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Guest Review System (updates)

Dear partners,

Thank you again for all your comments and feedback on the new Guest Review System (GRS). You have once again amazed us with how quickly this community has grown into a channel through we which we can gain constructive product feedback. 

Any new review system can lead to a lot of questions and confusion. And that’s why we carefully read all the comments you post in the community. We would like to explain you more about several key points of the new review system.

A score gives you an idea of the guests’ experience

A score is a way guests share their feedback with other guests and partners. It helps them make a decision on what place to book. The review system is just a tool. It doesn’t give scores itself. It calculates guest feedback and uses scores as a type of visualisation. If you receive a lower score from a guest, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with your property. 

But if you consistently receive lower scores all the time, then probably there is a reason behind this. You might consider sharing this experience with fellow partners, so you can get useful advice. Even if you face a challenge like this, there are people in the community who can help you figure out a good solution.

How do we stop guests from mistaken scoring? 

When there is a difference of more than 5 points between the average of the subscores and the overall score, guests will receive an alert to warn them about this. By simply alerting them of this detail, we can avoid big discrepancies between the overall stay score and the average score of the 6 categories. This has drastically reduced the volume of such discrepancy cases. We are making more adjustments as well, with the goal of further reducing the chance of mis-interpretation or error on the part of a guest. 

New review system is in progress of implementation

The world is changing really fast, and it means we should improve and change our products promptly as well. The review system is currently in the process of implementation. As with any new feature, this particular release has its flaws, and we are grateful that you have helped us identify and address these issues quickly and in the best possible manner. We will continue to refine the new Guest Review System (GRS) and gather feedback from both guests and our partner communities around the world. 

 

This is not our last update on the subject. We will post again when we have further information. Meanwhile, please continue to share feedback here or directly through our help center. We keep reading, monitoring and sending your feedback to our production teams. Together, we can build the best products for both partners and guests. 

-11
212 Replies
4779 Views

10
M Adamopoulou

Dear Sergei,

Thank you for this information in the sensitive topic of reviews.

Awaiting your further progress!!!

+5
10 months ago
7
Bandara Hotels…

Dear Mr. Sergei,

 

Thank you for update information. I am sure that Booking.com will continue do the best thing for both hotel and customer.

+1
11 months ago
8
pibomarco

"If you receive a lower score from a guest, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with your property. 

But if you consistently receive lower scores all the time, then probably there is a reason behind this."

 

A lot of hosts are triggered based on a "single" negative review/score and it's easy to blame the system instead understanding the human psychology behind it. The whole picture matters. As I said before if host is providing a good service there is no review system that can damage your reputation or overal business performance. Fortunately majority of people are positive and because of them overall score is high. Our overall score was 8,1 few years ago until we decided to provide better service and started to listen to the negative reviews and put our egos aside. Now our score is 9,4. 

-17
10 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

It's not because of a "single negative review/score", it's because:

- the new system is worse than before

- the new system allows and encourages lower than expected scores

- the new system allows guests to post anonymously

- the new system allows guests to post scores without comments

- the new system can prevent hosts from responding to negative comments / reviews

As has been seen with screenshots of reviews, guests can score all elements as 10/10 but give an overall score of 2/10 - the new system allows this

Even if hosts provide excellent service at all times, the new system allows guests to unfairly / wrongly / mistakenly give low scores

And yes, hosts have kicked off after seeing a "single negative review/score", because we know and see that the new system is unfairly weighted against the hosts - the ongoing potential is not good for hosts

And luckily, we haven't had the "single negative review/score" yet - yesterday we got a 10/10 overall - but we have had anonymous reviews and reviews that we cannot reply to - and we know that overall, this new review system can only be negative .....

+43
10 months ago
8
pibomarco

I understand what you are saying, and basicly my original post is an answer to your "issues" that you just described. 

What is unfair / wrongly is a matter of perspective.

Guest mistakes are part of this business. Mistakes happened also under the old review system. As described in this thread they made a preventive measure to avoid such mistakes.

I personally don't have problems with reviews that are anonymous and scores without comments because of the reasons that I already mentioned.   

