Need help with a review response

I’ve been reading this forum for a year-and-a-half, haven’t had much to say, but I’ve learned a lot from you guys. Today I got one of those reviews that’s not so bad in pubic but was kind of nasty in private. So I’m aware that I’m kind of pissed about the private side (got my first 2) and I need to let go of that and respond (maybe) to the public review.

Here’s what she wrote:
“The place was amazingly clean and close to campus. Kay was a great host and really responsive. She wanted to meet in person everyone that was staying there as well as being informed of anyone who might visit even for a few hours. I only have a few complaints. It was described as a house, but is more like a first floor flat. Additionally, there was a lot of extra furniture with labels stating that they were not part of the rental and could not be used. This wasn’t inherently problematic, but it felt a bit odd.”

  1. I don’t normally ask to meet everyone, but initially the guest, who is a part-time law student, had indicated that the second person on the reservation, who did not have a connected airbnb account, was going to be staying one day longer than she was. That’s when I asked to meet him. Later she told me she was planning to stay the extra day.
  2. I rent out the half of my duplex I don’t live in. Airbnb does not give us many choices for the type of listing. Duplex is not an option. The most likely are home or apartment, and from the surrounding text it’s clear that Airbnb thinks a duplex should be listed as a home. Airbnb puts that word in your listing. The first line of my description states “The entire main floor of this spacious duplex will be all yours with private entrance.”
  3. There are 3 pieces of mid-century teak furniture in the sun room, which isn’t even pictured in the listing, that I have indicated are not a part of the rental. They are from my mother’s estate, we are selling them and have no other place to put them.

I would have left the review without a response (I haven’t been responding to my reviews very often), but am wondering if that’s wise since the phrase “I only have a few complaints.” is visible without needing to hit the “Read more” link.

I’d like to respond with “I hope you read contracts more accurately than you read Airbnb listings or you’ll be a lousy lawyer!” There! got that out of my system.

So what can you recommend? Respond? Not respond? What would you say?

Let it go, you already spent too much time thinking about it.


You should have placed signs (no labels) on your teak furniture that state not to sit on it, as you are about to sell it. You could have strung a cord across the seat from the chair handles, as done with displayed antique chairs in museums.

Guests won’t remember what is and is not available to them in your online listing. Without those posted chair signs, your guests felt they did nothing wrong. So, just move on.

I recently had a cancellation, as the guest did not realize our downstairs rental space is in our private house where my wife and I live full-time on the upper-main floor. The guest thought our guestrooms are in an upscale hotel, where she prefers sleeping instead.

In a way, I am flattered.

I can understand why you’re itching to respond. It feels unfair when a guest states inaccurate things in their review.

You’re really best off not responding. The first two sentences are positive - I would guess many guests will stop reading there. A response will only serve to spotlight the whole thing.

Write your most scathing response to get it all out. Then delete it and go for a walk, take a bubble bath, or whatever else serves as self-care.


Honestly, if I were reading this as a potential guest, it wouldn’t register as a negative review. She states herself that she only has a few complaints - that just makes her sound like a nitpicking guest to me.

Move on. :slightly_smiling_face:


As you’ve been reading here for a while, I think you know that most experienced hosts would advise you not to respond to the review. Why waste the time? A couple of weeks or so and it will be on the next page anyway and, assuming that your other reviews are great, people won’t pay any attention anyway.

Just my opinion, but I think it’s odd that you want to meet other guests and that there are pieces of furniture that are in the rental but are labelled as not being.

Thanks for posting Cailyn. Its up to you whether you respond or not. The type of guest who would be very thorough in reading all the listing details and reviews would probably read this review in its entirety. They would also read your response. Guests who just skim and book would most likely not read this review at all beyond the first few sentences but they might glance at your response. So its up to you how you weigh that.

If you do respond, I would use this as an opportunity to show your audience (future potential guests) that you have respect, good judgement and reinforce expectations for this listing.

You could say something like “Guest safety is my number one priority and part of that is knowing who is in the home.”

To address the complaint about the place being a ‘first floor flat’ you could expand on some details. “Thank you for pointing out the home type. This is the lower level of an up/down duplex in a 1924 home with a 67 sq/m foundation.” Essentially the same kind of captions you might put in listing photos. Just very brief. When guests see that, it just reinforces what they already know about your place and it tells them what they want to know about you.

A lot of the other hosts here disagree with me and say they never do public responses. But thats how I’d do it if I decided to leave a public response. Personally, I really look to the ‘owner responses’ whenever I read a review on any site. Getting both sides of the story is the best way to make an informed judgement!

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Mine is the bottom half of my two story house and it is listed as “Entire Guest Suite” and I tick the box “Separate guest entrance” as well.

The guest did you a favor here as a this may help keep some problem guests away.

Look up “duplex” on Wikipedia. It reads: A duplex house plan has two living units attached to each other, either next to each other like townhouses or above each other like apartments.

Seems pretty clear which option you should choose.

Either get those pieces of furniture out of your rental or completely remove guest access to the “sun room”. A guest is renting an “entire place”, and they don’t expect micro-areas in the middle of their space that are off-limits. If you don’t provide a photo of the sun room, and you don’t have any other place to put them, then it seems like a really easy choice, unless there’s no door on the sun room or guests have to walk through it to access the other areas of the listing.

While it would provide an explanation to the guests, it will still feel “odd”. I’m going to say even moreso.


Thank you all for your thoughts and ideas. I’ve decided not to respond to the review. Since I take write reviews around the 12th-13th day, I had a few to do that I did right away so she’s not at the top anymore.

I’ve changed the property type to Entire Guest Suite. Thanks for that idea. Already had the separate guest entrance checked.

And I’m planning to get the furniture out of the rental space as soon as possible. (The request to not use the credenza, dining table, and TV stand was on tent cards, not tiny little labels.)

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

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