Just uncovered guest's bad review... Please help with a response

This is what the guest wrote. I can see that Air BnB definitely won’t try to take this down because he sure tried to sound intelligent even though he was making up SO MUCH stuff…

We stayed at the house for my daughter’s wedding. The wedding was great however the house put a damper on our trip. My wife is a doctor and I am a CFO - we travel often and have stayed at several Airbnb and VRBO houses. This was by far our worst experience. The house is in a good location however the house needs a significant amount of maintenance on it. Both the shower and dishwasher were broken. Two drains were also clogged. The house also has an animal smell to it. The towels and linens need to be replaced as well. Several dishes in the cabinets were not clean upon our arrival. The furniture has extreme wear and tear. The master bedroom mattress needs to be replaced - it completely sinks in the middle. The house does have a nice outdoor area with a functioning jacuzzi. It seems like a great house however the maintenance company is not keeping the house in good repair. The gravel road leading to the house is also extremely dangerous in heavy rain. We had trouble with our sedan. I would suggest only having a truck or SUV if you are going to the house.”

So many things that he said are simply not true. I have a maintenance crew who always fixes everything that comes up any time we have a complaint. I also send my primary maintenance guy there every month to just walk around and check if there’s anything that need repair. He works for many of the local cabin management companies and told me that we are his favorite client because we don’t let anything go unrepaired. The guest told me about a shower not draining, I sent someone in right away and then touched basis with him and he told me it was completely fixed. What he wrote about the dishwasher? This man has a great imagination! Not to mention, on the phone he told me the house was great but the wedding didn’t go well! The group that stayed before him actually wrote me a personalized thank-you card to tell me how it’s the best VRBO they’ve ever stayed in (that group was from VRBO). The furniture has extreme wear and tear??? What the heck is he even talking about? We don’t have any furniture that’s more than a few years old and I go to the cabin every month to inspect it myself. Funny how he says “functioning jaccuzi”… It’s an 8 person hot tub that’s less than half a year old. I’ve never had ANYONE complain about the gravel road before. I’ve been hosting for 1.5 years and this man told me everything was great, until I told him about the damages he had done to my house (throw up everywhere, broken shower head, DEFINITELY BROKEN BY SOMEONE IN HIS GROUP, broken screen door).

How should I respond? Prior to his review, we have an impeccable record - 5 star on overall and 5 star on cleanliness.

This is the original thread…

Thank you all…

Every guests expectations are different and one iffy review isn’t going to hurt you. In your response to his review should not be vengeful or repeated information… maybe IMHO something like the following: We thank you for your comments and will review the items you mentioned such as the mattress you indicated sinks as we have had no past indications of any issues. We strive to keep our home comfortable for all our guests and if there is a maintenance issue we do address it right away as we did with the drains you reported were not draining well during your stay. We also were disappointed upon your check out to find damage to the home that was caused by your group. While we understand that accidents do happen we are more likely to work with guests when issues arise then finding them after our guests depart.
I would make a general statement and not go into too much detail about what exactly happened but enough to give other guests a clue as to what as happened. There is nothing in his statement that would violate ABB TOS and everything that is listed is his opinion and nothing defamatory in his review. While it is hard to swallow a “bad” review we all get them and you need to take it with a grain of salt and go on. Try and not take it personally and take a good look at the things he mentioned and determine if they have any merit. Sometimes we can be blind to things that might stand out to others such as wear/tear on furniture or a sagging mattress.


I absolutely agree. Despite the fact he didn’t bring up any of these issues (other than a shower drain that he overexaggerated even in his original message which thinking back should have been a red flag) I’m still going to go over every single issue he has brought up with my cleaning crew and maintenance crew. It’s just that I know some of them can’t possibly be true. He brought up the issues with the towels AFTER I told him about throw-up all over them. He told me it’s not throw-up, it’s bad towels with dried stains. Yeah right!! I have throw-up spots ALL OVER THE TOWELS! Then he told me that the towels weren’t washed or cleaned before they got there. This man can completely lie on the spot. If that was really the case, wouldn’t he have told me instead of after the fact? He even lied about the weather - telling me it rained all 5 days he was there. I even went to weather underground to make sure I wasn’t going crazy! I haven’t had a different cleaner on this property from day one because we have SO MANY guests that check the “sparkling clean” for our cleanliness…

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Seems like a revenge review after you requested compensation for damages. I would start with calling Airbnb and state such. See if they will take it down. Mention how drastically different it is from the other reviews. If not I would write something like this:

XYS will not be welcomed back to our cabin after causing damage to the property. We take pride in our home as shown by our previous guests who have all left 5 star reviews. We strike to offer complete guest satisfaction and this review is not representative of past guest experiences.


Yes it absolutely was since he started the conversation by telling me the stay was a good one and that he was going to write me a 5 star review. Then quickly changed his tone when I told him about damages and throw-up. I’ve talked to Air and I know based on what they’ve said they won’t take it down…

It sounds like he was getting ready for you to make a claim by setting “his side” out in writing first. I might just keep it brief like “None of our previous XXX guests have brought up any of these issues and it seems to be sour grapes because I mentioned stains his party left on the towels and a broken door. Our maintenance guy who does many cabins in the area has mentioned before that we are one of his best clients because we always maintain everything in good order. We hope that our other reviews speak for themselves.”.


