Responding to bad reviews - does responding mean the review gets seen more? Algorithm question

So I just got a terrible review (I don’t really have any - out of 200 reviews, superhost etc). Weirdly, he still gave me four stars but it was a long diatribe about how he was not satisfied. The long and short of it is, he went out to club and when there, his bag got stolen and inside it was his wallet and the iPhone that I give my guests and the apartment keys. He says in the review that I did not answer any of his calls . (This happened in the club at 4am - even so, i did not receive a single missed call when I woke in the morning. I was only alerted as to the theft at checkout.) He also complained that I did not allow late checkout. I told him he could have an hour and a half later but I had guests coming. He also said the apartment was cold and heating didn’t work. When i came to see him I saw he’d had it on the cool setting. But all that aside, his main gripe is that I - quote - “was more concerned about the old phone than our problem…and we were requested to go to the police in order to get the insurance money.” Honestly, I found it very peculiar that someone would have his wallet stolen on vacation and also a phone and keys that don’t belong to him and just not report it to police (especially in light of the fact that the police station is across the road from the apartment). In fact, I told him it would help him because the only way he could claim back losses through his insurance was with a police report. But apparently he took that the wrong way. Anyway, my inclination is to respond just to say of course that I’m very sorry that such an awful thing happened and then add a couple of points to my defense including the fact that the heating worked fine and that i had tried to help him by encouraging him to report the theft to the police so that he would be covered for insurance purposes. I don’t want to go into to all the other complaints he said because I don’t want the response to be long. But here’s the kicker: the last time I responded to a negative review, that review came up first. It seemed to stick on the first page. I obviously do not want that to happen. I also don’t want it to take up more space on the page (it already is very long) and by responding to it I’m bringing more attention, and my final question is, he’s from a country that doesn’t bring me much traffic. Since Airbnb’s algorithms seem to show people reviews from their respective country, maybe that means 99% of my guests won’t see it anyway? Anyone familiar with how their algorithms operate?

Btw the negative review i was responding to was on behalf of a family member who also has an airbnb, not my one. But anyway, it still stands, the review was stuck on the first page with the response taking up all the room.

I haven’t heard of the “stuck on the first page” thing but reviews do show first to people from the same country so most people won’t see it. Also if you respond it “expands” their review to show the whole thing. If it’s a 4 star review and his main complaint is that you aren’t American Express Concierge Service I wouldn’t respond.


I received several reviews from foreigners and they were placed all the way on the back. When I contacted AirBnb they said they always go on the back. I was so disappointed because they were awesome reviews and won’t probably be seen by bookers. I’m assuming the review you just received will also go on the back page since he was a foreigner. Seems that the local reviews go on the first page.

Responding will certainly make it stand out more but I’ve never heard about a review sticking to the top. Ignore him. He’s been and gone. You’ve got his money. Move on.

Anyone reading a lengthy diatribe will easily be able to see that he’s a bit of a nutjob anyway.


All my reviews are foreigners (no one local stays - it’s mostly european countries) but he happens to be from a country which doesn’t bring me a lot of tourists.

1 Like

It’s “sticking to the top” for you because it sees you are in the same country and there aren’t many other reviews from people in the same country. Only people from the same country will see it this way and you already said they are rare.

1 Like