To respond or not?

Hello group!

We have an historic townhome in a city with 2 narrow, steep staircases, both of which are pictured in our listing.

We also explicitly state this in our listing where it seemed most appropriate (property info section - see attached).

In addition, we have treads on all the steps and a sign IN the house by the stairs reminding you to use the handrail and be mindful of the steps.

My guest mentioned this in the public feedback and claims it wasn’t made known (also see attached).

Question: Do I bother to point this out in my final response (that it IS in fact mentioned) and potentially make it a “thing” OR do I ignore it and just respond with my typical ‘Thanks for choosing us!’

Although I am dying to publicly show that I’m right :blush:… I am leaning towards the latter because a) no one has ever complained about the steps publicly OR privately AND as she has self-stated in her review… they were a group of senior citizens… so as far as future guests reading the reviews… her review kind of paints its own picture of why this comment was even made (i.e., I don’t think her review will be a deterrent to future guests).

Anyway, this group is great about pointing things out that one may not have considered so I look forward to your thoughts.

PS. Yes I can certainly let her know in a private message even though she either won’t respond OR she will suggest that I put this information front and center on my listing which I won’t be doing because I believe this info is in the appropriate place.

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I think if you are persistent you might get this review removed by Airbnb due to the guest statement that it wasn’t disclosed.
I wouldn’t bother to respond publicly.


I’d actually love to get it removed because she also gave me an overall 4. Which is odd bc she gave me 5s across the board… except accuracy which was a 4 (bc of the stairs situation). So not sure how she came up with an overall 4… :woman_shrugging:t2:


I would respond either with the quote about stairs from your listing or with the screenshot of the info. It has been said here before that a response to a review is not for the reviewer, but to potential new guests. I would see this as an excellent opportunity to reinforce the information about the stairs for guests who might not have read the listing carefully.


I think the trouble is this info is shown at the bottom of the listing and many guests are not that thorough. That section is more of a fine print section. I put stairs in the other things to note section.

I personally think it’s ok to have a review that mentions this important aspect of the listing… I would not try to get it removed.

My personal response would be that thanks for pointing that out and we have disclosed it prominently in our listing.

This review will help you avoid getting bookings from people who have a problem with stairs.


Have you considered putting it in the booking message - the one (I believe) they see before the booking is completed ? I have the four most important aspects of our home in ours (you need transportation, we have staff, it’s an open house - glamping - so there will be creatures inside, and I just added we’re not suitable for kids under five)

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It is definitely a good idea to mention things that could be a deal-breaker or cause for complaint in more than one place and in your initial message to guests, when they can still cancel for free.

As far as a response to the review, if it was me, I probably would respond- “I’m sorry these guests seemed not to have read through all the information provided in our listing, which is really important for guests to do, as we have always mentioned the stairs and even have photos of them on the listing.”

It’s also possible, with a group, that the person who booked and actually did read the info, is not the person who wrote the review.

I remember a post here from a host who declined a booking from a repeat guest who had left a complaining, low star review, saying that as nothing had changed about the listing, they would just be disappointed and have complaints again.

The guest was surprised and responded that he hadn’t left the review and had never seen it- that his wife had written the review.


If that is the only place the stairs are mentioned, then I think they have a point for more prominence of that fact, even though you have pictures. Pictures of stairs, unless someone is in the shot, are hard to distinguish the degree of difficulty, IMO.

You said you have a historic home so the stairs could be part of the charm!! I wouldn’t run away from this feature, but instead incorporate it into the description of your home.


Since it is already well-covered in your listing (both written and in pictures) AND no one else has ever mentioned it I’d consider it a personal issue to this guest and just leave it alone. No reply at all. You can’t compensate/explain/tap dance for every guest out there. If I read that review I wouldn’t think anything of it.

And you can try to get it removed but I wouldn’t put much time or effort into it because Airbnb’s policy states that they don’t remove reviews for accuracy.

Just be glad they’re gone and done and in one piece :grin:


I know that you and many other hosts are generally in the “no response” camp, and in many cases I concur, but I kinda think there’s nothing wrong with taking an opportunity to impress on future guests that it’s really important and to their benefit to read all the listing info provided.


At check in, I would send a message:
Stairs Usage Causion:
There are 2 stairs in the house…etc

I am sorry the guests marked you down, 4* for their mistake, most frustrating. I’m pretty rubbish at reading bumpf myself but I’d hope they’d have checked that it wasn’t their fault before complaining
I would respond with something gentle pointing out that it is covered in the description. Eg “I’m sorry about the stairs. We do like to make sure our guests are warned about this in the description and photos as it can be a problem for some. Perhaps you didn’t notice it when you booked?”
On a slightly different angle, I worry whenever guests ask for info they should already have read in case of this very issue. I make it a policy when answering their question to indicate, tactfully, that it is already answered elsewhere.

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In retrospect perhaps a bit passive aggressive! Maybe better to say. “Thank you for highlighting this issue. We do like to make sure our guests are warned about this in the description and photos as it can be a problem for some.”


I’d respond with something like this:
“We’re happy you enjoyed your stay! But we’re disappointed that you were surprised by our steep and narrow stairs that were mentioned in our listing. So we’ve edited our listing to make it clearer that our stairs are steep and narrow so other guests don’t get surprised, too.”

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Interesting as my last STR had two sets of stairs, 16 steps from ground to front porch and 12 from entry to 2nd floor.
I had photos, write ups and this was the reason for no children. No one ever said anything about the stairs.

No requests for kids or animals.


What a pretty entrance. The OP said her stairs are steep and narrow, though, and while your place had a lot of steps, they don’t look particularly steep or narrow.


Not narrow, but a little steep, and lots of them.

Thanks you, everyone!

Here is where I landed based on all of your great feedback:

Thank you so much for choosing us! Our original steps from 1870 are very full of character but indeed steep, which is why we indicate so in our listing under Safety and Property and also include several pictures. Guests are encouraged to read all listing details prior to booking any Airbnb.


Thank you. It was definitely the same person in this case.

I would definitely say something . It happened to my father also once . They didn’t read the whole thing and when they arrived there were stairs very steep and narrow. They had to cancel . Host was kind enough to refund them the whole thing and even helped with luggage .

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