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How A Bad Review Can Boost Your Airbnb Business

Bad review, a good thing?

An integral part of a solid Airbnb business is receiving an abundance of positive reviews. Airbnb is built on trust, reputation, and social standing.

Accordingly, nothing entices new guests more than a collection of stellar recommendations from former guests.

It must logically follow, then, that bad reviews are the kiss of death, right? Not necessarily.

If a lone bad review emerges from amidst an ocean of glowing feedback, your business will likely continue to thrive. But this fact is surely intuitive.

After all, a sturdy reputation is rarely destroyed by a sprinkle of negativity. What’s not intuitive, however, is that when handled correctly, a single bad review can actually fortify your reputation.

Credibility Of Existing Reviews

Review systems are a common component of every marketplace in the digital age. Whatever product or service you buy on the Internet, it almost certainly has a string of customer feedback attached to it. Before making a decision, you will likely be able to peruse written reviews and cumulative ratings. Then, once you purchase the product, you become a part of the communal feedback loop, offering your insight to potential customers searching for the same product.

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Like any rating system, online customer feedback has a flaw: the potential for fraud. Everyone is aware that reviews can be forged. Many companies promote their products by hiring overseas teams to generate mounds of fictitious reviews so as to artificially bolster their reputation. The suspicion of reviews being fake can arouse skepticism amongst consumers and damage your brand. A bad review can remove this suspicion, balancing the positive reviews with a varied perspective. The bad review thereby lends credibility to the other reviews.

Responding Thoughtfully To The Negative Review

A bad review gives you a powerful weapon: the opportunity to respond. A solid and well crafted message will show your customer base that you care deeply about their experience and feedback.

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Airbnb allows hosts to respond to every review, good or bad. In the case of positive reviews, this option isn’t terribly valuable. For a negative review, however, a timely and well-tailored response can have a huge impact on your audience. If done correctly, your response will (1) show that you care about your guest’s experience, (2) address your disgruntled customer’s complaints, and (3) reassure future guests that whatever issues existed are now resolved.

So how do you proceed when crafting a response? Here are four quick steps:

  1. Take a deep breath and calm your emotional state
  2. Do NOT take on an accusatory or confrontational tone
  3. Address each and every concern that was raised in the complaint
    • a. If it’s something that can be remedied, state how you plan to fix it
    • b. If it’s something that you believe was improperly mentioned, provide your perspective
  4. Offer a subsequent stay at a discounted rate

By responding in this way, you show potential future guests that you take your Airbnb business serious, which will reassure them that you will do everything you can to make your guests’ stay as comfortable as possible.

This is part one of the Airbnb Hosting Series, in which the author shares his knowledge on Airbnb hosting.

2 thoughts on “How A Bad Review Can Boost Your Airbnb Business

Comment author said

By Mike on 10 October 2014 at 09:02

Now both reviews are published simultaneously. But we have had a guest threaten us with a bad review if we didn’t reimburse his “excess” taxi fare.Its not the words of the review that matter really, we can do all the things that you suggest, but the guest downgrades the star rating, you can’tr do anything about it and although it is gradually absorbed by better ratings, it sure as hell is annoying.



Comment author said

By Jasper Ribbers on 14 October 2014 at 00:44

Hey Mike, you’re absolutely right, you can’t do anything about the rating, but if you normally have great ratings it should’t affect you too much. In your situation, I’d probably go ahead and reimburse the guest if it’s not that much money. I rather have happy guests than make a bit more cash.


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