Need help with responding to negative review please

Could I get some advice on responding to a bad review please? It’s my first negative 3 star review, so I know it’s getting under my skin.

Because of how my listings are set up, this is going to be the first review anyone sees for quite a while. To explain, I have two properties that are side-by-side in the same building. I have a listing for each individual property, and a listing where you can book both places together. It’s the joint listing that gets fewer bookings and where my negative review is. I currently have 8 reviews for the joint listing, with a bit over 50 each for the individual listings.

This is the review: A great location and clean flat, however the flats would of been cramped for 4 people in each. Complained to us about noise yet we could hear thumping and banging at 2-3am which disrupted our sleep. Robes are not complimentary so don’t take them or you will be charged.

I want to address their remarks about the banging and thumping primarily. I dispute that there was excessive noise that disturbed them at night throughout their 5 night stay. We do live above the property (stated in our listing), you can hear us moving about quietly, but we are ultra careful when guests are staying with us. We’re human, there may be an evening where we maybe accidentally drop something, but nobody has ever complained about noise from us before.

To add to the mix, these were a young group of guests who we had to ask to turn down loud music, and then ask them to not swear loudly outside the property on the public street. Then there was a debacle with them taking four out of six bathrobes that we provide for guest use while they are staying. I had to raise a reimbursement request before the group could tell me where the robes were as next guest was due to check in. This in particular seems to have annoyed them. Basically, they were pissed off with us anyway, and looking for something to hit us with. (They were fortunately still in the area and able to return the robes, and I did then drop the request.)

I would love to whack back with details of their behaviour but I know that can come across as petty and unprofessional to future guests. So I want to say something along the lines of “I’m sorry you felt as if you were disturbed. I wish you had said something to us at the time as you had ample opportunity during your five night stay to bring it to our attention. It is important to us that our guests enjoy their stay but we can’t help if we are unaware of a problem.”

I want to address the perceived problem, but can I somehow hint that these were disgruntled guests? I am aware that their own review reveals we had cause to complain about them, and that there was a bathrobe problem. (They said they took the robes because they thought they were complimentary. “It was confusing, as lots of places they are complimentary,” they said. Oh really?!!?)

Or maybe I’m being too sensitive and should just leave it alone? All the previous reviews are along the lines of “great place, fab, fab, wonderful” (paraphrasing). As I said, my concern is mainly that this one won’t disappear under other good reviews for a while.

Any guidance appreciated, thanks!

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I NEVER Reply to a review. IMHO it just makes you look defensive and vindictive. How did you rate them? Did you down-star them for behavior/noise/following House Rules? Did you say you would not host them again? If not, why not?


I HOPE that you blasted them with 1 star and “would never hosted again” in your review. They sound absolutely horrible.
If I recall correctly:

  • Your response would only be on your profile, not theirs.
  • Potential guests do not see their 3 stars, only your overall and category ratings.
    Part of me wants to leave it alone. Part of me wants to write:
    "Sorry that our neighbors and other guests did not appreciate your Nightly Parties and yelling on our street at all hours".

Their review reads like it was written by lunatics. I wouldn’t bother responding.

Make sure it says somewhere in your listing that “Hosts live in the flat above and are careful to tread softly, but you may hear the occasional footstep.” Or to that effect.

I bet they steal the towels and robes from hotels.

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I have stayed in some pretty high end places and NEVER have I seen a complimentary robe!
There is always a little note saying something like
“ if you like me and want to take me home, place advise the housekeeper, and i will be added to your account”
And those robes are expensive!


I can see how my remarks about them could read as if they were awful guests, but to be fair to them, the music was loud when they first arrived, and they turned it down when we asked. They swore during the day, but never did it again (not so we or neighbours could hear it anyway!) once we called them on it. They were quiet on the whole, left the flats really clean and tidy…just legged it with my robes! :laughing::thinking:) I thought we were doing good as host/guest. Thought our exchanges over the robes were civil so was surprised they seemed so put out.

