Airbnb gives their hosts the option to respond to every single Airbnb guest review. You should always take this opportunity, and here's why.
If you've been hosting on Airbnb for a while, you've probably noticed (by the amount of questions you get from your guests) that guests tend to not read the description of your Airbnb listing, even after they've booked. The attention span of an internet user is very short these days. There are two places on your listing where your potential guests will certainly look: your photos and your Airbnb guest reviews.
Your review section is prime real estate on your Airbnb listing. As much as you can aim to deliver a stellar guest experience, you can't control what your guests will write in the reviews. What you can control however, is how you respond to these reviews.
Responding to reviews is one of the lowest hanging fruits when it comes to improving your Airbnb listing. It literally takes less than a minute to respond to a review, but it significantly improves the perception that your potential guests will have of you. That is, if you respond in a good way. Here are some Airbnb guest review examples to get you on the right path.Download the list of my 6 favorite MIRACLE Airbnb tools
I see it all the time, hosts who only respond to reviews that have negative feedback. I'm not going to sugar coat it: double face palm. No, make that a triple. Think about it. Your guest, who is under no obligation to write you a review, nor does he or she have the guarantee of getting any benefit from it, takes the time to write you a positive review that helps you tremendously. And you don't have one minute to respond and say thank you?
Please, respond to all reviews, also the positive ones! The question I get a lot is, what should I say? A simple thank you is already half the battle won. But while you're at it, you may as well write a little bit more. Don't overdo it though, you don't want to come across as a person who doesn't have a life and spend all day writing responses to reviews.
So what's a good middle ground? Here's an example of a positive review that I responded to recently.
In case you wonder who Sandra is, that's the lovely lady who manages my listing while I sip on cocktails in remote beaches in exotic location all around the world.Download the list of my 6 favorite MIRACLE Airbnb tools
So that was easy right. Now we're getting into more interesting territory. Hopefully, you'll never be in this situation, but if you ever are, this is how you deal with it: W A I T. Cool down, I know you're mad and the feedback is completely unreasonable, but don't write an angry defensive response? Ever heard of the expression “win the battle lose the war?” Exactly.
After the emotions have settled down, realize that whatever the guest complained about is just their opinion, don't take it personally. Don't be defensive about it, don't argue, simply address the concern and stick to the facts. Here's a negative guest review example:
When I got this review my thoughts were somewhere along the lines of: “Ok, so I've hosted over 200 groups of guests and no-one has every had a problem opening my door. This guy gets home late at night in Amsterdam, and doesn't manage to open the door. Hmm, I wonder why. He either was too drunk to find the keyhole or so high on mushrooms that he tried to stick it in the wrong way around.”
After the mandatory 24-hour cool-down period, I reverted to the correct strategy:
(1) thank the guest for the feedback
(2) stick to the facts
(3) address the concern.
And yes, I did go ahead an replace the lock. A new lock cost less than a one night stay at my apartment, so I figured it was worth it to prevent other guests from possibly having the same issue.
This one was easy. Putting up a few extra hooks is no big deal obviously. Most of the time guests won't mention minor issues like this in public reviews, they usually use the private feedback section, as they don't want to make you look bad.
I actually prefer they use the public section, because (1) minor issues don't deter bookings and (2) I get the chance to show that I'm a cool host and address the concern properly. That should give future guests some confidence that I'll help them out in case they have any issues.
Ok I get it, American dude expects everything to be as in the US. The feedback is helpful though, as I get a lot of guests from overseas, so a thank-you is appropriate and I adjusted my listing accordingly.
If you get a bad Airbnb guest review and you think it's going to prevent future guests from booking your space, you don't want it to be displayed on your listing page. Airbnb only displays the seven most recent reviews, the older ones move to sub-pages two, three, four etc. Most users won't look at these.
You can try to contact Airbnb and ask them to have the review removed. They will only delete it if the review violates their content policy. Or if you're lucky. If they don't delete it, your next best option is to “bury” it.
In order to “bury” your bad review, you want to get seven new reviews as quickly as possible. You could change your pricing to encourage guests to book shorter stays by lowering your cleaning fee. Or you could add last-minute discounts to attract bookings in the short term. If you have any calendar gaps in the next few weeks, you want to significantly reduce the prices for those nights.
Make sure to add long responses to the next couple reviews that you receive. This will push the bad review down on the listing page, thereby reducing the chance that it gets seen.
Another thing you can do is use tools like Smartbnb to automate guest reviews. You can set a template to automatically reply to all of your guest reviews. And if you want to leave a negative one, you can set it up so that it will leave the negative review 20 seconds before the review window closes, so the guest won't have time to retaliate.
Learn more about it at my detailed Smartbnb review.