 

 

 

-18
10 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

You don't have problems with the reviews ..... yet .....

With the new reviews / scoring system, it's only a matter of time until it does negatively affect you ....

+20
10 months ago
8
pibomarco

I kind of agree that with new review system our overall score could drop a bit (because I think we'll receive more 9s instead of 10s comparing to old system), but that just mean that new standard is set for all of us. Well, we will see "soon" the impact. I am not concered at all though. 

-14
10 months ago
2
Fred

The problem is not that we receive less 10s global ratings as before, but we receive many 8s and 9s where before we would have received 9.4, 9.6... as an average of the different areas. The contrary is true also, but more rare.

If BDC allowed half points increments it would be already better. For exemple a Guest give five 10s and one 7.5. Of course he/she will not give a 10, because it's not perfect, so today he/she will give the closest to 10 which is 9. If 9.5 was possible, in this scenario it is likely this Guest would give this 9.5 to truly reflect his/her experience.

We are starting to receive many reviews that are total non-sense: Guests give us a near perfect score in all areas with only positive comments, though global rating is 8. Is it a mistake or Guests are confused altogether? Of course I try to reach Guest when there is a discrepency, but to no avail so far.

At the same time a Guest who is also very very happy with his stay, gave us 7.5 in every areas, but a global 9 for his stay. That shows that this Guest understood the new system, that all areas ratings are fake and so mean nothing.

I believe that Bdc should remove the areas rating as a whole and just keep the global rating, which I call "gut feeling".

Because rational rating (previous system) and gut feeling rating (the new and better system, ah ah ah, are you serious?) will never be aligned. And as we have seen, the areas feedback is useless because emptied of its meaning.

I messaged and talked again and again to Bdc since the announcement and to this day.

In conclusion, it is obvious that the highest rated you are today, the more you will lose with the new system. What I logically hope is that this total mess will affect our competitors the same way as it affects us.

+11
9 months ago
1
Lindores Guesthouse

I am so de-moralised by what has been going on recently that I have decided to close earlier than normal!  As to whether we will use Booking.Com next season depends on how they rectify this poor situation. They need to stop taking their partners for granted.

+26
10 months ago
2
Robin Sherwood

The new score system absolutely sucks and really is a bad move. My property has a 9.7 overall score, something we've worked really hard to achieve. I just got a 10 across the board and a score of 6. It's just wrong on all levels. When I contacted the guest why the six overall. "Because it was raining" WFT, none of us have any control over the weather. When I contacted booking.com their attitude was basically "tough you're all in the same boat" I'm watching very closely as to how it will all pan out and if I think it's ultimately damaging my business I will find other booking agents to work with me. Booking.com need to be reminded quite strongly it's us who pay them and not the guests

+38
10 months ago
2
Ferienwohnung …

The problem is that the 5 or even more MILLIONS of booking . com partners worldwide are not interested in this new problem - except the few people here. And so booking. com believe that they have done us a great favour with their new system.

+9
10 months ago
2
Fred

I don't think the 5 millions don't care.

Before coming to this forum, I expressed my displeasure tens of times. I believe both that I am not alone to have raised directly my concerns and that as more non-sense emerge, booking.com is already perfectly aware through messages and calls that it it affects badly 100% of the 5 millions. It's an announced disaster, BDC will deny it until it blows to its face and then take appropriate measures (going back to a more rational rating system). It is just a question of time.

Because the new system was sold to us as our own expressed desire, I came to the forum to have a feel of the popularity of this topic and see if it was actually supported or not by the partners' community. I am reassured to see that there are many threads about this topic and that the feeling is overwhelmingly negative. And we are just at the very early beginning of the deployment! 

+9
9 months ago
2
Robin Sherwood

You're right Fred. The only time BDC will care is when hosts take their business elsewhere. They have a lot of small places like ours and if they leave en-masse BDC has a problem on their hands. They also don't see to be listening and seem hell bent on continuing with this farce of a new rating system. 

+5
8 months ago
1
Mrs Liuchen Guo

We have got a review and negative score saying "The indian restaurant nearnby is very bad." It is not even our business!

