Had to leave my first negative review

I had a couple book my place for a weekend. The booker is a host too, and had several great reviews both as a host and a guest. They made the reservation for 2. The cleaner arrived 30 minutes after the check-out time to find four people still in pajamas with the house in disarray. There are 4 hours between check-out and check-in, which is usually plenty of time to turn the house over. The cleaner was 90 minutes late getting in because the guests had to scramble to get dressed and pack their things. As a result, the cleaner had to go as fast as possible, and she was still there when that night’s check-in arrived (I called the guest and told them of the possibility, but thankfully they were very understanding).

I left a very matter-of-fact review that stated they were pleasant and communicative, but unaware of checkout time and had clearly smoked despite the listing stating that the entire property is non-smoking (small parcel with sensitive neighbors). I also mentioned wine stains on the floor, fireplace ash and bottlecaps in the living room, as well as the two additional guests. The entire review was five sentences and I was very careful to not use emotional language or call out the guest - it was basically just a list of facts.

Now I’ve gotten a few messages saying I’m lying and they’re taking this up with Airbnb and yadda yadda yadda. Also had to block the guest on Facebook. I’ve never had to leave a negative review, and I hated to have to do it this time, but I’m not out of line here am I? Unfortunately since the cleaner was in a rush she didn’t think to take photos, except of the cigarette butts in the trash.


I am sorry to hear about your experience.

I do hope you had a deposit and requested payment of the extra guests from that.

You aren’t out of line.

You did just right. If any guest breaks the rules that badly, they deserve a bad review. And if they get “snarky” as these folks did, YOU should be reporting their abuse of the system to AirBnB. Keep a copy of every communicate they make with you, and send it on the Air!

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Serves them right imho. If they’re hosts, they should know better to read the house rules and abide by them.

Received negative PUBLIC feedback from a guest today - a guest I had posted about who booked & clearly didn’t read the ad, but booked through instant book so I was obligated to take them.

Showed up an hour early, bitched about my check in time of 4pm, said I discouraged him from using the pool because I mentioned it was less than 60 degrees out and raining, wasn’t happy with the hot tub charge of $15 beyond the first use because his stay was less than 6 days (stated in the ad), didn’t like going over the house manual (felt lectured & unwelcome), said my dogs went wild (they sometimes bark at the front door and also of course wanted to greet him), said my family isn’t ready to meet the demands of being an AirBnB host. & implied he didn’t like that I use the Airbnb messaging system to communicate (which I do in order to give guests their space).

I’m thinking of replying with the following:

Although check in time is stated in the ad as 4pm, I was surprised to see you at 3pm.

I’m extremely sorry to hear you felt lectured! The aim of my house guide & home tour is helpfulness. That’s why I cover:

  • about the home & what to expect,
  • what’s in the guest’s room,
  • behavioral standards, internet & entertainment,
  • Googlecast,
  • laundry, recycling, cooking, parking, filtered water info,
  • pool & hot tub information,
  • food delivery services, recommended local cafes, restaurants, nightlife, and cultural attractions.

The following information is contained in my ad:
hot tub information,
check in time of 4pm,
use of the AirBnB messaging system to give guests their space. I felt this would work well for you, as you stated you work a great deal in the evening.

When I checked on you via messaging, I was glad to hear that you were happy with your accommodations.

I’m so sorry to hear that mentioning the less than 60 degree temperatures and rainy weather felt like discouragement from using the pool.

Feedback is very, very valuable & I greatly appreciate it! So glad to hear that your trip was overall pleasant, even if there was an expectations mismatch at my home.

Is this appropriate? Ugh I’m thinking of taking a break from hosting. Feeling so worn out & discouraged after this feedback from someone that I tried to take really good care of. Plus the other recent guests who said they were misled when they most definitely were not (didn’t read the ad).

Took my ad off of instant book. This guy’s profile said he wanted quiet, didn’t want dogs in his space, etc. But he instant booked so I felt there was nothing I could do at that point.


@happylittlehost it’s becoming clear you’re actually fairly new to hosting. I wasn’t sure when I read your other thread about it being unfair your rating had dropped from 4.9 … now I’m realising it was that high because you’re new, not because you’re exceptionally consistent.

I have a few questions. What is your process for Checking in guests who don’t arrive at 16.00?
What behavioural standards are you covering with guests ?
Are you conflating your home tour and your guide? A written guide is fine but how much of it are you saying verbally ?

