Airbnb Bad Review? How to handle the situation step-by-step

Hello, again! Are you ready for another episode of the BnB Stories Series? 🤩

In the last episode, we spoke about how wrong it is to wait until the last moment to start promoting your properties. What happens though when you got all the bookings you wished for, but some  ⅕ star ratings pop up on your page?

You probably never thought this could happen. You’ve maintained everything perfectly and provided an unparalleled experience for your valued guests.

Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time before things are bound to go wrong.

No matter the circumstances of how the bad reviews came to be, it’s essential to learn how to deal with this inevitable event.

In this week’s episode, we’ll walk you through exactly what to do when you’re faced with a bad review.

1. Don’t take it personally

The main thing to remember is the fact that bad reviews are not a direct reflection of who you are as a person. A lot of hosts tend to take reviews personally, getting defensive instead of staying professional, and it shows in your written reply.

Take your time to read a bad review several times over, analyzing each point and using it as a learning experience to improve your home and hosting techniques.

Pro tip: Turn bad reviews around by not focussing on what went wrong, but looking at what you can change to win back a 5-star review.

2. Cool down, take a breath, and don’t act impulsively

We know the first thing you want to do when you read a bad review is roll up your sleeves, make a defensive argument, and type out your rage.

It doesn’t take much to know this will just make things worse.

Let’s say you think a review is ridiculous. You put a lot of effort into making those guests feel at home, maybe even spending money perfecting the house. Perhaps, the bad review has taken you completely by surprise.

That’s fine. Take a moment to read the review, think about what went wrong, and wait before replying.

Wait it out – for example, Airbnb gives you 14 days to reply. Take a breath and formulate a professional response once you are calm.

Pro tip: Just because Airbnb allows 14 days to reply, for example,  doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute to reply. Late replies may make guests feel neglected. Instead, wait a few days and then reply.

3. Talk it out

A lot of bad reviews are a direct result of miscommunication or a simple misunderstanding. We recommend calling the guest to figure out where it went wrong. Take time to let them know you’ll be working on their suggestions and thank them for their feedback.

This approach is more professional, giving a personal spin to the entire ordeal. It doesn’t guarantee, however, that the guest will remove the review, so don’t expect it.

This step is to help you figure out exactly how to improve the experience for future guests and to analyze where guests are misunderstanding your property description, for example.

4. Apologize – no matter what

Hosting is a business and everyone knows that, like any other enterprise, the customer is always right. It doesn’t matter if the review is unfair or unreasonable. Let the customer know that you are genuinely sorry for the bad experience and are working to improve the situation.

This will show other guests you are working ‘with’ them, not against them, and that you take complaints seriously. It will certainly improve your reputation as a host and decrease the blow of a negative review.

Trust us – there is no other way around it. Don’t over-apologize, but show the guests respect and gratitude.

Pro tip: Start with an apology and end it with how you’re working to improve the situation.

Example: “Sincere apologies that (insert what they said here), but I have now (insert how you have improved here).”

If it’s something you can’t fix, like the walls being too thin, or the neighborhood being too noisy, try and turn it to your advantage. If the neighborhood is too noisy, for example, maybe you’re in a central location so try an apology like:

“I apologize if you found the neighborhood too noisy and you didn’t sleep well. Unfortunately, this situation is unavoidable due to the convenient central location of the apartment.”

5. Be professional

Remember, the reviews and your replies to these reviews appear on your page permanently. Always be respectful and don’t let the ordeal get out of hand because of a moment of anger. A hostile or rude reply will make the bad review worse – no guest wants to book a rude host. Stay calm and write down the facts as impartially as possible. Try to address any good things at the beginning of your reply.

6. Address the issue and how you’re working on it

Don’t stop at “I’m sorry.”
All guests want to know how the situation was handled. Future guests won’t really be interested in reading your apology, but they’ll be interested to know if the issue has been solved or not.

7. End on a positive note.

A simple “Thank you for taking the time to shed light on these issues” or “Thank you for your feedback” or “I appreciate your feedback, it really helps me improve as a host” goes a long way.

It’s not the end of the world

A negative review is inevitable the longer you’re in business. Relax, take a deep breath, and know it’s not the end of the world. How you deal with a bad review is what will differentiate you from other hosts.

We know it can feel a little too personal at times, and that it’s not the best experience to go through.

Take it as a learning experience by working on avoiding a repeat performance. Handle adversity with style!

Catch up with us in the next episode of BnB Stories Series for more bnb tips for hosts and property managers. As an experienced channel manager we want to share our knowledge with you and provide you the best tools to make you shine in the vacation rental kingdom!

See ya 😎

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