So, you’ve been an Airbnb host for awhile now, and you’ve received great reviews, have an ideal location, and an impeccable space. You’ve welcomed yet another guest, which you thought went well, but after the guest checks out, you end up receiving a negative review.
Even with the best efforts, nobody is perfect—neither hosts or guests—and after hosting for awhile, you’ll likely face a negative review. There literally are thousands of reasons guests leave Airbnb hosts negative reviews—not all of which are within your control. So before you panic and have a hasty response to the feedback, let’s take a quick look at what you can do to improve your Airbnb rating.
How the Airbnb review system works
When the Airbnb team created their review system, they wanted to develop a solution that would hold guests and hosts accountable for their actions. That’s they provided a two-way rating system where guests could rate hosts and vice versa. This ensured guests and hosts were held accountable for their actions.
You’ve probably heard the mechanics of the Airbnb rating system before. After a stay, Airbnb sends the guest and host a notice that they can leave a review regarding their stay. In order to keep the feedback honest, reviews are visible only after both the guest and host write a review, or after 14 days.
That’s not the only way Airbnb works to encourage constructive feedback. They also enable Airbnb hosts and guests to see what they’ve written in previous reviews. As an Airbnb host, this enables you to get an idea of if an Airbnb guest is high maintenance or if they have reasonable expectations.
Before you respond to a negative Airbnb review…
Remember to never take guest feedback personally. When you receive the feedback, you should depersonalize the feedback and view it as a valuable point to becoming a better Airbnb host.
Before you start writing a reply, remember the 24 hour rule. It simply means that you can draft your review, but instead of sending it immediately, you hold off on sending for 24 hours. This provides you with time to cool off and ensure that you don’t send a message that you’ll regret later on.
Always end on a positive note
Saying something along the lines of, “Thank you for your feedback, I am always looking for ways to improve as a host, and this will help me do so,” reinforces the idea that you’re receptive to constructive feedback, and that you take being an Airbnb host seriously.
It also doesn’t hurt to apologize for your guest’s frustration. Although it’s tough, you need to remember that with any hospitality business, the guest is king. Remember that when someone travels, they spend a lot of time and effort planning for their trip and it’s extremely frustrating if it doesn’t go as planned.
When you’re writing your apology, rather than simply saying “I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy your stay,” find something you could’ve done differently and leverage that. For example, you can say, “I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your call right away,” or “I’m sorry the house wasn’t as clean as you expected.”
Remember, as mentioned earlier, nobody is perfect, and even the most experienced Airbnb hosts occasionally make mistakes. The ability to take feedback with stride, and use that information to improve later on, is what sets great Airbnb hosts apart from standard hosts.
Contact Airbnb support
Although Airbnb doesn’t just remove negative guest reviews because the host doesn’t agree with them, There are a few select situations where they will step in. For example, if a guest demands payment for a positive review, or if their feedback is excessively rude, those are grounds for the feedback being erased.
Like we said, situations like these are extremely rare, but if they occur, you can contact Airbnb and they’ll help sort things out.
Proactively avoiding negative Airbnb reviews
Aside from the public facing reviews, Airbnb also literally asks guests “What can the host improve?” This question often gets the guest to reflect on their stay and encourage them to leave suggestions that are private to the host.
You’ll want to pay close attention to the responses to that question. Are you finding that multiple guests are mentioning similar issues, such as a bed not being comfortable, or possible mold on the shower curtains? You’ll want to act on these tidbits of feedback as soon as possible in order to prevent them from getting out of hand.
Not all answers to this question have to be negative though. In many cases, guests will provide feedback in the form of feedback that can be used to enhance your space. You’ll still want to put some effort into incorporating these suggestions as they’ll enable you to stand apart from other Airbnb hosts.