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How to deal with a bad Airbnb review

Posted by Guardhog Team on March 3, 2021 · Blog

At some point, you’re likely going to be the victim of a bad review on Airbnb. The question is: How to deal with a bad Airbnb review?

What most people don’t know though, is how you deal with a bad Airbnb review is actually more likely to affect your profile than the review itself.

A snotty 1-star Airbnb review sitting on a hosts profile isn’t exactly the most appealing thing, but luckily for hosts, most people are curious enough to see if there was any further drama in the comments.

If they see that the host handled the situation in a way that Oprah Winfrey would be proud of, then hosts are not going to see a reduction in bookings because of it.

So remain calm you cool cucumber and bear the following things in mind when you have to deal with a bad Airbnb review…

Insurance for Airbnb and other short-term rental hosts

Communication is key to dealing with bad Airbnb guest reviews

In most cases, you’ll find that bad reviews stem from a lack of communication between yourself and your guest.

This could be because you’re not available to handle the booking yourself or because of something as simple as forgetting to explain the trick to get the shower working.

If a host comes into contact with this kind of situation, hosts can fix it before it becomes a real problem – you will be surprised how many negative reviews are down to a simple misunderstanding!

Communication is key to dealing with bad Airbnb guest reviews

Do whatever you can to keep a line of communication open between you and your guest, if you’re going to be unreachable for whatever reason, ensure you have explained your situation to your guest and given them an alternative contact, for example, your management agency.

If you are around and you see things are starting to take a bad turn, do your best to react quickly and talk it out, the last thing you want to do it leave your guest stewing in their bad vibes that completely ruin their stay with you!

Related article: A Guide To Airbnb Health And Safety Requirements

Creating a house manual is a great way to ensure your guest knows about the quirks of your property to avoid any lapse in communication in that area – you can check out our guide to creating the perfect house manual!

The customer is always right

That’s right, even when the customer is being an incorrect, stubborn pain in the pigs tail, don’t you ever tell them that they’re in the wrong!

It’s easy to forget the business implications that surround short letting on sites like Airbnb, especially when you’re in the property with your guests, it can feel like you’re just giving a friend a bed for the night rather than providing someone with paid accommodation, which is what you’re doing.

the customer is always right

Remember that every guest you have is a customer, and you should do everything you can to keep them onside. If something more negative does happen, even if you’re not at fault, apologise immediately. Afterwards, do what you can do find a resolution that works for both of you.

Respond publicly to negative reviews on Airbnb

Luckily (or unluckily depending if you are a glass-half-full kind of person!) all reviews that are submitted through the Airbnb system are 100% public and 99% permanent.

There are some special occasions where reviews may be removed if they break Airbnb’s content policy. However, proving that the review has broken the content policy is almost impossible.

how to deal with a bad Airbnb review

While this does mean that you probably won’t get that petty review about your choice of curtains removed, it also means that you are publicly able to reply to any of these negative comments and give your side of the story.

That doesn’t mean you should start blaming your guest for all the problems that occurred, but you can do any of the following:

  • Highlight if the negative remarks in the review had already been discussed and resolved in a way that means the guest shouldn’t still be marking you down for them.
  • Explain your situation in the same way you explained it to your guest. That way, any potential guests can see your side of the story.
  • Apologise and let any future guests know that the situation was a one-off blip that won’t happen again.
  • Detail any steps you’re taking to ensure what went wrong won’t happen again.

Acknowledge the bad review and learn and improve from it

If you look hard enough, hidden in the negativity of a bad review can actually be some really helpful and constructive points.

Always try to make the best of a bad situation. A guest’s negative experience can be used as a future checklist for improvement.

Related article: Top 7 Automation Solutions for Effective Vacation Rental Management

Didn’t like the bedding? No worries! Buy a new set.

Couldn’t figure out how to work the oven? No worries! Now you know to leave instructions so that doesn’t happen again!

Whatever they have to say:

  • Acknowledge it
  • Apologise if an apology is needed (and even if it is not, still make one)
  • Grow from it

At the end of the day, it’s the guests that are experiencing your hosting, not you. If they think something needs improving, there’s a good chance that it does!

Negative counter-review

Reviews are a two-way street. If you have had trouble with a guest that is likely to leave a bad review on your profile, then you’re welcome to head on over to their profile and (within reason) do the same!

If a guest breaks your house rules or causes any problems, leave them a review with all the appropriate information. At the very least you might prevent a future host from going through the same nightmare you went through.

You can leave a guest review 24 hours after their stay has ended. You then have 14 days to do so.

To prevent fake positive reviews and heated reactive negative reviews, both the guest and the host needs to have submitted a review within those 14 days for them to be posted publicly.

Try to prevent negative reviews

The best way to avoid having to deal with negative reviews is to just not get them at all! Of course, this is actually impossible… there will always be those people that mark you down for what seems like no reason at all.

common words used in bad Airbnb reviews

At GUARDHOG, we call those people 4-star people. You could give them the perfect service. They could even write in their review that it was perfect. However, that magical 5-star rating still doesn’t appear.

Before you know it you have got a 4-star review, a decreased rating, no areas hinted to that could be improved and a few sleepless nights thinking ‘what else could I possibly have done?!’

At the end of the day, you can’t please everyone. No matter what you do, you are still going to have to deal with a bad Airbnb review. Do your best to prevent guests from focusing on things that you can control:

  • Keep your place clean
  • Keep communication easy and open
  • Provide as much information as possible
  • Vet your guests before accepting stays by checking their review history. (If they’ve given or received negative reviews, maybe pass on them staying at your place!)
  • Finally, just generally be a good host!

Related article: Protecting Your Home From Party-goers As An Airbnb Host

If traditional review systems are a map, then SUPERHOG is GPS navigation. Join SUPERHOG today, and get real-time information on properties, hosts, and guests.

Our centralised database provides hosts with a guests home-sharing history and flags problematic guests before they can cause damage to your home or business.

We believe a positive host/guest experience starts with trust and creating an environment that both parties feel comfortable in. Get these things down and you’re less likely to deal with a bad Airbnb review.

That being said, we know that putting your home in the hands of a stranger can be nerve-racking. Even if you’ve been doing it for a while.


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