How bad can a review be without retaliation?

My husband and I just started hosting in June and we have just had our first issue. There is no smoking allowed but our guest apparently thought that marijuana didn’t apply. He booked for 1 person and had at least 3 people with him. they used both beds and our pullout and stained one of the bedspreads. There was a broken glass pipe on the floor that he didn’t bother cleaning it up. We tried getting the smell out for our next guest but ended up discounting her stay. What kind of public review can we leave and what will it cost us in the end? We have a great rating and would like it to remain that way.

Reviews are double blind. They won’t see yours until you review them. So don’t say a thing to them and wait until near the end of the 14 day review period and then review honestly.

As far as the booking for one and bringing 3 you could have dealt with that when he was there but didn’t. Just mention it in the review.


If the guest has not reviewed you then wait until the last minute and submit an honest review. The last minute is 14 days from the time that Air sent you the first prompt to review the guest.

Good luck


Reviews should always be unemotional and factual. The purpose of the review is not to chastise or berate a Guest. The purpose of the Review is to tell your fellow hosts what was good or not good about a particular guest.

Here’s the review I would write for this Guest:

“Cannot recommend Guest Name! Violated House Rules, left the place a mess, and is a poor communicator. Smoked non-tobacco in our NO SMOKING listing! Left a broken non-tobacco pipe. The strong non-tobacco aroma left behind has caused major cleaning issues. Booked for one person but brought at least three others with him. Used all the beds, and stained a bedspread.”


Wait till the 14th day to write your review. He won’t be able to leave you a review after14 days.

Technically wait until the end of the 13th day because at the 14 day mark (to the minute) neither one of you will be able to leave a review.

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I have a related question. I may be wrong here but my understanding is that if a guest has left a review, but the host has not left one (and 14 days have not passed yet) the guest can modify their review. What is the time limit for the guest to modify their review in this situation? Is it a time period from when they left their review, or anytime until the host leaves theirs and/or the 14 days is up?

I hope this question makes sense. :grimacing:

I’m wrong. Apparently it’s 48 hours. :wink:

You have up until the deadline to revise your review. It’s locked in by the 2-week review deadline or the other person leaving theirs.

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No, you only have 48 hours.


The guest can’t see your review, so there’s no reason to hold back your honest assessment of the guest.

The “retaliatory” part comes in when the guest can guess your review is bad. That’s not always the case. Two examples:

  1. Guest arrives and meets me by herself, leaving her friends in the car. Odd enough for me to notice. They later sneak a 5th, unauthorized person into the house. My Ring surveillance even catches them talking about sneaking her.
    I decide it’s too much hassle to go after the 5th person. They have a great time and think they got away with it. Because there was no confrontation, they aren’t expecting a bad review. I review them low. They review me 5*.
  2. Guest brings a 5th person. I address it straightforwardly. He pays, then the second night he brings a SIXTH person, who I don’t see until after they checkout the following morning (Ring doorbell).
    I charge him the highest unauthorized guest fee I can. He can guess he’ll get a bad review. In this case I wait. I hope he won’t leave a review and I’ll leave mine 5 minutes before the deadline hits.
    That didn’t happen - he leaves a review almost immediately and I know it’s going to be a stinker. As soon as I leave my honest low review, I can see his. Indeed it was a 3* - lowest received in 5 years - where he blames me for the low value (duh. it costs more if you’re fined for breaking rules) and being “creepy” watching the doorbell camera.

When people break house rules I decide whether to risk a bad review by calling them out. Even if done nicely, some people will hold it against you in review, thus the retaliatory part.


@RiverRock is in this camp of playing the cards close to the vest, avoiding the confrontation and then slamming them in the review. That approach definitely has merits.

And as for waiting the 14 days I hate to think of those few rule breaking guests who complete their trip screwing over multiple hosts because no reviews post for 14 days.


I understand it’s 48 hours but what I also wonder is if the guest gets notified each time you change it. Generally I try to write and save to submit at the right time. (For difficult guests anyways). It also allows me to revise it as often as I want without it sending the message to the guest that I have written one.

With the extra people it is not damage so can be charged after reviews are done. Airbnb used to support me when I provided evidence but then this year they switched to claiming they can’t open the files or the links it see the evidence and then more recently they just started claiming that they are allowed to have as many “visitors” free and clear as they want…

Hey, now since the Halloween incident maybe I can better get this dealt with if I bring that up the right way…

I now wait but can only take solace for other hosts in knowing that I am trying to not let them get away with it completely and trying to help regain some of it in the process, which will eventually help them. The hosts each have to do their part as well, and unfortunately with problem guests the time frame is 2 weeks (if they don’t leave the host a review). Hosts looking out for themselves with bad guests with a delayed review eventually helps all the hosts, just doesn’t give the ones within the 14 day period a heads up.

Interestingly I had a guest who was horribly a pain And cost me a lot of time and travel to her many days and left a bad review. There was a glitch with Airbnb and mine didn’t “take” so the they “helped me” by putting my review as a response to hers…which was not very helpful because not only was it not a response, it also then didn’t allow me to actually respond…and now she has 12 great reviews so maybe she learned a thing or two regardless…who knows.

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Do you check reviews again before they arrive? I check them at booking, but it’s rare for me to check them again.

If someone did something that was a dangerous, rather than just disrespectful, I might feel differently.

But with the asshole “doctors without boundaries” I wrote the most scathing but honest review I could. Color me surprised at least four hosts have booked him since then.

Based on that, I’m not willing to put myself in a bad spot to speed the review along. I’ll be honest, but the timeline might be self-serving. :speak_no_evil:


I do! Always.

I understand this too though. It’s a very flawed system.

Lol. I had some of them too. They were pretty bad.

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About half my bookings are within 3 days of arrival. For others, yes, I do look for reviews, especially if they had zero reviews when I looked before. I don’t send check in information until day of check in for new users so when I go to do that I look over their profile again, review the message thread and so on. I personalize the message to them as appropriate.

I’ve written many times about the woman with bad reviews who IB’d with me and I canceled her ASAP. She has gone on to book many more Airbnb stays. I don’t understand how and why.

Ultimately we all have to put our business first.


I’m going to PM her profile to you.

Except it doesn’t always work from personal experience