Best Way To Respond To Revenge Review

Guest (let’s call him ‘Kevin’), wanted a last minute cancellation for the following reasons

  1. I was unaware/ shocked by the house rules

  2. The host states in their house rules that they cannot guarantee free parking. (This is true, free parking slots are limited and it is based on a first come, first served basis).

We declined the guests request to cancel by enforcing our cancellation policy.

In response, Kevin has written a revenge review

For background, our listing has over 150 reviews and 95% of our guests give us 5 stars. Guests often commend our response time, polite communication, cleanliness, location and comfort of furniture and bed.

However Kevin has written the opposite claiming that

  1. We were always rude to him when communicating

  2. They were shocked by all of the house rules and it was as if they were being spoken to like a child

  3. Our Airbnb is ‘small and not tall friendly’. (The size of the home and is disclosed in the listing and the guest is approximately 6’6 in height)

  4. They hit their head on all of the hanging décor (there is no hanging décor)

  5. They claim that the area is ‘very rough’, so guests should be careful

  6. Bed and furniture is bad and left him with back ache

  7. The host interrogates guests about whether they will have visitors or not. In reality, we ask guest once (prior to booking) whether they are expecting any visitor before accepting the reservation.

Given the above, what is the best, non-emotional response I can give in response to the review.

You get extra credit if your response is mildly sarcastic😊


I would write something like “Please refer to our 150 reviews for honest feedback.”


Yours is a very well written post. Thank you for investing the time to do that.

It’s a challenge to respond to this review because so many complaints are made and therefore a comprehensive response would be long, attracting unwanted attention to the guest review. [I’ve read elsewhere that a strategy is to write a response even longer than the guest review, implying that you tried to resolve the matter but that does not strike me as wise or applicable; Bad Airbnb Reviews: How to Turn Them into Your Weapon | iGMS.

Most here I believe would recommend you do not respond.

But you asked for a response. Mine might be: “We have over 150 reviews testifying to quite the opposite experience. Best to you.”

I have a feeling some members here will find ways to inject sarcasm but I struck out there. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

You didn’t ask but I would write to Airbnb to ask that this retaliatory review be removed. I am assuming that the requested cancellation rationale was on the platform, or at least in a writing you could share with Airbnb.

As an aside here’s a thread on the forum here on removing retaliatory reviews: Has *anyone* had a retaliation review removed? - #2 by dropnothing; the very first response is almost identical to your fact situation, though the Host doesn’t explain how the Host succeeded, except perhaps by persistence. [You might message that member on what they said.]

Here’s my draft :

The review by [fill in name; Confirmation code x] with check-out date of y should be removed as a retaliatory review.

Correspondence on the platform (attached) shows that the guest wished to cancel the reservation after belatedly reviewing the house rules, which the guest stated ‘shocked him’ and noticing that parking was first come, first served.

We did not agree to the cancellation.

Hence this retaliatory review, which is contradicted by our over 150 reviews.

Please remove this review, and thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.


@KingandDuck - was that “Kevin’s” exact review? If not, would you post his actual review? We need to see the exact words a potential guest would read to craft the best response (if any).


Have you made a case to Airbnb that this is a revenge review and, under their (relatively) new policy, you are requesting its removal


The house rules are not prominent enough on the Air platform, that is Air’s fault not yours, but it is nonetheless true. Too many guests including yours truly have overlooked details buried in house rules.

I state important things (“100% nonsmoking”, pet policy) at the top of my listing. If parking is a problem then you should state that clearly if it is not stated clearly.

My 6 foot husband and I stayed in an AirBnB in the fall where he could barely take a shower owing to the ceiling being so low. He had 1 inch of clearance, I’m not kidding. Was this disclosed in the listing? Don’t make me laugh.

Air might take down the revenge review but it would be really nice if your listing were more explicit about potential problems of staying there.

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Dear Kevin,

We’re sorry to hear that our small, decor-less, rough neighborhood home didn’t meet your expectations. We’ll make sure to add some taller furniture and a collection of hanging decor so you can hit your head in style next time. As for the interrogations, don’t worry, we’ll save those for the next round of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” auditions.


I would ignore this review as “Kevin” has fully revealed himself as a whining loser with no need for an assist from you.

The purpose of review responses is to communicate with future guests and allay any concerns the negative review raises, for example if a cleanliness or safety matter is raised.

If you must, address only the future guest off-putting comments: “We enjoy respectfully communicating with our guests and love our neighborhood! The features of the space, which has a 7’ ceiling height, are fully described in the listing, so guests can choose the best stay for their needs.”


That’s why I asked for the exact review. “Kevin” may have made those points brilliantly and the OP may have paraphrased them into whining-loser speech.


