I wanted to share my general strategy for dealing with a negative review when you inevitably receive one.
1) Remain Calm
It’s easy to get upset as a host – especially if you receive a bad review when you think you did a great job. Even with screening, you’re bound to get a guest that’s plain delusional and they can leave a negative review that’s not accurate or truthful.
Yet, it is very important to stay calm and not go on a tirade for everyone to see. If you seem emotionally unhinged in your response, public opinion will swing against you. Take a deep breath and plan your response – your vacation rental revenue depends on it.
2) Plan your response
Depending on how close you manage your rental property, you might not know what happened. The first step is to take some time and gather all the facts. Speak to anyone who may have interacted with them – housekeepers, property managers, neighbors, police.
3) Get a second opinion
Once you have gathered all the facts and formed a calm opinion of the situation, speak with someone you trust to get a second opinion. Like it or not, your perception may be skewed since you’re on the defensive and getting a second opinion is important. If you know someone who also has a vacation rental, they may be a good resource in this situation.
4) Reach out
Ideally by phone, set some time aside to talk to the offending guest. But it’s important to take the mind set of working with the guest and not against the guest to resolve the issue. Make sure to stay positive and at the end, don’t forget to ask them to remove the negative review, if they’re able to.