Guest wants to return after leaving 3 star review

I had a guest leave a 3 star review only because we didn’t have wifi. We are clear that wifi is not provided and that is one of the reasons our listing is more in the budget category which is how I politely replied to the public review. I was very lucky that I didn’t lose Superhost staus because of this, although I did drop down a notch overall.

Anyway next thing I know she sends a message requesting to return. I want to refuse her but not sure if I should go to the trouble of explaining why having a guest return with the risk of getting another low review is not something I want to entertain, but I feel the need to educate.

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If she was an otherwise non-objectionable guest you wouldn’t mind having back aside from the review issue, I don’t see anything wrong with some education, as long as you think you can do it in a non-confrontational way that won’t backfire.

A good analogy in terms of what guests are meant to rate about their stay might be pointing out that downrating a host for something a guest would have liked to have, but which the host makes clear is not available, is like giving a low rating to restaurant, even though their meal was good, because their favorite dish they like to cook at home wasn’t on the menu.

Most guests, unless they are seasoned Airbnbers, host themselves, or have friends or relatives who do, really have no idea how ratings affect hosts and even when downrating, have no intention to harm a host, they simply aren’t aware of the repercussions.

Good guests, in my experience, are appreciative of review education, as long as it doesn’t come across as shilling for a 5 star review, and have thanked me for letting them know how review ratings affect hosts. One guest was shocked when I told her hosts lose their Superhost status for falling below 4.8 and get threatening messages from Airbnb about suspensions when falling below 4.7. She said she had left 4 star ratings for places she liked and would book again, thinking that was good, and would now know not to do that in the future. She said she felt terrible to think her rating could have lost them their Superhost status.

And if I were a guest, I would certainly want to know that a 3 star rating would not incline a host to welcome me back.

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Is it a trouble? Couldn’t you just reply and say something like “Hi [name], great to hear from you. It would be lovely to see you again but there’s just one thing that bothers me. You probably don’t understand the way Airbnb evaluates rentals - the three-star review you left last time really hurt my rankings. What do you think?”

Put the ball in her court?

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I would also add some wording as to why a host would be upset about their ranking. People are much more inclined to be open to things they understand the reasons for. I think guests should be made aware that hosts get penalties and warnings for low ratings, rather than be under the misconception that hosts simply want high ratings and ranking. And most guests aren’t aware of the algorithm criteria for search rankings.

It’s like cautioning a guest not to use the hair dryer at the same time they are using the toaster and the crock pot in a small cabin. If they are made aware that could cause fuses to blow and they will find themselves with no electricity, they are more likely to understand and comply than if you simply tell them not to do that.

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Is it possible for you to take the booking off Airbnb?

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I would take her back as a direct book only, no review.

RR

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You don’t want to get in that position of “educating” guests about reviews. It’s tacky, at best. If she left you a 3-star review then your place is probably not a good fit for her.

But as others have said, if she’s an otherwise acceptable guest then do a direct booking.

If she doesn’t want to do a direct booking then I’d decline her. It’s a review-based business so you’d effectively be letting your business take a decline for one single customer, which doesn’t make sense.

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few times the cs mentioned me that the review can be removed by the request of the guest… so now is your chance to have it removed if it bothers you, explain how reviews work maybe she will ask to get it removed

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Yes of course it is. Also possible Airbnb would pick this up and ban you from the platform

If she sent you an inquiry or a message asking to book, I personally would go into the calendar and block those days then tell her “I’m sorry, those days are not available.” She might give you another 3 stars and this time you might lose superhost. I wouldn’t want to host her again.

If you bother to engage in discussion I would specifically ask if there is ANYTHING besides the wifi that led her to lower your rating. She may decide that she needs something else this time that you clearly do not provide.

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We had a very similar situation. Our response to the former guest was “sorry, our property is not a good fit for your party. You deserve a 5 star stay and our amenities still do not meet your criteria. Hope you find a place that is more to your liking.”

If you’d like to go on to make it clearer you could say “As Airbnb requires us to average a 4.7 rating to stay on the platform we strive to meet or exceed our guests expectations. We know you were very disappointed we didn’t surprise you by adding WiFi, and mentioned that in the review. We still cannot supply WiFi at the home, and we cannot afford to disappoint you and get another 3 star review.”

