First Mediocre Review -- Just venting

Well, it finally happened. After nearly 8 months with a majority of 5 star reviews and 2 of those pesky, mysterious 4 stars with good reviews, I got a 3 star review.

The thing that irritates me is that I stupidly accepted the reservation without realizing this person was new to airbnb. Part of her feedback was that she “felt uncomfortable staying in someone’s home.” Um, what? Why did you even join airbnb to begin with?

She also criticized the common areas or my apartment, that she didn’t even use, as “cluttered” and even stated that had nothing to do with the room that she was renting. My apartment isn’t actually cluttered… we have a few magazines and unopened bills on our kitchen bar, but you know, it’s our home, so that happens.

They stayed one night and have nothing nice to say. She basically told people in the review they should stay in the Hyatt down the street since our room is only “minimally” cheaper. Ha. Okay…

I contacted support since a lot of her critiques were unfair and showed that 1) she didn’t read the listing 2) she didn’t know how to use the app (she claimed it was was misleading about our wifi situation, even though it’s in the app AND I have the info listed in the room) and 3) she apparently doesn’t understand airbnb isn’t a hotel service.

Support won’t do anything, and they were very sympathetic and said they are going to “follow up with her to explain the airbnb community” but the damage is done.

I know in theory most actually seasoned airbnb users are going to take that review with a grain of salt since all the rest of ours is positive. And, weirdly enough, she didn’t really say anything negative about us personally, or even the space. She basically just proved she didn’t understand what airbnb was.

I wish I would’ve known that because I would’ve warned hosts about her in my review. Of course, I didn’t realize that was an issues when I reviewed her, and tend to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Anyway, I know there’s nothing to be done now, but I changed my settings and we are no longer taking one night reservations, and I will no longer be accepting new airbnb users without vetting them more first.

Any other suggestions and take aways?

I would not change anything on your end - apparently you do a great job and are getting great reviews. Continue to take one night reservations. Maybe come up with a saved message like “I see you are new to airbnb xxxxx it is my home as the listing states xxxxx reviews are based on quality of service etc…”

This review should simply stand. People who read it will wonder and chuckle about the guest’s ‘review’. Do nothing about it - and continue to attract great guests.


That’s a great idea. Thank you!

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I agree with @Rolf
Don’t change a thing but gently reply to her review. And, ask a few questions before hitting Accept! Especially with newbies. I usually mention that I hope they realize it’s a room in our home and we will be there during their stay. On several occasions the guest thought it was a whole house rental and canceled their request. All were new to Airbnb. Just imagine a whole 2600 sq. ft house for from 107 a night? In NYC?
Also, be sure the guest knows how convenient you are to things they plan to visit, I’ve discouraged a few guests who didn’t understand how far they would be from our location and they understood. Communication is a good thing!


I agree with @Rolf. We can read between the lines of reviews and would write hers off as did not read the listing.
For us every 3 star personally hurts but we try to let it roll off. We joke and say 7 more stays and that review will roll right off the first page.

Happy hosting.


I did respond, I basically said we were sorry our place wasn’t what she was expecting and hoped she could find better accommodations in the future. I felt like that was gracious but would make it obvious she didn’t know what she was getting herself into.

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Yeah, I took it personally when she criticized my apartment after they had barely even been there! They literally dropped off their stuff and was out most of the evening, and they left early in the morning before we were even awake – and yet she still said the apartment was “cluttered” even though it had nothing to do with her room – that really irked me. I take pride in my home and decorating.


So here is my new saved message for new users, from Rolfe’s suggestion.

"Thank you so much for your interest in our space. I see you are a new user. I just wanted to touch base on a few things so your first airbnb experience goes smoothly.

This is our home – we both live here, and you are renting a room from some place we reside in. This means there may be mail around and other indications that it is lived in.

Also, be aware that you will have to review the situation. Reviews should be based on your actual experience, not how comfortable you feel with the concept of staying in someone’s home or based on your experiences with actual hotels, etc. Airbnb is not the same as a hotel.

For the most part, this hasn’t a problem for most new users, but we had an issue with a first time user, so we just wanted to make sure you are aware of how this works and that all our bases have been covered.

Please make sure to read the listing thoroughly and let us know if you have any questions or concerns. We are excited to host you for your first Airbnb stay, so please let us know how we can make your stay enjoyable!


Dan & Liz"

How does that sound?


It is, we got knocked yesterday for location not being central. We are clearly not in the center of town. I can not pick my house up and move it. It seemd so sad and silly.

It is clearly her, not you that is the issue.
Try to enjoy your day.


It is, we got knocked yesterday for location not being central. We are
clearly not in the center of town. I can not pick my house up and move it.
It seemd so sad and silly.

It is clearly her, not you that is the issue.
Try to enjoy your day.

