My First Torpedo Review

Going on 7 years hosting, great history of 5 ratings, and I get this 3 rating:

“Diane was very thorough with her communication and had everything you could need to stay. However, there were ants all over the bathroom, stains on pillowcase, dead flies in bathroom, hair on bed. So these made us feel very unsanitary and wish we stayed somewhere else unfortunately.”

After some consideration, although this was an outlier, I thought I needed to respond for the benefit of future guests:

“We wish you had enjoyed your stay more! We can assure guests that we check the suite thoroughly prior to check in, as well as after check out, and in this case didn’t see any evidence of insects or cleaning issues. So, we urge guests to bring any concerns to our attention during their stay – and are happy to address them on the spot. We’re glad you were able to enjoy the snacks and drinks provided during your 3 night stay, and wish you safe travels.”

I repeated this on the message platform to the guest, with the addition:

“We’ve taken time-stamped photos of the pillows, linens, counters, sinks, floors, and the shower enclosure to review, although nothing amiss is apparent to us, and to assist in any follow up.”

In case they go to Airbnb and try to get a refund. Fortunately, they didn’t stain anything themselves, so the bedding (and counters and floors and sinks) were almost as clean as before they arrived.

You never know, we’re all human and I could have missed something but I’m really scratching my head. I guess insects might appear after check in, but interesting that they disappeared without a trace immediately after check out.

How’d I do?


Sorry that happened to you. I would have left out the first line of your response. Just brings attention to a guest being displeased.

I live where there are lots of ants and sometimes ants pass through and then disappear as quickly as they appear. So I suppose there could have been some, but if you didn’t see any stains on any pillowcases, like she claimed, she might just be lying about all of it.

And people who think ants have anything to do with cleanliness are just ignorant. Aside from those little sugar ants and some other types that are attracted to food, ants can hang out in immaculate homes. It’s like thinking head lice happen only if someone has dirty hair, when the cleanliness of one’s hair is immaterial. .

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We had our first 3-star torpedo review recently, too, so I feel for you! It guts you after all the hard work you do to give guests a great experience. I wondered if our guest was trying to get me to give her a refund, but I didn’t offer it and she didn’t contact me asking for one.

The good news is that life goes on. Shortly after her review posted, we received a five-star, and within about a week, got another booking and they didn’t ask a thing about the three-star review.

Your answer was fine, IMO. If I had written it, it might be different, but everyone’s style is their own. The important part is that you didn’t make any accusations, just stated facts, and the tone is good.


Was the written part full of complaints? Because as far as I’m aware, guests can’t see the star ratings other guests give you, only the averages.

Yes, as well as lots of compliments. (This was the coffee-complaining guest.) But this was on Vrbo, where you do see the star rating

I’m working on a professional response, but haven’t had time to work on it yet.

Getting torpedoed is a growth moment in life.


If I see negative reviews as a guest or a host, I immediately check out the reviewer! All 5 stars and 1 3 star? Hmmmm, it’s not the host who is at fault, usually.


And the opposite also can be true- you might find that the host is a micromanaging fusspot who has petty complaints about all of their guests or dismisses all guest complaints in their review responses in a defensive or aggressive manner.

Or the host gives generic “Nice guests!” reviews and 5* ratings to all of their guests, in which case I would totally dismiss their review as useless.


We recently had our first torpedo review, as well. It’s so discouraging.

Within 10 minutes of arrival, the guest sent a picture of a kleenex with a smudge of dust and said her expectations were higher. Because I am part of the cleaning team, I know how clean it is… always 5-stars. I figured she was looking for a discount, which I also didn’t offer.

She was one of our worst guests - non-responsive prior to arrival, brought an extra person and left a complete mess all over the house. We found a list in child’s handwriting: “look carefully under dressers, carpets and in the beds”. I wonder where the dust came from…

I decided not to review her as it might prompt her to also review. But she did anyway, and she said the house was “filthy”. Gulp! My only recourse was to write a scathing response to her review, which I hope other hosts will be prompted to read since her rating is so far off all the others.

BTW, Air customer service was of no help.

Please do not shy away from reviewing in the future. You get a notification when the guest has left a review, so if you see they have left a review before the 14 day cut-off, leave your review then. If they haven’t yet reviewed by 10 minutes before the cut-off, submit your review then. Have it already written off-platform so you can just cut and paste it. By the time the guest has seen the notification that you’ve left a review, it will be too late for them to write one.