“It’s such a shame when people try to exact revenge for booking without bothering to read the listing description by fabricating issues. Please refer to our other reviews for an accurate account of our listing.”


Remove the word emotional and you have my answer.

I wouldn’t respond. It calls attention to the one-off. Good guests can see that.

I don’t think balivilla’s response is mild but if you must respond, maybe this is the way. I personally love a host with a sense of humor and when I read a response that is quirky and funny, I like that host and I definitely keep their listing in mind. However, a lot of folks don’t get this kind of humor and you might put off some guests.

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@KingandDuck Just a note- if you don’t already, it’s a good idea to reiterate the most important house rules when a guest first books, or at least advise them to click through to read your house rules if they have missed doing that. If they hadn’t bothered to read the rules, they can then withdraw their request or cancel immediately if they are “unaware/shocked”.


Please ignore it. It’ll be buried in no time anyway.

Any potential guests reading your reviews will be able to see that it’s not genuine. It’s really not worth spending time thinking about.


Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.


yep, perfect. I was going to write something along these lines but @muddy did it better.

:raised_hands:t3: in our cottage we didn’t have a TV for the first year, and after a few people lightly complained (even though it was written in there) I put it in the listing, rules and messaging, at least three times, along with our no smoking policy.

There are only so many things you can put “first” in your description. But if you do have a lot of rules/chores I’d be very upfront about it as this is the #1 gripe of guests and you don’t want to end up on tiktok being ridiculed. Of course, ABB also promised us that guests would have to acknowledge they’d read the House Rules, they were touting this in the Winter Release, but it was a load of BS. (they also promised there would be a streamlined way to get reviews removed, coming “early 2023”, more lies, or incompetence)


This becomes somewhat a matter of personal style as much as business strategy. My own deliberate choice is to never ever display my snarky/impatient/combative/suffer-no-fools side (even subtly or by tone) in comments that might be read by prospective customers, even if I am confident I am totally in the right and the offending guest is a lying manipulator.

I don’t think there is any marketing benefit from showing prospective guests that their host is a “doesn’t take shit from anyone” kind of guy, because that’s not what they are shopping for. I want to show the guest that if circumstances arise where they might not see eye-to-eye with me they will be talking to a conciliatory host who responds with grace (even if said host is actually biting his tongue and bitterly complaining to other hosts on this forum).


I can certainly understand your point, as far as not wanting to come across as “that kind of guy”, but don’t necessarily agree that there isn’t any marketing benefit to it. It depends on what you are responding to and how you do it.

I have seen a few hilariously sarcastic responses that would actually lead me to want to book with that host. And just because a host makes it evident that they don’t take the specific shit that a certain guest doled out, whether it was leaving a revenge review or throwing a party, doesn’t mean it will put prospective guests off booking if they are not rule breakers or the type to write a revenge review. Neither of which type of guest you want.

Sure, if you come across as a defensive or aggressive heavyweight, that’s not good for business, but a response can put a reviewer in their place without future guests who are not at all like the reviewing guest getting any poor impression of the host.

I loved the host’s response I read to a review that said something like : “Worst place ever. Forget it.”

The response was, “Let’s not “forget” that you threw an unauthorized party and therefore got booted out.”

The only guests that’s going to deter from booking are ones who are planning on throwing a party.


It’s not possible for a host to put anyone “in their place” without getting a poor impression of the host. Any intention of getting on top of someone comes across as just that.


(wouldn’t book with her). (and for reference, I hate parties).

It’s not funny. It’s not cute. And it wasn’t necessary. It was only defensive and vindictive.

I have seen one single response ever from a host (and I read more reviews than the average person) that I didn’t cringe at and it’s because it was legitimately funny. The guy got a review that complained about dust under a radiator and his response was, “Yes, that’s where we like to keep it” :rofl:


Well, we all have different opinions and I don’t agree with yours that it isn’t possible to put a revenge reviewer in their place without creating a poor impression of the host. That’s an opinion, not a fact.


Duh? Should we all start putting a disclosure at the end of our posts?

This is not scientific evidence that has been repeatedly tested then proved within a reasonable margin of error and then subsequently reported in numerous peer-reviewed journals, but rather, it is merely a personal opinion.

I am in fact a woman of science so while I do agree that it’s possible, I don’t agree that your “evidence” proves your hypothesis.

Here is where I’m coming from. It doesn’t bother me if you don’t agree with me, that was never part of the deal, but I want to be clear with what I’m saying. “Putting someone in their place” is inherently aggressive. There is no way to put someone in their place without coming off as aggressive. If one doesn’t mind being seen as aggressive, that is their perogative and I would defend it all day, but it is, nonetheless, aggressive.