Whether you like it or not, at some point you're likely going to be the victim of a bad review on Airbnb. What most people don’t know though, is how you handle that is actually more likely to affect your profile than the review itself.
I mean, sure, a snotty 1-star review sitting on your profile isn’t exactly the most appealing thing, but lucky for you most people are curious (and mostly nosey!) enough to see if there was any further drama in the comments and if they see that you’ve handled the situation in a way that Oprah Winfrey would be proud of, then you’re probably not going to see a reduction in bookings because of it.
So, remain calm you cool cucumber and bear the following things in mind…
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 you come into contact with this kind of situation, you can probably fix it before it becomes a real problem - you’ll be surprised how many negative reviews and down to a simple misunderstanding! 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!
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!
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.
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 and do what you can do find a resolution that works for the both of you.
Luckily (or unluckily depending if you’re 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, but as with most things Airbnb, proving that the review has broken the content policy is almost impossible.
While this does mean that no, you probably won’t get that petty review about your choice of curtains removed, it also means that you’re publically able to reply to any of these negative comments and give your side of the story. Now, that doesn't mean you should start blaming your guest for all the problems that occurred, but you can do any of the following:
If you look hard enough, hidden in the negativity of a bad review can actually be some really helpful and constructive points. You can always try to make the best of a bad situation, and a guest negative experience can be seen as a checklist for improvement if you need that positive attitude going. Didn’t like your bedding? No worries! Maybe it’s time to get 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, apologies if an apology is needed (and even if it isn’t you probably still should!), and grow from it. At the end of the day, it’s the guests that are experiencing your hosting, not you, and if they think something needs improving, there's a good chance that it does!
Reviews are a two-way street, and if you’ve had trouble with a guest that is likely to leave their negativity all over your profile, then you’re welcome to head on over to their profile and (within reason) do the same!
If a guest has broken your house rules or caused you any problems, you should leave them a review with all that information detailed, at the very least you might prevent a future host from going through the same nightmare you went through.
You can leave a guest a review 24 hours after their stay has ended, and you 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.
If only one party reviews, only that review will be posted, and the other party will have missed out on the opportunity to leave a review altogether.
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.
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 and yet that magical 5-star rating is still out of reach. Before you know it you’ve got a 4-star review, a decreased rating, no areas hinted to that could be improved and a few sleepless nights of you thinking ‘what else could I possibly have done?!’.
At the end of the day, you can’t please everyone and no matter what you do, you probably still going to come up against a few negative comments, and all you can do is your absolute best to prevent them being focused on things that are under your 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!) and just generally be a good host!
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 likely to deal with minimal negative reviews. That being said, we also 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.
So imagine if there was a platform that clearly displayed how trustworthy a person was, that clearly displays reviews cultivated from multiple sharing platforms and that provides an open and honest place for hosts and guests to connect, communicate and share safely in the knowledge that they’re only going to be hosting the best guest.
This year we’re launching a brand new product called SUPERHOG that will do all of those things, as well as providing you with the excellent cover that GUARDHOG is known for.