Monday, May 13, 2024

Five Stars

 Ever noticed how the very worst overall rating anyone ever has on a rideshare app or a short-term rental app is about a 4.2? Getting four stars out of five is some sin against a person's character. It's all complete nonsense, but it's what the gig economy has become.

As Keya pointed out as I complained about this recently, the idea started to enter the zeitgeist and/or our collective consciousness as we had to rate customer service and unless a server/phone rep/whatever got 9 or 10 out of 10, they were likely disciplined up to and including termination. Yet (at least in my childhood) an 80% was a B, which was a pretty danged good grade. 

Our front row seat for this is now thanks to AirBNB and our cabin outside of Grand Lake, Colorado. While most guests have been great, a couple five-star ratings come to mind:

  • A guest who dismantled a bed and knocked a closet door off the track. Despite writing "...would be hesitant to recommend her" in the review, we still gave her five stars.
  • Another recent guest who had one of the people that stayed with him PEE IN THE BED (A full grown adult) and make no effort to clean it up (On top of other notes that it was much messier than most AirBNB guests) also received a five-star review.
Some of it is borderline extortion. A fear that if we don't review them five-star, they will give us a bad review. The same seems to hold true for the rideshare apps. 

This is where I'm sure people are going JUST RATE WHAT YOU WANT. IT'S YOUR PLACE. Well, we leave all of the renting stuff up to our property manager who does a FANTASTIC job and has a business to run. She has much more experience than we do. 

It has, however, been the norm for quite awhile. Listing after listing on AirBNB has 4.5+ stars. Many we have stayed in have a series of issues that would not be tolerated in a two-star hotel, but it's a 4.8-star AirBNB.

Thanks to this and excellent photography, it's nearly impossible to tell if you're going to get a comfortable place to spend a vacation, or a place that's in the midst of a remodel, or was clearly "updated" by a owner fluent in YouTube and HGTV.

Overall, this has played a role in our family's decision to return to hotels and leave short-term rentals behind. There are a couple hotel brands whose rooms feature small kitchens, but none of the frustrations of AirBNB and VRBO, plus the prices are mostly comparable (And many serve free breakfast!).

I wish I could send a memo to every company, every leader, who is requiring a 9 or 10 from those unsolicited surveys you get after every customer service call. Look, your representative may do a perfect job, and get the irrational "Karen" that just can never be satisfied, is having a bad day, or was looking to start a fight.

I wish I had some grand solution, but there isn't one. We're getting out of the AirBNB game as hosts and will do it much less often, if ever, as guests since for our family, hotels like Embassy Suites and Homewood are cheaper and offer perks. Really, it's my blog and I can vent if I want. 😁

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