Reviews on Airbnb are only possible from guests that have actually stayed at your place and experienced your hosting style and hospitality first-hand. If you’re a new host, you’re therefore disadvantaged by the limited time you’ve been active on Airbnb and the number of times you’ve been able to host guests.
As a mechanism to help newer (and also long-term) hosts let their good character and hosting potential become known to prospective guests, Airbnb added the ability for hosts to display references on their profiles too. Hosts (and guests) can receive public references from friends, family members and colleagues to help build credibility and trustworthiness into their Airbnb profiles.
These references help guests in the Airbnb community get to know you and feel more comfortable before booking to stay with you.
Here is an example of a reference on Airbnb:
You’re able to request references from people within your personal network. These references will appear publicly on your Airbnb profile to help other members get to know you.
One benefit of references (and difference from reviews) is the ability to review a reference written about you and either accept or decline it before they it is displayed on your public profile.
To request a reference, you have the option of either requesting a personal reference through Facebook messaging or directly from friends already on Airbnb.