Should I respond to reviews?

I had a group of young guys and girls stay-looked to be early 20’s. Very unfriendly in a cold way, both in message interchanges and face to face. For example, I live next door and they ignored waves, friendly greetings, once I commented cheerily from ten feet away and they just gave me hard cold long stares with no response. They spent most of their time in the basement level with all the curtains closed. When they left, we found the fabreze had been taken downstairs and liberally sprayed, so I assume they played video games and smoked pot all weekend but I dont know. They left the place in good condition. I gave them a positive review but they gave me a review that concerns me.
“not as secluded as it looks but still very nice, the lake walk is kinda scary for someone a bit older my grandma had a hard time making it to the dock almost broke her ankle simple stairs at the bottom would help tremendously cool place tho some seed things came out of the desk chair why moving it not sure where they came from the stove is kinda finicky it seems. great place for a family get away read less
There never was any grandma there, I have outdoor security footage. There was nothing in or around the desk chair. I dont know how much more secluded a very rural property in the north woods of Wisconsin could be but I assume the reference was to my waves and questions if everything was going ok. Should I respond to this review even though it isnt frankly negative? In the private note they said " Private feedback:
awesome cabin just wish it was a bit more secluded but still very nice area”
or just let it ride? I would hate for people to think our place isnt safe to walk to the lakefront, or think it isnt clean. We take great pride in the cleanliness and if any “seeds” fell out of the chair, they came from his pockets! Is it better to say something like “we found no seeds or anything in the desk chair or area so not sure what you saw, could it have come from your clothing? Sorry to hear you thought our dock access was difficult, no one has complained about it and many people compliment our steps and gentle slope.” Or just let it go? Im so used to exceptional gushing reviews it stings to get a grumpy one from a pischer who is spouting out and out lies, though I dont know why; he did not ask for any compensations.

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Not worthy of response, let it go. Reads as if they were stoned when they wrote it.


If you do want to respond, keep it impersonal- the first sentence of your proposed response speaks directly to the guest and sounds petty.

I might post a response like “I am confused about this review, as there was no grandma among this group of young guests, who seemed to almost never venture outside. It is clearly mentioned in my listing info (and if it isn’t, it should be) that the host lives in a separate dwelling in the property, and I was met with unfriendly glares if I happened to be outside when the guests were, and gave a friendly wave. Perhaps the “not secluded enough” comments indicates that raucous activities might have been planned had they read the listing info and realized there was an onsite host, as it’s hard to understand how a cabin in a rural property in the north woods of Wisconsin could be classified as not secluded.”


I like the idea of responding as @muddy suggested. These guests’ behavior was ‘off’ and it’s worth pointing out to other Hosts and also to these guests, that their behavior was not polite. Together with their review, they should know that Hosts know what they’re possibly up to.


Very often, a host’s response says more about the host (negatively) than the guest.

Just my opinion but responses are unprofessional, unnecessary and a waste of the host’s time.


I agree with @jaquo. I’ve never seen a response by a host that didn’t somehow reflect poorly on the host, regardless of how well thought out. Besides, this review says more about the guest than anything else, best to keep it that way.

Do you make it clear on your listing that you live next door?


I agree that a great many hosts have no idea how to write a useful and effective response, and that their responses often do them more harm than good.
If a host can’t write a response without sounding defensive, aggressive, full of themselves, or distressed, they shouldn’t leave responses.

But I think there is value in a response if the guest sounds reasonable to a casual observer, but has misrepresented something, outright lied, or made a legitimate complaint.

A very brief response correcting the misrepresentation, or indicating that the issue has been fixed, seems fine.

(If the review is a rant, it makes the reviewer sound nuts and doesn’t require a response)

And I have to say, I do appreciate reading a clever, pithy response. There are some hosts who I’ve thought “I would totally book with them” based on their attitude or sense of humor, that came across in the response.

Like the host who, in response to a review that said “Worst place ever. Forget it.”, responded, “Let’s not “forget” that you got booted out for sneaking in 10 extra people and throwing a party.”


It is not spelled out in my listing, but I make a point of mentioning it in my communications with them - “If you need anything or have any questions, let me know; Im right next door!” kind of thing. I do that partly for the stated reason (its no problem) and partly to forestall any shenanigans like hosting a huge party or bringing more people than are booked, etc. Im guessing they were uncomfortable with that when they realized they couldn’t smoke pot down by the fire pit? I dont know.


Haha. If pot is legal where you live and you don’t have a “no smoking anywhere on the property” rule, if I were a guest, I wouldn’t think twice about firing up a joint by the firepit.

Maybe they planned to invite more friends over and have a party. Or they just have disdain for “old” people. :rofl:
Not worth dwelling on.


