As an Airbnb host, you can’t expect all guests to treat your property the way that you as the owner treat it. You can hope they respect your rental property, sure. But people are people. As much good faith as I like to place in people, I knew that we would eventually host an Airbnb guest who wouldn’t treat our property appropriately. So when that day finally came and I was faced with how to write a negative review for an Airbnb guest, I went through a range of emotions before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
What I’ve learned is that there are a few key elements to consider when writing a negative review for an Airbnb guest to ensure professionalism and honesty.
Don’t Write a Review in the Heat of the Moment
Whether you’ve dealt with a guest who broke your house rules or left your property a mess, it’s best to wait a few days before submitting an Airbnb review. As an Airbnb host, you want to sound as objective and professional as possible, while being honest. Leaving a guest review is not about revenge or calling a guest out. Instead, it’s about supporting the host community so that others are aware of the tendencies of the guest in the future.
You have 14 days after checkout to write a guest review for a trip. And the great news is reviews are double-blind, meaning they are only published once both guest and host post a review to encourage impartial and honest reviews. Once the 14-day window is up, you no longer have the chance to review—and at this point, any single-sided reviews will be public (if only one party chose to review).
So when crafting a negative review, you have time to cool off and really think about what you want to say and how you want to say it.
Related: 5 Tips for Airbnb Hosting with Kids
Do Lead Your Review with a Positive Quality
To avoid sounding catty or overly negative, it’s a good idea to begin your review with a positive quality about your guest. Were guests easy to communicate with? Friendly? Timely? Quiet? Followed house rules? Clean?
Pick a guest’s best quality and lead with that before jumping into the rest of your review. For example: David was friendly throughout his stay, but . . . Or: Janet was quiet and followed all the house rules, but . . .
Don’t Worry about Hurt Feelings
This is a hard one, but do your best not to worry about hurting a guest’s feelings. After all, you are not the one who earned the negative review. The key here is being concise and accurate in your review so that you are only delivering the facts. If a guest broke a house rule, they shouldn’t get hurt feelings about something they knowingly did.
Do Indicate Specific Details
So that your review is helpful for other hosts, be sure to include the details that earned a guest a negative review. In this way, other hosts can decide if it is worth hosting this guest or not. Maybe your guest was loud during quiet hours, but another host doesn’t have a problem with that. Or maybe your guest broke a piece of furniture, but another host would be glad to avoid a guest like that. The more details you can provide will make it easier for another host to decide if the guest is worth hosting.
Also, include the time frame of the guest stay. So if a guest booked a week at your Airbnb, include that in the review so that other hosts are aware. If a guest left 5 bags of trash in the kitchen, it makes more sense that they stayed a week rather than a short weekend at your Airbnb. Understanding the context of the negative review will help other hosts in their decision with this guest.
Don’t Worry about How the Review Will Affect Your Ranking
Whether you’re an Airbnb Superhost or are working toward that title, you can’t let your negative review of a guest worry you about your Airbnb’s success. There is a small chance your review will scare off future guests if they read it—but that would require digging through your past guest’s profiles to find the review you left. This would require some serious legwork from a potential guest. Most prospective guests are more concerned with the reviews that your guests have left you.
Don’t Opt Out of Leaving a Review—For the Sake of Other Hosts
I’ll admit, after my first bad guest, I was tempted to brush it off and not address the situation. I don’t enjoy conflict and would rather move on and put the past in the past. But I realized that doing this puts other hosts at a disadvantage. If I was another host, wouldn’t I appreciate a heads up about a guest who doesn’t follow house rules or treat my property well? If a guest’s behavior is substandard enough that you would not host them again, it’s critical that you leave a review for the sake of other hosts.
Here’s a look at my first negative Airbnb guest review, which I posted on the 12th day of the review window.
While [guest name] was easy to communicate with before his stay and he and his guests were quiet during their stay, I was disappointed in the way they treated the inside of the Airbnb property in the 48 hours they were there. I found a wall hanging that had fallen, a large scuff on the wall, food under the beds and a large dark stain on the sheets that could not be removed. I would have appreciated a heads up about these issues before I discovered them on my own.
Are you an Aibnb host? How do you handle negative guest reviews?