A first look at online reputation on Airbnb, where every stay is above average
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Citation (published version)G. Zervas, Davide Proserpio, John Byers. 2020. "A First Look at Online Reputation on Airbnb, Where Every Stay is Above Average." Marketing Letters, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11002-020-09546-4
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.