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If someone leaves me a nice review, I always respond. It’s always with a basic “Thank you for your kind review!” “Glad you had a nice stay,” etc.
I was wondering if I could change things up a bit and say something even more interesting. These are visible to prospective guests and there could be an interesting tidbit that could get someone to book.
I also don’t reply publicly to reviews. I do sometimes message guests who were exceptionally good guests and who wrote exceptional reviews and thank them in the message thread. An even more select few get a text to their cell number thanking them and inviting them to book directly with me if they are ever back in my town.
Another one here who never leaves review responses. Personally, as a guest, I find them irritating to scroll through and usually they sound a bit insincere/generic and therefore meaningless. Some hosts go completely overboard and their responses are longer than the review itself. I quickly move on from such listings as I can’t be doing with a “gushy” host!
It does depend on the listing, to be fair. If it’s a unique place and the host only takes occasional guests, it’s quite nice to see responses that are genuine and that add to the flavour, so to speak. But generally I’m on the side of never respond at all unless it’s absolutely necessary, ie. to correct an error.
Of course, the worst responses of all are those that are passive-aggressive and/or mention things that were said in private feedback. Or that mention the ratings the guest gave, which future guests cannot see. Those are also cases where I would swiftly move to another listing!
(going to pm you a listing that cracks me up. It’s a secret vice of mine that I regularly check in to it to see what nonsense has transpired)
I respond to most reviews. I read this article before I started hosting and thought it mostly made sense and no downside that I could think of.
If there’s anything unique about the stay, I try to tailor it to the guest, but the response is usually fairly similar to your basic response. If nothing else, it lets potential guests know that you care.
The downside that has been mentioned here is that it calls attention to bad reviews. I’m at 470 reviews and have never responded to a single review. Too late to start now. It hasn’t hurt my business. If I were just starting out maybe I’d consider it something I could do to give me an edge.
This guy’s responses are pretty good since they actually address the feedback in a non-defensive manner. Most I read are gushingly insincere. They are some variation of “thank you for your kind words, Susan, it was such a pleasure to host you, you are welcome back any time” repeated over and over. Do hosts think Susan is coming back to the listing to read the thank-you note?
Absolutely you should respond and intelligently as if you’re a real human being. Show some good judgement. It helps people validate that they should stay with you. They learn something about you when they see your responses. It also gives you an opportunity to highlight points about your Airbnb that you want to reiterate so that you can further reinforce expectations of what your place is and isn’t.
I’ll see you and raise you … I don’t read reviews, until long after the guest has posted them, if ever. It’s for a number of reasons, including the fact I don’t want to stress over the critical ones nor get a big head over the effusive ones.
I honestly think that 99% of the articles on the internet are not written by Airbnb hosts. Or are written by people who have hosted for a short time. I remember one who even gave the game away because the article was entitled ‘what I learned in a year of Airbnb hosting’. True.
I too read a lot of stuff on the internet before I signed up with Airbnb. A lot of it I could dismiss as nonsense because I’ve been hosting for many years before Airbnb was thought of, but there was some good sense too. Where? On this forum.
Yes, there was some nonsense by people who had only been hosting for a short time but largely, most hosts here, I discovered, had years of experience, hundreds of five star reviews and also had experienced just about every possible scenario that could ever happen to a host.
Please sort out the wheat from the chaff when you’re looking for info on the internet. (By the way, one or two people might have noticed the difference in the fonts used for Jasper’s reviews and real ones )
Oh, and I loved this part:
In case you wonder who Sandra is, that’s the lovely lady who manages my listing while I sip on cocktails in remote beaches in exotic location all around the world.
Yeah, Airbnb allows us all to do that, doesn’t it?
I try to leave a brief reply to most reviews, and include something personal, so it doesn’t sound like a canned response. Recent replies mentioned things like “I’m glad you enjoyed my secret snowshoe spot”, or “I hope you enjoy the remainder of your travels in the US”. My listing, however, is a private room and bath within my home, so I have had personal interaction with almost every single guest. If I had a whole house/apartment listing, I may not be inclined to reply to someone I have not met, or only met at check in. I feel like a brief reply helps to build a relationship for possible repeat guests (university town and music venue here, so we do have folks return).
On the rare occasion where I have to respond to a negative review in order to point out an inaccuracy or to say the problem is now fixed, what I also do is write responses to several positive reviews at the same time so that the bad review doesn’t stand out.
I used to reply to reviews because we would spend the odd wine-fuelled evening with them on the terrace and got to know them quite well, so I’d usually say something like “Hope it wasn’t raining when you got back to Helsinki” or “Pepe’s really missing you” (inflatable pool unicorn, v popular with guests) but by now I’ve actually completely forgotten most of them five minutes after they’ve left. If I really want to keep in touch I’ll email them.
The ‘thank you for staying and hope to see you again’ message is given to the guests:
In the pre check out message the night before
In person when they leave
In the review
In the private feedback
They get 3 & 4 in their inbox
So I’m seriously hoping that guests don’t need their egos massaging even more with a sixth time. And like @Xena says, what sort of person goes back to a listing to see if a host has replied to their review?
I’m guessing Airbnb would send an email just as they do for “host wrote a review, write yours and see what they said.” If any host replied to my review and I knew about it I would certainly go back and read what they said.
As a guest I can certainly see where some responses would be expected and helpful. I just read a review that said “Nice place to stay. Was a little awkward to have host show up at house unexpectedly and walk right in without calling first. Otherwise everything was in order and as expected.” So now I’m wondering what the deal was. Is this something I’ll have to worry about if I rent that place?
That is a chance to obtain more visibility. I respond, "glad you enjoyed your boat tour and saw the manatees. If you return in a month or two, the manatees will be more difficult to find, but then there will be a lot of porpoises.