How To Respond To A Negative Review

Let me just say, a bad review is not the end of the world. No matter how perfect of a host you are, there is always going to be that one guest that will never be satisfied. 

Now if you are repeatedly getting negative reviews, as a host you should do a self-assessment and ask yourself the following questions: 

1.Do you respond quickly to all communication? I like to say the golden window to respond is within 20 minutes. Anything more is too long. The longer it takes to respond just adds another log to the existing fire. Just imagine a guest that is having plumbing issues, like no running water. Every second it takes to respond to them feels a lot longer. The following are few tips to ensure you always respond in this golden window:

a. Ensure push notification in your Airbnb app enabled on your phone – this will alert you the moment a message or booking is received and allow real time communication because you are able to respond right away to the guest. 

b.Saved response templates – having response templates saves you time and luckily Airbnb has a feature that enables you to do this. 

2.Do you ever give a negative response? When responding to a guest never give a negative response. Even if you are unable to fulfill their request, give them a better alternative. 

3.Always ensure every aspect of your description is as accurate as possible. There is nothing worse than not meeting your guest expectations. For instance, if your listing has free coffee provided and there isn’t a coffee machine in the unit. Even if the guest prior broke the machine, let your guest know as soon as they arrive and be sure to let them know that you have already purchased a replacement that will be delivered with in 24 hours and if possible, provide them with free coupons to a nearby coffee shop. This kind gesture will go a long way. 

If you have done all the above and a guest still leaves that dreaded negative review there is still a way to turn this positive.  

How to Mitigate the Negative Effect of a Bad Review 

  1. Apologize even if you are right. There is nothing worse than a potential guest reading a host’s response implying that the guest was lying. The host will always look like the bad guy in this situation.  
  2. Say what you’ve done to correct the problem.
  3. Thank them for the feedback and the stay. Then let them know that you look forward to hosting them in the future. 

Here is an example of the coffee situation mentioned prior. 

       Hi Jane Doe, 

I am very sorry that there wasn’t a coffee machine in the unit as stated in the description. As I mentioned during check in, the machine had been broken by the previous guest that checked out that morning. I am happy that the coffee machine ordered was delivered to you with in 24 hours. I also, hope you liked the coffee shop I provided you the coupons for. It is a favorite in the community and their weekly jazz night is a great event to experience 😊. Thank you for the feedback and it was a pleasure hosting you. I look forward to hosting you in the future. 

This reply allowed for you to show your potential guest that you were quick to respond to that guest issue and allowed for you to advertise a local event in the area that might attract other poets or interests. 

At the end of the day, never take a negative review personal. Always respond thinking about how you can turn this negative into a positive by keeping your future potential guests in mind. If you have done everything you can as a host just let it go and remember the other reviews you have received praising you for a job well done!