Psychological Tips to Turn Bad Reviews on Airbnb into an Opportunity

If you maintain a great rental, most of your reviews will be positive. Once in a while, you may get a bad one. And when that happens, you might feel like it’s the end of the world.

It’s not, though.  

No matter how much time and attention you put into your property, someone could have a negative experience during their stay and leave a bad review. It’s difficult to even consider how that can be an opportunity, but, if you stay calm and learn how to diffuse tension, even negative reviews can help your business. You have the chance to clarify things and offer your input on the problem, so follow these tips to turn a tricky situation into a positive one.

Tips and tricks for healthy damage control after receiving bad reviews

In many private renters’ case, a bad review might turn into an ugly stain on their reputations. It could have drastic effects on their bookings, especially if they are new to the whole Airbnb gig. The first step in damage management here is knowing what not to do when you are confronted with a bad review. One small mistake is enough to negate all your further efforts to improve your reputation.

  • First, don’t let emotions push you to have an unprofessional attitude. This will make potential clients avoid collaborating with you.
  • Second, avoid wasting yours and customer service employees’ time by trying to get down legitimate customer reviews. They are paid to keep the review system working and help potential customers make a better decision. It’s not their job to protect unreliable hosts.
  • don’t remain passive. Of course, you want to keep yourself cool, but you don’t want to be nonchalant in this situation. Maybe there are language barriers preventing you from replying to the review, but at least try to use professional writing services, translation apps, or grammar check tools like BestWritersCanada, Grammarly, Onlinewritersrating or even Google Translate to manage this problem. 

Apart from these don’ts, follow the psychological tips below to turn this unpleasant situation to your businesses’ advantage.

Dump the emotion when responding to bad reviews

Take a deep breath and gain some perspective before you respond. You’ve probably heard this one many times before but the case is that it works like a clock. Give yourself a little time to cool off and think of the best situation in each bad review’s case. Think if you should contact the client directly or write a review yourself.

If you suspected in advance that a certain guest might leave a negative review, you are most likely prepared for the situation. You should know that reviews on Airbnb aren’t published for two weeks, or until both the host and guest submit reviews of the other party. You can delay the negative review from appearing on your profile by submitting yours at the end of the two weeks you have. This way, it will be displayed lower on the page, and you might even get some positive ones until then! You can turn this situation by making it look like a singular, isolated scenario. Therefore, it’s a good idea to ask your visitors for their feedback as soon as they live your apartment. This way, a negative review won’t be a devastating surprise to you.

Do not become defensive or accusatory

When confronted with negative reviews, emotional hosts might get a little defensive. But this is not what you want to come off like. “Tailor your response with future guests in mind, in this case. Express empathy and show that you are truthfully sorry for your guests’ negative experience with your services”, says Pat Fredshaw, head of the content department at Essay Supply.

By showing empathy and having a positive attitude even for bad reviews, you tell potential guests that you are open to fixing any issues your apartment or room might have.

Specifically, address each concern or issue that the review has pointed out

While not all bad reviews are legitimate, there are some cases where a negative review will help you grow as host.  “If the review is legitimate and there is something that can be remedied, state how you will solve the situation, punctually”, advises Veronica Wright, CEO at ResumesCentre.

This will help you deescalate the situation and will show potential guests you are more than happy to improve your services.

Take a look at this example of bad review management. The host could ignore the unpleasant problem described by one of the guests but he chose to answer honestly. Even such a little detail as adding scented candles in the room shows any future guest that Daniel is willing to solve problems and tries to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

Source: Optimizemybnb.com

If you believe any issue is unwarranted, calmly state your response

There are cases when guests have objections with every small inconvenience they encounter during their stays. When you think that guests leave illegitimate and malicious, take your time and calmly respond to the issue presented by your guest.

“When putting your response together, try to approach each issue individually”, according to what Amanda Johnson, customer relations coordinator at Canada-Writers explains.

For instance, if they complain about not having toiletries available, and you know for sure you have supplied them to your clients, state your positions in a calm and calculated manner. This will show you are in full control of the situation and the guest is by no means entitled to making such statements.

Offer another stay at an exceptionally discounted rate

On the other hand, when guests are rightfully leaving a negative review on your listing, you can always admit that you are at fault and that you aim to improve your services, based on their reviews. You can always offer a generous discount rate for a future stay at your facility to those clients who have had some unpleasant experiences with your services.

Making compromises always helps and makes former guests and prospects see you as a reliable, kind and polite guest.

Final thoughts on bad reviews

Treating negative reviews appropriately and using some small tricks will make you look professional and reliable. It will also make former guests and prospects that you are responsive, that you will always address issues, resolve them, and provide a nice perk for the complainer.


This article is written by guest writer Sylvia Giltner, who is a regular contributor at Resumes Centre and freelance writer. Sylvia’s writing has been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, Next Avenue, TLNT and more.

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