Getting Prepared for Bad Review

Our guests arrived yesterday and threw me off immediately. It is a husband and wife that messaged us that they were dropping their daughter off in Maine at a camp and looked forward to staying at our “lovely” place for a few days. They arrived with their daughter who was not expected and therefore I did not have the sofa bed made up for her. I commented that the sofa bed was not made up as I was not expecting her. The dad responded “I know”. I provided them with the bed linens and let it go at that.

The dad left today to bring her to camp and the mom stayed behind for personal reasons. They are staying in our sleeping cottage and sharing our kitchen and 1st floor bath. It is clearly noted in our listing that this is the set up. In speaking with the wife today she mentioned that they were surprised when they got here and realized they had to come in to the house for the facilities. I explained to her that they are free to come and go in the house and use the kitchen etc.

She is clearly uncomfortable here and they are booked through Tuesday. I fear that they will leave a negative review. We are new to this and this is our 5th booking. We have 5 star reviews from our other guests.

Any suggestions as to what I should do?

Thank you all so much.

Possible to see a link to your listing please?
Could be a case of “Nice pictures, didn’t read”.


Oh no! We ask guests to confirm they’ve read all house details and rules- then highlight a few of the important things- in the booking message. That way if they only look at pics we have confirmed they understand what we offer. I’m not sure what you can do after the fact :frowning:

I’m curious as to who made the booking…my theory is that husbands who book don’t always read and sometimes wives are unhappy…

Keeping my fingers crossed for you that they don’t review or leave a good one!


They still don’t read….
Do you read all the terms and conditions when you sign up somewhere?
I have a strict cancellation policy on my 4 listings… do guests read, understand and agree…. Nope, they want to cancel for what ever reason and whine about the policy after the fact.

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Bake muffins, turn on the charm. Make them love you


That’s why I said we confirm some of the most important things in the booking message- and yeah I do read all rules/descriptions when I’m a guest. I’ve made my listing as succinct as possible for this reason

I would suggest making sure to document somewhere, ideally in Airbnb messages that are implicitly acknowledged by guests, that they brought unexpected guests not originally declared and also inform Airbnb. For example, you could find an excuse to politely apologize again for not being prepared with linen because the daughter was unexpected. If undeclared guests are against your House Rules (e.g., fee for extra guests or undeclared guests are explicitly prohibited), that would be a violation of house rules and, from my experience, would likely work in your favor in trying to get a bad review removed.

But until you can see their review, you don’t know if you can successfully make the case that it violates any of Airbnb’s review or content policies warranting removal, so not much you can do about it until then.

For future guests, you probably need better communication either in the listing, messages, or check-in details so the shared areas are hard to miss.

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Who made reservation: wife or husband? If husband, there ya go-he didn’t tell her & she didn’t spend time getting to know the listing. New guest to Airbnb mistake.

If the husband made the reservation maybe pull him aside & tell him,
“it’s important to us you be happy here. A couple things have happened that concern me.

Your booking didn’t include your daughter so we didn’t prepare for her. Is the listing meeting your needs?”

Talk to wife: “You seem uncomfortable with bathroom & kitchen access being in the house. I know it’s different but we’re so used it we don’t even think about it. Is there something we can do to help you feel more comfortable?”

When you have something different, you can put pictures, you can repeat it several places in the rental description, you can do special communication and someone will still miss it.

There’s a lovely condo in my area, in all caps in the short rental description and in the rental detail, & photograph description, mentions the bedroom is a loft & the bathroom is downstairs. At least every other review, BEWARE the bathroom is downstairs. Sigh.

The good news is anyone reading the reviews knows the bathroom is downstairs.


Thank you all for your responses. If you enter this in a new tab the listing should come up.

I spoke with the wife last night and yes, the husband made the reservation and she said she has had so much going on that she quite honestly did not look at it. I emphasized that they were welcome in our kitchen/dining room and that the first floor bath/shower was for their use. I told her she could bring in her toiletries and leave them in there. I have a cabinet and shelves just for them. I have 2 shelves in the fridge empty for their use and showed her around the kitchen. I’m hoping the sun shines bright today so they can enjoy time by the lake.

Thank you again for your responses.

I baked them banana bread for their first morning and they did not touch it. Their daughter had one slice and that was it.


With just a quick look, I think you need to label the pictures.
A quick skim doesn’t make it clear that the sleeping is here and the amenities are there.

I do have descriptions with the pics but I will certainly add more detail. Thank you so much!

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As another host mentioned husband probably reserved and didn’t read through. Saying you read and agreed to rules is easy, but people just lie. We had a man make a reservation and explain that his wife would come earlier. He was to arrive on the day before Christmas. When we got back from a Christmas Eve party the wife left a note: “My husband didn’t read your description that said no pets and arrived with our dog. We have gone to find a hotel”. We probably would have made an exception if she had called us. Fortunately there was no review impact.


Thinking about it…. Maybe a floor plan with shared amenities/ rooms / common areas marked or colour coded


I would suggest to kill them with kindness to avoid a bad review. Buy them some treats from a local bakery. It’s clear that they did not read the description of your Airbnb.

Perhaps you should post the description about shared spaces on the photos. You can type something up on a Microsoft PPT slide and then save it to a Jpeg and upload it as a picture. I would place it at the beginning of the pictures and then again at the end. Most folks when booking simply look at the pictures.

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I can see the wife’s point, my OH would slaughter me if I booked somewhere without a toilet or bathroom.

Having to trek to an adjacent property wouldn’t cut it, especially first thing in the morning!

It’d be one night then gone, so I reckon you’ve got your work cut out here, although it may be the husband who does the review, so maybe a chance of a decent one.


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I am channeling @jaquo here…

Ask them for their help…

Guests, I hope all was well for your stay do you have any recommendations on how I could make it more clear to future guests that the listing is shared?

Then I would just lay it out there, please do not ding me in the review over this, with AirBnb anything less than 5 stars can really damage my listing.

I think communication is the best way to navigate this since the banana bread did not do it.



Wild Maine blueberry muffins? I, too, make muffins when I feel that it’s warranted. Mine are GF and a big treat with the wives/SOs/OHs. Good coffee and fresh muffins help.

I agree with the others who say ask them for their help and DO talk to the husband who blew you off when you told him you weren’t expecting the daughter and due to insurance, we need the names of every guest. That usually gets them “The HOA/STR insurance made me do it!” :wink:

Good luck.

Low carb-ers? No gluten diners? Maybe only eat restaurant or their own cooking? Don’t worry about it. People are strange (I say that as a odd person myself)


I like Riverrock’s suggestion of turning on the charm while they are there. There is little you can do about the review they give you except respond to their it with an explanation. Anyone reading the review will understand that they didn’t read the listing. Don’t be shy about leaving them a bad review either. They can’t retaliate against you for leaving a bad review. The worse that happens is that you both request the reviews (both of them) be taken down