Your responses to reviews appear on your profile, not the guest’s, so responding is of little use to fellow hosts- responses are for the benefit of future guests reading your reviews.

Don’t let jerky guests like this cause you to feel “discouraged”. They are nothing but a pain in the butt, must be miserable people to spend their time making up issues, and should be dismissed as the jerks they are. Don’t let them affect you emotionally, just move on.

A bad review full of lies, when you have plenty of good reviews is not worth getting upset about. Guests are not stupid- they don’t blindly believe every review they read, anymore than you would believe one review a guest had saying they were awful, when the guest has 15 reviews saying they were delightful, respectful guests. Prospective guests read “filthy” and think “Huh? But there’s 70 reviews saying it was clean and lovely- that guest must be lying for some reason”.


Reminder that airbnb shows only a bit of the review, unless you ‘reply’, and at that point the entire guest’s review becomes visible…


Thank you for your encouragement!

As a host, before accepting a booking I actually look at how someone has left reviews. If I saw a low rating, I click on the listing and see if the host replied. I hope others do this, as well. I left a “host beware” comment, so assuming she saw that I hope it at least taught her something.

How do you know exactly when the 14-day cut-off is? I was actually thinking to do what you suggested, but didn’t know when it was.

Interesting. I will have to check that out. Thanks!

If you don’t leave the guest a review there is no way for a host to know that a guest stayed with you and, thus, no way for a host to see the review that they left for you nor your response to it.

Without a review from you on the guest profile none of it exists for other hosts. It only exists for potential guests that look at your listing profile. That app Airreview only shows reviews that guests left for hosts that left them a review.

That is why a lame review like “good guest” is better than nothing.


Most of my guests are seasoned travelers and have quite a few reviews. (One of my recent guests had 70 reviews, all of them good!) If the reviews read like real reviews, as opposed to cut and pastes, and are good, and the guest has communicated nicely in their request message, I’m not likely to spend time cross-referencing. If the guest’s reviews are mixed, or their communication leaves something to be desired, I would.

And, as JJD points out, if you don’t leave a review for a guest, there is no way for me to know they stayed with you, so there is no way to cross-reference and see your response to the guest’s review.

Just so you know, in my experience this strategy doesn’t discourage guest reviews because Air keeps bugging the guest to review your place during the 14 day window.

It might change the timing of the review, however.

Recently I received an amazing message from Air when I was a guest. It said something like, “Your host has written a review about you! Would you like to read it? Then write a review of your stay now.”

There’s some middle school psychology for you!

As a host I don’t think I get any nudges, only the initial message “How did Linda do as a guest?” and then the notification sits on the website. I can’t recall any other nudges even though I don’t review all my guests.

I see what you mean. Shoot. For some reason I thought that their profile also showed the reviews they gave. Oh well. I guess my message got through to at least her.

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Not sure why you don’t get review reminders. I do. Several. I agree that not reviewing a guest like this isn’t likely to prevent them from reviewing. Guests who complain about non-issues and send photos of some dust on a kleenex in a home that the host knows has been adequately cleaned are usually the types to love writing critical reviews and won’t pass up the chance to do so.

It’s much more common for guests who have behaved badly, left the place a mess, etc. and know they did, to shy away from leaving a review, hoping the host won’t leave a review either, or misinformed in thinking that if they don’t leave a review, the host’s review won’t be published. Those are the ones it’s advisable to wait til the last minute to review, as if they see the host has submitted a review, they assume it’s bad and will be prompted to leave a review full of bogus complaints.

And of course if you get a notification that the guest has left a review, there is no point at all in waiting to leave yours, although some hosts who have very few reviews and imminent upcoming bookings might want to wait til the last minute so that they have a chance to get a few more good reviews before the anticipated bad one shows up.

14 24-hour periods start from the minute you get the first notification to review.

I have never had to employ this strategy, so have never paid attention to it, but from what I have read from other hosts, you will see a countdown timer on your message stream with the guest. It will count down the days until day 14, then switch to showing you the minutes left.

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Always honest and saying ‘good guest’ is not honest. Please remember there is no ‘guest code’ that hosts have…

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