After 100s of positive reviews, negative? Help me respond

Here’s what Alice wrote
“Wouldn’t recommend. Overall pretty disappointing. Bedding is terrible, cabin gets very cold. Right by the highway so it gets pretty loud… not charming at all in my opinion.”

Hmmm. Please help me separate my emotion from a good response. Obviously, her Airbnb review is public. I do get a chance to respond. What would you suggest? Does this sound too snarky? (we have 138 positive reviews avg 4.8 stars). Also as a side note, she only would communicate with me via text, outside the app. I tried to bring it back to the app (as in, “hey I got your text, thought this would be a better spot to have a conversation”), but she refused. Red Flag?

“Although I try to accomodate my guests as much as possible unfortunately there’s always an outlier. We went so far as purchasing an additional heater to keep their temperature above 78 (25 C) and also assisted in getting additional cookware for their holiday dinner, and tracking down a package delivered to one of my other properties. We’re sorry you were disappointed.”

I come to this forum to help me remove my emotion. Thank you!

Do not respond. No point, it will just make it stand out.

Now that’s letting it go, separating the emotions!

Do not give her another thought.

Welcome to the forum.




I don’t think you should respond at all. Seems like your guest had very different expectations or maybe was triggered by something unrelated that happened during the stay. Take the feedback seriously (evaluate the heating, the bedding, and the noise) and make any necessary or reasonable changes to your listing or your listing description, then move on.

I’m curious what overall and individual star ratings they left?


Overall Rating 2 stars
Accuracy 3 stars
There are two bedrooms but the bedding is terrible. 1 of the beds is cringing so much it wakes up everyone in the cabin whenever you move and the other one is a mattress on top of a sofa bed, falling apart in the middle. Has the host ever tried the beds!? The heating system was terrible: a wall heater for the entire cabin, meaning no heat in the bedrooms. We had to buy a heater !! The host acknowledged the issue and bought the heater back from us. Honestly I don’t think this place Should be rented in the winter.

Cleanliness 3 stars
The floor had not been broomed in a while.

Location 4 stars
It’s well located in terms of touristic activities but right by the highway so pretty noisy

Value 3 stars
Honestly at 100$ we could have gotten much better. Very disappointed.

You’re missing communication, but it’s clear the guest gave you ratings for things other than what they mentioned in the review. I’d expect a low score on location due to the mention of being close to the highway, but it was the highest. The heating and bedding should show up under accuracy or value. But the overall rating being lower than everything else is telling.

Did something else happen by chance (i.e. did you scold the guest for breaking a rule, or ask for more money for damages/cleaning/extra guests, etc.)?


As other have said unless you are in the habit of responding to all reviews (“thank you” for good ones etc) then just ignore it and let it fade away amongst all the others. Putting a reply will just draw attention to it.


Interesting. It seems that you have control over that. You tell the guest “I only message on the app.” Then when she wants additional heaters and cookware and what not (NONE OF WHICH I WOULD PROVIDE) she wouldn’t be able to get it.


OK, @Brian_R170, I added those additional comments.

My retort on accuracy: I’ll take another look at the bed situation. The sofa she refers to is a futon flat out, with a down-bedding topper on top of the futon. I’ve tried the beds (with bed partners), and I thought it was fine.

My retort on cleanliness: I know it was clean. I get high marks for cleanliness. it’s possible my house manager missed some things, but not my real guess.

My retort on location: The highway is 1/4 mile away, but we’re in the mountains. It’s an arid location in the mountains, so sound does travel. The home isn’t on the highway, it’s above the highway. Rather unavoidable in this part of the mountains, where the highway cuts through the pass, and then there are side roads that lead to other residents. It’s a little unavoidable in this part of the mountain range.

My retort on value: Her nightly rate was $72 (not $100). Others have said it’s a great value.

