Hello fellow hosts,
I am wondering how many people have the same experience as us.
We've been Airbnb hosts for 1 year, and all of our previous guests gave us 5-stars for overall. However, we got a last-minute booking on Jan 14, and the situation changes.
How we got a 1-star review after the other 135 5-star reviews
When this guest checked out on Jan 15, we asked whether everything was ok, they said the stay was great. However, when we cleaned the suite, we found damage on the shower trim plate, looks like it was hit by something. Every time we do the cleaning, we make sure to remove all the fingerprints and watermarks on it that's why we are very sure the damage was caused after they checked in. Besides, we did hear a loud noise from the guest suite bathroom during their stay. And when they checked out, they left a lot of water outside the shower room. We requested this guest to pay $80 for the shower trim kit - which is the current price on Amazon(we purchased it from Amazon at $99 with tax). He refused to pay, and even more, he sent us a very offensive message and left us a completely misleading bad review.
We replied to the review to explain what happened. We pointed out how the review is away from the truth. We believe in the Airbnb community, the reviews should reflect the truth and objective, but Airbnb said this doesn't meet their policy and refused to remove it. So the other 135 5-star reviews can't help us stay against this 1-star review.
Will bad review after filing a claim change the community?
We do not really care about this bad review, but our concern is about fairness between hosts and guests. We list the current steps and logic between claims and bad reviews as blew. Please correct us if we are wrong.
First, hosts should make the claim before the next guest check-in. For a fully booked listing, this means we have to claim very shortly after checkout.
Bad guests protect themselves by denying, leaving a bad review and continue to book other places on Airbnb. They spread the STRATEGY and more guests learn.
On the other hand, hosts learn that they should try to avoid making claims so that they won't be punished by a bad review.
And all these make the community getting worse for hosts.
We reached out to several Airbnb case managers, and they said that it's very common guests leave bad reviews once they were claimed. They suggest us to submit feedback so that the policy may change in the future. However, since Airbnb doesn't announce how much feedback regarding this situation have been submitted and no timeline. We don't expect our feedback can make any change to the policy.
How Airbnb collects the deposit?
Since we require $200 deposit on the listing for potential damage, but it didn't show up anywhere among the claim process. We tested the booking process with another account as a guest, and Airbnb's platform NEVER displayed the deposit will be charged, and DID NOT actually charge it from our account. So, what's the definition of deposit on Airbnb, and how it works? Is it just to comfort hosts so that we feel safe hosting on Airbnb?
Airbnb invites us to open our house to guests, but it turns out to us that neither our hard-earnt reviews nor our property is protected by Airbnb.
Again, please correct us if they do charge the deposit.
At the end of this topic, we appreciate your attention, suggestion, correction. If this is not the right place to bring up this topic, we can definitely move to Quora.
It’s a cold basement with makeshift DIY upgrades and warning signs of what not to do located all throughout the space. You walk through the living room and meet the family before your pointed down to the basement door.
We have an electric fireplace which is just at the end of the bed, a heated mattress pad on the bed, and heater in the bathroom. None of our other 135 guests complained it's cold even in the coldest weather. On the opposite, the other guest (just 3 spots before this review) mentioned they like the heated bed.
And none of the signs in the suite is a warning. They are just instructions about how to use the electronics, the light, the fireplace, the heated mattress, etc. Most of our guests found them very helpful and gave them thumbs up (refer to the review just before this one).
We've also stated very clearly on the listing page this suite is on the ground floor, and the only common space is the staircase.
@Alex-and-Luna0 Like many hosts that experience a stretch of positive reviews, when you get a negative review, you over react. The actual review only points out the guest experience which is allowed under the Air BNB content policy. The rating is not posted for other guests to see. However, your long defensive response is seen by potential guests. A professional hosting response would be short and sweet, for example, "Sorry this guest experience did not meet your expectations. While we have enjoyed very positive responses from so many other guests, we are always saddened when one of our guests is disappointed."
Your review might be reviewed because you included information about an ongoing claim process, which is against Air BNB content policy. It would help if read the policy found in the Help Center.
Also, you need to be educated about Air BNB security deposit policy, which is not collected at the time of the booking.
Like so many host lessons, we all learn by making mistakes and by dealing with difficult guests. You have a beautiful listing in a high demand area. A single low rate will have little effect.
A single low rate will have little effect doesn't mean we should bear the unfair policy.
Airbnb spends a lot of budgets to acquire new users from other channels. And we have over 30% of guests they were first time using Airbnb. Most of them said they will continue to use Airbnb since the great experience of staying with us. We are not begging guests from Airbnb, actually, we help Airbnb keep their users retain.
The several case managers said that it is common that guests react with bad reviews when they were claimed. So when the situation is becoming a common issue, doing nothing is encouraging it to get more common.
And then what hosts can do is get used to this unfair policy?
Alex, your reply was fine. Maybe long but as long as you state facts in an unemotional way, future guests will respect that and I don't see you writing in an emotional manner. You were very matter of fact.
Linda, when we apologize and say sorry to the guest who left a retaliatory review for breaking something, you are admitting fault and taking blame for something that you shouldn't. By saying sorry, you are telling other guests that you failed at something which Alex did not. By saying sorry, you are placing yourself in a place of weakness. You are incentivizing irresponsible guests and telling them that if you come to our home and break stuff, that, I, as the host, will be apologizing for it in the end.. As a guest, if I saw Alex apologizing and then see his review of the guest which blamed him, I would see this as inconsistent. I would rather see his reply as truthful than being an apologetic robot.
It is best to state the facts as they happened then to apologize. Th only time I think you should apologize is if there was clear oversight on the hosts side. E.g. poor cleaning job or not leaving any toilet paper.
