Would love to have fellow hosts thoughts on this one.
My last guest left a review which, while reasonable on the whole, suggested my place was "a bit of a mess". In fairness, she still gave me high rankings - five stars, and four on five for cleanliness.
But I am concerned that this could drive away new business - as this will be the first review many people will see. People will go back through my profile and see many more positive reviews, see I am a superhost with a 4.86/4.87 average. But it's often one bad review which can turn people off.
My place isn't a palace - but it's clean, and cheap.
Am I overthinking this one?
Hi Emiel - thanks very much for your response. Not sure I fully understand what you mean when you say - 'keep in mind you address future guests with it, not the guest'. Can you help?
Your audience with the comment are the future guests visiting your listing or profile (the guest L. will probably never read it). So do not discuss or deny the issue (the mess), but state you appriciated the feedback and will improve or keep an extra eye on it. (My English is not good enough to give you an exact example, sorry).
@Nick1866 I wouldn't waste energy worrying about it. You list a private room in your home, so guests are subject to accepting that common spaces will reflect the way the host normally lives. And a guest has every right to mention it in the review- it was a generally positive review.
I would suggest, however, that you make some effort to keep things tidy and uncluttered in spaces you share with guests. Just looking at your photo gallery makes it a bit evident that you aren't that aware of what looks messy to other people. For instance, the photo of the towels on the back of the door- they are all bunched up, like someone just shoved them back on the rack after a shower. Most hosts would make sure the towels were neatly folded on the towel bar, looking unused, before taking a photo. Same for all that stuff on the back of the toilet and on the sink.
It may be normal for you, but if this is what things look like when you have guests, you can't really be surprised that guests might view it as messy. Not saying you need to change your ways, just to realize it may result in review comments like that.
And in a way, it's good to have that comment there- if you're kind of a messy guy, it might warn off guests who expect everything looking like a magazine photo of a house or hotel where no one actually lives their daily life.
@Nick1866 I know it's easy for an outsider to say this, but I wouldn't sweat that review too much. It seems like your listing accurately portrays what the guest is going to get: they're not going to look at your listing and think they're going to arrive at the Ritz. That's not an insult: I salute your honesty, and it seems like the vast majority of your guests are very happy.
If you want to respond, I would keep it very lighthearted. I know it's frustrating to get fewer than 5 stars, but I don't think anyone is going to be dissuaded by it.
Thanks Alexandra, appreciate your comments. It does make one feel a bit downhearted as I did go out of my way to help the guest - she left a night early so she could be with her family over Easter, so I refunded her the cost of a night, and was not able to re-advertise the room.
Also, I did her washing up after she cooked each night, so she could be free to relax while she was not working.
@Nick1866 No good deed goes unpunished 🙂
What Emiel meant about responding to the review, is that responses to what a host feels might be a damaging review should be used only to correct false impressions or indicate that you've taken the comment on board, for the benefit of future guests, not to post something that sounds defensive or like a review of the guest, saying all the nice things you did for her that she obviously didn't appreciate.
So for the review in question, a response like " I do live here and may not be the tidiest guy around, but I do keep the place clean and will take this comment on board, although I've never had a guest make mention of it seeming messy before" would be one way to respond.
But I wouldn't respond to this review at all. You haven't responded to any other reviews, so a response will just draw attention to the review, whereas otherwise it will be overtaken by newer reviews and slide down the roster.
@Nick1866 at $23 a night I don't know that I would care much about this review. So long as no one mentioned bed bugs "messy" can merely be cluttered. Our place is pretty spotless as a whole and people have marked us down for the stray insect that finds their way inside (its on a rural wooded lot....) I would only expect to get what I paid for in your listing. And your other reviews describe you as warm, friendly and generally delightful. Seems a bargain to me.
Thanks for the reply Laura - messy probably does equal cluttered. But it didn't stop me doing a deep clean across the weekend!
I deliberately price it low to pardon the imperfections, if that makes sense...
"My place isn't a palace - but it's clean and cheap."
"But it's often one bad review which can turn people off."
Airbnb Superhost badge,
Here to you, Nick! you're Superhost.
"You’ve worked hard to delight your guests and it shows.
Guests appreciate your responsiveness and reliability and rave about your outstanding hospitality."
“Focus on the possibilities for success, not on the potential for failure.”
@Nick1866 This review could be a blessing in disguise. That rare budget traveler that is so turned off by this review that they book elsewhere is someone who has insanely unrealistic expectations, and might ultimately leave you a 1 star review or decide not to stay. Just as you wouldn't want to find yourself on a blind date with someone who was promised you looked like Idris Elba, you don't want that kind of guest to book your room.
Your target guests are not fussy perfectionists; they're people who appreciate good value and hospitality and are willing to tolerate the "mess" of other people's lives as part of an authentic experience.