What can we do about this review? Nothing!

+14
10 months ago
8
pibomarco

At least you can do is to try motivate the guest to modify their score.

 

A good example to respond to such scores:

 

"Dear Mrs./Mr.

 

Thank you for your kind score and your nice comment. We were very surprised to see that you scored all categories with 10, but overall you gave us 4 points out of 10. If there is some misunderstanding, we would like to ask you to overview your score (make a correction) or if on the other hand something wasn't all right in our property, please let us know, so we can arrange it better for our guests.

 

Thank you for your kindness

 

Best wishes,"

-8
10 months ago
2
Authenticbelgr…

Do you really think that guests are reading our answers?

+9
10 months ago
8
pibomarco

You can send this answer as a reply to their review (which is a nice reply for future guests that read those) and also as a private message directly to the booker via their BDC email address. If they left their phone number on the time of booking, you can even send them an SMS.

Most guests will read and will respond. Specially if they really enjoyed their stay at your property. 

-3
10 months ago
2
Authenticbelgr…

I know all that, thanks. I just think that only potential guests that are reading reviews before booking are reading our answers to previously left reviews. The guests that left the reviews do not open Booking.com anymore to see what we answered to them because they don't care about it. They gave the rate, they feel important.

+12
10 months ago
8
pibomarco

If you send them an email (or a message through extranet), they will see it, because they receive it on their personal email address and on their phone if they use an app.. It's the same proccedure as letting them know if they forgot something in the room after they already checked-out. The same way you let them know about the score. Some will ignore your message some won't. But at least you tried. Score can always be removed/modfied if requested by the guest. 

 

Basicly we are just repeating ourselves. The point is, contact the guest directly about the score, and ask them politely to modify the score.. If they will - great.. if not... move on. 

-7
10 months ago
1
e v/d sluis

pibomarco, in my 7 years with booking.com i NEVER had any reaction after i contacted the guests afterwards about a review. As mentioned here before, when the guests has left a review they're done, and don't look back.

+13
10 months ago
10
M Adamopoulou

It depends....if they really liked the place they stayed they look back if not they dont....

We cannot please everyone!!!

-3
10 months ago
10
M Adamopoulou

I have contacted two of my guests directly about the score reviews...and yes they understood their mistake and modified their reviews and yes I got my excellent reviews.

Never give up...

-3
10 months ago
1
Miroslav Filcak

I also did it several times. But why should I spend the time I need to run?

8 months ago
2
Phill A

Correct, people are looking at the score. If they see a 7.5 for one property and another for 9.5, which one will they choose? The answer is obvious despite the flowery replies. 

+2
9 months ago
1
Makhov Denis V…

not all guests read the answers, but in the application they are not visible at all! The new review system just ***!

+6
9 months ago
2
Fred

Your example is too extreme.

To us, for instance getting some "8s" instead of "9.6s" is detrimental because it threatens us to lose 0.1-0.2 points on our global rating. Those 0.1-0.2 points are crucial because they put us in front of our nearest competitors and we fight very hard to keep this hardly earned edge.

To reply more straightly to your point, so far the Guests don't answer when we contact them about their rating discrepancies. Their stay is over, they rated us. It's done they moved on and don't care any more, it's understandable.

edit: I have just corrected too many typos in my original comment.

+6
9 months ago
2
Robin Sherwood

Problem with that is you're wasting your time, the guest has left and really doesn't give a fig about the damage they've caused. As we all know you the vast majority of guests you will only ever see once. Why would they care?

+3
8 months ago
3
Désirée van Schaick

I have tried sending (very nice and polite) reactions to guests, asking why they downscored, explaining that we would like to learn how to improve. Even sent e-mails to them, nobody ever replied. I am not even mentioning the people who sent anonymous scores and comments :-(

+4
8 months ago
1
Casa Alegría

Hey, this is exactly what I did with my last bad scoring (see below) and it worked BUT outside of BDC, because the customer luckily got in contact with me for another reason via e-mail. I am convinced that guests don't go back into BDC to read our responses nor do they act on them. I think I just got lucky this time any fear this won't work very often in the future. 

