How to handle bad reviews on Airbnb

Airbnb bad reviews. It might be your worst nightmare as a host but don’t panic, we can probably bet that everyone has experienced dealing with a bad review of sorts.

Receiving negative feedback is never easy especially when you consider the effort you’ve put in for your guests’ comfort, but instead of grumbling and moping about it, make it your key to success.

Here, we’re going to tell you how to handle bad reviews and turn them into something positive instead of having it dent your Airbnb host reputation.

There are many initial reactions upon first getting a negative review – anger, denial, blame, argumentative, etc. However, you must remember:

1. Never take it as a personal attack

Do not take that review as an indictment of who you are; instead, de-personalise it and use that bad review as a valuable point for improving your Airbnb.

Analyzing it allows you to better your listing, improve your space and learn some hosting techniques; after all, a bad review is not just about what went wrong, but also what could win you the coveted 5-star rating next time around!

2. Cool your head and get perspective. Don’t act on impulse

We know it’s hard to keep from blowing a fuse upon reading a bad review (especially when you think it’s seemingly over the top and you’ve put a lot of effort into making your guests comfortable) – but then, is it really ridiculous?

Take a moment to think about what the review says and what didn’t live up to expectations. If you reply straightaway, chances are, it will come across as bitter.

Good thing Airbnb gives hosts enough time to reply to reviews – 14 days to be exact. So you’ve got plenty of time to formulate your response – don’t wait too long though or else guests will feel intentionally neglected.

3. Acknowledge it and apologize

There is no other way around it. On Airbnb (as is almost anywhere else), customer is king.

But, do not over-apologize.

Once is enough. Guests want that form of respect. No matter how idiotic you think their review is, you have to be the better guy in this scenario because your response will affect how future guests will see you and your reputation as a host.

Some replies from great hosts are:

I’m sorry if you find the area too noisy and your kids are unable to sleep soundly at night. Unfortunately, given the central location of my apartment, this is unavoidable at the early hours of the evening but it does mellow down at around 10pm and none of my other guests have mentioned otherwise.
Sincere apologies that you were not able to enjoy some features of the music system at home but I have now placed a clearer instruction manual for any guest who wishes to use it in the future.

4. Address the issue

You shouldn’t stop at ‘I’m sorry’. Guests want to know how you’re handling the issue they mentioned. And moreso, future guests don’t want to hear you apologize, they want to know that you’ve already addressed the issue before they even consider booking you. Keep it short and to the point though.

You can say something along the lines of:

‘Apologies about the water heater malfunction; the repairman arrived yesterday and already fixed it. It will be tested again today to assure that it is in good working condition.


The plumber arrived this morning and replaced the pipe. He will test it again after a few days but guarantees that it will work well for the next 5 years.

After apologizing,

5. The rest of your response should be professional, polite and concise

Do not make a small issue bigger by being impolite – this will reflect badly on you too as guests wouldn’t want to book with rude hosts. Take note that hosts’ reactions are visible to everyone, including potential guests. And after all, hosting is also a business so treat your guests with the same respect and professionalism as your colleagues or bosses or clients.


airbnb bad reviews

6. It is always good to end on a positive note

Like this:

thank you for your feedback’ or ‘I am always looking to improve as a host so I appreciate your honest feedback’ or ‘I always hope to improve my listing to make sure my guests have wonderful experiences.

One bad review is not the end of it but having more, well, alarm bells should be ringing because that’s a concrete sign that you’re definitely doing something unsatisfactory as a host.

Continuous bad reviews affect your rankings and and puts you down below on search results. But… look on the positive side and take these bad reviews as a stepping stone to learning more and being better in this hosting business.

And always remember that GuestReady is here to help you. If you are at a loss as to how to handle certain situations or you want a professional to deal with all these, then reach out to our trustworthy team of experts. We’ll take good care of everything and make sure your reviews are glowing with stars – and you go smiling to the bank!

Need help with Airbnb bad reviews? Reach out to us

Previous article Next article