Do you always respond…

Always respond to negative reviews? So I had a 5 people rent my place for their daughter/ granddaughter’s college graduation. My limit is 5 guests. After graduation they had about 10-12 people come over for a party. They were all adults, not loud, just sitting outside eating and talking. The party ended before dark so no problem.
Her review said the outside area was too small to sit and enjoy the view and they gave me 3 :star:.
It didn’t affect my rating too much, went from a 4.9 to a 4.82, but it is at the top of the review page. Would you comment something to the effect that the area holds the intended 4-5 people comfortably but not a party of 10-12?

I think the consensus is generally don’t respond to reviews; if you do decide to respond make it pithy, ideally funny/witty/light.

In this situation IF I responded it might be something like:

Thank you for pointing out that the space is too small when you have 10-12 people over rather than the max of five.


…only until the next review comes in.

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It’s always difficult – on one hand you don’t want to unintentionally sound argumentative to prospective guests reading the reviews; on the other hand you don’t want unfair criticism to stand.

I’m not sure whether I would let it go, but I would be weighing silence against saying something like this:

Thanks for your feedback about feeling a bit crowded when you invited family and friends to join you at the Airbnb after your son’s graduation. (Congratulations to him, by the way!) I think we have been remiss in not pointing out in our listing that the guest patio is designed to comfortably seat five or six. Your comments have now prompted us to edit our Airbnb listing – both in the text and in the caption under the photo(s) of the patio – so that future guests will have realistic expectations before they arrive at [name of property].


As long as you have photos that clearly show the outdoor space. I would probably not bother to respond as this is not a purported safety or missing amenity issue that would alarm potential future guests.

If you feel compelled to respond:
“The outdoor space can comfortably accommodate 5 guests, the maximum number per the house rules [and in compliance with local regulations . . . property insurance limits . . . Airbnb party policy . . . whatever applies to your property]. We can recommend excellent local venues for larger group events, and wish the booking guest had checked with us in advance.”


I have the same doubt, should I respond and get more attention drawn to the review or let it be buried among other reviews.

There is some information in my recent review that is totally untrue, like for example no AC in the bedroom. I even tried getting the review removed because of false information in it, but the message I got from airbnb cs is contradictory and they closed the case without removing it.

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How very annoying! That’s such an unfair review. Yes, I would absolutely answer that, not rudely, but just pointing out that the outside space is perfectly suited to the maximum number of 5, but not for the extra 10+ guests they invited, against your house rules
Going from 4.9 to 4.82 is a real issue if a couple more parties downgrade you like this, I would take it up with Airbnb to see if they would reinstate your previous rating as it’s so obviously unjust


If you respond, I like your wording. If you rent frequently that review will be far down the page. If not, you may want to respond briefly.

It’s unjust, but it’s not inaccurate. It doesn’t violate their policy. And looking at the email balivilla shared above, we can see that it won’t be removed. It’s just feedback, maybe the OP can expand their deck and add chairs so that guests can comfortably have friends over. >sarcasm<

As balivilla points out, responding expands the review and calls attention to it so responding should be weighed carefully. I advocate only responding to reviews to correct a clear misunderstanding. The only review I responded to was in Italian and said that there was no kitchen in the apartment. I pointed out that it was a guest suite only with no kitchen or sitting area. Despite letting the Italians come use my kitchen and sit in my dining room (while I decamped to the back patio with my dinner guest) I still got a 3 star review.

This is an obvious argument for giving a guest an honest review. If the extra guests really bothered you, then you must have noted it in the review. Hopefully in the written review that your fellow hosts rely on. But if not, there’s also an option under house rules to indicate unregistered guests. If it only bothered you because they gave you an unfair review and you gave them a good review, then it’s water under the bridge and you should move on.

The time to address house rules violations is when they happen, not after you get an unfair review.


I’ve never responded to a review and generally think that hosts should not respond to reviews; however, the exception is when relevant inaccurate information needs to be cleared up for future guests. This is one of those exceptions.

However, do not be tempted to be snarky, passive-aggressive or defensive about it. It is better to not respond at all if there’s any chance of you making yourself look worse with your response. (I’m not saying that I think you’re personally going to do that, only that is all too common among hosts in general).

Your response should be one line without any extraneous commenting or emotion whatsoever. You almost nailed it in your post:


“The outside area holds the intended 4-5 people comfortably but not an event with 10-12 as you had”.

But, first, before you respond if you haven’t already, I think you should try to get it removed. Don’t count on it but it’s worth trying. A 3* is harsh and I think you could justifiably say that “it is not relevant that the outside area isn’t big enough for a larger group than your maximum guest count”.

Having reviews removed is very hit-and-miss so it is possible. And you being a new host goes in your favor. They seem to often do a little extra for new hosts. So at least ask.


I agree there in a way, as they were well behaved guests who caused no issue, BUT to give a harsh 3 star based on them a massive patio which was never offered really deserves a bit of come back, as another group might look elsewhere if they thought it was too small for 5

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If a host is writing a response to clarify misinformation and counter the assertions in the review, I don’t think they should address it to the reviewer (“as you had”), since responses are intended for future prospective guests.
So I would change that somewhat to “The outside area is set up to comfortably seat our maximum guest count of 5, it is not intended to accommodate 6 extra people invited over without the host’s approval.”

And while this gathering was quiet and civilized, I hope the OP mentioned this in their review of the guest. I think other hosts would want to know if a guest invited other people over without asking (and then had the gall to complain in the review about there not being sufficient seating, although the host wouldn’t have known when writing the review that the guest would do that), even if the gathering wasn’t problematic.

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As long as one doesn’t “cut off their nose to spite their face” it’s fine. But also appearing defensive and nit-picky isn’t a great look for a host. One really has to weigh the pros and cons.

I may have hosted those Italians… they were a PITA!

This. Do you allow unregistered guests and parties? It sounds like you don’t. Make that clear in your listing.

I had guests stay and they left the front door open and their friends just waltzed in my house (in home host) and made themselves at home. I had to - nicely - confront them and ask who the heck they were and why they were in my kitchen. It wasn’t fun.


It’s actually a good advertisement to discourage future people wanting to break your maximum occupancy limits and invite extras over. The written part wouldn’t bother me at all.


I agree. There are often things guests mention or complain about in reviews that they really have no legit reason to, as it was because they violated or ignored house rules, or failed to read the listing info. But anything they mention that reinforces that you as a host don’t tolerate certain behaviors, or aren’t set up up for the number of people they invited over, or complain that it’s a half hour walk to the beach (even though the host is perfectly clear about that in the listing ad) can be viewed as positive, since it warns prospective guests about your rules, etc. in case they also failed to read the info or thought they could get away with something.

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