I’m aware I asked you these questions before; I’m aware you said before you do cover these things in your guide and tour, but to have another person complaining so soon after the other suggests to me you’re relying on what you’ve written when really you could do with talking more …

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Happy, this guest was clearly not a fit for you. I think it is a good idea to go off IB so you can evaluate every enquiry carefully. Make sure they understand what they are booking and agree to it.

Don’t act surprised when they show up an hour early. Don’t let them in until 4. It’s disrespecting you to show up early like that. They can just chill out until the proper time. Even if the room is ready.

I wonder if you could get Air to remove the bad review since he did not read any of your instructions.

Try it and see. Don’t leave hosting. Just refine your listing copy a little bit and describe the kind of guest YOU want to host. I only want quiet, respectful and courteous guests who are self sufficient. For some reason lately guests have been reading everything because they know the,animal names,and that is at the very end.

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I did indeed remove instant book. And when he showed up at 4, I did tell him, I’m so sorry, but check in doesn’t start until 4pm, I’m not quite ready for you yet.

I definitely refine my listing after every bit of feedback received because I do believe there is a take away from every negative and positive experience. I’m always learning from my guests.

For example I recently went ahead and put pictures of my dogs in the listing in order to make certain that people are aware that I have pets. After the British people who felt misled about the pool and I suspected that that’s because the weather has changed I put in information that it is now fall and so the weather is different and not sunny right now.

I kind of wonder if the guy is not saying that the 4 p.m. check in is too late and he would have preferred an earlier check in time. However of course that’s not up to him it’s up to me.

As @Zandra wondered, since this gentleman felt like he was “lectured”, it seems to me that I’m not conflating anything. Depending on the guests and how long they’re going to stay I do go over the house manual and I do give them a house tour. If anything I may be saying too much.

Regarding whether I am a new host or not I’m not sure what you would consider to be new. This is guest number 25.

I don’t really believe in fairness when it comes to guest reviews. Simply because I don’t like the reviews they left or what their feedback was I wouldn’t say that it’s unfair but perhaps based on misconception formed on a failure to read my listing. I would very much appreciate accuracy from the guests but I’m well aware that customers don’t always give us what we want.

Now that I’ve had a couple of people who have not understood some things I do and I’ll message guests right after the incident book and make certain that they understand about some of the things like the bed size that others have not understood.

I try to anticipate my guests needs and meet them of course as everyone does.

In reply to what Zandra asked about behavioral standards I don’t really have too many. There’s no smoking and other tobacco or cannabis in the house. Tobacco smoking is allowed outside and just make sure you clean up your cigarette butts. No cannabis is allowed in or out of the house or on the property. I also state that I trust you can handle your liquor if you want to drink and of course no overly loud behavior which is of course defined as something that disturbs the neighbors.

Describing the kind of guest that I want is a great idea and one that I will definitely work into my listing going forward.

So my overall question is whether this proposed response is appropriate or should be revised.

good morning @happylittlehost

I’m not a fan of the long responses. Were you going to do this publicly? I shop listings a good bit and when I see hosts ‘argue’ with the guest in the review system it turns me off. If you have lots of great reviews and only one little rant from a guest, most people will overlook it entirely. And you’ll be surprised how quickly it rolls down the line and will never be read.

The best thing is to not respond. It only draws attention to the review. The best thing is to just ‘let it go’. Potential guests will see who the crazy one is.

If you must respond, roll it all into one tiny bite. “As I received only positive feedback from you while you were in my home, I was surprised and disappointed by your review. I always strive to be an excellent host and will look for ways to improve”


And good morning to you!

I think you’re right, all the way. I’m just going to leave it alone. Thanks so much! :smile:


Isn’t it wonderful to have so much wisdom and support from this forum?! I’ve been helped so many times!

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Same here. That’s why I come here. I have lots of happy guests; but I don’t need help figuring out those situations. I need help with problems and quandaries, and so that’s what I ask about. I find it of little use when people say to someone, “well, it seems you’re a new host because you keep having problems.” Anyone can have a spare of bad guests.

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I am having a very very hard time letting this go. His review was just so dishonest. I know that I didn’t do anything wrong with this guest in fact I’ve bent over backwards for him. He had expectations that would be a more appropriate for a hotel. I feel like writing and that “I find that all guest feedback is extremely valuable no matter how flawed it may be.”