I think the third sentence will have many people rolling their eyes. Does he believe that his wife being a doctor and him being a CEO makes his opinion more weighty?

I agree with JamJerrup. Mention that his review is retaliatory and keep it short and calm.

Do not refute point by point is some long winded essay.


@GardenGnome is absolutely right - do NOT do a point-by-point rebuttal. Your response is for potential future guests to read.
I like what @Brandt wrote. You are not accusing him of any motive for his review, just letting future readers know the situation, which will lead them to the conclusion this was a retaliatory review and they’ll ignore it.


Yep. That sounds about right! :smirk:


Do Not Respond, IMHO. But if you must, say something like “Sorry you seemed to have had a bad experience – unlike the previous XX guests who found the cabin to be a great place to stay.”


I went and looked at your listing again, his review of you and yours of him all on the platform and in context. You don’t respond to every review so if you respond to his it’s going to make it stick out and show all of it instead of someone having to click more to see it. It’s already the second review in the queue. I don’t know how much of the upcoming calendar is blocked and how much is booked but it looks pretty full. How is his review going to hurt upcoming bookings if there are few time slots available?

You still have 5 star overall so I wouldn’t respond. But if I did it would be very short and don’t direct it to him, he won’t see it. Something like what Brandt suggested if you must.

He has stayed in several Airbnbs but only has two reviews? Hmmm.


I agree…only this line would discredit for me the whole review .Overall I would just ignore and not leave feedback.
Let others to decide judging on the rest of your reviews.
I once stayed in a very beautiful hotel.
It’s rare when everything is perfect but this hotel was a perfection. From front desk to housekeeping to a fruit basket every day and chocolate, luxury sheets, bathrobes and high end toiletries . Amazing breakfast buffet and consierge. I was thinking to myself…there is heaven on earth . And all of it was for a very good price.
Though hotel has 9 score on booking.com there were quite a bit of 1" angry reviews about this and that. You can’t please everyone…


Wow that’s very interesting information. I didn’t realize that if you respond it makes the review become full view (instead of click more). If that’s the case I absolutely think I shouldn’t leave a response. And on the same note, I need to respond more to people that gave glorious reviews so they would stand out better. Wow… Never thought of that before… All the rest of the April stays are from Air BnB so we should be generating some new reviews. I contacted the guests that stayed right after the CFO and asked for any negative feedback, he talked to everyone in his group and the only thing they came up with was that the steak knives were a little dull. (I do provide a sharpening steel already.) Regardless… I’m going to buy some new knives. Unfortunately we did have two more groups that stayed after that that were pretty bad. Broke my dining room bench, tore up my hot tub lid, but I didn’t file any damages because we already have this hanging over our heads… And those bad guests don’t review…

Another vote not to reply, he does just fine coming off as an entitle jerk all by himself! (And he even lied about the wedding being great haha)


I agree with KKC on this one.

One nitpicky review among so many glowing ones won’t hurt you - other guests can see the context if they click through to your review of him. By replying to the review it will continue to call attention to it.
Just let it fade into obscurity, like the jerk himself. :sunglasses:


Thank you all so much. You all are so helpful. Not just with writing reviews, responses, etc but also with my mental and emotional wellbeing. I was losing sleep over the anticipation of uncovering his review etc but thanks to all of you all’s help I was surprisingly calm when reading his review and managed to get some sleep last night after reading it! lol I wish I could invite you all to my cabin and we can all have a good time together on my expense.

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Happilytorn: I would not give the bad review much credence, as the guest bragged he is a CFO (chief financial officer) and his wife is a doctor. Big deal! A ditch-digger’s Airbnb guestroom payment is just as good as someone who earns $1 million annually.

This couple sounds very pompous and likely throw their job titles in others’ faces; especially when making a last-minute reservation in an exclusive restaurant.

If this couple is so wealthy, why are they not staying in elegant Hilton Hotels, Ritz Carltons, Four Seasons, etc.? He could be the CFO of his one-person company and his wife could be a doctor from a phony diploma mill.

An acquaintance always lists and introduces himself as a doctor. He is a “doctor of holistic healing,” who received his doctor title after attending a one-day seminar in a hotel conference room.

People who claim they are something special, usually are not!


DON’T DO THIS. No matter how hard you try, going over every single comment made in the review makes this looks like a pissing match, and does not reflect well on you in any way.

I also vote for not replying at all, but if you feel you must, KEEP IT SIMPLE.

This is a perfect response.


No no. I didn’t mean that. Sorry I wasn’t clear. I meant I’m going to go through every single issue he mentioned with my cleaning crew and maintenance crew just to be sure there was nothing of merit. I would certainly not be going through what he wrote in a response to him on the site.


Thank you Don. You are so right. He paid around $200 a night during one of our peak seasons (spring break) with 10 adults + 1 child. He gave me a value star of 2 out of 5. If he’s so wealthy (although I checked his linkedin profile it does seem like he might make a decent living) he should have paid for a better place for his daughter’s wedding. I’m not saying he can’t afford it, but obviously he chose not to. Which to me says something. My boyfriend just proposed (on the trip I just came back from!) and he’s already booked an 8 night stay at one of the Overwater Bungalows ($3000 a night) for our wedding. I’m not trying to brag… I’m honestly not even sure why I’m bringing it up other than the fact I’m SO EXCITED!! But yeah this Mark guy is just laughable…