What to Do With a Bad Airbnb Review



Guest reviews play a pivotal role in the vacation rental industry, shaping the way potential guests perceive and choose their accommodations. These reviews are authentic reflections of past guests' experiences, providing valuable insights into the property, its amenities, and overall hospitality. In today's digital age, popular online booking platforms such as Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor have become go-to resources for travelers seeking to make informed decisions.

This comprehensive study delves into the realm of "What to Do with a Bad Airbnb Review," offering valuable insights and effective strategies for hosts to handle negative feedback like seasoned professionals.

One key aspect of pricing tools is their integration with popular booking platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO. For more information on how short-term rental tools work, please refer to the "Short-term rental pricing tools" section.


Definition and Characteristics of Bad Reviews

Bad Airbnb reviews refer to negative feedback or comments left by guests after their stay at a host's property. These reviews typically highlight the aspects of the rental experience that guests found unsatisfactory or disappointing. Bad reviews can vary in severity, ranging from minor complaints to more serious issues that significantly impact a host's reputation.

Characteristics of bad reviews may include criticism related to cleanliness, amenities, communication, accuracy of the listing description, location, noise levels, or the overall guest experience. It's important to note that bad reviews are an inevitable part of the short-term rental business, and even the best hosts may receive negative feedback occasionally.

Guests typically have specific expectations when booking a short-term rental, and any deviation from those expectations can lead to dissatisfaction. In some cases, guests may be more inclined to leave negative feedback due to unmet emotional needs or previous negative experiences. Negative reviews can also be influenced by the "negativity bias," where individuals tend to remember negative experiences more vividly than positive ones.

Common reasons for receiving negative feedback:

  • Cleanliness and maintenance. Guests expect clean and well-maintained accommodations. Issues with cleanliness, such as unclean linens, dusty surfaces, or unkempt bathrooms, are common reasons for bad reviews.
  • Communication. Effective communication is crucial in the hospitality industry. Guests may leave negative reviews if hosts are unresponsive, fail to address inquiries or concerns promptly, or provide misleading information.
  • Listing accuracy. Guests rely on the accuracy of the listing description to make informed booking decisions. Inaccurate descriptions, misleading photos, or discrepancies between the listing and the actual property can lead to dissatisfaction.
  • Amenities and facilities. Expectations regarding amenities can differ among guests. Issues with missing or non-functional amenities, such as Wi-Fi, air conditioning, or kitchen appliances, can result in negative reviews.
  • Location and noise. The location of the rental property can significantly impact a guest's experience. Noise disturbances, proximity to attractions or amenities, and access to public transportation may influence the overall guest satisfaction.


How Bad Reviews Affect Future Bookings and Revenue

Bad reviews can have a substantial impact on a host's future bookings and revenue. According to research, properties with an average rating below 4 stars out of 5 are 60% less likely to get booked compared to properties with higher ratings. Moreover, a study by TripAdvisor found that just a 1-star increase in a property's rating can lead to a 9% increase in bookings.

Negative reviews can also lead to a decrease in revenue. One study revealed that properties with negative reviews experienced a revenue drop of up to 35% compared to those with predominantly positive feedback.

The correlation between ratings and occupancy rates is evident in the short-term rental industry. Properties with higher ratings tend to experience higher occupancy rates throughout the year. For example, properties with an average rating of 4.5 or higher out of 5 are more likely to maintain an occupancy rate of over 70%.

On the other hand, properties with lower ratings often struggle to maintain high occupancy rates. Properties with an average rating below 4 may experience occupancy rates below 50%, resulting in lost revenue opportunities.


Influence of Review Responses on Guest Perception

How hosts respond to bad reviews can significantly influence guest perception. A study by Cornell University found that when hosts respond to negative reviews, the likelihood of a guest booking that property increases by 12%. Additionally, 84% of guests find review responses to be important when considering a property for their stay.

When responding to negative reviews, hosts should aim to resolve issues proactively. For example, offering a discount or refund to dissatisfied guests can help improve their perception of the property and increase the likelihood of future bookings.

However, it is essential to be cautious with review responses, as inappropriate or defensive replies can have a negative impact. A study by TrustYou revealed that 87% of guests were discouraged from booking a property when they saw aggressive or rude responses to reviews.


Strategies for Handling Bad Reviews on Online Booking Sites

When faced with a bad review on an online booking site, it is essential to approach it with a level-headed and objective mindset. Take the time to carefully read and analyze the review to determine its validity and whether it reflects any genuine issues with your vacation rental. Here are some steps to consider:

  • Analyze Specific Feedback: Look for specific issues mentioned by the guest, such as cleanliness, amenities, communication, or any other aspect of their stay that may have contributed to their dissatisfaction. Understanding the exact points of concern can help you address them effectively.
  • Compare with Other Reviews: Put the negative review into perspective by comparing it with other reviews you've received. If the majority of your guests have had positive experiences, the negative review may be an isolated incident.
  • Check for Patterns: Look for recurring themes or patterns in negative reviews. If multiple guests are mentioning the same issue, it may indicate a systemic problem that needs attention.