And to your question, I can’t think of anything else that happened. Most guests are super happy and satisfied and over the top on compliments about the decor, location, value ,etc. The only thing that I can think of that happened, is she assumed I was staying in the adjacent property and asked to borrow a larger pot to cook her Christmas (she spelled it xmas) dinner. I told her I was out of town and couldn’t accommodate that, but WalMart was just 6 miles up the mountain. There is cookware in the home (3 pots and other pans). In reflection, maybe since she is a new mom, (3 month old), her expectations were not aligned with what we can offer. It’s a simple property in a great location. I appreciate all your feedback to everyone. thank you.

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A minor point: If your rate is $72, the guest paid more than that, considering the Airbnb fee (as well as any taxes, cleaning fee). Perhaps closer to $100.


I’m not sure exactly what this means (creaking wood, squeaking springs, or crinkly mattress protector), but you should check it and if it’s a problem, it should be easy to fix.

To be fair, she probably paid $100 after taxes and fees.

That probably explains wanting to have the temperature at 78F and wanting to have complete quiet (bed noise and highway noise), and a general crankiness.


I have mountain cabins and have installed forced air heat in both of them, people need to be comfortable. That being said I limit the thermostat to 72 max because propane is expensive! This winter I have had maybe 10% of the guests max the heat out at 72, I imagine these guests would have heated it even more if they could have but no complaints.

I think you should invest in heat, buy new beds and raise your prices.

And once again, do not respond to this, let it go.



Yeah strong bed frames are important. I use Zinus steel bed frames. They provide a more comfortable night’s sleep and they’re quiet.

Yes I’d agree thats probably the case. You might want to mark this cabin as unsuitable for small children though if it isn’t going to provide what your guests are used to in terms of how they care for their children.

Besides that it sounds like a fine place. Its got beds and a heater so thats pretty decent. If your guests are looking for hotel comforts, they should go to a hotel. Personally I don’t expect comforts like that if I stay in a cabin.

I wouldn’t use those retorts. To me it makes it sound worse than the reviews. Unless a response to the review points out how you fixed something so it is no longer a problem, say bought new beds, I’d leave it alone. It will get lost in your good reviews.

Bottom line - the guest exercised poor judgement and booked a cabin with a newborn in tow. Very Silly of her. Then took it out on you.

I do think that some kind of reply is warranted but it must be careful - but something that clearly indicates between the lines that this lady caused her own issues.

Here is my attempt:
“We are sorry that you were disappointed. We tried to accommodate all of your special requests and purchased additional amenities for your stay. Happy holidays”.

I could be wrong but this seems a nice way to indicate to other guests that you were gracious and bent over backwards and this lady could not be pleased regardless. Your rating and reviews put a lot on your side.

You may wish to consider adjusting your House Rules, to avoid infants going forward:

Sometimes easier said than done, though. I had one guest who refused to commo on platform so i copy pasted everything there…

I think the retorts were to us not to publish


DO NOT RESPOND!!! It’s not worth the aggro. Take a deep breath and forge ahead.

Never accept ANY communication “off platform”. Period.

Do make sure that all of her “complaints” are addressed by you. Have you slept there on a cold winter night?

Crinkly bed I almost understand. We once stayed in a listing where the naïve host had not removed the new mattress from it’s plastic bag (or didn’t know about mattress protectors). Lay on the bed and roll over a few times to see what it sounds like.

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I like this response, it is polite but, as future guest, I get the idea that the guest was a handful but the host was accommodating.

@marchoffmann: Sounds like this guest was expecting a Hallmark holiday for her first baby-in-family Christmas and it was “more baby, less peace” than she hoped. (To said guest: “Get used to it! Life will never be the same, yippee”)

Marc, I agree with your first comment: there is always an outlier. Eventually they come for us all 🤦

I’ve had this happen and simply told them I would NOT communicate off platform. Then never replied to anything that did not come through the Airbnb system. They learned.

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In my case I was requesting info from him usually. It was in a shared house where he was in a private room living with me and he had a dog as well.