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.
I’ve removed your link to an outside site.
Eh, how the hell can they remove an existing review???
How many negative reviews have you had removed using this methodology?
Really calls into question one’s “expertise,” doesn’t it?
@Astaire @KKC Guests can edit their reviews up to 48 hours after they post them on ABB
Which is meaningless. As a host, in that period, you couldn’t have read that not-yet-revised guest review to get on the phone and ask for the change as you claim. Once the host has reviewed them back, it’s sealed, it can’t be changed.
You gotta do a bit more homework matey!
Following your link, you perhaps didn’t notice this tidbit: " You can edit your review for up to 48 hours, unless your host or guest completes their review."
Since you don’t see their review, unless the 14 days have elapsed (and as a host why would you do that?), until you have written and published yours, there is no way for your guest to amend the review.
Here’s how I handle bad reviews:
- Have a minor tantrum. Say words only a sailor should know. Discuss in deep detail the failure of the reviewers parents to raise anything resembling a human.
- Move on to feeling hurt. Have a gut clenching sensation that financial life is seriously about to end and no one will book my place ever again because it just isn’t good enough.
- Contemplate how I can change my entire home to suit future guests. Make plans to spend absurd amounts of money in perfecting my home into a highly desireable polished gem.
- Realise I have neither the time nor the money to make such extensive changes to my house and consider just selling the obviously sub standard hovel of a home in order to buy a real house.
- Return to a semblance of sanity, realise that for what I am charging folks should be grateful there aren’t cockroaches shanking them in their sleep, and raise my prices slightly in an effort to attract a more reasonable class of people.
- Write a polite response acknowledging the reviewers concerns, explaining what we are doing about it, and thanking them for their feedback. Because, really, in the end, the world is full of people LOOKING for things to complain about (and if they really look, they will find something, even if they have to exaggerate or imagine things) and they really don’t care what it does to others.
By the way, it generally only takes me about 30 minutes to run through all the above reactions. It’s a work in progress.
I spend at least 30 minutes on number 1. Also, depending on what they complained about, I add a step of blaming my husband for something he did or did not do which caused the guest to have a less than stellar stay. Then of course there is the step of apologizing to my husband. LOL.
I wish I could like your post x 100!! So funny and so true
Here is how I do it: no sentiment, just delay the publication to the maximum to protect the reputation of your listing, and avoid a review from the guest.
The best way to manage a bad review is to avoid it entirely. Bad reviews are the end of a flawed process, from vetting (which is a dark art) to communication. One of the most convincing way to avoid a bad review, is just to communicate with the guests early on, set the expectations, and reach out at certains times of the stay to give yourself an opportunity to solve a difficulty early on. Some guests, however, will never answer, never complain during the stay, and just write a bad review at the end; nothing you can do about it.
I’m going to frame this corvidae!
I very rarely read reviews, not sure what the point is in doing so.
The most difficult we find is a good review in words then they knock a star off. So in these few cases the private feed-back has been 100% untrue and unbelievable. So now what? Your written reviews are all good but your star average drops, (and AirBnB send a “how to be a better host”), but if you write a response to a good review refuting the private comments it looks strange and highlights a supposed negative not mentioned in the review words. I need a way to refute this: good words, private feedback, 4 star scenario even if just to let off steam so just now I have introduced this blaming my wife step and as she just got up I am minutes away from the reverse of that
I am struggling to believe this. I get what you’re saying about who cares etc. but how do you combat that innate curiosity to see what someone said?
I’m now envisioning you in a lotus position hovering 3ft above the floor chanting om mani padmi om it doesn’t matter what they say om mani pami om
edit: no offence intended by the way!