Grading Vacation Rentals on the Curve
By Wm. May
Published: 10/01/16 Topics: AirBnB, Vacation Rental Association, Vacation Rentals Comments: -
A long time AirBnB host with multiple properties all with 4.5 or higher average ratings, recently complained that he received an online warning from AirBnB that his listings might be delisted if the average goes below a grade of 4.
Research has showed that average ratings on AirBnB are a full one start higher than the number of stars for homes on HomeAway.com.
Could this mean that only the better homes are listed on AirBnB? A random view of homes in most areas show even a wider variety of rentals than on other vacation rental listing sites.
Another factor is that AirBnB lists individual rooms or guest suites within a home, and these are uncommon on HomeAway websites. A constant reading of AirBnB forums such as AirHostsForum.com, reveals that the horror stories of in-house rentals can be even more rancorous with hosts and guests often very unhappy with each other.
There are rooms that stink, and guests that are stinkers. There are places that would make most guests gag - a trailer in someone's back yard? A Tee Pee with no bathroom handy? A sleeping bag under a tree?
In most U.S. High Schools, teachers often grade students on what is called "The Curve." This is a philosophy that posits not all students perform the same. Some study diligently, some do not. Some have greater native intelligence and some do not. Therefore, the grades within a given set of students should be spread often in a graph looking something like this.
A = 10%
B = 20%
C = 50%
D = 20%
F = 10%
** The actual percentages can vary by teacher, but the generate proportions are similar.
Most teachers never understand that a usual class size of 20 to 30 students is not a wide enough sample to allow the curve to be valid within that class. But the concept does seem to applicable to other matrixes.
50% of hotels are adequate (and not luxury)
50% of drives obey the speed limit
50% of employees do adequate work.
50% of diners leave an appropriate tip.
Most teachers also never admit that the success of students is greatly dependent on the teacher. Some instructors explain things very well, some offer extra help, some are expert motivators. But we have all had teachers who were lazy, rude, or bad communicators.
So how come, AirBnB seems to think that 100% of its guests must get a grade of A or A minus?
If their goal is to drive up quality and guest relations, that is a wonderful idea. But if their goal is a scaling system on which guests can determine the quality of a home, then they have it all wrong.
More likely, AirBnB's warnings to the hosts of homes is intended to fool guests into thinking that every home is a luxury place, every destinations is truly unique and bookings on AirBnB will insure a perfect vacation. And all of that is simply to increase bookings and line AirBnB's pockets.
Any intelligent person knows that it can rain at the beach, be crappy snow at a ski resort and that a home may not be as big as you dreamed even if you got a bargain price. A better solution would be to truly rate homes with an overall system that better informs guests of the variety of homes, quality, location, size and other factors.
And that would result in homes being graded on the curve.
Author: Wm. May, Vacation Rental Association
Blog #: 0511 – 10/01/16