I have posted this comment on another thread but have felt that, due to problems experienced by new hosts when it comes to how they should handle the review of difficult guests I would open a new thread.
This is a long post but a lot of time and thought has gone into it....We all learn every day, and as you continue to host you will become very proficient at sorting out 'the wheat from the chaff' but if you take note of these points I am sure this post will stand you in good stead!
Reviews cannot be taken frivilously because they are the centrepiece of the ABB platform. But on the other hand we are reminded at every opportunity that anything less than that 5 stars is not good enough...and for that reason we 'pussyfoot' around issues for fear what we say may come back to bite us in the bum!
And if we start rating our guests as per our experience.......ABB will find a way to remove it!
From seeing thousands of these posts I think I have come up with a protocol for reviewing.
There will be some hosts and guests that will fall outside of the common boundaries of accepted behaviour! There are times when police will need to be involved and even more times when help from Airbnb is required and these incidents will require immediate action, but this will only ever be the case for a handfull of bookings over your hosting experience, particularly as you become more experienced in spotting problem guests before accepting! So what I am saying will not be relevant to those situations. What I am talking about are those hostings where rules were broken, personality clashes existed, and there may have been a different perspective between host and guest. If you are concerned about what to write, try the following! And if the reviews do differ wildly keep these points in mind for your review response:
1/. Never write a review until you have had two nights sleep after the departure of the guest! There are many little things that will annoy you enough to make a comment when they are a fresh experience, but which, with time, will mellow and can be appraised in a more objective way.
2/. Always write a review as though you have been asked to do it for someone else. 'YOU' will see things as being 'bleedin obvious' because it's your 'turf'! Another set of eyes will see a legitimate reason why the guest did (or felt) what they did!
3/. As I have said before, make yourself a nice drink, leave your emotion out in the garage, or out in the barn before you sit down at that keyboard. What you write at this point will stay with you long after you have forgotten about that belligerent 'turkey'! It will stay with you as long as you host and....it cannot be removed! We have all said things we wish we could take back! When it's in a review it is 'set in stone'....there is no going back!
4/. Tell the community what you feel about this guest, but don't give the guest a reason to resent you. As I said in a comment in another thread, you can make them feel guilty by carefully selecting your words but still finish by wishing them well in future. This way the balance of nature is restored....you made your point, but you have also said 'no hard feelings'!
And if their review is a stinker:
5/. Never get into a 'he said/she said' slogging match with a guest. You will always loose, and you will make yourself look petty and a difficult person, in yourself, to deal with. Remain aloof and always assure the guest you value their contribution because after all, the only way you can become a better host is to take notice of what others say. Don't apologise, but tell the guest some things are beyond your control.....like, how much cloud cover may have been present on the day! But tell them that their comments will be taken on board and acted on.
Many guests will form an opinion of you by how you carry yourself in the review process....you can be seen as a diplomatic person with great hosting skills........or you can be seen as a 'tough nut to crack' !
Sorry this is so drawn out but, it is a major issue on the forum ....I am not saying I am the review sage but I have had a lifetime dealing with people....I took a mechanical services company from 3 employees to 27 in 6 years......and I don't think my people skills are all that bad!
@Robin4 hi and best wishes for 2017 and a new round of hosting!
Thanks for putting this together. It sums it all up clearly and wisely, and from both sides too, writing a review and reacting wisely. I've bookmarked it to refer others to it when needed.
Hi Andrea, Robin,
Getting serious about our ideas of parallel networks of host groups, host sites.
First off, please explore the site 'AirDNA' for real estate investors. That's one of the big trends
in the US market.
Here in Japan, Tokyo is very busy - and it's so many enterprising young people of multi-ethnic
talents and backgrounds. Actually very very nice to see. A new world. Reaching out to them now.
All they lack is business experience and foresight.
Other spots in Japan, we're getting crowded, pushed out by real estate companies suddenly
managing empty apartments everywhere at low low rates. How it is.
The tactics to combat Instant Book are three:
1) List the monthly total rate only (no one books that)
2) place some words about discount on top of the main displayed photo
3) re-list to appear to be a brand new listing - and jump to the top of displayed listings
We're working on our concept. Now have exstimates for intial setup and complete setup. Doable.
Need 100 hosts to join minimum to start,preferably in 4 - 6 different geographical regions or cities.
