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My first bad review - I am heartbroken

I am absoultely heartbroken. I have recieved my first bad review ever and its totally unwarranted. I never even met these guests as they came in late without notifying us, so I had get myself ready for my sisters wedding, which they knew about! My partner who is also a host and lives with me met the guests, showing them around the apt, showing them map etc, like we do to all our guests. Anyway these guests have insulted me in the review saying I only cared about going out to a party and I didnt welcome them etc etc. I actually did try to meet them after 15mins of them being in the apt, but they decided to go to bed, so off course i didnt want to disturb them. After an hour later we heard the door bang and theyd left to go out. They also complained that in the afternoon when they were trying to sleep, we were noisy. This was defintely not the case. There wasnt any music on and there was only me and my partner in the apt, talking low as not to wake them. They also complained that ‘after the party’ that we came back noisy. This infact is again untrue, as I was actually in bed before midnight, when I heard them come back an hour later, 10mins before my partner arrived home. I cannot believe the blantant lies! They also complained about the dishwasher that they had to move things around to put there dishes inside. (i know for a fact that i emptied the dishwasher before I went out, and if there was anything in it there would of been a few glasses). They also complained in private feedback saying that their private bathroom was dirty! If i didnt laugh id cry at this one as everyone always compliments me on my cleaning, and get 5 stars every single time. I feel they have slaughtered me in the review and i feel its going to damage my good reputation and put other guests of booking. To make matters worse this new review system is a mess at the moment, as reviews not in date order, leaving this review right at the top! Is there anything I can do to get it removed? I know i can reply but what can i say to that without coming over defensive. I shoudl not have to defent myself like this. I can take warranted criticism, but I do not want untruths written about me in a review. Disgusted!

I don’t think you’ll have much luck getting the review taken down unless you can prove that they are lying, but how could you do that based on what you’ve said? You won’t have pictures of a pristine bathroom with a time stamp on them, you won’t have pictures of an empty dishwasher.

Why don’t you try replying publicly to the review in a very calm precise way - something like “Unfortunately this guest was not happy with our home and our hospitality. We are always very careful with our housekeeping as previous reviews can attest, and we are always happy to welcome considerate guests into our home” or something like that. Don’t got too much LIAR LIAR but a calm measured reply, combined with your other good reviews, will show this negative review for what it is - someone unfairly bashing you.

If you’ve got any previous guests that you haven’t yet reviewed, review them right away in case they’ll turn around and review you, possibly moving this negative review out of first position. I know that this is a long shot, but you never know!


sunshine, my heart breaks for you, and I know that my day will come, too.

I agree with superhost - just calmly reply that you are sorry they were not comfortable because the comfort of your guests is very important to you, that you work hard to be respectful and to make sure their space is clean, blah blah blah.

When I’m reading reviews and I see an owner or manager reply in such a way I know that they at least care. And the other great reviews will offset this. I think most of us know by now that our culture’s current review system is a bit whacked and we have to read them with one eye closed, ignoring the crazies and the gushies.

Seriously, she’s complained about having to move dishes around in the dishwasher - who the hec is going to take her for anything but a crazy??? I don’t think this one bashing is going to hurt you.

I hope for you that the next guests know how to be appreciative and that the sting will subside quicker than you could expect. At least you no longer have to wonder when it will happen to you - it did. Go back and read all you other great reviews, I’m sure you earned every one!


I’m like DC, just waiting for the day it happens to me - I strongly suspect that it will happen to every host at some time or another.

So I’m sort of mentally preparing myself for it by thinking:

  • It’s one bad review - I have plenty of great ones
  • The guest is gone, their stay is over and I can’t turn back the clock
  • AirBnB are most unlikely to remove the review so it’s better just to forget about it and I’m not going to waste even more time on these crazy people by responding to the review
  • I’ll simply concentrate on being positive and making more guests happy to get more good reviews
  • I’m also trying to tell myself that this is a business and there’s no room for emotion

Of course, whether I believe myself and do this is another matter :slight_smile:

Thanks guys.
I’m working on the review reply now. This is there review, and private feedback. Its laughable, although im almost in tears! Dramatic I know but i cant help it! I put so much work into airbnb and to get this huge slap in the face is horrible.
This is their review - Knox welcomed us correctly, nice and polite, he gave us nice addresses to eat in the evening. But we have been really disappointed after this: Miko sent us an email asking where we were because they had to go out soon. We were late because she gave us indication from another train station, and we felt that she was annoyed by our lateness (3:30pm instead of 3). Then we wanted to sleep a bit before going out for the evening, we could not because they were noisy. When they came back from the party they awoke us, they were talking loudly close to our room. In the morning, we did not see anyone, we had to put our stuffs in the dishwasher, and most of all, we had to classify their stuffs in there to put ours! Knox came for 11 for the checkout. The party seemed to be more important for Miko that welcome us, which made us very uncomfortable.”