I actually gave them a good review! I marked them down on the house rules, and mentioned the music and swearing in my review, but apart from that they were good guests. I didn’t recommend to other hosts or say we’d be happy to host again. I didn’t exactly warm to them, but on the whole they behaved themselves and left everything tidy. Cleaner than a lot of guests actually. Up until I read their review I would have hosted them again. I may be a bit too soft.

You do not need to “be fair” to them. They are not your friends. They are not your family. They took your freaking robes! They review-retaliated when you called them out on their unneighborly behavior. Don’t bother doing any emotional labor to explain or excuse their bizarre behavior.


I know, right?!
I wasn’t sure if they were trying it on or just inexperienced.

To be honest, it’s really not that bad. It starts off with “great location and clean flat.” Anyone reading the review can see that they were upset over being charged for the robes. Anyone with half a brain would know that they’re not complimentary.

I wouldn’t even respond to their review. Just ignore it but if it still bothers you, I wonder if you can delist it . You would lose the 8 reviews but you might be able to start over.


For your info sheet in ‘about this listing’:

"We are happy to provide you a robe for use during your stay. Please text us thru the airbnb messenger so we can deliver it for you. When you check out, leave it on the bed.”

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This. As @KenH says above when hosts respond to less-thas-perfect reviews some people (me and Ken for a start) think that the host is being defensive and vindictive. In other words, not someone I would want as a host.

It’s not a terrible review and they show themselves to be a bit silly by saying that they thought the robes were there for them to take. No one reading the review will believe that.

Ouch! Please be sure to leave honest reviews.

P.S. They weren’t British were they? Because swearing is our default mode of speech. :wink:


I’m in Scotland actually (as an expat American)! And the Scots know colourful language! I didn’t want to be the language police - it was just the volume and the fact we live on a residential street with lots of young families.

Appreciate the advice, thanks!

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Thank you all for your responses! It really helps to get outside perspective and advice from others who have been at this longer than I. And the process of writing this post has been very therapeutic.

I started hosting in 2019 and Covid created many a hiccup since then so still learning!

What the (how much cursing is allowed?)… When I splurge it is on expensive hotels, each night costing more than 15 really nice robes and yet…dammit…the robe was not included. Am I being ripped off? :grin: I’m sorry you had to deal with these losers.

Many people do not take criticism well, even carefully said. Especially young people who are “paying to stay with you”.
There is NO WAY that they actually thought, “Hey these great robes are free for us to take as we like”. NO WAY.
Regardless of anything else such an act immediately earns 1 Star and a scathing review that starts with “Would Never Host Again. Etc. Etc”.


I’m expat Yorkshire living in America!


They admitted in their review that they stole from you. I think they shot all of their credibility.


I agree with this and if you want to respond, I think you can just go head on with it. “These guests took 4 of our robes with them when they left and seemed disappointed when I requested reimbursement for them. We’ve never had a complaint about noise.”


Just sharing so no one kill me specifically if you disagree but I thought this excerpt from a report from Expedia was interesting (if I find this is copyright infringement I’ll delete); I don’t follow all the researcher’s advice & I believe this is to do more with legit negative reviews (the one @Silver got screams of disgruntled guest)…

“A critical emerging trend is travelers’ desire for thoughtful responses to reviews. Almost all travelers (91%) said property owners and managers should reply to negative reviews. When partners reply to reviews in a courteous way, prospective guests have an improved impression of the property and are more likely to book.
Don’t let fear of negative reviews dissuade you from seeking them out. Travelers understand that negative reviews happen — it’s how you handle them that matters. Only 9% of respondents said there was nothing properties could do
to make them feel more comfortable after reading a negative review, showing that, for most travelers, there’s always an opportunity to regain their trust.”

Personally I like to see how a host replies because it shows me their temperament. I like a considerate response, even to a bogus negative review. It’s all in the wording/tone.