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Thanks everyone! Airbnb denied his request to have the review removed, since he admitted to smoking on the property and not knowing what time checkout was.


Speaking in general, perhaps it may prove helpful if Airbnb was to instill a new prerequisite before approving any host - have them read the ‘New Airbnb Guide to Hosting’ which to the best of my knowledge it doesn’t exist. I suggested this to them two weeks ago.

I did find this, which maybe somewhat helpful: http://learnairbnb.com/airbnb-hosting-beginners-guide/ There are a lot of great suggestions in this forum that I have read over the last year, that would be great to have them in list form for newcomers.

Nothing to loose and everything to gain.

Happy google “Airbnb review guidelines” and look for “guideline content” or something similar. See if you can find any guideline “violations” - no matter how small…and fight to have it removed.

Go line by line and explain to Air why this review should be removed. The guest is trying to get into your head and make you feel like you should change to accommodate him. If he didn’t like a 4 p.m. check in then he should NOT have a booked a place with a 4 p.m. check in!

He is clearly a nutcase. He has the nerve to show up an hour early, and then he whines because you gave him the weather report…and he thinks you were discouraging him from using the pool? What?? Since when do people jump in the pool when it is 60 degrees?

He didn’t like the hot tub charge - it’s stated in the ad. If he didn’t like it, then he need not use it.

He felt like he was being lectured in the tour - yet he refused to read anything in your listing!! - if guests would read…there would be no reason for tours.

His profile says he does not want dogs in his space, yet he booked a place with dogs.

You need to try to get Air to remove it. And if you do respond I would not apologize one bit.

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I went ahead and called Airbnb and I specifically pointed out that he made a statement about my family personally. He said that my family isn’t ready for the demands of hosting. I find that to be personally insulting because I don’t think that review is an appropriate place to put a sentiment like that.

And also in his review he stated that I made efforts to find out what he needed or if there were any problems. He said that I anticipated some things that he didn’t even say like he left his cheese in the fridge uncovered so I just put it in a zip-lock baggie because it was going to get dried out you know what I mean. Which he said he was thankful for.

He stated that my dogs went wild several times. One time when my daughter and I were gone he said that they were barking a lot. I said that I didn’t know that that happened no one else has ever mentioned it and he said I understand that since you probably aren’t here when they do it. So then whenever we went out we took the dogs with us. Of course they always wanted to greet him when he would come back from wherever and since he rejected their greeting when he first arrived then of course it was rambunctious but they are small dogs not anything that’s going to knock anybody over. And of course they quiet down right after he’s arrived. They were with us the whole time other than when we went out anytime that he would be there so that I could make sure he was not disturbed. The one time that I personally witnessed him being greeted by these two little yappers I said that I was sorry about that and he said, well they are dogs, they bark.

When we have Sunday dinner my best friend and her mother bring their miniature dachshunds and oh my God I wish they wouldn’t LOL. They are true yappers, demanding little sh*ts. He came in while we were having dinner and gave me a look of death I swear. But they were only there for something like 2 hours or less and it was not anywhere near anyone’s bedtime. Those dogs’ presence here only overlapped his by about 30 minutes.

Then he mentioned something about odors and I am mystified as to what that could mean because I’ve never had any other complaints about that and that’s in about 25 or 30 guests.

The only thing I can think of is that smell from when you first turn on the heater in the winter. Which I immediately texted him about and told him that it’s the furnace and it should dissipate soon. Of course being from Nebraska I personally find that scent to be comforting LOL. I really don’t have any control over what that smells like.

But you know even so I still have a hard time calling Air B&B about having the review hidden or removed because everybody has an opinion. And he didn’t call us names. Although the things he said seemed to originate from an overly negative state of mind, they are indeed things that can be interpreted either negatively or positively.

So it’s really hard for me to say oh that person can’t have that opinion because I don’t like it. The main thing that’s been bothering me is the remark that he made about my family. I think that the main problem is that he misjudged my listing or barely read it and just made assumptions that he would not have made had he read the listing.

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You know what would be fun? Responded to bad reviews!

"Wow. Didn’t see that one coming."

"Tell us how you really feel."

"Oh goodness! Who woke up on the wrong side of the bed today?"

"Gosh, that must have been a nightmare for you!"


You’re going to need to get a tougher skin. It’s really not worth dwelling on a bad review like you are, life is too short.