Brace yourselves, travelers of the world! We’re about to embark on an adventure that doesn’t involve plane tickets or passport stamps but rather a deep dive into the world of Airbnb selection. There are a few tricks to finding the best Airbnb for your needs, and we’re happy to share them with you.

If you’ve followed our blog, you know our wanderlust many times leads us to Airbnbs.

We occasionally rest our weary heads in hotels (usually when our stay is short) and have been known to venture into the path of “aparthotels” or serviced accommodations (some of our favorite stays! We just stayed for a month at Wittenberg by Cove in Amsterdam and it was amazing.)

These interesting hybrids bring together the best of both worlds – the convenience of hotels with the personal touch of an Airbnb.

But let’s save that adventure for another day.

This guide will decode the somewhat cryptic science of Airbnb selection.

The difference between an enjoyable stay and a run-for-the-hills disaster often boils down to your choice of Airbnb.

Luckily for us, after a fair share of ‘never-again’ experiences, we’ve managed to piece together a strategy that has significantly tipped the odds in our favor.

The Rating Reset Strategy to Find the Best Airbnb

So, first things first – Airbnb reviews. You’ll typically see properties boasting scores like 4.64, 4.91, 4.23, 4.57, etc., out of a possible score of 5. Looks pretty impressive, right? But here’s where we need to fine-tune our perspective.

I like to call this tactic “The Rating Reset.”

The idea is simple: drop the 4, shift the decimal, and you get a new score.

So, a 4.64 becomes a 6.4, now out of a possible score of 10. 4.91 becomes 9.1, and so on.

review of rental ratings

Why do this? Well, here’s a little secret: Airbnb guests tend to be overly generous with their reviews, probably because they are also reviewed by the host, creating a ‘you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours’ situation. No one wants to be too honest, because the host might return the favor.

You won’t find this with Google Reviews, TripAdvisor, Booking or other hotel sites. It’s all too Kumbaya and leads to inaccurate reviews.

Using The Rating Reset, we adjust for this ‘rating inflation.’

A 4.64 turns into a 6.4 out of 10 – a bit more sobering, right?

That 4.57? A not-so-impressive 5.7 out of 10. But the 4.91? Now, that’s a sterling 9.1 out of 10, and your 4.82…a commendable 8.2!

best airbnb

This strategy has proven surprisingly accurate in reflecting what you encounter upon arrival.

I’m not saying that a 4.64 property is necessarily bad, but you better be getting a fantastic deal, or the location must be absolutely ideal.

Otherwise, it might feel like settling for silver when you could’ve had gold.

Apply this single trick, and you’ll arrive at your Airbnb with expectations as well-prepared as a perfectly packed suitcase. As if we’ve ever had one of those… there’s always something we’d do differently 🙂 But I digress….

Parsing the Reviews to Find the Best Airbnb

So, what’s next on our itinerary? Ah, yes. The actual reviews themselves.

Picture this: beneath the stellar review scores lie a series of comments, each a tale told by previous tenants.

These stories are your blueprint to cracking the real code of your potential Airbnb home.

Here’s what you need to do.

Head to the reviews section, and tap into your inner detective in the ‘Search’ box.

Type in these words and search:

wifi (or “Internet”)
air (or heat)

Prepare yourself for the revelations.

You might be taken aback when you stumble upon a 5-star review casually mentioning the ‘energetic’ (read: ear-splittingly loud) neighborhood.

Translated from Reviewese, you may be counting more beats than sheep, thanks to the nightclub operating at ground level. Oh, the tales we could tell!

best airbnb

Then comes the ever-important Wi-Fi. Sure, the listing might proudly boast about its internet, but sometimes, it’s slower than a sleeping sloth.

Let’s remember the bed. Some could be harder than college calculus, while others might swallow you whole, never to be found again.

Don’t trust the rating; trust the text.

best airbnb

Air conditioning is another crucial factor, the savior of sweltering summer days. We’ve had our share of experiences with listings that triumphantly claim they have A/C, only for it to blow air as cool as a dragon’s breath.

parsing reviews to find the best airbnb

The bottom line is you have to go beyond the stars – the numerical ratings – to find the best Airbnb for your stay.

Dig into the comments, and follow the keywords. The truth is out there.

With these tips, you can embark on your Airbnb treasure hunt!

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