Getting and maintaining positive reviews for your property - and as an Airbnb host - is an important way of increasing business and reaching out to new guests. How can a host create beneficial Airbnb guest reviews, while at the same time dealing with the very occasional ‘difficult’ guests who you might never wish to see again, but who may be writing their own negative review after a stay? Read on for some answers…
Airbnb guest reviews are a two-way process
In one of our previous articles, we explained why it is important to leave reviews on Airbnb. Generally, feedback is important because it gives people the chance to reflect and change, correcting mistakes where necessary. It’s a vital tool for hosts to create Airbnb guest reviews, because it’s a two way process, with guests also able to review hosts and their property.
In fact Airbnb doesn’t post the review of either party until both are submitted within a 14 day window. If only one party has written a review, that will then be posted after the 14 day period. That’s a clear incentive to be proactive about Airbnb reviews for guests, rather than simply being reactive if they post an unflattering review of your property. Reviews are one of the main drivers for guests when selecting a place to stay, so ensure you always take the initiative of writing a guest review after every stay.
Personal and professional Airbnb reviews
An Airbnb guest review shows that you understand their needs, and were receptive to what they wanted out of their stay. It’s a personalised way of saying thank you for booking your property, and recognises the connection you made with them. People see that you are genuine, professional, and established a good rapport with past guests. That’s a big plus point for would-be guests scrolling through Airbnbs that may be similar to your property.
A positive and friendly review of your guests encourages other guests to also view you in a favourable light. It’s not just the beautiful pictures of your beautiful property that contribute to being fully booked: it’s you too, as seen through the eyes of those who have stayed with you.
Airbnb's star system
Posting reviews is not just a nice way of thanking guests for staying with you, because Airbnb’s algorithms tally up scores in a star system, from 1 to 5. This takes into account the facilities of the property, but also the comments from guests. A consistently low score for the host and property - from 1 star to 3 stars - may result in an Airbnb automated email suggesting that the listing could be dropped if ratings are not improved. Clearly a low star rating will discourage new bookings, while a high star rating will attract new guests.
Getting an average 4.8 star overall rating, based on reviews from guests over a one year period, generates Superhost status. This adds further credibility and means that potential guests can be confident of outstanding hospitality.
But do you really need to become a marketing wordsmith when you have so many other things to do? The answer is to some extent yes, if you want to raise the number of bookings and the quality of guests staying with you. It’s true that there are many templates available for writing an Airbnb guest review, but they can be formulaic. Far better to get into the habit of writing a guest review in your own words, straight after their stay.
Positive Airbnb guest reviews
Being ‘positive’ about guests comes relatively easy when you can congratulate them on their good behaviour:
Always make it personal! Use names and a brief description of the guests:
- ‘Jan and Jen were polite, quiet and friendly guests who respected the property, and kept to our small number of house rules.’
Add details about check-in and check out:
- ‘They realised they were going to be a little late to arrive, and let us know a few hours in advance - that was considerate.’
- ‘On departure they were careful to leave the place exactly as they had found it - all spick and span!’
Add other personal details:
- ‘Their dog Ruff was well behaved and a pleasure to have around.’
- ‘Jan and Jen’s interest in local history meant we had some pleasant conversations about the area.’
Give a positive sign-off:
- ‘I will be happy to welcome Jan and Jen back any time - they’re easy-going and friendly - the perfect Airbnb guests!’
And if you post a review of your guests, even if they don’t post within the 14-day window, it’s likely they will then leave one in return.
Guest reviews have to get the balance right
But what about those guests who partied hard each night, or left the shower running all day, or… Well, as a host you have likely had guests you might not rush to have back. But here’s the thing - are all the ‘sins’ of these guests equal? Was the shower left on simply through absent mindedness? And some people seem to be born untidy and don’t get the instruction, ‘Please leave this place as you found it.’ OK, anyone that causes you more work and trouble while staying in your property is by definition something of a problem, but not everyone is a ‘nightmare guest’.
You may be ready to slam in a negative review immediately after a stay, but take a deep breath, pause and think. Just as a good guest review reflects favourably on you, a bad guest review might suggest that you are a short-tempered host, or too inflexible. Future guests may scroll right past your property if you sound too complaining, so getting the balance right is key.
Negative Airbnb reviews for guests
’Balance’ can be hard to maintain however if you’re still suffering from a particularly problematic guest stay, but keep it personal, and honest.
As with a positive review, use names and a brief description of the guests:
- ‘Hosting the Smith family was unfortunately not an enjoyable experience due to their noisiness and general lack of regard for house rules.’
Be specific about the problems you encountered:
- ‘They played loud music, especially at night, and did not respect the privacy of neighbouring properties.’
- ‘When we approached them about this they were not responsive to our requests to ‘tone down’ their behaviour.’
Be as specific as possible about dates and times:
- ‘On Tuesday they returned at midnight and played loud music and had drinks on the terrace until 4.30 in the morning.’
- ‘The following night they returned even later and were even more boisterous.’
Comment on the after-stay state of your property:
- ‘The property was left in a generally untidy and dirty state which required extra cleaning, and some plates and cups were broken.’
Be firm in stating your viewpoint:
- ‘I would not accept any future booking from this family.’
- ‘Unfortunately I cannot recommend this family to any other Airbnb property owner.’
It’s always best to draft your review, and then think about it for a while, or get someone else to read it and say what they would feel if it was about them. The tone should always be polite, and always stick to recorded facts.
Guests can also review you negatively
Be aware that guests might review your property using inflated descriptions, which can be very triggering. ‘The place was dirty…’ is highly unlikely to be true, but hey, maybe just this once your cleaner forgot to empty the trash. If there’s any truth to the review, then accept it and fess up. Apologise and give a brief explanation - just an honest admission that something was less than perfect, and you have taken steps to ensure it won’t happen again.
In comparison the complaining guest may sound unreasonable, but you’ll come across as calm and non-aggressive. So even if future guests read a non-favourable review of your property, they will see that you have responded in a balanced way, and will likely give you the benefit of the doubt.
The Airbnb community of hosts
And for those truly terrible guests that you never wish to host again? You’re not just reviewing them for your own property, but for the whole Airbnb community of hosts, who read each other’s posts and need to stay safe and vigilant. You should be doing the same, to help spot potential trouble, and avoid it. You can learn a lot from reading the guest reviews posted by other hosts, and getting your Airbnb guest reviews right can result in:
- Building trust for future guests
- Boosting exposure of your property
- Increasing your reputation as a great host
- Enabling you to stand out in a crowded market
- Improving the number of bookings
- Helping you on the way to Superhost status
- Protecting the Airbnb community
The guest journey
What it comes down to is understanding the totality of the guest journey. That means being familiar with the needs and expectations of guests and going the extra mile to meet them. One tool that can be employed to help understand this is Guest Management software such as that by SabeeApp, which enables detailed personalisation of the guest experience. This helps understand what guests are looking for in an Airbnb property and records the myriad details of their stay.
If you'd like to learn about the guest journey in detail, don't forget to check out our ebook below:
We understand how to help you manage single and multiple Airbnb properties with ease and efficiency, using smartphone, tablet, or laptop and desktop solutions. SabeeApp is a preferred partner of Airbnb, so to learn more about the features and benefits of our software and what you can achieve thanks to the direct connection between SabeeApp and Airbnb, feel free to book a demo with us!