Exactly , there is nothing can be done .
At times it’s nothing has to do with us or our house, it’s just guest’s bad mood or personality.

I am hosting for almost 2.5 years and have around 100 5* reviews. Have couple 3*, one 1*, and one 2*. The 3* reviewers were horrible guests. One trashed my house and paid me 500$ in extra cleaning fees that I claimed. Another put central AC on 67f, and after I told him no-no we will be freezing in our own house and put it back to 74F, still went behind my back and put it at night back to 67F. And then after staying only one night gave a lot of suggestions on how to reorganize my own house publicly.

Yesterday we had 2 girls who stays only 5 hours from 11 on to 4 am.
They did not even enter the house yet but talked to my husband like he is a servant . Then they texted me asking an explanation why there is no bathtub in a room. But only shower. I agree I gave them a different room
That only has a shower. One guest asked to extend his stay by one day and I knowing that girls are coming very late and leaving very early did not even think for a second that they planned to take their time out of sleeping by filling up the tub, gave them identical in size and amenities room with exclusion of a tub.

The funny part is that they did not even take a shower, as only one hand towel was used. I think that stay was only a layover between flights .

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If you read this forum much you know this happens to people all the time, especially in shared spaces. People don’t read and since this is your only 3 star after 8 months you’ve been lucky. I got a woman who raved about my place and accidently gave me a one star. I mentioned it to her mostly because she’d already booked her return pass through with me and I didn’t want it to happen again.

You’ve implemented Rolf’s suggestions. Move on from here.


Frankly, it appears a bit long winded and perhaps even defensive. I have had a great many first-timers book, and there hasn’t been any problems. (And come to think of it, not for you either.)
Something as verbose as your note is perhaps justified if half of the first-timers end up having the issues this guest did.

In my House Rules I’ve said 'This is not a hotel, it’s my home, treat it like a home.'
And this seems to work. For those first-timers who are very sparse in their communication, I’ve started to write a few days ahead to ask if they’ve understood what features I offer and they’re happy with it. Just add more emphasis there.

There are a great many threads in this forum on guests not reading hosts’ Airbnb details. I’ve found them useful.

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I like that even better! That’s a great idea.

I think I wouldn’t send that toe every first timer – there were clear signs from the start she was going to be troubles and I just didn’t think much of it. I think if I get the short booking request like hers in the future, I might do an edited down version.

Most of our people aren’t first timers so this isn’t going to be an issue 95% of the time.

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@Liz_Anderson What about this:

"Thank you so much for your interest in staying at our home. I see you are a new user. I just wanted to touch base with you so your first Airbnb experience goes smoothly.

The bedroom we rent out is in our home. While your private bedroom will be clean and prepared specifically for you, our shared home is lived in but tidy. If you’re used to traveling and staying in hotels this might seem a bit different at first.

Afterward, Airbnb will ask you to give us a review based on your experience. Since we strive to get 5-star reviews we want you to be sure that you are aware of how Airbnb works and any concerns you might have are addressed. Please thoroughly read our listing, ask any questions you might have, and then when you arrive you’ll know what to expect for an enjoyable stay!

Dan & Liz"


That’s perefect!!! Thank you! I think that will definitely help weed out any newcomers like the chick we just had.

Ultimately, I’m over it. The fact that she came in, barely interacted with us, stayed for one night, and had nothing positive to say reflects more on her than me and my hosting abilities. And her review is definitely an outlier. If she was an active user she would know it’s not normal to tell people to go stay in the Hyatt down the street or other hotels 15-20 minutes down the road like she did. whatever. I was just pissed and took it personally since this is our first bad experience from this.

My pleasure! Glad to help.

I just took yours and tried to add in as many references to “home” as possible, and remove the emotion that you’re sure to have after just having had a picky, negative person.


@CanadianHost Love your write-up! Thanks for the great ideas on communicating.a shared home situation.


I have recently had a couple stay, supposedly for two nights, but left after one. I caoul tell they did not seem very happy, but did not respond to my usual 'Is there anything else I can do for you.

Although they did not mark my down on the stars, This was his review

Ana was very welcoming and we enjoyed our stay. The only slight downside was the bathroom was not ensuite but we managed ok.

So I gave this public comment

Hello Paul, thank you for staying in my home. Thank you for pointing out about the bathroom, it gives me the opportunity to encourage anyone using Airbnb to thouroughly read the description of each property through, to ensure it is exactly what you need. Unfortunately my property is not suitable for an en-suite, so it was labelled as shared.

I am hoping this will encourage people to realise that this is not a hotel experience and not would I want to try and aspire to that, that is why I like doing airbnb and not run a B and B.

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It becomes so clear people don’t read listings and don’t understand what airbnb is. That’s a great way to remind people to read! Our current guest staying with us seems great, so at least this review won’t be the first one in a few days.

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