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Why You Should Respond To Every Single Airbnb Guest Review

Why You Should Respond To Every Single Airbnb Guest Review

Responding to Airbnb reviews

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

Airbnb guest review example: Responding to positive Airbnb reviews

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?

airbnb guest review

This is how I feel about only responding to negative reviews

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.

respond to airbnb guest review

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

Responding to negative Airbnb reviews

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:

 

responding to airbnb guest reviews

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.

Another example.

negative airbnb guest review

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.

Last one.

negative airbnb guest reviews

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.

How to bury a bad review

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.

Automating Airbnb Guest Reviews

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.

28 Comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    Hi Jasper! I can’t find any place to respond to my reviews. I only see a “Report” button. What am I missing? Can you tell me where to look? Thanks! Jennifer

    • Jasper says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      To respond to a review:

      1) Go to Edit Profile on airbnb.com.
      2) Click Reviews.
      3) Select Reviews About You.
      4) Find the review you’d like to respond to and click Leave a Response.

      Please note that there’s a time window for responding to reviews, I think it’s two weeks.

      See also: http://www.wikihow.com/Reply-to-an-Airbnb-Review

  2. zehra says:

    hi, my guest left me review and i don’t want to write before i see his review. When the 14 days are over will i be able to see his review and answer or do i loose the chance to answer at that time? Because now it doesn’t make any sense to write anything because i cannot see what he wrote?

    • Jasper says:

      Hi Zehra, you won’t be able to see your guest’s review until the 14 day period is over or after you’ve left your review. This is to prevent “retaliation” reviews, i.e. people leaving a review based on the counterparty’s review and not the actual experience. Does that make sense?

  3. Mea says:

    My ranking was 5.0 until now. Then I got this review and got shocked. What would you answer? Thank you!
    My friend and I (both females) decided to go to Umag last minute, and we found that the only available place for that night was Ana’s. She was very nice and very responsive. After I’ve completed the payment, she notified me that she is away and that her boyfriend will be at the apartment at the time of our stay. We felt slightly uncomfortable sharing an apartment with a male, but it was only for one night, so we didn’t make a fuss about it.
    Her boyfriend Jan came to get us because the GPS system wouldn’t take us all the way to the address and he seemed very nice and compliant. When we got to the apartment, we noticed it’s a roof apartment, it was super hot and there was no AC, the room has one tiny window and there is no wifi (we should’ve checked that prior to completing our booking).
    Jan gave us quite a few advices about what beach to go to, where to eat and where to party, however, later on in the evening when we were getting ready to go out, we felt pried upon. It was very uncomfortable being in the same apartment with him, he kept calling us to join him in the kitchen and drink with him, he kept asking my friend if he could help her blowdry her hair and kept offering her drinks while I was in the shower. When we were in the room getting ready, he sent her a message to come to the kitchen and finish her drink, it was very annoying and it was invading our privacy. Once we got ready, he kept offering to drives to the club, after we’ve already clearly declined at least 3 times. He then asked to take a picture with us, so he could send it to his girlfriend. Whether he really sent it to her or not, I don’t know, but the situation was uncomfortable.
    Other than that, the apartment was clean, the room is small and has a tiny roof window, there’s not much air getting in and when you wake up in the morning during summer, it’s extremely hot. However, the apartment is centrally located and very close to the beach and a lot of restaurants and supermarkets.
    In my opinion, the price is way to expensive for the value. I wouldn’t consider staying here again.

    • Jasper says:

      Hi Mea, I recommend you leave an honest review for your host.

    • Jessi says:

      As an Airbnb host I would never list a room where the temperature could not be adjusted. The room we have does not have air conditioning (because it never gets that hot) but has a large window and a fan. You should be very specific about the conditions in your room.

      In the future you should probably put in your listing that you and your partner live there and it may be only him sometimes. I think the most important thing is to address the issue with your boyfriend and hopefully he understands how he could do better next time. Many times, it is my husband meeting with guests and I have reiterated that this is a business, and we should act like we are running a business with the friendliness of inviting others into our homes.

      It does sound like your boyfriend may need to read up on accepting boundaries and understand that no means no, and that at that point he needs to step back and let them know that the offer is still open if they change their minds but do not offer again. Guests are usually in town to do their own thing, not hang out with the employees/owners of the hotel. Be available for them, but do not bother them unless it is very important. If I were a guest at your place and that happened to me I would probably try to cancel my stay, find a new place to stay, confront your boyfriend on his behaviour if I were able to safely escape, and if he didn’t understand that his behaviour was inappropriate I may have called the police to report him.

      For a review I would suggest you thank them for staying, apologize for your boyfriend’s over-friendly and inappropriate behaviour, let them know the issue will be addressed, tell them you will put the details of the small window, that the room gets hot, that there is currently no air-conditioning, that it is on the top floor etc., offer them a discount next time they stay (they will probably not take you up on it but you should offer it anyway), and let them know you will put in a fan (or two) or air-conditioner. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do except never let your boyfriend host again. From my point of view I would never want to stay at your house and risk these advancements from your partner. I’m sorry this happened to you and your guests.