+2
8 months ago
4
Ian at Numurka…

its going to be a big issue here in Australia soon.

the booking agencies are only interested in $$$$

not people busienesss

+3
9 months ago
10
M Adamopoulou

pibomarco I agree with you 100%.

I believe that if we hosts provide our best service with nice positive attitude guests will probably be satisfied and give us the desired review.

Sometimes guests dont understand exactly how tthe review system works. As I understand BDC is already taking measures to eliminate mis-interpretation or errors.

This Summer two of my guests although they were amazed with my Studio and had told me that they would leave me an excellent review their review was not excellent!!!

Since we already had become friends I called them and asked them very politely if they had made some mistake in their review. They thought they had left me an excellent review and  apologized  for their mistake. Afterwards they called BDC and asked them to send them again a second email because they had made a mistake in their review....and wow!!! I got my excellent reviews.

Treating people with kindness is a reward for us.

-4
10 months ago
2
Fred

I believe all of us here do our best for our Guests and deliver excellent experience, otherwise we would not be in the business in the first place.

A nice story like yours is the tree that hide the forest of Guests who don't reply , never, for multiple reasons and the bad rating will never ever been undone.Even worse, it will mislead future Guests. The whole ecosystem is being confused as a result.

+4
9 months ago
8
Aaltje B.

That is very kind that your guests were calling BDC. (After you told them about the error) 

Sometimes trying to chase people is hard, since they will hike or stay somewhere with no reception, out in the bush.

By the time they are somewhere within reach, they have had already stayed at a few other units and then can't be bothered. 

The same happens if people leave their reply late , until arriving in their homecountry, and don't really recall what the exerience was like. 

My husband thinks I am going too much out of my way to please people. In other words, working too hard.  (staying up late, for late arrivals, ironing sheets, getting milk from afar etc) But I think that is how to keep the highly valued reviews.

I think it is important to leave a mark on someone's stay. 

It is a fine line. 

+3
9 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

" If you receive a lower score from a guest, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with your property.  "

When bookers are looking at properties and see a review of 2/10, do they think "it doesn't necessarily mean there is something wrong with that property"??? Or do they think "skip that one, 2/10 is rubbish"?

 

So you're telling us to calm down about the new, unfair reviews system, but you're not doing anything to assure potential guests that low scoring reviews are a complete *** ....

 

 

+18
10 months ago
8
pibomarco

Yeah if the property has mostly scores from 2 - 7 in average, then they will probably skip this property and search for a better option. A negative score won't have an impact on a high rated property. For the potential guest is a bigger "turn off" if the host is replying to negative reviews in a "defensive/agressive" manner which is quite common sadly.

-7
10 months ago
2
Fred

I reply again for the third time to one of your comment, and I promise for the last time.

Yes this kind of bad rating among an overall high rating was a problem that could be overcome. But not so easily. I already received questionnaires from potential Guest who raised every single negative rating or comment and asked me to answer even if I already replied (always nicely) to each review. Obviously there is a fringe of the market that is turned off, even by a single review.

But it is not the debate. The debate is that actually the new global rating system promotes negative reviews, disconnected from rational assessment. So the narrative of a single negative review in a sea of good ratings will crumble when we will have a number of unjustified bad ratings, that we will even not be able to address because disconnected from the areas rating.

+4
9 months ago
3
The Reinhold G…

Fred, - us having experienced a case like that ( a rating of "1") for the first time during our 9 year long association with BdC, - we can now fully understand the anger and frustration the individual hosts are going through when something like that happens to them.

It appears that any guest ,who books via BdC, is automatically awarded the right by BdC to declare us  ( the Hosts ) "guilty" of any ( often un-substantiated and outlandish ) action, without us being afforded a channel for defending ourselves.

In other words, - the new rating system deserves ( in our  opinion ) a rating of ONE out of ten

cheers

+2
7 months ago
3
The Reinhold G…

Good day Isle, -

We just came across your comments from 3 months ago,- well said, thank you.

