The Airbnb review that broke me!

Airbnb Reviews

I have a small obsession with giving trip advisor reviews. I mostly review food and beverage venues because I have two pet hates – no regard for vegetarians and not being child friendly. Now I get it, if the venue is fancy and aimed at couples without children I’m not bringing mine and I won’t comment on child friendliness – but – if your venue is open during the day and has outside areas, then kids are going to come and I think it’s in everyone’s interests to cater for the parent who has to juggle trying to feed themselves and a child…. Don’t get me started on a vego rant, we’d be here all day. I used to say – ‘review the shit out of it’, but having been on the receiving end of reviews I am now less enthusiastic.

What I know is that reviews matter – a lot. I know this because the first negative review I received nearly had me packing up our property and going back to long term tenancies. We had put our heart and soul into setting up our first property; wheeling and dealing while buying second hand furniture; trying to make sure it looked great on a budget; doing it in a timely manner so we didn’t lose money; then creating a great listing with sexy photos.

Then, someone comes in and gives you an assessment …. and it feels personal. It’s like they have gone over your property with a fine-toothed comb (as though it’s your child) and felt compelled to point out all your minor faults, refuse to see your strengths and have complete disregard for the effort and energy you have invested (outrageous). My first review nearly sent me over the edge of ‘Airbnb hosting’ with no return.

But I recovered, I stuck around, and I learnt a few things. Here are my 6 tips for responding to negative reviews:

  1. Don’t respond immediately. You’re probably feeing emotional and just want to yell, cry or both, at the guests. Take time to calm down, reflect and respond in a less emotional manner. I suggest the next day is best.
  2. Only respond to the issues raised by the guest – don’t raise other topics and don’t list off all the things they did wrong.
  3. Future guests will assess you on how fair you have been in your response to the review. Be fair.
  4. Future guests understand that you can’t always satisfy everyone and that some people are picky and will never be pleased. They will look past negative reviews if you respond in a balanced manner.
  5. Don’t ignore negative reviews. Guests want to know that what they say matters and you are responsive.
  6. Respond to all your reviews, positive and negative. This will help the negative ones stand out less. They will blend in to all the reviews and responses you give. When you need to respond to a negative review it will just be a normal part of your practice.

Meredith is the Co-founder of Custom Bnb Hosting – a First Class  AirBnb Property Management Company.