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Routinely replying to guest review - yes or no?

I’ve been responding to guest reviews with generic platitudes - it was great having you stay, hope to see you again. Why not necessarily untrue or insincere, they also feel redundant, and possibly a waste of space. So, I was wondering, does anyone care? I don’t care. Airbnb clearly doesn’t care. Does the guest whose review I’m responding to care? Would other people (e.g. prospective guests reading the review) care?

To be clear, I’m distinguishing this from the cases when one does need or chooses to reply to a review. E.g. the guest says

OMG, the host drove 40 miles each way to pick me up from the airport. GREATEST HOST EVAH!

To which the host hastily replies

Um, I’m not going to do that for everyone, sorry. That was a one-time thing.

You get the idea.

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I was replying to reviews but I’m not going to going forward. It seems a bit silly to me and I doubt the guest cares. I didn’t reply to the last one and if the most recent guest leaves a review I won’t reply. I will leave him a review and that’s enough I feel.

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I’ve only replied to one review… our first (and only, so far) negative review. Say the nice things about the guests in the review (both public and private). Replying doesn’t seem to be worth the effort.

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I don’t reply to reviews, it annoys me when I see it on websites. Especially when there’s tons of glowing reviews and a single or a few negative ones. In my head I’m like “You don’t really need to defend yourself, your good reviews do it for you.” But I’m in the 25-34 age group and I realize most people go on the Internet to complain and not a every one is going to be a fan of what you’re offering. If it’s lies though (ie. Bed bugs etc…) that’s where I would take exception

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I have been leaving a short response to reviews. My logic is, with only 12 reviews, I want an opportunity to demonstrate to potential future guests that I get to know at least something about my guests. For me, forced to use Instant Booking, the AirBNB listing is all about marketing to the type of people that I want to stay in my house. The language and “personality” that I choose to implement should encourage a certain kind of traveler to stay here, and conversely, discourage others.

I don’t spend more than approximately two minutes on my response, and leave it as soon as a review has been published. Who knows… after I have more reviews, this extra step may seem superfluous.

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Hang on, you’re forced to use Instant Booking? What? Why?

I know most hosts don’t believe in replying to public reviews. I will continue to do so. I prefer to be particular about my guests, I feel my responses are one more way for possible future guests to get to know me, and decide whether to request to book my place or not.

I believe guests probably read reviews more than the listing details. So when I wish a guest many more happy travels on Airbnb, I am hoping other future guests ‘get’ that I prefer guests who are choosing ABB over hotels, and when I mention something specific and positive about the reviewing guest, that future guests "get’ what I like about a certain type of guest. If they don’t fit into those categories, that they scroll on by. Of course, that’s assuming much of potential guests :slight_smile:

Then again, I think it also depends on the type of space you are hosting. Mine is a spare bedroom and bathroom with shared living room and kitchen, so our paths do cross during their stay.

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Yes, as I mentioned above, I am part of an AirBNB experiment, which forces the use of Instant Booking for a percentage of new hosts. I have no options to turn it off. I have spoken with three AirBNB customer “service” reps who all claim that they can not turn this off for me either. I have tried the “backdoor” via the iPhone app that has been mentioned, but that backdoor is not available to me on the app either. Instant Booking scares me, and it is why I am continuing to search for an alternative platform.

I am on guest group nº 13 and have had no issues. However, only one of those groups was an IB booking, and they were the guests that I enjoyed the very least.

I remember someone mentioning this earlier, but I didn’t register that it was you. That’s horrible. If you don’t mind asking, did you choose Instant Book at some point, and then discovered you couldn’t change back? Or did they simply force it on you?

Interesting perspective. But do you respond to every one of your reviews? And if so, what about when you nothing particular to say? I don’t particularly mind adding a few words, but I’m slightly concerned it might come across in a negative way. Like I’m vacuously prattling about nothing. It’s hard to tell whether people would find it a net negative or positive. And if I leave a response for some reviews and not others, will some people feel offended?

But maybe I’m overthinking it.

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NEVER NEVER NEVER chose this devil-action, I can assure you.

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The only time I don’t respond is if I NEVER want the guests back :slight_smile:
I can always think of something particular to say.
Here are a few of my most recent responses:

Response from you: I hope you get to come back to the Adirondacks again also! I am happy you got to experience a great hike, a great dinner, and that you enjoyed the scenic small towns I recommended!

Response from you: It was really great to meet you and I admire your traveling style! Hope you had fun on your vacation, and I wish you many happy travels with Airbnb!

Response from Dorothy:
It was an absolute pleasure having you stay at my home for not only your first Airbnb experience, but also your first time in the Adirondacks! Don’t forget the ‘Adirondack crawl’ next time you are up this way! Oh, and I will now keep a sharpie in my vehicle at all times after you showed me your tradition!

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I also agree that the response to the review is a marketing opportunity, though I have been getting lazy recently and not done it so often. Most of our guests are here for at least a week so we get to know them quite well, especially on our “tapas evening” when we ply them with lots of wine!

Like @brook2adks I try to say something personal: “Good luck with the move” or “Hope the wedding goes well” and I sometimes get a reply later about the move, wedding etc.

Also, since we have guests’ email addresses I usually send an “end of season” email in early October thanking them for being great guests (I don’t send it to the ones who weren’t!), and reminding them that we give a discount for return guests and referrals. We’ve had quite a bit of business from this.

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I’ve thought about sending such an email…this year I will, I can think of at least 4 guests I would like to return here or have them refer my place to their friends. How would a referral work? Give 10% off to the guests, or the hosts if they return? Does ABB have gift certificates? Could give them a 10% ABB gift Certificate?

Hmm, I’d say you’re pretty good at the marketing!

It’s the wine, Faheem, it’s the wine …

Which reminds me …

You guys have given me something to think about. I never have replied - except when it was my 50th review which seemed like a big deal at the time. I don’t like seeing replies to reviews because it gets in the way of me reading reviews…

Is that when you are reading host reviews as a guest?

I can’t speak for dc but for me it definitely gets in the way and I don’t read them normally.

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Yes - when I’m shopping for a place, and reading reviews, the host saying ‘blah blah blah’ in response annoys me. I don’t want to have to wade through that. But I’m easily annoyed, so it’s probably just me!!

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