Would you respond to this?

I might be being pedantic here but…guest has reviewed her stay and has put that its a 10 minute walk into town. I have timed the walk into town and it takes me 4 minutes. She has also put “need to be agile to manage the stairs”.

In my description I have clearly stated that the staircases are narrow and quite steep (as it is a very old traditional cottage) and the distance from town. I think that this woman is just be a bit unfit and therefore finds the stairs and the walk hard work! But obviously I can’t say that!

Would you respond to say the actual distance from town, for the benefit of people reading it who might be thinking of booking? I’m not one for ever responding to reviews, so don’t really know what to do…I just think she’s making it sound further away from everything than it actually is.

Since you say in your description that the stairs are narrow and steep you might reply that you’re sorry that the stairs were a bit difficult for you, perhaps you didn’t read my description of them in the listing.
As for the length of the walk I would not describe it by time but by distance. 1/4 mile, or whatever it is since people walk at different speeds.
Just say it depends how fast one walks!


If I were you I wouldn’t respond to the review. If I saw a response to a review where the host “corrected” the guest over a six minute difference in how long it takes each of you to walk to town, I would think of the host as combative and controlling.

If I were you I would be glad that the guest wrote that guests “need to be agile to manage the stairs”. Potential guests don’t read the listing but they do read the reviews. Therefore, guests who point out things that will potentially deter other guests are doing you a favor.


I have similar issues with stairs in an old cottage, highlighted in the listing but often overlooked. A couple of younger guests have helpfully highlighted this, as your older one has, quite politely. I responded by thanking them for doing so, it’s helpful to other people when searching. Since then, I haven;t had any guests who have struggled with the stairs.


since I respond to every review, it is ok if I respond to input.
I would say:
We want all guests to be happy and comfortable, and it is helpful for future guests to be aware that we do have stairs.
Guests who have trouble with stairs will find town to be a ten minute easy walk away, but they may be better off in a more central location without stairs.
For guests who are accustomed to, and comfortable with, steep steps, town is a 4 minute walk away.
It is very important to us to have guests who are a good match to our property, because we always strive for a 5 star rating. Thank you for helping us to clarify what we offer.

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Keep in mind most of the world uses metric system now too!

Please do reconsider responding to reviews, it’s a real turn off for most people, hotels and Airbnb alike

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I strongly agree with @Emily and @EllenN

Responding to every review is not seen as a positive at all. Responding to a negative review is an almost no-win situation. The only way it comes off remotely positive, is by accepting the coaching feedback from the guest, promising to resolve the issue for the next guest and apologizing.

The only way around negative reviews is through prevention as best as possible. Also be aware of AirBnB retaliation policy. If a guest ever tries to stiff arm you through the threat of a negative review. Keep all communication on the AirBnB platform. The customer service reps can remove a negative review, if you documented their retaliation.

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I’ve at long last come up with a way to discourage guests from texting instead of using the Airbnb email. I tell them, honestly, that if they text only one of us will be alerted and only on the phone. If they use the Airbnb email my husband and I will both be alerted on all of our devices.

So responding to every review, even if it is a simple “Thank you for taking the time to give us a review, and we look forward to welcoming you again” or some variation on that, is seen negatively?

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When I see listings where the host responds to every review it comes across to me negatively. It looks to me like the host is a controlling person who needs to have the last word.


@EllenN. How do you feel about guests responding to the host reviews? I respond to most reviews with a very short personal note. It is not about having the last word at all.

Virtually every time I’ve seen guests respond to host’s reviews it’s to defend themselves. Usually it seems to devolve to each calling the other a liar.

To clarify, I always thank guests for leaving me a positive review on the Airbnb email system. I just don’t respond publicly.

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Interesting. My guests respond with “Hope to return” or “Thank you for a special vacation.” I have been very lucky.


This is an excellent suggestion. I’ll bake this into our responses.