Congratulations! You’ve hosted your first guest. You’ve done well, but your work is not quite over. You still have to think about getting a review, leaving your own review, and when NOT to leave a review.
Reviews are the lifeblood of a sharing economy that relies on trust and peer reviews over name brand recognition.
Hosts and guests have 14 days from the end of the end of a reservation to review each other. In an effort to ensure people are truthful, Airbnb does not allow either host nor guest to see the other’s review until they’ve left their own. This prevents extortion schemes where, for instance, a guest who trashed a house tells a host they will leave a bad review for the host unless the host leaves a good review for them.
And reviews play a vital part of your potential profits. So we're never afraid to ask someone we know had a good time to leave a review.
Airbnb allows both hosts and guests to respond to reviews. If a guest leaves a positive review, then feel free to leave a simple positive response. “Thank you for coming. Feel free to return any time” is easy.
Now what if a guest leave a negative review? First off, keep your cool. Wait a day or two so you don’t react out of anger. Remember you goal and who your audience is. Think about if you were looking for a place on Airbnb and you saw a terrible review of the host and you saw the host leave a scathing response to the negative review. Would you automatically think the host was right? Or would you think that they both seem a little hot-headed and, out of caution, simply decide to steer clear?
We recommend thinking about how big companies react. And that’s with the idea that the customer is always right … even if the customer is kind of a jerk. Our standard response is something like, “We hate to hear about this situation. We do everything we can to ensure our guests have a positive experience, and what we read above does not meet that standard. We have addressed (NAME THE ISSUE THE GUEST RAISED) and will do our best to see that any future guests have a carefree time.”
If the guest never raised the issue with you during the stay — and as we recommend, you had told them verbally and on the welcome note to contact you with any issues — then you should say that in your response. But keep it as genially as possible. “I left my personal cell phone number and my email and asked that (insert guest’s name) contact me with any issues. I never heard about this issue and would have gladly addressed it if they had.”
Again, always remember your audience. It’s not the jerk guest who’s taking out their bad vibes on you. It’s all the future guests that you want to assure of your professionalism.