So you got a bad review. You never thought the day would come. After all, your hosting is unparalleled. But even the perfect host can’t please everyone. As bookings start to pile up, and more and more guests stay at your listing, it’s only a matter of time before something goes wrong. Maybe a situation arose in your life that prevented you from attending to your guest’s needs or answering questions. Or, maybe your guest just had a bad vacation and has decided to take it out on your listing. No matter the circumstances, seeing that 1/5 stars pop up on your page can feel like a full-handed slap on a cold morning. Still, it’s important to handle the news as cool and as calmly as possible. Even if you feel like kicking, screaming, and sending hate mail, do these things instead:
1. Talk it Out. You should do this as soon as you notice problems. If you are busy or unable to help, explain the situation to your guests so that they don’t feel intentionally neglected. If a bad review eventually comes in, directly contact your guest and figure out exactly what went wrong, you’ll be surprised how often a bad experience can be the result of a simple misunderstanding.
2. Apologize (no matter what). Remember that, even though it may not feel like it, hosting is a business. And like any other business, you need to internalize the phrase, “the customer is always right”. Even if you think your guest’s review is unfair, apologize privately. Let them know you feel genuine remorse for their bad experience, and do everything you can to make amends. Do show understanding for their complaints, but don’t be afraid to also defend yourself as a host!
3. Write a response. If you feel like the review is bad enough, apologize publicly in a response to the review on your page. Explain exactly what went wrong, and assure other customers that this was absolutely an isolated incident.
4. Be Professional. Take the high road. Keep in mind the comments on your page are permanent. You may have criticisms to make of your guest’s behavior, but don’t let a verbal disagreement get out of hand in the heat of the moment. A hostile response will turn off other potential guests, and tarnish your reputation as a host forever.
5. Acknowledge Fault. Make something good out of a bad situation. Take your guest’s negative comments to heart, and use them to improve your listing for the future. Hey, if someone doesn’t like your drapes, they don’t like your drapes. Don’t take it personally, a little redecorating never hurt anybody.
6. Review your guest. If you receive a bad review that you feel lacks precedent or is particularly irrational, keep in mind that reviews on Airbnb are a two-way street. If you have complaints of your own, you can leave a review of your guest 24 hours after checkout from Edit Profile > Reviews > Reviews By You. Reviews are limited to a short 500 words and must abide by the review guidelines.
7. Avoid it! Prevention is always the best medicine. Good communication is the tried and tested way to avoid guest dissatisfaction. Guesty can help too! If you’re out of reach or unsure how to handle a guest’s problem, get in touch with us and we’ll take care of it. We reach out to guests during their stay and do everything we can to keep that review a 5/5.
If you’re interested in learning more about property management and discovering the many ways Guesty's platform can help your business, we invite you to a free one-on-one session with one of our experts.