A First Look at Online Reputation on Airbnb, Where Every Stay is Above Average

19 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2015 Last revised: 29 Dec 2020

See all articles by Georgios Zervas

Georgios Zervas

Questrom School of Business, Boston University

Davide Proserpio

Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California

John Byers

Boston University - Department of Computer Science

Date Written: December 28, 2020

Abstract

Judging by the millions of reviews left by guests on the Airbnb platform, this trusted community marketplace for accommodations is fulfilling its mission of matching travelers with hosts having room to spare remarkably well. Based on our analysis of ratings, we collected for millions of properties listed on Airbnb worldwide, we find that nearly 95% of Airbnb properties boast an average star-rating of either 4.5 or 5 stars (the maximum); virtually none have less than a 3.5 star-rating. We contrast this with the ratings of roughly 700,000 hotels, B&Bs, and vacation rentals worldwide that we collected from TripAdvisor. We find that hotel and B&B average ratings are much lower—3.8 and 4.1 stars, respectively—with much more variance across reviews. TripAdvisor vacation rental ratings are more similar to Airbnb ratings, but only about 85% of properties have an average rating of 4.5 or 5 stars. We then consider properties cross-listed on both platforms. For these properties, we find that even though the average ratings on Airbnb and TripAdvisor are more similar than hotels and B&Bs, proportionally more properties receive the highest ratings (4.5 stars and above) on Airbnb than on TripAdvisor. Moreover, there is only a weak correlation in the ratings of individual cross-listed properties across the two platforms. Finally, we show that these differences are consistent when considering data from two different time periods: 2015 and 2018.

Keywords: airbnb, reputation, online reviews, sharing economy

Suggested Citation

Zervas, Georgios and Proserpio, Davide and Byers, John, A First Look at Online Reputation on Airbnb, Where Every Stay is Above Average (December 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2554500 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2554500

Georgios Zervas (Contact Author)

Questrom School of Business, Boston University ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://people.bu.edu/zg

Davide Proserpio

Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA Los Angeles 90089
United States

HOME PAGE: http://dadepro.github.io/

John Byers

Boston University - Department of Computer Science ( email )

Boston, MA
United States

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