A Guide for Property Investors to Handle Bad Guest Reviews

“Reviews are everywhere, and short-term rental platforms are no exception…

When the host and guest leave a review after each rental, it’s more than just exchanging feelings. Your reviews can have a huge impact on your property including both the rates you can charge and your ability to rent out your space at all.

Why A Bad Guest Review Can Be Detrimental

Airbnb, like many other short-term rental channels, is a unique setup in that it requires its users to trust the unknown. Unlike a hotel where guests can expect at least some consistency between each location within a brand, each Airbnb home is run by a separate owner. The furnishings, maintenance, appearance, and added comforts are entirely up to the whims of the individual owners.

Some owners take great pride in what they do and treat their guests as they would traveling family members. Some are just trying to make a quick buck and offer an experience that may be worse than a sketchy hotel. And of course, there’s a whole spectrum of owners in between.

Guests simply never know what they’re getting until they get there. The photos might be real, they might be misleadingly staged, or they might be completely fake. The same thing goes for the description where a great home’s description might have been written by a modest owner while a terrible home might have an exaggerated, salesy description.

At the end of the day, the review is the only thing that lets guests know if past guests got what they were expecting or whether they were pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised. If you receive a bad review, guests may be unwilling to take a chance on your property.

Why You May Get Bad Guest Reviews

Bad reviews may come in all shapes and sizes. Some may be your fault such as not fixing that old A/C or not stopping in to check that your home was in good shape between guests. Others may be outside of your control, such as a power outage or your neighbours blaring music at 3 a.m. And some guests are just picky, looking for an excuse to scam their way to a refund, or just downright mean.

How To Avoid Getting Bad Guest Reviews

Even though you can’t always control why you get a bad review, you can decrease your chances of getting one.

The first step is by being proactive to prevent problems. Let guests know how to get in touch with you or someone else who can quickly respond if they have any trouble. You may also want to check in shortly after they arrive to make sure everything’s OK.

If they do have a problem, treat them how you would like to be treated. Quickly respond to any maintenance issues. For uncontrollable issues, such as the apartment complex pool suddenly closing, strongly consider offering some sort of discount or compensation just like you would receive at a hotel. In some cases, quickly responding to something bad happening can not only avoid the bad review but also turn into a glowingly positive review about how responsive you were.

What To Do If You Get Bad Guest Reviews

If you get a bad review, that’s OK. It’s how you respond that matters.

If there was a real problem, such as the heat going out in the middle of the winter, start out with an apology. Then include what you did for the guest at the time, such as refunding a night, and what you did to prevent future problems, such as replacing your furnace. That guest may still not come back, but others will see that you’ve addressed the issue.

When the review is unreasonable, don’t waste your time. Other guests can tell when a reviewer is being obnoxious, and getting into an argument will only make you look bad.

In some cases, you might find that you can’t be as responsive as you want or that providing a five-star experience will take more than you thought it would. If so, MaisonNets can provide a tailored and stress-free property management solution.”