Bad Airbnb Review? Respond with Grace

respond to bad airbnb review


A bad review is every vacation rental host’s worst nightmare, but if you’re in the game long enough, it’s likely inevitable. Fortunately, Airbnb allows you to respond to bad reviews so you have a chance to tell your side of the story. 

While a negative review might raise a red flag for future guests, the way you respond will tell them a lot more about who you are as a host. A good response will let future guests know you value their experience. 

Here are 3 ways to turn a negative review into a positive situation for you and your guests. 

1. Don’t take it personally. 

When you see a negative review, it feels like a personal attack. More often than not, however, your guest isn’t trying to ruin your life. If a guest has a bad experience in your rental property, their motivation is likely to warn other guests or to have their problems resolved, not to make you feel bad.

Keep this in mind and try to detach from your ego before you respond to a negative review. It’s not about you: It’s about how your guest’s expectations differed from what they experienced. That’s the part that you need to address in your response. 

2. Be professional. 

If you’ve ever worked a customer-facing job, you’ve heard the old adage that “the customer is always right.” While we all know the customer can sometimes be wrong, 🙂 the important thing is to treat every guest complaint with respect. 

Keep your response short, apologetic, and to the point. Don’t be rude or defensive, as this will come off badly to future guests. Rather, acknowledge where things went wrong and what you’ve done to fix it so potential guests won’t have to worry about a repeat experience. 

If the bad review is unfounded, you can acknowledge this too. Just make sure you do it in a way that comes off as explanatory, not demeaning. Your response should show humility and a desire to make things right. 

3. Take note for next time. 

Finally, the best thing you can do when you receive a negative review is to use it as an opportunity for a learning experience. Regardless of how unkind a review might be, ask yourself, What can I take away from this? 

Maybe there really was something amiss during the guest’s stay that you can fix, or maybe there was a communication issue that you need to work on. You can update your listing to clarify what guests should expect. In the event that the guest is the problem, there might have been some red flags you noticed early on that can help you weed out problem guests for next time. 


At the end of the day, while a negative review is never a pleasant thing to wake up to, it doesn’t have to ruin your mood. If you respond with grace and make a genuine effort to fix the problem, future guests will be impressed. 


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