This is my reply (I havnt sent yet, or its not finished i need advice)
Wow my first bad review! I am actually totally heartbroken that you feel this way.
Let me address some points you make and so other potential guests can see from my point of view:

  1. I always pride myself in excellent hosts skills, as you will see from every other reviews I get. Unfortunately on this occasion I wasnt around to greet you and i apologize for that. My partner did mention to you that I had to attend my sisters wedding party, so it was not ‘any old party’ like you maybe suggesting. You will also see from our profile that my partner is also a host and it happy to greet guests also. I am pleased you felt he looked after you. I would also like to add, I did knock on your door to say hello, but i got no answer.
  2. You state we were noisy in the afternoon. Our noise level was very low, and even though it was only the afternoon, knox and I talked in a whisper as not to wake you.
  3. You say I give you the wrong train station. I did not. The Dublin train always arrives in Central Station. I told you like I do all our guests that you would need to get a connecting train to Great Victoria St. I also mentioned since you were going to Titanic, before checking in, that Central would be handiest to it.
    You were actually over an hour late than you stated, but this was no problem as we are pretty easy going, I only emailed you to see if there was any longer delays. I find communication is key in the hospitality business.
  4. As for the noise in the evening, I was actually in bed by midnight, when I heard you guys come back an hour later, 10mins before my partner arrived home. I didnt feel the need to complain about you coming in late in your review, as I understand it was a Saturday night.
  5. I left you a lovely note for the morning and had set the table for breakfast for you with everything you could need. Most guests are happy to have their privacy eating in the morning, so I didnt think you would find this a problem. Im sorry you did.
  6. The dishwasher was emptied before we went out that evening. There was a few glasses in it maybe, but there was plenty of room for your dishes.
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I would take a different vein. Obviously they are ogres, the reasons are immaterial. So grab the opportunity in responding to them to state what your place IS about, and it is a wonder why and how they found so many things to complain about yet no one else has. In other words put the ‘strange’ review on THEM. Do not placate or pander, they are the problem. In essence, you are facilitating the other readers to put them in proper perspective, meaning the odd ogre. Personally I have no mercy for the spoil, ill of nature or mean and never miss the opportunity to put them in THEIR place, with a bit of cunning. Usually I start the response with the line: 'How odd…". Keep it extremely short and dismissal in manner. Good luck.
Such reviews are really a wonderful opportunity for advertising how great your place is. :wink:


I wouldn’t write that long response. It will stick out like a sore thumb. Just move on :slight_smile:


I know, its long. But i sort of want to get my points across…
I dont know what to do.

@sunshine, best NOT to reply until you take a little time to think and not be emotional. In fact I would take 24 hours to respond, it is a wise edict in some cultures that proper perspective takes that long to do the wisest thing.


I agree, that’s why i’m stalling:)

My advice is that you should move forward and don´t waste any time writing a reply. You might believe that this is the best way to defend yourself against this unfair review, but what you will be doing is highlighting the bad review instead so that anyone who later visits your listing will make an eye stop there to see what has happened. Airbnb page layout offsets the reply a bit to right and expands both (review and reply) so it almost impossible to skip them when you see it (Airbnb should better fold the reply along with the review). For me is clearly simple, when I see a long reply then this might be the response to a bad review and I’m curiuos of what was wrong with their stay. If you don´t have many reviews yet, believe me that you will collect those in a near future and that particular review will be lost from the user´s sight. I like to think that a strong positive review is always a better weapon than a well written reply to a bad review so you should concentrate on make your next guests leave great reviews on top of this one and this particular guests will be seen to everyone else as your black sheep.

Thanks dc.
My guests after them were perfect, but now today I have 2 other guests basically demanding later check out tomorrow, even though i explained we are at work, the other guests tomorrow will have their keys etc etc…
They keep emailing saying please, even an hour or 2 later, as everything closes earlier tonight we want to see more of belfast tomorrow etc etc. Talk about a guilt trip. I responded as usual , sorry, give them close by luggage facilities etc…probably other ones who will hit me in review because they dont get what they want.

Ugh. There’s a saying in the states - maybe there, too - “Your failure to plan does not necessarily constitute and emergency on my part”.

Hang in there…


^^^ Love that, what a bright statement.

Try getting together a list of free things they can do in your area between checkout time and early evening - parks, museums, sights to see etc plus recommended cafes or lunch places. Have this printed out in their room. Say something like ‘we understand that you want to make the most of our fabulous area - please see the list of great things to do after you’ve checked out. You can leave your luggage at xxxxx. Thanks for staying with us and have a great day’…

Then at least you have tried to accommodate them and they leave with positive thoughts about you rather than negative ones.

How many stars did they give you?

Yes, I have all this, I have an extensive info pack in room. I also tell them all the places that offer free / or small fee luggage facilities… most of my guests tell me ive thought of everything lol…I guess i’m just gonna have to paint my smile on today for these guys coming in, and not take out on them the horrible review i received.

1 Like

Agree with others here. These people were just bitter for some unknown reason and they decided to take it out on you. They are jerks… Don’t let it break your heart.

Your draft response comes off as really emotional and defensive. My approach with an unfair bad review is to outshine them with a short, very professional response that puts the spotlight back on your positive reviews. E.g., ‘we are sorry guest x did not enjoy their stay. We pride ourselves on our cleanliness and going above and beyond to ensure the comfort of our guests, which is reflected in our many, many five-star reviews. We wish guest x well in their travels.’

Btw, for me, saying ‘we wish guest x well in their travels’ is code that you never want to see or hear from these people again. If I read this a host, I would avoid accepting these people as guests. If I were a potential guest, I would regard these guests as particularly difficult and would discount their feedback.


omg that were harsh.
Cleanliness feedback:
“The bathroom, mostly the bath, was not that clean.”

    Communication feedback:
    “Miko was totally missing! We barely see them!”
    Location feedback:
    “Good security, close to city center, but noisy. We could hear everything outside, in the apartment and the building.”
    Value feedback:
    “It was very expensive for what we get!”


I like that. You keep it simple:)

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