There is talk in the rating system description of an "alert" that is supposed to be sent to guests ?  and/or hosts? --  if a review is posted by a guest with a rating difference of "5" points or more between the Host's overall rating score and the guest's review score.

This is where the BdC  "Host-Protection " sucks,

For nearly a month now, we are objecting to an anonymous guest rating score of "1", which is 8 ( eight ) points lower than our overall rating score.

We also have concrete ( written ) proof that the person who wrote the review never stayed at our guesthouse. 

So far our claim has been rejected 3 times by the BdC Partner Support team by simply sending us copies of the BdC  "Guest Reviews Policies" .

Looking through comments made by members in this forum, on the same subject, we see that this is a common problem that has been experienced by many. 

cheers

+1
7 months ago
7
Isle of Wight …

" When there is a difference of more than 5 points between the average of the subscores and the overall score, guests will receive an alert to warn them about this. By simply alerting them of this detail, we can avoid big discrepancies between the overall stay score and the average score of the 6 categories. This has drastically reduced the volume of such discrepancy cases. We are making more adjustments as well "

 

"making more adjustments" = ***

 

Instead of "alerting" guests, you should be preventing them from posting overall scores that do not reflect the average of the subscores. Or even better, as you're still calculating the average of the subscores, use it instead of allowing them to post a nonsense overall score.

+19
10 months ago
4
Jennifer and A…

"As with any new feature, this particular release has its flaws, and we are grateful that you have helped us identify and address these issues quickly"

Thank you for admitting there is a problem and you are welcome. Our effort won't stop until a reconciliation is found.

Unfortunately this message is not telling us about any mayor improvement or quick resolution of the conflict between BDC and 99% of its partners. 

The review system is not just "a type of visualisation", but one of the core reasons people choose the place they choose.

"5 points difference between the average of the scores and the arbitrary score" is way to big and again, arbitrary. The entire problem can be solved with an automatic average score. It's modern and the best rating system conceived.  We hope future updates about this litigation will take less than a month, so we can move forward and find an agreement before the high season starts. Thank you for taking this matter seriously.

+14
10 months ago
1
Ulrich Havemann

you are right - to send an alert only when there is a 5 points difference is just a joke ... we still fail to understand the reason why the system has be changed ? In all comments of booking there is no explanation what exactly is the advantage for guests and hosts. 

The only explanation from booking was we have to change as things need to be changed from time to time ? What is that - def. not a clear statement.

We have to address this question to booking ..

 

+4
8 months ago
3
The Reinhold G…

Guten Tag Ulrich

Did you ever get a satisfactory reply from BdC?

Talking about the 5 points joke, we recently received an anonymous ONE  point ( 1) rating from a guest who actually never stayed at our guesthouse , but because the writer placed the booking, she received the invitation to leave a review.

There was never any "ALERT" notification from BdC, although the difference between the anonymous review and our overall score was 8 ( eight) points.

After nearly a month of communicating with the BdC's support team, all we received was copies of their Review policies, which actually states that :: "only guests who have stayed at a property " may leave a review.

cheers

Reinhold

7 months ago
2
Ferienwohnung …

Yesterday a guest review with the new system: All elements 10/10 but overall score 9/ 10. Fortunately not even less - what can happen quickly. So: Good luck for all the hosts who believe that this new review system is fair. 

+13
10 months ago
8
pibomarco

It would be fairer if subcategories would be also rated 1 - 10 instead with emojis, because in this case the guest would not rate all elements 10/10.. most likely. 

-4
10 months ago
2
Ferienwohnung …

In my opinion are all these emojis cute for Kindergarten- kids but not for guest reviews   

10 months ago
8
pibomarco

We could say that.. I would call it a scoring system for dummies.

From the practical view the difference is that with emojis we as hosts received more 10s and some 7,5s. With 1-10 scoring system less 10s and more 7, 8, 9s.

-6
10 months ago
2
Ferienwohnung …

hahaha.... you want more from 7 points? Take care - you know the self- fulfilling prophecy ? 

+6
10 months ago