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Responding to a Bad Airbnb Review? First, Check Your Ego.

James Carlson
2 min read
Responding to a Bad Airbnb Review? First, Check Your Ego.

Airbnb is part of the sharing economy, and in the sharing economy, reviews are the lifeblood. Without a national name brand behind your rental, how can people trust what you’re offering? It’s all in what other guests say about your place.

So let’s talk a little about why reviews are so important for hosts, how reviews work and why you need to keep your ego in check during this process.

Why Reviews Matter

Reviews matter for hosts for two big reasons.

The first is obvious: Reviews are what future guests rely on when deciding whether to stay at your place. It’s pretty simple: If you’ve got good reviews, you’re more likely to get booked.

Second—and just as important—Airbnb gives preferential treatment in its search rankings to listings with good reviews. The more good reviews you get, the higher up in the search results Airbnb will place your listing.

Related: 6 Tips to Drive Better Guest Reviews During the Holiday Season

How Reviews Work

Hosts and guests have 14 days from the end of a reservation to review each other. In an effort to ensure people are truthful, Airbnb does not allow either side to see the other’s review until either:

  1. Both have left a review OR
  2. The 14-day window expires—whichever comes first.

After reviews go live, each side can also leave a response to the review. If your guest left a glowing review, then great! Respond and thank them for coming. But what if they left a bad review?


Watch That Ego

If you do Airbnb long enough, you will get a less-than-stellar review. When that happens, remember this business truism: The customer is always right—even if they’re actually a jerk.

Related: 6 Tips for Gracefully Responding to Bad Reviews as a Property Manager

In this scenario, think about your audience. It’s not the guy who got all snarky in his review. It’s the future guest who is reading your response. Consider if you were looking for a place on Airbnb and you saw a terrible review of the host, and then you saw the host leave a scathing response to that negative review. Would you automatically think the host was right? Or would you think that they both seem a little hot-headed and out of caution just decide to steer clear?

Stay cool and remember your goal, which is to get more bookings. Our standard response to a bad review goes something like this:

We hate to hear about this situation. We do everything we can to ensure our guests have a positive experience, and what we read above doesn’t meet that standard. We have addressed [NAME THE ISSUE THE GUEST RAISED] and will do our best to see that any future guests have a positive experience.

Reviews—and responses to reviews—are no different than every other action you take with Airbnb: They should be written with your end customer in mind.

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Have you ever dealt with bad reviews from your Airbnb customers? How did you respond?

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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.