Need help with writing a negative review

We started renting out our basement unit in December 2016. We’ve had wonderful guests and all five star ratings with very positive comments. This last guest was our first really bad guest. I knew she was going to be a pain when she asked for a discount before booking. We don’t offer discounts because our prices are pretty low. I told her that in polite terms and suggested she stay in a rental that met her budget. I also tried to decline her booking because from the tone of her email I had a feeling she was going to be a pain. I don’t know why I couldn’t decline it. Maybe because we have instant book and she met the criteria for it. Very frustrating!

Anyway, the morning of her stay she asked if she could check in early. Because my husband and I were getting ready to go out of town the next day and needed to not only clean the suite but also our living area I told her I didn’t think we’d have the suite ready much before check in time. But we did and sincene she lives just an hour away I messaged her right away and said she was welcome to check in anytime 1:30 or earlier (usual check in is 3pm)

She was an odd duck. Seemed kind of negative and demanding yet needy at the same time. I greeted her, showed her around and told her to let us know if she needed anything. Later that evening she asked if she could borrow some gloves so she could sit outside. I thought it was a weird request since it has been cold and rainy and not weather you would want to spend much time in. But I gave her a pair. Then that evening I smelled incense burning. Now there was nothing in our house rules about not burning incense but I messaged her to ask her to please not do it because of the risk of fire or burn marks. She said she would comply.

I just had a very strange feeling about her. We had to leave the next day so our house sitter handled her check out. She spilled juice in the bedroom on our white linens which took lots of stain remover and bleach and two washings for our house sitter to get the stain out. Our house rules clearly state no consuming food that can stain in the bedroom. And when guests book they are sent our house rules. And she had responded that everything sounded fine after receiving that email. She also didn’t wash her dishes which our check out message specified to do.

I looked at her reviews and she had glowing reviews. I was SHOCKED. I found her demanding and inconsiderate and I have a feeling she is going to give us a bad review. Which really bums me out. I’m dreading writing this review especially since she has had so many positive reviews. What would you say? I really believe in honest reviews because I don’t think it’s fair to other hosts to not call out a bad guest. But darn it’s hard to write a negative review. I’d love your help. Thanks.

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend( incense guest.) In addition to her personality not really being a fit with our home, she broke house rules that included eating (describe) food in the bed and staining the linens. These took an extra two hours to treat and the stain really didn’t come all the way out. She also pressured us for a discount and early check in. She also left a sink of dirty dishes. I don’t feel respected by this guest nor do I feel comfortable with her odd and demanding personality and she won’t be welcome back.

Then wait almost until the last minute to post it!


How do you know when that last moment is? I would really like to know as I navigate through these AirBnB waters! Thank you

When I first used this technique it was midnight in the guest time zone. Now, supposedly it is check out time in your own time zone. Call a rep to be sure.

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Given the incompetence of reps that I constantly read about on this forum I’d be hesitant to rely on that. LOL.

It’s obviously not going to be down to the second but I wonder how accurate the “countdown clock” on the website is?

I wish we had a volunteer to test it out and report back!

Good to know. Thank you!

So true as evidenced by how random the review reminders come out.

“odd and demanding” seems a tad subjective for a review. I’d just stick to the stuff that she did.

@TallinSeattle, if it makes you feel any better, my worst guest (by some distance - I can point you to the lengthy thread here about him) had uniformly glowing reviews, even though he was a nutjob. He even has a couple of glowing reviews since I left him my (bad) review. So apparently it didn’t put people off hosting him.

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Disagree. It’s okay to say why they weren’t a fit. Why they didn’t mesh with you. It would stand too because it gives your personal experience of the guest.

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@faheem, so strange. I think many hosts are afraid to give a bad review. On another note, do you know how to see the reviews guests have written about other hosts?

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I agree with @faheem here. I don’t think it’s professional to make comments on people’s personality. What one host may find ‘odd’ another host may find ‘quirky’ or ‘interesting’. It’s not only a subjective comment but judgmental. I’ve had plenty of guests whose personality I didn’t take to but they were perfectly fine guests. I don’t really care whether another host liked them or not, I just want to know the FACTS so I can make up my own mind.

Put it this way, how would you like it if a guest left a review saying “We liked the room and enjoyed our stay etc etc… but we found our host to be a bit odd and demanding. Therefore we cannot recommend this place”. Not nice, right?


Ok, take the last line out but leave the first about her personality not being a fit. It still gets the point across.

Well, I certainly don’t like doing so myself. But most guests aren’t any trouble, so it isn’t an issue. Apart from doing things like leaving stuff on - lights (very common), A/C, occasionally the hot water heater. I usually overlook stuff like that. Or try to. But if you have a problem guest, you should definitely give him a bad review. If a guest was disrespectful/rude, and caused significant damage, for example, I would definitely not hesitate to leave him a bad review.

This has been covered in a bunch of places. Basically, go to to the reviews that guests have left for a host, and search through them. There is no better way, at least that anyone knows of. A better way might exist using the Airbnb API.

I bet if the API would give up this information, would have that as a selling feature for his app.


I’ve only written three BAD BAD reviews in the almost 8 years as a host. I had some irritating guests to be sure but I either tried not to review, and hope they wouldn’t or I’d leave it in the private feedback.

For about a week after I left my review for my bad New Year’s guest, I kept finding things or hearing things. A $20 guidebook was missing from the room. If I could go back and add that to the review I would! Bad bad!

Haha :smiley: These days I am more into Machine Learning, but I will see what I can do, this would sound like a nice WE project. But some automatic guest vetting report whenever you have your first interaction with a guest would be nice, right?

By the way: Smartbnb users can know precisely when a review will expire, and can also delay the publication of their reviews about 20 seconds before the review is due to expire.



Been there for 4 months now :slight_smile:

That is not necessarily for everyone, but if you find yourself quite often repeating the same thing, you might consider automatic the publication of your reviews.

The way Smartbnb works is that we first prepare the review by selecting one of your available templates (randomly, for a greater variety of comments), and you can obviously edit all your feedback, whether by editing the stars, recommendations, and of course the entire comment section.

You also have options to publish it immediately (manually), or as scheduled a few days after check-out (at your choosing, but by default it is 3 days), and in those scenarios where you expect a negative review from a guest, or would like to write a negative review to one of your guests, you can automatically delay the review up to 20 seconds before the review is due to expire.

But…but… the whole ‘personality not being a fit’ is completely irrelevant. It’s not our job to rate guests on how much we LIKE them, that is completely subjective as said before. You might not like them, I might find them delightful and vice versa. Our role is to give a fair, factual and professional review, imo, and let other hosts decide for themselves. If I read host reviews that get personal, I move swiftly on. I don’t want to book with someone who can’t be professional.