Crafting Professional and Constructive Responses to Negative Feedback

Responding to bad reviews in a professional and constructive manner is crucial for preserving your reputation and demonstrating your commitment to guest satisfaction. Here's how to formulate an effective response:

  1. Respond promptly. Address the negative review promptly to show potential guests that you are attentive to their concerns. Delayed responses may be perceived as indifference.
  2. Express empathy. Start your response by expressing empathy and understanding towards the guest's experience. Let them know that you value their feedback and take their concerns seriously.
  3. Acknowledge the issue. Take ownership of any mistakes or shortcomings and acknowledge the guest's concerns. Avoid getting defensive or making excuses, as this can further escalate the situation.
  4. Offer solutions or explanations. If possible, provide practical solutions to rectify the issue raised in the review. Alternatively, offer an explanation if there were extenuating circumstances that contributed to the problem.
  5. Invite further communication. Encourage the guest to reach out to you privately to discuss the matter further if needed. This shows that you are open to resolving any outstanding issues.


Response Template Table

Review Type

Response Template

Notes (Customization)


Dear [Guest Name],

Tailor the response to address specific cleanliness concerns.


We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you experienced regarding cleanliness.

Mention any steps taken to address the issue or offer a resolution.


Providing a clean and comfortable stay is our top priority, and we take your feedback seriously.

Keep the response professional and courteous.


Rest assured, we have taken immediate action to address this matter and have implemented

Avoid being defensive or confrontational in the response.


measures to ensure it doesn't happen again.



Dear [Guest Name],

Customize the response to address any communication issues.


Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We apologize for any miscommunication you encountered.

Mention any improvements made to communication channels.


Clear and prompt communication is essential to us, and we're committed to enhancing our

Show willingness to improve guest communication.


communication process for future guests.


Please be assured that we have taken your feedback seriously and will address the

Offer an apology and empathize with the guest's experience.


communication issues immediately.



Dear [Guest Name],

Tailor the response to address specific amenity-related concerns.


We apologize for any inconvenience you experienced regarding the amenities.

Mention any steps taken to improve or enhance amenities.


Providing a comfortable and enjoyable stay is our goal, and your feedback is valuable

Express gratitude for the feedback and commitment to improvement.


in helping us improve.

Avoid making promises that cannot be fulfilled.


We have taken your comments into consideration and will work towards addressing

Keep the response respectful and professional.


the amenities to ensure a better experience for future guests.



Leveraging Bad Reviews to Showcase Commitment to Guest Satisfaction

While bad reviews can be disheartening, they also provide an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to guest satisfaction and continuous improvement. Consider the following strategies:

  • In your responses, highlight any improvements or changes you have made based on previous guest feedback. This assures potential guests that you take their experiences seriously and actively work to enhance their stay.
  • Balance out the impact of bad reviews by sharing positive reviews from other satisfied guests. This can provide a more comprehensive picture of the overall quality of your vacation rental.
  • Proactively encourage guests to leave reviews after their stay, as having more reviews can dilute the impact of a few negative ones. Positive reviews can also reinforce your property's strengths and reassure potential guests.
  • Use bad reviews as learning opportunities to continuously improve your vacation rental. Take constructive criticism to heart and make necessary changes to enhance the guest experience.

Remember that receiving occasional negative feedback is a natural part of the vacation rental business. How you respond to these reviews and address guest concerns can significantly influence your property's reputation and ability to attract future guests. By handling bad reviews professionally and leveraging them as opportunities for growth, you can maintain a positive image and build trust with potential guests.


Turning Negative Reviews into Positive Outcomes

Turning negative reviews into positive outcomes involves taking actionable steps based on guest feedback. Here's how to implement changes and monitor improvements:

  • Address specific concerns. Identify the key areas of concern mentioned in negative reviews and devise solutions to address them. This may include enhancing cleanliness, improving amenities, or refining the check-in process.
  • Seek professional help. If necessary, consider consulting with a property management expert or interior designer to identify areas for improvement and implement changes effectively.
  • Monitor guest reactions. After making improvements, keep track of guest reviews and feedback to gauge their response. Positive reviews and higher ratings in these areas can indicate the success of your efforts.
  • Encourage repeat guests. Prioritize exceptional guest experiences to encourage repeat bookings. Satisfied guests are more likely to leave positive reviews and recommend your property to others.

How to use negative reviews to improve your business?

