A bad review can be earth-shattering, but just know that many hosts experience it and you can recover. You can see this bad review as a problem or an opportunity to do better, it’s your choice. For the most part, poor reviews are usually not seeded in lies, granted many of them are exaggerated, but there is usually a legitimate reason for them. To hedge your risk against a low review, try the following.
Stop them before they happen! In your listing, ask potential guests to send you a note to ask about availability before they try to book. Some users treat Airbnb like a regular travel site…if the date is available, they book! This simple request of your guests will do two things. First, it lets you know if the prospective guest thoroughly read your listing or if they are just quickly booking anything possible. Secondly, it allows your to ‘meet’ your potential renters and judge for yourself whether or not you feel they will be a good fit for your rental unit. Don’t forget, this is your first contact so make sure to WOW them!
Leave a Review Early
Lead by example and leave a review of your guests as soon as possible, but only after you see your home and assess if any damages have occurred. A useless review is also a bad review too. If someone leaves a 1 sentence review, “Place was fun, nice spot.”, how effective is that?! Many people renting on Airbnb are new so you must ‘teach’ them what you are looking for in a review. Make sure the review you leave is detailed to the level you want to receive.
Get a Suggestion Box
This can help eliminate stupid comments like, “he had ugly bed sheets” or “rough toilet paper”. Give your guests a way to privately express their thoughts with you. No one is out to get you, they just want to be heard. By giving them this private forum, it may lead to less digital criticism. Feedback is a hard pill to swallow sometimes, but take it as a gift – it can only make you better.
If you have received a low review, you are entitled to respond and share your side of the story. BE SMART! Do not write your response out of emotion or in haste. Take time to reply in a professional and respectful manner. Your response to the review will appear directly below the review you are responding to…for the world to see. If something terrible happened to your guests that was partially your fault, consider refunding them some of the bill.
To create an even better list of reviews, respond to ALL reviews, 5-star and 1-star reviews. This shows you are humble and are taking time to contribute to the Airbnb community.
What other tips do you have for stopping bad reviews? Share them with us in the comments below!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this. Great article.
Hi Jim, great post and I wonder if you or the community as a suggestion in what to write for a wow answer to guest request on Airbnb?
Many thanks for the great work and let’s catch up sometime maybe by email
If I have any issue at all, I will give my guests a gift card for a local restaurant. I buy the gift cards at Costco for $79.00 for $100.00 worth of meals. I give them one $50 one or two depending on the situation. I had a plumbing problem when I had a full price guest check in, she was a little annoyed but when I gave her the gift card, she was completely happy, and left me a 5 star review. I treat my reviews as mostly free advertising. I have amazing reviews and my AirBnb is full.
I still think Airbnb should not take all cases under the same light, there are some people who are frustrated with their personal lives or who are high on drugs and they will just hurt superhosts intentionally, many times just lying and making things up, on top of violating house rules from the host. Airbnb should be more flexible to analyze things on specific cases, and contemplate the details behind a situation that is being ask for by the superhost, instead of punishing the host and sending them back to school to ‘learn’ from other superhosts or canceling their listing and blocking the host to even look at their calendar for their upcoming reservations. This can only create frustration and discourage.