How to Deal with Bad Reviews on Airbnb

bad airbnb guest review

Reviews on Airbnb are what makes the community so strong.  They help bring transparency and keep you safe as a guest AND as a host.

Airbnb reviews of guests can sometimes come off as harsh, mean and even downright hurtful.  Some are even pure lies.  But many of the ‘bad’ reviews are rooted with some truth, yet some guests can take it too far and attack the host personally.

This post will help when you recover from a bad Airbnb review.

How do you deal with a bad Airbnb review?

The best advice on how to deal with a bad review is don’t get them in the first place.

If you do happen to get a bad review, take it as an opportunity to become better at hosting, even if it’s not your fault.  Does a guest complain about being too far from downtown when they should have known from your description? Maybe you can be more explicit about your location being a 30-minute drive from downtown.

But more often, guests care enough about the Airbnb community to tell you what they really thought.  So learn from it.

When you get the feedback or suggestion, listen openly, think about how you could improve, then implement changes if necessary.

Sometimes things that cause bad reviews are out of your control like the weather is too hot that week.  But maybe it’s time to upgrade that 20 year AC unit that barely works.

airbnb gift

Chocolates always make a good welcome gift for your Airbnb Guests.

Airbnb guests want to be heard

Bad reviews are just guests wanting to be heard…simple as that.  Here are a few tips to curb bad reviews before they hit the Internet…

  • Provide excellent SERVICE and be accommodating to reasonable requests.
  • Send guests messages throughout their stay and ask if there is anything else you can do to make it better.
  • Provide a welcome gift.  This helps smooth things over that are rocky during check-in and provides a halo-effect for your rental.
  • Have a locked suggestion box that guests can use to leave you a private message.

Here is a Pro tip from Airbnb Superhost Pierre from @airbnbeer:

“Always have a guestbook at disposal and invite people to leave a word 10 minutes before check-out. No one can politely refuse.

If the guest didn’t want to post a review on Airbnb, they now have to come up with something quick. When it will be time for them to actually write their Airbnb review, they will just need to remember what they wrote. This makes it a lot easier for a guest to post a review when they already wrote it!

If the guest wanted to leave a bad review? Same, and they will always write something nice in the guestbook. Since nobody wants to feel how hypocritical they are, no guest in this situation ever left a bad review (most just wouldn’t leave reviews, and some would actually copy-paste mentally whatever positive thing they wrote on the guestbook).” ~Pierre

Got too many guests to pay attention to writing reviews?

You’re in an enviable position. Not many hosts can say that they have too many guests for them to pay each the personal attention needed to write thoughtful reviews.

It used to be that you’d just forgot writing reviews entirely but now there’s a better way.  You can pretty much automate the process with SmartBNB automation.   You can store different templates for the different types and levels of reviews and even set rules for how it’ll automatically choose the right review.  Nice to have if you have 1 listing, must have if you have more, especially if you have high volume listings.  Or if you just want to become a passive “4 Hour Host”.

In the comments below, let me know of an experience you had with receiving a bad review.  

  • Was the review truthful?
  • Did you make improvements?
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