The Negative Guest Review

Level 3
Minneapolis, MN

The Negative Guest Review

Would be curious to hear what people do in this situation:


Guest stays with you, you dont hear anything from them during their stay.  You leave them a positive review based on the state of the unit when they check out, but then find that you get a negative review from the guest. 


What the best practice here?  I currently have a booking message, check in message, and framed announcement in the units to "Reach out if we can make your stay better in any way!"  This has happened to me a few times, in units with over 95% 5-Star reviews.  Thanks in advance Community! 

13 Replies 13
Community Manager
Community Manager
Port Moody, Canada

Hello @Donny34, welcome to our community 😊


Our Hosts have previously discussed similar situations in our community. I am reaching out to some of them to ask for their suggestions on how to handle this review:

 @Leigh625@Lorina14@Nash-Cottages-LLC0@Alex1485@Guy991 and @Mike-And-Jane0.



Please follow the Community Guidelines // Por favor consulta las Normas de la comunidad

Hi Paula,


Thank you for responding to my recent guest declination.


My reason was due to concerns regarding the purpose of his reservation and his previous negative reviews from hosts.


To start, I received a request from the guest stating how he loved the look of our Airbnb, etc. And although he had some good reviews, the bad ones raised a red flag.

"Oscar's reservation was for 1 guest but he showed up with a 2nd guest. The other guest stayed in the car during check-in and while I showed Oscar the apartment and parking. It felt uncomfortable because Oscar made no mention whether the person in the car would also be a guest. It was only after 15 minutes when I asked Oscar if there would be 2 guests, did he say that he would pay the 2nd guest fee. The next day I sent a message to Oscar asking “how's everything going with the apartment”. He responded that “everything is going well”. I then let Oscar know that AirBnB would be sending an invoice for the 2nd guest fee. Oscar promptly responded with a list of everything that was wrong with the rental. He then waited 5 days to pay the fee. AirBnB can verify these quotes. Oscar should have been up front rather than playing games. If Oscar wants to avoid paying any fee that is clearly included in a listing then he should stay somewhere else."

The other negative review:

"Left the unit a mess. We had some issues with a roof leak during a major storm that was handled as quickly as possible by our HOA, but there was no need to leave the unit in such disarray."

This leads me to believe that Oscar has spiteful tendencies. Additionally, the incident about additional last-minute guests as well as how the host felt uncomfortable around them made me apprehensive about letting him stay.


Upon declining his request, I receive another request from a 'Lindsay' within about 30 minutes. This guest wanted the exact same dates, was brand new to Airbnb, and was from the same location as 'Oscar.' (Mahwah, New Jersey).


I didn't trust who these guests said they were, and I didn't trust their purpose for their reservations.


I'm not jumping to conclusions, I am just aware of when something doesn't read right.


We are very concerned about the potential for drug dealing to occur in these situations, and we don't want this in our neighborhood. Period.


Please advise when you are able.


Thanks so much.





Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

Why would you accept a booking from a guest with those sort of reviews @Donny34 ?

The guest we had book and leave a poor review had all positive reviews....My issue with the situation was the negative review, but also not knowing there were any issues as the guest did not reach out.  So, in the hindsight I would have left a negative review about the guest to warn other hosts that they wont let you know if there are any issues....the issues the guest had were all unique to the nature of a multi unit building...which was clearly listed in the profile for the unit!  Oh well. 



I would definitely respond to their review, thanking them for their input, then gently pointing out that your listing is a multi unit building as listed in the description so one may share certain spaces with others (front lawn, etc) or you may occasionally hear noises from the neighbors and we have tried our best to mitigate this (there are pictures that function as noise dampeners, putting carpet or a mat or more furniture in a room does decrease the echo or noises one can hear in a room). Something of that sort to show that you are aware of this and have tried to accommodate for this. You can say there is a white noise machine or ear plugs for guests who are sensitive to noise though most guests say they have not complained about noise and had a comfortable stay. I’m only guessing that this is was the issue. Or maybe privacy in a multi unit space… some people don’t want to be near other people. 


I would trust your gut about these situations. I would just decline if you are uneasy and the guest has poor reviews. You can also limit booking to only guests with good reviews. I haven’t had issues with newbies to the platform, probably because of our messaging prior to their arrival.


You could also have screening questions that will help identify the guests (for property insurance purposes you need their names as well as for Airbnb aircover) their reason for visiting  (I ask “May I ask what brings you to our area, is it a special occasion? (If so I try to leave a special birthday treat or tailor some suggestions based on their response), some don’t respond and that’s fine too), if they have any questions about the area, and lastly to please see our guidebook for restaurants, grocery stores, parks, and local attractions nearby, etc.).

That is fantastic advice! Thanks so much, @Lorina14 

@Paula Thanks for tagging us. 


@Donny34 - We have had a number of guests who have not responded to a single message from us but we know they are reading them because they show up and know their lock code. It's annoying but we have tried to let it go.


As for your review, it's always disappointing when a guest gives us a bad review, especially when we think we've done everything right. The best advice we can offer is for you to respond to their review ASAP and address the issue(s) they brought up. Be professional and factual. If the issue they brought up was fair and has been addressed, say so.  For example, you could respond with something such as: "Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I genuinely appreciate all input, as it helps me improve for future guests. I'm sorry to hear that your experience did not meet your expectations and am surprised to learn about it here versus during your stay. I am truly committed to making this right for future guests and have resolved the issue." Obviously, only add that last sentence if it is true. 


We didn't look at the comment the guest left so if you would like to share more details, we can offer more tailored advice. 

@Nash-Cottages-LLC0 This is great, thanks so much!  Totally agree as well....super frustrating when there are several 5 star reviews before this guest and then several afterwards...Im coming to realize this is probably the price of being in this business to some extent, but its wild how some guests stay and experience can be so dramatically different.  

Level 10
Bellevue, WA



Thanks for the tag @Paula!


Hi! I’d always respond to the guest’s negative review with facts and kindness in a way such as, I’m sorry that your stay was less than ideal due to x and y. I am surprised to see your comments here as we messaged you a day after you arrived asking how the conditions were and if you needed anything to make your stay more comfortable and we didn’t hear anything. We also have signs posted in the unit stating to please reach out to us in the app, text or call so we can address anything that come up. We strive to support our guests to help them have a comfortable stay and it is difficult to support someone if they do not communicate with us.


If they state inconsistencies with the space (ie there was no TV but you clearly stated in the listing that this was the case) description then I would gently point out that we ask guests to read our complete listing so they are aware of our amenities and the uniqueness of our space so it is concerning that you stated x (that the space was small when we clearly listed the square footage in the listing; there was no toilet paper - we provide starter rolls and ask that guests purchase any additional if this is your case - we always provide more than needed for our listing).  Thank them for their review and that you will address these concerns (if there is anything to address, leaking faucet, extra tp, etc).


Without any further info, I can’t really help troubleshoot a way to address their claims, negative review or provide constructive feedback.

This is great and totally agree @Lorina14 !  Thanks for the followup

Level 3
Edmonton, Canada

Hi @Donny34 , I wish there was an automated system in place when a negative review is placed that would require the guest to check a box confirming that they contacted the host to resolve the issue, and only after confirming they have done so, are they able to leave the negative review.


I'm not completely sure if this would solve some unfair reviews but it wouldn't hurt, and might get guests to think that perhaps they should communicate better.

@Dale71 Totally agree and great idea!  Hopefully the platform looks at something like this as opposed to being totally blind sided by a bad review!