October 31, 2017

Bad Airbnb Review? Don't Panic. Respond.

October 31, 2017

Bad Airbnb Review? Don't Panic. Respond.

You've spent most of your savings buying or fixing up a rental property. You've invested nearly all of your free time getting your rental immaculate, taking beautiful pictures and crafting a description that's accurate and attractive. You work hard to respond to potential customers' questions and concerns and go above and beyond to take care of your guests when they book with you. You log into your account one morning and find the dreaded one-star bad Airbnb review.

What do you do?

1. Don't Panic. Read over the review, and then step away slowly from your computer. Airbnb provides an automatic "cooling off" period before the negative review goes live specifically to allow you to have the time to think through the complaint, come up with an action plan, sleep on it, and reconsider the plan the next morning.

2. Remember No One is Perfect. Mistakes can be made all the way around; they are part of life. Remember that many factors may play into a negative review, and not all of them may be your fault or even controllable. Perhaps your guest had a bad vacation or was upset about something else going and used the review system to blow off steam. Perhaps whatever bad thing happened was the needle that broke the camel's back after a rough trip. Try to keep the human factor in mind and give the upset guest the benefit of the doubt. It will help you empathize and respond in a better way.

3. Look at the Bright Side. Everything really does have a bright side, and if you handle Airbnb bad reviews correctly, they can actually increase your bookings and improve your reputation. A bad review is a great opportunity to show how you handle problems and conflict in a real-world, relevant situation. If you come off looking like a caring host that's reasonable and working to make the guest's experience a positive one, then you are likely to attract more guests who appreciate those qualities.

4. Tell Your Side of the Story Succinctly. Be sure not to get bogged down in insults or irrelevant details. Thank the person for the feedback, explain your side, and how you are resolving the issue for the future. If it seems reasonable to offer some way to offer more than apology, use your discretion, but don't feel like you have to refund money for every complaint.

5. Care a Little Extra. Most people just want to be heard and feel cared about when something negative happens. By responding with understanding, compassion and a caring attitude, you will go a long way to ensure that fires are quenched and peace is regained. Say that you're sorry and empathize with your guests, even if the problem seems petty or not your fault. You can still care that the person had some sort of negative or inconvenient experience even if it was their fault. Share whatever you plan to do to prevent the situation in the future.

Although this rarely happens with Airbnb bad reviews, occasionally you may find that the review system is being abused. Be aware that Airbnb strictly prohibits using bad reviews to exhort a host to provide a partial or full refund. Threats of leaving bad reviews as blackmail for future discounts or making a dishonest bargain for a reciprocal review are prohibited. Reviews must also be left by the actual individual who stayed at your rental, not by anyone else. If you believe that such a violation has occurred, file a formal complaint with Airbnb with as much documentation as possible. It can be difficult to prove this type of behavior, and Airbnb will not remove negative reviews for less.

In most cases, bad reviews fall into the following categories:

* Broken items cause inconvenience. Whether it be a problem appliance, a clogged drain or a broken entry system, these can cause a guest to be frustrated during a vacation. Your response should be an apology for the problem. If you went to extraordinary lengths to fix the problem during the stay, you can reiterate what you did in your response. If you didn't know about the problem, reassure future guests that the problem is now fixed.

* Petty complaints or ones that result from carelessness on the part of the guest. Even if a problem is the guest's fault, be very careful about how it is addressed in the response. You'll want to walk a fine line between not insulting the guest while still explaining details that clarify. For instance, if it's clear in your description that you don't allow pets, but the guest is complaining about having to board their dog, you can respond by explaining that you try to make it clear to all potential guests before they book that pets cannot be accommodated.

* Personal attacks or general insults. Most reasonable people will ignore bad reviews left by unreasonable, angry people. Simply tell the reviewer that you're sorry for the bad experience in a brief, caring response.

So when the day arrives and you receive your first negative Airbnb review, remember that it can be a positive thing for you and your business when it's handled in a caring, compassionate and reasonable way.

Tagged: airbnb reviews