Don't Reply to Spite Reviews - Discuss

Can we discuss this ‘best not to reply to spite / negative reviews’ thing. I think it’s possibly the wrong strategy. Some people (including me) purposely look at the bad reviews before the good ones (Airbnb and Amazon etc), if there’s no response to it then i have no reference to decide on the validity of the review. I understand the ‘don’t draw attention’ point, but, I think I’d counter with ‘don’t let the lies go unchallenged’.
On a side note, i have now taken to pre-informing Airbnb Superhost Support that a potential spite review is incoming. A recent guest was a nightmare, we’re claiming for damages, and I expect a spite review. Having informed them already they have asked me to get in touch should that happen, with a view to removing it if it meets the criteria. I’m hoping the pre-warning helps with the process, I’ll update if we end up there.


yes, I understand, it’s SO hard to get over those bad reviews from the 1% who write lies or stupid things like “it was cold”.

Best not to reply to ANY Review! You will only hurt yourself.
Your Reviews should be written for US your fellow hosts – not for the Guest.
They should be factual not conjectural and short (one small paragraph. Nobody wants to read your extended whinging about how bad you think the guest was. Just state the factual issues and say “Cannot Recommend, will not allow them to book again.”


There is an art to responding to negative feedback and most people can’t do it very well so the general rule is to not try, but I think “never respond” is like anything, sometimes rules should be broken. Another strategy I’ve seen is some hosts respond to positive reviews on occasion so a response to a negative doesn’t stick out so much. That’s a lot of work if 99% of your reviews are great, so I don’t use it.

My position is that it is fine to reply to a spite or incorrect review, but you have to be VERY careful in how you respond. You have to talk to potential guests and demonstrate how professional and above-board you are, and definitely avoid the temptation to get back at them on a point-by-point basis.


I don’t agree with the “never respond” point of view. As another poster pointed out, the problem is that many hosts write responses that come across as angry, defensive, arrogant or aggressive. Or it’s written like a review of the guest, or attacks the guest. Which does the host more harm than good.

Short, factual non-emotional responses to clarify lies or misrepresentations seem fine to me. I think they are also useful to future guests in pointing out behavior that won’t be tolerated or things guests need to be aware of.

For instance, if a guest complains in their review that there wasn’t some amenity that was never offered in the first place, a response saying, “It’s unfortunate that XX didn’t read the amenities list before booking, as they would have been aware that we do not offer YY” can encourage future guests to inform themselves before booking.

And I like it when a host is adept at short, rather sarcastic responses, although that is a rare skill. I came across a listing where the host was really good at that. In response to a review that said something like “Worst Airbnb experience ever. Forget this place”, the host responded “Let’s not ‘forget’ that you threw a party and got booted out”.
Put the bad guest in their place, dismissed the review, and let future guests know they won’t get away with that, all in one pithy sentence.

And of course if a guest mentions a legitimate issue which you have since
corrected, a response is warranted for the benefit of future guests. “So sorry about the poor cleaning you encountered on arrival. I was trying out a new cleaner, who obviously didn’t do a good job, and has now been replaced with a skilled cleaner.”

But a host needs to realize when a review would look unhinged to anyone reading it, as an outlier among pages of good reviews. Really no need to respond to something like that. Guests aren’t stupid and don’t believe every review they read. And if they choose to believe one lying, bad review out of 50 great ones, I really don’t care if they wouldn’t book with me.


I believe that you should respond to negative reviews, especially if the are lies/ revenge review.

Great stuff! I think for the most part we agree that a short, to the point and accurate response to a negative review is a valid option. I’m sure nobody would take the ‘extended whinging’ route.

One thing I’m still curious about, why do so many people say you shouldn’t respond, what am i missing? Is it purely the ‘draw attention to a bad review’ issue, which i believe to be heavily mitigated by a sensible and honest reply (or a witty sarcastic one perhaps muddy). Or is there some other reason?

Worth a mention that I’m pleased i found the forum, nothing better than advice and opinions of people in the same boat, often with considerably more experience than me.

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That isn’t true at all. Which is one big reason why many hosts advise not leaving a response. I’ve seen plenty of responses where the host just shot themselves in the foot with their response, writing in a way that would make prospective guests pass on booking with them. Hosts often write responses as a knee jerk reaction to a bad review, and come across emotional or angry. Or they respond to things that were never mentioned in the guest’s public review, something that was mentioned during the stay or in private feedback. Something that anyone reading the review would never know about, had the host not talked about it in the response.

There are also hosts who are accustomed to getting glowing reviews, and then when they get what I call an “objective” review- guests who just state facts without getting gushy or praising- they somehow think that is a bad review, and the guest must have been unhappy with something, even though it says nothing negative at all.


I agree with @muddy. Guests are intelligent enough to understand that a poor review amongst hundreds of great ones means nothing.

And review replies often say more about the host than the guest.

Look at it the other way - why should they? Why take the time? I know I don’t. The guests have gone, and I don’t want them back, so I expend my energies on my next guests - who will probably give me a great review.

The poor review will soon be gone from the page anyway.

Reviews differ from person to person. I once had a review saying that something they really liked was that they could walk to the beach, the shops, the restaurants etc.

A few guests later, a review said that anyone staying here would definitely need a car to get to the beach, shops, restaurants etc.

They were both right as far as they were concerned. I wonder whether guests pay as much attention to reviews as hosts do?

What is a spite review anyway?

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I had the same thing happen. The 1mile walk to the beach and/or slightly over 1/10 mile walk to any of the close by restaurants (Taco Bell, Jamaica’s Best, NY Deli, Villa Tuscana Italian, hot stacks breakfast) are unbearable in July heat & humidity. In December with cooler temps & low humidity both walks are enjoyable.


This would be me. I’ve made that mistake once. Living & learning.

My new & improved response formats

  1. Not getting into foolishness
    “Please see my other reviews for accurate descriptions of the rental and my hosting style.”

  2. Acknowledge & state resolution
    “I too wish the dishwasher hadn’t broken. Unfortunately it couldn’t be repaired, so I’ve ordered a new one to be installed soon. “


A spite review is when the guests know they’ve screwed up, probably very badly, they know they’ll get a bad review, especially if you’ve already raised a claim, so they hit back. At least that’s what i experienced. they could also be less generous at least if you don’t pander to every request (late checkout etc), but that’s not something I’d respond to.

Those two responses sound perfect, permission to use:)?


Absolutely use these. I hope you never need to…….

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I don’t let them screw up.


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I think you need to start a course on hosting! I’d be a subscriber immediately.

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It’s easy for me because one apartment is diagonally opposite mine and the other is next door. And I work from home and I’m very nosy. That helps a lot. :slight_smile:


It’s like I manifested an incorrect review with all this review talk, it reads ‘The wifi password was missing in the booklet so I messaged Martin and he responded very quickly.’ Of course it wasn’t missing, and yes i’ve checked. But i guess this is a no respond situation for sure, can’t see a reason to at least.

our listings are on our farm but still, some guests are very special. just today had one group contact me saying the gate was locked.

nope, there’s a chain with a shackle which we don’t use much, but perhaps another guest or tradie decided to wrap it around the gate. it still wasn’t locked. I’m going to guess these people are highly educated types too, but just epic fail when it comes to opening a farm gate. :laughing:. Some guests can get themselves into a pickle right under our noses.

oh geez, that is SO tempting to respond to though. Recently had a woman write “dont’ expect to cook a meal here as there’s no kitchen”. Yes, correct. As per the damn listing you ninny. There is a few photos of the kitchenette though.

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