“I got a bad review on Airbnb as a guest.” That negative review by your host is probably unfair but you can have it retracted or dealt with.
Perhaps, you have been a good guest, never thought this day would come, and you believe your Airbnb adventure is unparalleled. Unfortunately, even the perfect guest can’t please all Airbnb hosts.
It is always a matter of time before a guest receives a bad review, especially if you frequently short-stay with a short-term rental like Airbnb. Your unruly host believes you did not meet their requirements, even though you were well-mannered and cultured, so they decided to take it out on you.
But irrespective of the circumstances, that 1 or 2-star rating on your page should not feel like a cheek slap on a cold morning. You want to handle the news calmly, though you feel like dropping a sledgehammer on the host for being so unthoughtful, or perhaps, insensitive.
I got a bad review on Airbnb as a guest—what to do
The truth is that even if it is too late to have the rating removed, you can always get out of this situation. Do the following if you received a bad review from your Airbnb host:
Talk it out
Talk the problem out immediately after you notice problems. If you are too busy to help the situation, get in touch with your host and explain the situation to prevent them from feeling intentionally neglected.
If a bad review has been made already, directly contact your host and figure out what went wrong. You would be surprised that the root of the bad review is a result of a simple misunderstanding you could both reconcile.
Apologize to your host
Even though you may not feel at fault, Airbnb guesting is probably a rental you would want to use again for a roof over your head.
This is not the right time to internalize the saying that “the customer is always right”. Your Airbnb host knows this but they could be the “Mr. Right” this time around.
Even if the review is unfair, apologize to your host privately. The host should know that you feel genuine remorse for any bad experience or inconvenience.
Try to make amends within your power and show understanding of the host’s complaints. Nonetheless, do not fail to defend yourself over untrue comments.
Ask the host to change their review
Airbnb limits the ability of both hosts and guests to edit reviews after writing them to encourage honest and impartial reviews on the platform.
If your host submitted their review first, they can edit it anytime within the 14 days of the review period until you submit your own review.
After you and the host have submitted or the 14-day review period has ended (or both), Airbnb automatically publishes both reviews, which can no longer be edited or changed.
Your host can edit their bad review by going to Profile » Reviews » Select Reviews by you and then tap and edit the bad review about your stay.
Write an honest public response
If your host’s bad review has exceeded 14 days and can no longer be edited, apologize publicly in response to the review.
Try to honestly explain what went wrong, and assure other hosts it was “absolutely an isolated incident”.
An Airbnb guest can post a public response to a review left within 30 days after the review was submitted (not published). You can’t remove the review but you can report your host’s review to Airbnb if you think it violates Airbnb’s Review Policy.
If it does not violate Airbnb’s policy, respond to it with more context or provide your own perspective, as long as you also follow the policy.
Be professional in your public response
You want to be professional when responding to your host’s bad review, having in mind that Airbnb comments on your page are permanent.
Though you may have criticisms to make of your host’s behavior, make sure your disagreement does not get out of hand. Any hostile response you make can prevent other potential hosts from accepting your booking, and tarnish your reputation as an Airbnb guest.
You could simply write:
I’m sorry [Mr./Mrs. Host] did not take my feedback well. It was meant to help and not hurt. For the most part, I had a fine stay at his/her Airbnb apartment and would recommend it to future guests. I believe I was a good guest. Note that [Mr./Mrs. Host] did not say I was a bad guest, but simply disliked my feedback.
You can finish off the public response by saying “I hope other hosts will give me a chance”. Any prospective host seeing this response in the future would definitely accept your Airbnb booking.
As mentioned above, finishing off your public response by acknowledging fault encourages potential hosts to admit you in the future.
The idea is to make something good out of a bad situation. Use your host’s bad review to enhance your profile for the future. Besides, hosts use a bad review as a weapon against some guests.
Avoiding bad reviews from future Airbnb hosts
Although good communication is important to avoid host dissatisfaction, prevention is the best. Do the following to stay off hosts that will give a bad review:
Book with a private host
Some commercial hosts do not care to personally inspect the property after you leave. They typically send cleaners who probably give untrue feedback about your stay, forcing the management to review your profile based on hearsay.
Perhaps, you should book with a private host instead of a management company next time. Some hosts have self-contained units if you are not comfortable in a shared setting. Private hosts are also able to verify the house in person, ensuring that your check-in and check-out are okay.
Do not leave critical feedback in private message
Sometimes, a host leaves you a bad review thinking that you would also be leaving them a bad review after an unresolved misunderstanding. Remember that Airbnb does not also show hosts or guests’ reviews until both parties submit theirs.
Nonetheless, it is not fair for a host to leave you a bad review for fear that you would leave them a bad review if you respected the house rules.
Do not time leave your critical feedback in private messages to hosts. Instead, use the Private Feedback field for that review so that your host can read your private feedback only after publishing their review.
You can find the private feedback on the review page where you leave your feedback. You should be able to access it after checking out. Airbnb will send a notification email that you can now leave feedback.
Follow the house rules
Make sure you follow the house rules such as no smoking, no pets, no loud parties, etc. You do not want neighbors to report your stay to your host. Moreover, most hosts will do anything to please neighbors to prevent them from shutting down their Airbnb.
If you signed a contract with your host, follow the contract terms and conditions. Note that you can request a host to cancel your booking if they did not reveal the contract policies to you before the booking. Airbnb can’t also help a host enforce certain policies in the contract though.