The audience for the host response to the review are potential guests. @Sean433 I read both the review and host response (did you?) which simply stated did not like the decor and did not like entering through the host quarters. @Alex-and-Luna0 went on and on about how horrible the guest was. Does not play well with potential guests. Saying I am sorry you did not enjoy your experience is a common response to guest disappointment. It is not an admission of wrong doing. All the other reviews which are quite positive would alert potential guests that this guest was wrong. My suggested response reads that the host is sympathetic to disappointment and professional. @Alex-and-Luna0 response is defensive and blaming and reads for potential guests as a mine field.
If you read the content policy, mentioning the claim process in the review is a basis for removal of the review.
Several case managers have reviewed our reply, discussed it with their team. And none of them pointed out that our reply is against the review policy. That's why you can still see it there.
I did read the reply and I don't see how he went on and on about how horrible the guest was. He simply stated what he did although this could have been much shorter. He wrote the rebuttal to claims such as the basement being cold. I mentioned the reply was too long but the substance of the reply is not emotional or over defensive. I think apologizing to every guest who states disappointment on grounds that are not accurate is not a good idea. It shows that you are a host that can be walked over and will then just reply with saying "sorry" if the guest did not like something. E.g guests wants to throw a party. I say "NO". Guest then throws a party and writes me a bad review as retaliation. Why would I apologize. I would be honest and write what actually happened.
The host alledges the guest caused damage. Did not alledge the guest broke rules. When you have the type of listing we have, unlike managing 14 listings, you need to have a different orientation to the guest experience. To express you are sorry someone did not enjoy themselves is not an admission of wrong doing or an invitation to be walked on.
@Sean433 "Sorry" is used in different ways and doesn't necessarily convey apology. Saying "I'm sorry XX didn't enjoy his stay" is akin to saying to a friend, "I'm sorry you're feeling ill." Of course it isn't your fault that your friend is sick, you are just conveying empathy. Whether or not you feel that conveying empathy to a bad guest is something you would do or not is one thing, but I don't think it implies some kind of responsibility for the guest's complaints. If a host said "I'm sorry I wasn't able to provide XX with all he required", that indeed sounds like the host is admitting fault, but saying youre sorry the guest didn't enjoy his stay is not the same thing.
Then maybe its better to say “it’s unfortunate you didn’t enjoy your stay.” Saying sorry just leaves it open to interpretation.
Anyways, we already know that a negative review is negative. So if the point is to keep it as short as possible, it’s best to skip the butt kissing out.
I noticed that the other side of the gender equation tend to be more empathetic, in general. I repeat, in general , not always but then they complain If they get walked over. You can say sorry whether you have 1 listing or 14. It’s not the approach I take because being walked over on 14 listings is much more taxing than being walked over on 1 or 2
Alex, the only thing I would agree with the ladies on is that a reply should be as short as possible with few emotions. Just facts. But don’t ever say sorry if the guest was at fault.
Thank you so much for this information.
I was about to review some Guests who caused damage .... I sought advice and understood I was being advised to say it like it is. So I assumed that I SHOULD be making reference to the fact that a claim has been started, by me, but that I was hopeful of a resolution. I suggested that I would like to take the review down if the matter was settled to my satisfaction and invited other hosts to contact me to hear the outcome of their £200,000 counterclaim against me for racism ( as I dared to object to various breakages and damage)......!!
In my view more time needs to be allowed for the review process so that Guests understand the consequences of damage and failing to address it. Thereafter whilst mention might be made of damage having occurred the fact that the matter is ultimately settled is a positive thing. Well if they decide voluntarily to make amends!!
You have posted in the middle of someone else's thread, which can make it somewhat confusing as people reply to both posters. Going forward it's always easier to open a new post.
Anyway back to your question. Have you read about how the review system works on Airbnb. If not wonder over to Airbnb Help and have a look.
1. You cannot mention a dispute that you have open
2. Nor can you suggest you will take down the review if they settle the claim a) you don't have the ability to remove a review once it goes live b) it is against Airbnb's T&Cs to offer
"You are not allowed to incentivise positive reviews, to use the threat of a negative review to manipulate a desired outcome, or to influence another’s review with the promise of compensation".
Just leave a professional, factual review mentioning any good points as well as the negative.
If you like post a draft here and we can provide input to help you shape it.
Thanks for coming in. Yes all of the above was my understanding, HOWEVER, the current case manager, as mentioned advised me to disclose the state of play as 'at this time'. I was not actually thinking about how the Guests would review me but rather the fact that being a positive sort I do anticipate a satisfactory resolution and therefore feel concerned that even after settlement the Guest could be left with the APPEARANCE of a negative review. Do you follow me now? I thought of starting a new thread but wanted to add to the predicament of @Alex-and-Luna0 with my sympathies...!!
If the guest has behaved badly and damaged your place they deserve a truthful review. It doesn't matter if they pay to cover the cost of the damage. @Mary996
Hard to comment really without knowing what happened and whether the guests are paying voluntarily or whether they are disputing the damage and costs.
If the guests pay before you review you could say XXXX did xXXX, however they notified us as soon as it happened and paid promptly for the damage incurred, if this is the case.
Yes obviously.....(In reply to your suggestion that: If the guests pay before you review you could say XXXX did xXXX, however they notified us as soon as it happened and paid promptly for the damage incurred).
And of course a truthful review is proposed.
The point (not getting through in my comms with you - so please don't feel that you have to comment) is that if the Guests make good they could still be left with a bad review that doesn't get amended or taken down and is therefore misrepresentative of them if they do go on to fully address all issues (as we should be able to expect).
In only one or two instances of accidental damage in 2 years have I had to let anyone know that they caused damage. Rectification was instantaneous.
In this case the Guests are disputing the facts which is why I'm sympathising with @Alex-and-Luna0 .