  4. Helen says:

    Hi Jasper!
    If you have got a review and write a comment can your guest then replay to that comment og is the communication closed at that time?

  5. Sarah says:

    This is the review I received from my latest guest. This is not even a review?

    “The RV is inside a compound with high fences and a heavy gate.”

    I rent out my RV, and my yard has a wood fence and a yes it has a gate. Im a little hurt that he would call my house a compound ! I hope this doesn’t scare other guests away.

    Plus the whole time he and his family stayed, they seemed happy and never texted me or said that anything was wrong..then in the private feedback they said the lights in the bathroom didn’t work the whole time. I clearly left my number to text or call if ANYTHING was wrong ??

    • Jasper says:

      Hi Sarah, some guests don’t really know what to write, specially if they are new to Airbnb. If you have a lot of other great reviews then I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Just focus on doing the best you can as a host and I’m sure you’ll have a lot of success.

  6. Steph McGee says:

    I actually received a negative review as a guest. I have lost sleep over howto reply, and I’m honestly appalled. Some of the things she says are false, and the other things are true/overdramatized, and have legitimate explanations that she could have privately discussed with me. I also found out she gave me a thumbs down (did not recommend me as a guest). How would you suggest responding to this?

    “Stephanie is also a host & her party were 9 people(5 children). The first night they were a little noisy, but that is to be expected with children. After check-out, I found a single pillow that was missing its case and messaged her to ask if they left it behind or if it was mine. She messaged me back and told me that her son had peed in it. The Pack & Play was put away in its carrier case in closet and I was only notified after I contacted her about the pillow. Additional clean of the Pack n Play was required. Additionally, the high chair was put away in closet but had food left on it. Dirty utensils were placed back in the drawer and there was an unknown stain on the carpet that was not mentioned. We asked for the furniture not to be moved, but upon my walk-through, I found the dining room table was moved 180 degrees. Communication with Stephanie was poor and/or delayed”

    • Jasper says:

      Hi Steph, I would stick to the facts in your response. Simply point out what is incorrect in your opinion, share your perspective and provide an explanation where needed. In any case, I would stay away from saying anything negative about the host, like calling him/her a lier etc.

  7. Hi Jennifer,
    Ive just had a guest leave after 3 days. She initially booked for only 1 adult but said she was looking forward to a weekend away with her friends.

    I brought it to her attention that she had only booked for 1 adult and asked how many were actually coming with her. IShe told me there would be 3 adults.
    My rates were very reasonable AU$120 per night for 2 adults. A 3rd adult would be an extra $50 per night.

    When she realised it would cost an extra $150 she said there would be only 2 adults coming.

    She put pressure on me for an early check in as they were going to a music fest and it started at 1pm. I offered 1pm (usually 2pm) but she pushed for 12.30pm. I had it ready for 12.30pm. Big effort. She didnt arrive until 1.45pm but did not have the courtesy to let me know they would be later than they planned. They didnt leave for the festival until 4pm. I know all this as they were very loud!

    I sent her a txt msg on the day of her arrival to ask that she park on the alternate parking area as I would be using the main driveway. I live in the rear of the property which is made very clear on the website when you read it.

    My young guest responded to my txt msg and was most put out saying she had paid for 3 days and thought she had the property to herself. She didnt realise I live on the property at the rear. My guests have their own private space and entry. I dont often even see them unless they like to interact.

    She arrived with 2 friends. 3 guests in all. I asked if the 3rd friend was now staying as they hadnt let me know prior to their stay so I could amend their booking. They told me the 3rd girl was staying elsewhere but couldnt check in until 3pm and would it be ok for her to stay with them at my cottage until then. I said no problem.

    In short they all stayed. On day 2 when I approached them as they were going out, they admitted there were 3 of them and said that they would pay the extra $150.

    This morning they left very quietly after a relatively noisy 3 days. I went to the cottage to say goodbye and hopefully be paid. They were gone and No money was offered.

    Airbnb have the whole trail of emails and contacts from me as I alerted them the moment the girls arrived. So they are well aware of the deception.

    It is in resolution and Airbnb are processing a payout to me of $100. Airbnb have contacted The guests who have paid nothing. They have admitted that they had an extra girl stay though.

    I have never written a negative review in all the 15 or so years that I have holiday let. I might even have let this go but They seemed so nice and I was very friendly towards them. Only saw them twice briefly. I am horrified that they smiled at me and openly lied to my face. This alone prompts me to give an honest but negative review. I just dont know how to word it or what to say. They left the cottage in a reasonable tidy condition. I dont think they were bad kids (20-25yrs old) but deception and dishonesty is unacceptable.

    I look forward to your thoughts on this.

