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How Hosts and Property Managers should deal with bad reviews

Getting a bad review is probably one of the most disheartening things that can happen to a host or property manager. You’ve spent so much effort, resources, and time creating the perfect rental, and you’ve done everything in your power to make sure all of your visitors and guests have an amazing experience.

Bad reviews happen. It’s impossible to avoid them. Most of the time, they’re the result of an unusually particular guest who will try to find reasons to get their money back or will obsess over a small detail that nobody else would notice or comment on.

Getting these reviews removed is a difficult task and you may not be able to do so in many cases. Therefore, the best thing to do is to accept what happened, learn from it, and move on. After all, the other 99% of reviews are positive, encouraging, and enormously beneficial!

Step 1: Don’t overreact

We’ve all been there. We get a bad review from an obnoxious guest and immediately get angry. We want to call them, figure out what’s going on, send them an angrily worded letter, and vent as much as possible. Don’t do that. Staying calm and accepting the fact is incredibly important to the analytical process that follows a bad review.

Step 2: Apologize to the guest

While we may be AirBnB hosts and property managers and don’t specifically consider ourselves to be a part of the hospitality industry, the fact of the matter is that guests don’t really differentiate between Short Term Rentals and Hotels when it comes to their perceptions about how they treat you and what they expect.

‘The customer is always right’ is one of those things that applies to hospitality more than any other industry. Even if your guest isn't> right and is purposefully being obtuse, making them feel as if they’re in the right is the fastest and most productive way to diffuse a situation and potentially even reverse it.

If you’re really committed to building an amazing rental business, you should want to make every single guest feel as if their opinions are valued and respected. Apologizing for a bad experience to guests who claimed they had one validates their concerns (imagined or not) and puts them in a better mood for a further conversation or even a reversal of their bad feedback.

Step 3: Offer to talk

On many platforms, businesses have the ability to respond to reviews in a public and permanent way. Do so professionally, and extend an olive branch to open a dialog. Never> be combative with guests publicly. This will only serve to hurt your reputation and possibly deter other people from booking or choosing to stay with you.

Step 4: Learn

This is perhaps the most important step. Buried in negative reviews if often some grain of truth, or some event which caused this to happen. Go through the feedback with a fine-toothed comb. Figure out what went wrong, and why! There will often be some specificity about what event caused the bad review, or about what aspect of your rental was responsible.

Maybe you forgot to clean adequately, or didn’t provide enough towels, sheets, whatever. Once you figure out what happened and what was the root cause of the review, try and ensure that it doesn’t happen again. Often it’ll be the result of some simple oversight, but if it’s something that keeps popping up, address it.

Step 5: Move On

Growing and going forward is the biggest part of any business. And understanding that your perception and reputation are the biggest part of a hospitality business is key to this. Bad reviews happen, but they need not affect your reputation, rating, or perception in a meaningful way. If you deal with them responsibly, professionally, and effectively, this is something you’ll deal with rarely!