build up my 5-star ratings, so could you please give me a 5-star review? If you do, I’ll credit you back $15 from your trip.”
Now, at first glance, this didn’t seem so bad. But then I started thinking about it a little more. This, I realized, was nothing short of a bribe. Sure, it was worded nicely and I had the option to refuse it, but it was a bribe nonetheless.
I started to do a little digging, and soon found Airbnb’s anti-extortion policy.
The host’s actions had been in direct violation of it.
Let me be clear about something here. There is nothing wrong with reminding a guest to leave a review for you after they check out. Reviews are very important to hosts on the Airbnb platform, and it makes sense that they would want to build up their review base.
HOWEVER, there IS something wrong with bribing the guest to leave you a good review.
Don’t ever do it. Many guests may not saying anything, but you’re being dishonest regardless, and eventually you will host someone who decides to report you to Airbnb. It won’t go well for you as a host when that happens.
Don’t take the risk! Put in the work to host the right way, and you’ll get plenty of 5-star reviews without having to bribe anyone to give them to you.