I steer away from getting into a back and forth review spat. It just draws further attention to the review. Some grandmas are very young so I’d be very sure she wasn’t there before noting that anywhere. If indeed there was no grandma, and you get the right CS rep at Airbnb they might agree to remove it as inaccurate. I am always frustrated by people who complain about location. I had a guest complain about traffic and my address is Main St! I think that most people reading this would find everything except the risk to grandma picky and overlook it. If your occupancy is good and most reviews are gushing, I might just ignore it as it will fall to the bottom soon.


Other hosts need to see this response so that they know this group lies.


Your response makes sense.

If the Host is solely or mostly concerned about how prospective guests view the property then maybe it’s wisest not to respond.

If the Host is also concerned about the Airbnb community, then the Host might be highly motivated to respond, to give other Hosts some facts about this guests’ behavior and to give these and other guests some accountability and notice that their behavior should be proper and if not will be called out.

As for Airbnb CS pulling the response because of the alleged grandma, it is possible with Airbnb CS. But it shouldn’t happen as Airbnb doesn’t judge the truthfulness of the reviews, just relevance and adherence to its policies.

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I like to respond to inaccurate comments with the facts, eg “our dock access has handrails”. Better still, I like to say that the issue has been resolved, eg “we’ve added an extra handrail”.
Then I also respond to all the positive reviews before and after the bad one so that my comment doesn’t make the negative review stand out.


Hosts’ responses to reviews appear on the host’s review page, not the guest’s. They are for the benefit of prospective guests, not other hosts.
So in the case of a misleading or lying review, they are used to clarify that things are in fact not as the guest portrayed them.

In the case of a legitimate issue, they are used to let future guests know that the issue has been corrected. In the case of hosts responding to good reviews, it is to show guests that the host is appreciative of their good guests and the nice reviews they leave.

The place to leave facts about the guest’s behavior is in the review you leave for them, which other hosts read, not in a response to the review the guest left. Prospective guests, who are ones reading a host’s responses, are not interested in details of the issues you had with other guests. Beyond leaving a brief non-emotional response stating a bogus review is retaliation for the guest being booted out for throwing a party, etc., which lets other guests know they can’t get away with that stuff, a response should never be viewed as a second opportunity to review the guest.

I understand.

Well, I go back, which IS tedious. [I’ve read recently that this is made much easier with Airreview]

I look at the reviews of the guest and by the guest.

I go back to the Host’s review by date to see what the Host said and what was responded.

Doesn’t everyone?

Of course, I agree that the primary place to leave facts is in the review of the guests.

I would only bother to cross check reviews if I had doubts. For instance when seeing one of those informationless generic reviews, I might look to see how that host has reviewed other past guests and if I see they basically all say " Nice guests", then I would totally dismiss that host’s review.

Or if I read a review of a guest that was bad, making them out to be a demanding complainer, I would be inclined to see how the guest has reviewed their past hosts to see if they are a serial complainer.

I used to use AirReview, which makes all that non-tedious, as it shows all reviews and responses in the same place, but it glitched out for me, saying, for instance, that the host hadn’t left a review, when in fact they had. That was a couple years ago, and I just haven’t bothered to reinstall it to see if the bugs are fixed.

I’m not really sure what the OP’s problem was with these guests. They weren’t friendly - but some guests are like that. They are our customers not potential friends.

They have described their stay - which is the purpose of the review. It might not say what the OP wants it to but it describes his experience.

The guest’s lack of grammar and capital letters and his use of ‘kinda’ and ‘tho’ tells us all we need to know about him.

Please stop worrying about it and let it go. :slight_smile:


I always responded nicely to reviews, too. Things like how much we enjoyed the guest’s stay and would welcome them back.

We had only one Airbnb guest I can remember whom we wouldn’t welcome back. Of course I wouldn’t have responded to that guest’s review, except that he didn’t post one. I reviewed him briefly and honestly.

that’s only because we know the full story.
there was no granny
there were stoners
they were unfriendly

none of that comes across in their review. eg, the lie about the granny, how does anyone else know this is a lie? the comment about the cabin not being secluded enough, also seems to be due to them wanting to get up to no good, not actual facts.

oh there’s a host who is active on the ABBCCforums (possibly here too, no idea) who leaves the most scathing reviews for guests. it’s so unprofessional and disgraceful. She will firstly leave them a good review, but heaven help them if they review her poorly, she lets them have it in her responses.

I read them all with a mix of horror and hilarity. She’s a straight shooter, for sure, and just dngaf

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I wonder if it’s the same host I sort of called out for her responses, saying they were doing her more harm than good. (Other hosts told her the same) If they didn’t give her a perfect 5 star rating, she raked them over the coals for it in her responses, talked about all kinds of things that they complained about during the stay, but that they never mentioned in the review, so it was out of context to anyone reading it. She just couldn’t bear anyone not leaving her a totally glowing review, but in fact she had several poor reviews that all had similar complaints that she had never addressed- she felt she was perfect. And when other hosts told her she really needed to stop leaving responses like that, she denied she had ever done it more than the one time, about the guest she had posted about, even though all her aggressive responses, probably 5 of them, were right there for everyone to see.