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Thanks all for your responses. I have declined her.

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A guest could detonate a bomb in your Airbnb and certain posters will still say, ‘it’s okay, take them back’… Lmao

Leave me a 3 star review and you can kick rocks.

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"Hi, thanks for inquiring about booking again. While you were a good guest, your 3 star rating hurt my ranking on ABB because we clearly do not offer an amenity you wanted. ABB’s rating system penalizes hosts severely for reviews below 5 stars - 5 being “you got what was advertised, sometimes more, nothing less. We don’t want to risk another drop in our rating as that affects our search listing and Super Host status. I hope this helps you understand ABB a bit better. Unlike other platforms, 3 stars seriously hurts hosts who work hard for Super Host.”

Then let her respond. You’re not asking for a 5* review, but you’re letting her know what the game is about.

If she says she gets it and you basically liked her, then let her book. Otherwise, based on her response, say “Sorry, it’s not available.” Then block the dates for 48 hours.

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Totally depends on how it is done. Certainly can be tricky in a case like this, and I have seen hosts’ wording re review education that definitely comes across as shilling for a 5 star review, which is indeed tacky and can very likely backfire.

As a homeshare host, I have “educated” guests about the review system, but it is done in the course of other conversation and flows naturally. Guests might ask me about hosting, or talk about other Airbnb stays they’ve had, so the conversation can easily segue into reviews- I wouldn’t bring it up pointedly and don’t bring it up at all with guests who keep to themselves, only with some guests who I establish an easy rapport with and spend time in easy chit chat.

And I don’t bring it up from the point of view of wanting a 5 star review, because that is not something I stress about. I talk about it in the context of Airbnb leading guests to think that a 4 star review is good, and then hypocritically turning around and punishing hosts for it.
I tell guests that of course they should leave whatever star rating they feel is deserved, but not to be under the impression that hosts will be pleased with a 4 star or lower rating- not because hosts think they are perfect and have great listings, but because of the repercussions of lower ratings.

Anytime I have done this, the guests have sincerely thanked me for the info- they have no intention to harm a host’s ranking or lose them Superhost status if it’s a place they liked and would book again, they certainly don’t want to be rejected for future bookings, and they don’t appreciate Airbnb not cluing them in to the fact that hosts get penalized for lower than 4.8 star ratings.

As I mentioned before, one of my guests who thanked me for the info said she had been rating 4 stars overall for places and hosts she liked and where she would stay again and will never do that again. She was a lovely guest I have loosely kept in touch with and I’m sure her future hosts benefited from me sharing how the ratings affect hosts with her.

Education, on any topic, is never “tacky”. It totally depends on how it is done, if it happens at an appropriate opening, and being able to judge whether the person will be receptive to it.

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I had a guest leave me 4* and then try to book again a few weeks later. I said something like, “last time you stayed with us you complained about the on street parking and gave us 4 stars. To maintain our super host status we are required to maintain a 4.8 rating . I want to check that you are aware of what you are getting into and would ask you to make sure you read the listing description very carefully.” She was outraged by my “attitude” and cancelled her booking :laughing:

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While I know you wouldn’t have seen it like that, your wording comes across as an attack, which is not the way to educate people, if that is the goal.

In order to get guests to be open to understanding about the ratings, it is important not to make them feel bad or guilty or on the defensive, but to let them know that you can’t expect guests who are not also hosts to know how ratings affect hosts, because Airbnb doesn’t tell them- that it’s not their fault.

Then try to keep your own personal objection to being low rated out of it- present the facts of why hosts are disturbed by getting marked down as general information, and that ratings are meant to reflect the accuracy of what was listed as offered, not based upon what the guest would have preferred.

I actually did this once with a prospect that concerned me. I blocked out the dates the person wanted so when they tried to book, it was blocked. Then I waited a few days and unblocked the dates.

That would be a “hard” no for me! I would rather have our guesthouse be empty than have guests that won’t be happy to be here and leave reviews that reflect that. In fact, if someone doesn’t leave us a review we won’t rebook with them! While I understand the differing responses, we are blessed to stay very booked and often welcome a night off or even block a night to take a break, so I’m sure that has an impact on our approach. We live by “the only thing worse than no guests is an unhappy guest” approach.

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