Negative reviews can be an opportunity for vacation rental owners to improve their business and turn a negative experience into a positive one. Here are some strategies for using negative reviews to improve your business:

  • Stay calm and analyze constructively. Take a deep breath and refrain from taking negative feedback personally. Instead, view it as constructive criticism that can help you identify areas for improvement.
  • Identify patterns and common issues. Analyze your negative reviews to identify recurring themes or common issues mentioned by multiple guests. This can provide valuable insights into areas that need attention.
  • Address specific concerns. Take prompt action to address the specific concerns raised in the negative reviews. Whether it's cleanliness, amenities, communication, or any other aspect of the guest experience, show that you are actively working to resolve the issues.
  • Respond professionally. Respond to negative reviews professionally and courteously. Acknowledge the guest's concerns, apologize for any inconveniences caused, and assure them that you are taking their feedback seriously.
  • Implement changes: use negative feedback as a guide to implement changes and improvements. Whether it's updating amenities, enhancing customer service, or refining your listing description, show that you are actively working to enhance the guest experience.
  • Seek guest feedback: encourage guests to provide feedback during their stay or after checkout. Use online surveys or feedback forms to gain insights into their experiences and expectations.
  • Monitor progress: track the impact of the changes you've made based on negative reviews. Monitor guest feedback and reviews after implementing improvements to gauge their effectiveness.
  • Learn from positive reviews too: don't focus solely on negative reviews; positive reviews also hold valuable insights. Identify what guests appreciate about your property and service, and continue to build on those strengths.
  • Turn dissatisfied guests into brand ambassadors: addressing negative reviews with care and responsiveness can turn dissatisfied guests into loyal customers and brand ambassadors. Offer them a special discount or a complimentary stay to give your business a second chance.
  • Transparency and authenticity go a long way in building trust with potential guests. Use your responses to negative reviews to showcase how you've grown and improved based on guest feedback.

Remember that no business is immune to negative reviews, and they can be instrumental in guiding your vacation rental business towards continuous improvement. Embrace feedback, learn from it, and show guests that you are committed to providing an exceptional experience. By using negative reviews as stepping stones for growth, you can build a stronger and more successful vacation rental business in the long run.


How To Verify If A Review Is Fake Or Unfair

Verifying whether a review is fake or unfair can be challenging, but there are some steps you can take to help determine its authenticity and validity:

  1. Review the review's content carefully. Look for specific details about the guest's stay, such as dates, amenities, or services provided. A genuine review typically includes relevant information about the guest's experience.
  2. Cross-check the review details with your records. Verify if the guest stayed at your property during the mentioned dates and if the provided information aligns with their actual experience.
  3. Pay attention to the language and tone used in the review. Genuine reviews usually contain detailed descriptions, while fake reviews may sound overly positive or negative without providing specific feedback.
  4. Check for patterns in the reviewer's history. If the reviewer has left multiple reviews with similar language or content, it might indicate that the review is fake or biased.
  5. Reach out to the guest privately through the platform's messaging system. Politely ask for more details about their stay and express your willingness to address any concerns they may have.
  6. Consider the timing of the review. If a negative review is posted immediately after the guest's stay without giving you a chance to respond, it may raise suspicions.
  7. Some platforms allow hosts to verify guest identities. If the review is from an unverified guest, it could indicate a potential risk of fraudulent feedback.
  8. Compare the review with other feedback you've received. If the review is significantly different from other guests' experiences, it may warrant further investigation.
  9. Familiarize yourself with the platform's review content policies. If the review violates any of the guidelines, it may be reported to the platform for further evaluation.
  10. Some online tools can help analyze the authenticity of reviews by detecting patterns and potential fraud. However, exercise caution and verify the tool's credibility before relying on its results.


Airbnb's Policies and Guidelines on Removing Inappropriate Feedback

  • Familiarize yourself with Airbnb's review content policy, which outlines what types of reviews are acceptable and what content may be considered inappropriate or in violation of their guidelines.
  • Arbnb's guidelines prohibit reviews that contain false information, unrelated content, or commercial references. If a review includes any of these elements, it may be eligible for removal.
  • Reviews that contain offensive language, discriminatory remarks, or personal attacks go against Airbnb's policies and can be reported for removal.
  • Airbnb may remove a review if you can provide evidence that disproves its accuracy. Keep records, receipts, or any communication with the guest that supports your case.

Remember that determining the authenticity of a review can be subjective, and not all fake or unfair reviews can be easily identified. Always respond professionally to negative reviews, whether genuine or not, and use them as an opportunity to improve guest experiences and showcase your commitment to guest satisfaction. If you suspect a review is fake or unfair, consider reaching out to the platform's customer support and provide evidence to support your claim.

The information used in the preparation of the materials includes data from the following internet sites:

  • Airbnb: [https://www.airbnb.com/]
  • Booking: [https://www.booking.com/]
  • VRBO: [https://www.vrbo.com/]
  • PriceLabs: [https://www.pricelabs.co/]


William Anderson
Profit Dwelling

To discover a range of strategies to maximize profits from short-term rentals, refer to the "Optimize Rental Pricing" section for detailed insights and actionable recommendations.

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