Responding to Guest Review

So we received an overall ‘4’ with 5’s in each subcategory for our last stay, with the review saying only “Would like grill to work.”

Mindful of @JJD’s general advice not to respond to negative reviews I’d prefer prospective guests know that the grill DOES work.

I did message the guest after the review asking he to explain her grill experience, asking also why she didn’t raise this with me when she and her husband were there. [I was up there three times explaining other things, which was necessary because she declined the orientation that we always offer.] I have not heard back (it’s been two days).

The only thing I can think of – because I explained the operation of the natural gas grill to her husband – is that she was referring to the electronic ignition not working so the grill needed to be lit manually, which is a bit of a nuisance.

I’m thinking of replying this way. What do you think?

“I’m sorry that the electronic ignition to the gas grill is not working due to a part back ordered due to supply chain issues. I am sorry that it’s more work to light the grill manually.”


This is one of those perfect exceptions. If the grill works then you need to respond to give guests the correct information.

I feel like this could be just a bit more brief, which is not my forte :wink: but I bet someone else will help you with that. I think it also could be more matter of fact/ less apologetic.

Is it really that big of an inconvenience to light it with a match? I really don’t know, but it doesn’t seem like it to me, but, for reference, I have charcoal grills and had an oven as recent as 3 years ago that I had to light with a match.

If it’s not really a big deal, I’d tone down the apologetic tone just a bit (strike that second I’m sorry). You don’t want to give this guest more credit than she deserves. You just want to make it clear that the grill works. And it’s fair to say, “I wish you’d reached out to me about it” or something like that. And I like the supply chain bit! I imagine it’s even true!


I just responded this way, which uses just one ‘sorry.’ Actually it is a bit of a PITA to light manually, and the part was really back ordered. But I called today and they said that it will ship very soon, probably next week.

I’m sorry that the electronic ignition to the gas grill is not working due to a part back ordered due to supply chain issues, that it’s more work to light the grill manually


That works. It sounds natural and sincere and most importantly, corrects the information.

That really sucks that she didn’t contact you about it.


How about no apology?

“I was glad I was able to explain how to start up the grill manually so you could use it during your stay! That replacement part for the electric ignition was delayed due to supply chain issues.”


“For the benefit of future guests- the grill works fine. It just needed to be lit manually, which these guests would have known had they not declined our usual orientation.”

No need to clutter it up with the missing part on order or any apology at all.


Couldn’t agree more! @HostAirbnbVRBO, since you showed her husband how to light the grill, this, in mho, seems sufficient to respond with a simple “I showed your husband how to light it, & am sorry you didn’t notify me you had problems.” I really wouldn’t say any more than that. The supply chain issues are widespread in every field, & you need not apologize for something that’s out of your control.
Idk, maybe it’s passive aggressive on my part, but I think their rating/remark was out of line, & they should accept some responsibility for being unable to follow instructions. (OMG, I sooo wanted to say “for being inept!” :speak_no_evil:)
I got my first “not so good review” a few weeks ago, w/ great things being said about the suite, hosts & communication, but complaining about the dogs & donkeys, both of which are clearly stated in the listing. Very out of character, I opted to take the high road & not respond to the negative review- thanks to advise on this forum! The next guests to book had obviously read his review, & in their booking message noted “We love dogs & donkeys!” So there, buddy! :joy:


Nah, there’s some detectable snark in that version about the guests. As a prospective guest, that wouldn’t give me a good impression of the host.


Point taken! Guess I was feeling kind of snarky.

Okay, I see your point. Thought it would be useful to point out that accepting an orientation is useful to guests. Maybe more like “We normally point out how to use the grill during our orientation, but these guests declined that.”

However if @HostAirbnbVRBO’s in-person orientation is as wordy and detailed as their listing info, I’d probably decline, too. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I would never say that. I apologize is better.

I would not respond at all it will just bring attention to her review.



“Thank you for staying.”

I would not say sorry because I would not be. I would however, IF answered at all, just to have some ‘fun’ say:

“Your husband may have missed the part but the lighting of the grill manually is actually a safety feature that all our guests have welcomed, since the electric starts in some of those grills have been known to cause dangerous self-starting accident, why we de-activate it.”

Now picture the two of them arguing with each other over who said/heard what about the silliness of the lightning of a grill. :slight_smile:


Also, are they not utterly embarrassed as humans that they can’t master the flame? We have SO many guests who cannot light an indoor fire. And their ego does not let them ask for help. We discovered this halfway through winter so we started pre-lighting all the fires, it’s a lot of extra work, but actually saves us in kindling and firewood… and all they have to do is look at the fire and put an extra log on every few hours… SO many fail at this too, despite our instruction sheet provided. I swear, take electricity out and so many humans would fail to survive. You don’t need your guns to “protect you”, the govt can just take away the power and so many would perish. This is probably a good justification for the govt not controlling our energy, but either way, whoever controls it, controls the world.

Well, that got a bit deep, lol. Like many I too would refrain from replying to the review at all, and just keep replying to the positive reviews.


“Unfortunately, the auto lighter for the grill was not working. The repair parts are on backorder, but we have (matches. butane flame stick whatever) to light it manually until the parts arrive.”

I agree with @dpfromva - it would be very hard to say anything about the guest without sounding snarky. Although, that might be a way to get them to take down their review, and since it’s a four-star, that might not be bad.

We had a set of guests (all doctors and lawyers) that complained about being asked to take short showers in their review. I responded by thanking them for conserving water, as the water supply for the entire island (St Lucia) is rainwater and we were in a severe drought (yes, a little snarky but very true). A few months later I noticed the review had disappeared!


We have two grills: a natural gas grill and a Weber charcoal grill.

Almost no one uses the Weber any more, saying it’s too much work. Mind you, we provide charcoal, a fire starter, a chimney starter. Years ago it was the other way around: people wanted a ‘real’ grilling experience. Oh, and we provide written instructions too.

I too would say “We apologize/regret” rather than “I"m sorry.” It’s a subtle difference in English but the former is more professional sounding. And I would cut your comment to half the size.

I just had a guest complain about our WiFi every day during her entire stay. I’ve had tenants and lots of work-from-home guests who are engineers, work at Google, etc., and no one has ever complained; in fact the opposite.

So I did a speed test and ran diagnostics during her stay and immediately after she left, and came up with excellent WiFi signal speed and strength every time. I sent the results to the guest via the message app–don’t forget you can send photos :wink:

In her otherwise favorable review, the guest said the WiFi is too slow to work from home. Obviously not a good thing for me.

In my reply I didn’t apologize; I have nothing to apologize for. I simply stated that I suspected the guest’s computer picked up a virus during her digital nomad travels. I also mentioned she is the only guest or tenant who has ever complained about the WiFi.

In the USA we’ve all learned the political hazards of ignoring misinformation. My feeling is, if the guest is in error, it is absolutely essential to reply politely but firmly to their negative comments and set the record straight.

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I would never trust a guest with this, they are actually banned in the mountain town I live/host in



Well, both my state and @HostAirbnbVRBO’s state have quite literally the opposite wildfire risk that yours does so it’s not the same.

Nonetheless, I have two charcoal grills available to my guests and tenants and we provide all the stuff but they have to ask us for the supplies (even the racks :wink:) so that I know when they’re using them. I do that so that I can keep an eye on it from the windows.


Why? What’s the issue? Is it fire near a combustible surface?

By the way, the grill is about 12’ away from any combustible surface.