Tutorial: Writing Negative Reviews for Your Airbnb Guests

Writing Negative Airbnb Reviews for Your Guests: The Why and the How

Being an Airbnb host is a great way to make some additional income. You also get to interact with some amazing people and help them find their way around your area. The reality is, as you might have already discovered, it doesn’t always go as smoothly as you hope.

Despite your best efforts, house rules, and the Airbnb community guidelines and standards, some guests are simply difficult to host. It could be anything from ravaging your kitchen, being noisy, making use of areas they are not supposed to, or even damaging property. There are guidelines provided on how to handle the worst of these violations, but what is the best way to write a guest review after such an experience?

The best way to write a “negative”review to your guest is to be respectful, honest and make it sound more constructive than negative.

Many hosts have questions about the Airbnb review process and are torn on whether or not to leave negative reviews for their guests. Could this lead to retaliation that could negatively impact your business going forward?

Wriring a constructive review to your guest will not have any significant impact on your business.

You could also be worried about how leaving a negative Airbnb review can affect your personal relationship with your guest, their opinion of you, and their ability to find accommodation on the site in the future. The purpose of this article is to help you navigate through these genuine concerns by looking at how the Airbnb review system works, the impact of negative Airbnb reviews, and some suggestions on how to leave honest reviews.


Understanding the Airbnb Review System

The best way to understand the impact of your guest reviews is first to break down how the system works. Here are the main points to note:

  • After a trip, both the hosts and the guests have 14 days to leave a review.
  • They can both leave two types of reviews—a private one and a public one seen by everyone who visits the profile of the host or guest.
  • You have 48 hours to edit the review you write, but you can only do so if the other person hasn’t written theirs yet.
  • If either party is not happy with the review they have received, they can write a response to the review which is public and appears under the review.
  • You cannot delete the review you get, but if it does violate the Airbnb content policy, they may delete it for you. This policy covers a range of issues and does not permit reviews that are discriminatory, threatening, or vulgar, for example.

The review system has been crafted in a way that addresses most of the concerns about the impact of leaving a negative Airbnb review. Firstly, your guest cannot see the review you write for them until they have written theirs or until 14 days have passed.

This means you are both free to write honestly based on your own experience and cannot change what you write after you see the review you received. If your guest is unhappy with the review you leave them, and if you have not violated the content policy, they can only respond under your review, and that is the end of the matter; you cannot respond back.

So, does a negative Airbnb guest review harm your business? The answer is that it does not have a significant impact. You get to respond if they have written anything with which you have an issue. Potential guests looking at your profile can identify that it was a lone incident of a bad guest, provided that you do not get a string of negative reviews from different people.


Why You Should Leave Honest Reviews

You have now seen that leaving negative reviews for your guests does not hurt your business in any significant way, but what if you are still hesitant to write one for other reasons? It could be the relationship you formed with your guest or that you have moved on from the experience. Why should you bother writing a negative Airbnb review?

Reviews are a vital part of the Airbnb community, submiting honest reviews can only make the experience of other hosts and guests better.

It is important to note that the type of reviews you write have a significant bearing on the quality of the Airbnb platform and experience. This community is based on honesty and respect, and the review system allows guests and hosts to get a good idea of what to expect on their next trip.

Honest reviews help maintain the credibility and transparency of the whole platform. They also encourage inconsiderate and disrespectful guests to reconsider their behavior. As long as you are kind and considerate, leaving an honest review is a good thing to do.

For additional clarity, here are some examples of what kind of review to write for your guest after a bad experience. Say your guest brought guests over and hosted a noisy get together late at night. When you write a negative Airbnb review for them, here’s a “good example” and “bad example” way to do that. Note that in both cases, the facts are accurate, but the wording differs.

  • Bad example: Alice was a terrible guest. She hosted a party without my permission, and her noisy guests kept my children and me up late on a school night.
  • Good example: Alice was a friendly guest. We had some great conversations, but we also had issues around her observing house rules. She hosted a party and had guests over which is not allowed on the property. I advise her to understand the house rules before making a reservation.

As another example, say your guest ate food from your kitchen when that was not part of the agreement.

  • Bad example: John is an inconsiderate guest. He went through the pantry and helped himself to my food without my permission.
  • Good example: John is a quiet guest who keeps to himself. Although I clearly stated on my page that catering is not offered, he still insisted that meals be provided and helped himself to what was available.

It is clear that writing negative Airbnb reviews does not hurt your business. Instead, it helps to keep up the Airbnb community standards. To write a negative review, you should always be respectful of the other person despite your experience. You can include some positive aspects of their stay, together with the negative aspects, and some suggestions for them. This is helpful for both your guests and their future hosts.

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