    Regards
    Isobel

    • Lisa W says:

      Hi Isobel,
      Wouldn’t it be reasonable to say exactly what you thought? Your review is meant to warn other hosts about exactly such a situation. You would certainly want us to do the same for you. It sounds as though the girls were pleasant and friendly, though a bit noisy at times. They left the cottage in good condition and would be welcome back but for one problem. The girls were dishonest about the number of guests, and tried to sneak in a third girl without paying for her, despite numerous attempts on your part to collect the appropriate fee, which then had to be resolved with AirBNB. As a result of this dishonesty, I would really not recommend that other hosts trust them. That would probably be the core of a review I would leave.

  8. Angelo says:

    Hi, if you have got a review and write a comment (as a reply to the reviw) does your guest get a notification that you commented on their review?

    (this way they know that i replied, but witouth me communicating to them that I had replied, …this way we don’t cause a snawball effect…if they left a bad review and I answer “straightforward”….).

    • Jasper says:

      No I don’t think the guest gets a notification of your response. They do get a response when you write them a review though. In any case after you have responded, there’s no other option for the guest to respond to your response, so I wouldn’t worry about.

  9. Ellie says:

    Hi! I had a couple stay in my guest house for three nights. The heater started acting up when they were there and three times during their visit we had to go and get it started again. We were very apologetic and responded immediately (had it going again within five minutes of their text to us) We share a driveway parking area and we moved our car twice so they could park in the spot. I left a glowing review for them for their understanding with the heater and that they left the place tidy. During their stay I reached out twice to see how things are going, ask if they are enjoying their stay and let me know if they need anything, they never resoonded. I was shocked when they left a bad review complaining about the heater, parking and that the window coverings weren’t private enough. And two stars to boot 🙁 I only started doing Airbnb and have nine other glowing reviews from our nine guests thus far. But this negative review on our listing scares me about future bookings. How should I respond? I wish I could change my review of them to warn future hosts.

    • Jasper says:

      Hi Ellie,

      sorry to hear about this experience. When you write your response, remember that you are writing it to your future guests, not to your past guest. So how do you speak to them? Focus on the solutions that you will implement in order to prevent these issues in the future. Don’t get into an argument with your past guest, that doesn’t serve you. Also, regarding the parking, make sure that guests know what to expect. These guests probably expected the parking spot to be exclusively for them.

      Best,
      Jasper

  10. Lory says:

    HI! What if someone complained about outside noise (like from the street), and about a “Party” next door, but never reached out to you to help, or we have ever received complaints from that unit that it is noisy…..what is the best way to respond? I wanted to say something along the lines of, I wish I was notified so I could have assisted at the moment?

    • Jasper says:

      Yeah you could say that, I would start with something along the lines of ¨Sorry to hear about the noise, I wish I was notified…..¨ Then I´d focus on how to prevent this in the future, i.e. providing ear plugs or speaking to the neighbours about it. Remember, you write the response for future guests, not for the guest who wrote the review.

  11. Jodi says:

    Hi Jasper,
    My 4th review wasn’t necessarily a bad review but I’m not sure how to to reply. We have a tiny home, as it indicates in the listing with many pictures trying to show that it’s tiny. This is his review: “Overall a great value but a bit too small especially the bathroom. Beach is very close.”
    Please let me know how to proceed with my response other than just saying, “thanks, I appreciate your feedback”.

    • Jasper says:

      Hi Jodi, in this particular case, I don’t think you need to write more than “Thank you for sharing your thoughts” because the issue that the guest raises is something you can’t do anything about. The only other thing to add is that it’s very clear from the photos and listing description that your place is small, but although you’re right, you’re not gaining anything by writing that. (Remember, you’re speaking to your future guests, not your past guest).

  12. This is a brilliant article with gold dust information. The comments and replies were equally a valuable to us as relatively new Airbnb hosts.
    Thank you very much.
    Karl and Maggs,
    Church House,
    Wexford Town

  13. Mimi says:

    Hi Jasper,
    I am not highly experienced with airbnb but am currently on a trip where all of my stays have been booked with airbnb.
    I booked for 2 people some time ago but then another member of my family wanted to come and I had to update all my bookings to find a way to accommodate the other person for our trip. Each time I contacted the host for advice on making an extra booking or updating the persons per room. In one case where the room was too small to accommodate 3 people the host advised me on booking one of their other rooms. I searched for the other rooms as per the hosts advice and noticed that the price seemed quite a bit higher to what I expected based on my other booking. Two other rooms were available and I booked one. A day later I logged back in to check the price as I was confused about why it was so high and the remaining unbooked room had reduced in price for the period that I was staying. So, I assumed that the host had intentionally been price gouging.
    I wrote a review stating that I thought this had happened and the host responded that it was smart pricing. As I have booked 2 rooms I still have a review left to write. Wondering what I should say in that review. Any thoughts?

    • Jasper says:

      Hi Mimi,

      this could very well be the case, a lot of Airbnb hosts use smart pricing software to automatically set their prices. Prices can vary from day to day, depending on various demand factors. I wouldn’t leave a host a bad review for this.

      Best,
      Jasper

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