Hope this helps.
Thank you @Yen-and-Robin0 for that fantastic post. It should be very helpful to both experienced and new hosts. Very sound advice. So far I have followed what you recommend, but for me along with waiting the two or three days before writing the review, I write the review in Word on the computer and wait another day, check it once more, and then copy and paste to Airbnb and send. After visually seeing it for me is helpful especially in a borderline review. I am sure this post will help a lot of hosts.
Hey, that is great, and tells me that you are serious about what you are doing! Guys, this is a business....... and you need to have that level of professionalism that is required of any business! I like the fact that you have first done your review in 'Word'! That says that you are going to be gramatically correct, if nothing else...and that is a big hurdle to cross. You will come across as, at the very least, being competent, experienced hosts.
When we come to this forum we just want to learn, and I can't tell you how much other hosts have contributed to my level of professionalism!
I want to shout from the rooftops how this forum has helped me....and if I can help someone else in return....then I feel great, I feel it is all worth while
@Robin4 Thanks so much for your post! I am one of those hosts who struggles with writing negative reviews and have bookmarked your post for future reference. Fortunately, so far we've been lucky and I have only had to write one. It wasn't a "the police were called" type of review - hope to never have one of those! It was one for guests who were not bad people, just clueless. And likely to be just fine in the next rental as long as something didn't break down that they needed to report! I think I said "communication could have been better" in the publicly visible section & then privately told the guest he needed to call me right away as soon as he ran into problems, that's what we're there for, etc. Maybe I should have come right out & torpedoed their chances of further rentals on Airbnb, but they weren't bad guests, English was their second language and they were immigrants to Canada from a country which isn't known for having great (kitchen) plumbing facilities. So, from their point of view & experience in their country of origin, plumbing breaks down & you just carry on - they didn't see a problem. Thankfully, they didn't clog up the toilet & decide to just "live with" the situation!
I'm a retired RN, I *think* (I hope) I still have good people/interpersonal skills, maybe because of years of dealing with people in crisis, who are ill & definitely not at their best, so I have learned to look at it from their point of view, to try my best to not get into an adversarial situation with them, and to calmly try to make some kind of a connection with them and hopefully reach some kind of solution that works for us both. I've been doing that my entire working career.
I, too, have found this forum is be a life-saver - so many wonderful hosts posts here, SO MUCH valuable information to be found here. Thanks to all of you for being here! Karen
Thanks Karen, I have seen enough of your posts to know that you do give very good well balanced responses which obviously continues through into your listing and the way you handle your reviews! Your guests love you, your humanity shows through with your bushfire effort, and I would not be the slightest bit surprised to see a superhost badge next to your profile photo about this time next week!
Hi @Robin4, what would be your advice if the guests' behaviour had been pretty unacceptable to you, e.g. to the extent that you had to get Airbnb to step in, but then improved, and they made a real effort to behave themselves after that?
I would like to be honest, but fair. At the same time, if I am totally honest about how they initially behaved (even if I say it got better), I think they might have a problem booking another Airbnb!
Hi Huma, sorry about the delay in responding. You no doubt understand but, while you are hoing into a midday snack...we are asleep!
Your problem guest.....you said they improved! Did they improve to the point where you would recommend them? Are you saying that although there was a rocky begining, you would not want to cruel their chances of using Airbnb again?
We all do things through maybe a misunderstanding.....how often have you got off on the wrong foot with someone who you ultimately came to like? Sorry questions, questions, questions, but they do affect what you should say because that review will say as much about you, as it will say about the guest!
If it were me, and that is the scenario (without knowing anything about the guest) I would approach it this way....
"I used to think 'no man is an island', but I was wrong! 'We are all islands', we are all different, and when ******* first arrived I think we struggled to understand what was required of each other. Maybe *****was new to home hosting and had been used to hotel style accommodation in the past! Maybe I had an unacceptable expectation! But once we on the same page ***** became a pleasant guest to host. I guess one should never judge a book by it's cover, and I wish ****** all the best for the future".
Now you will say...that's a bit 'flowery', but it sure makes you look like a really thoughfull caring host. The sort of host we would all like to stay with. You have been diplomatic, you have not given the guest a solitary word that they could throw back at you. But you have stated that this guest was a problem. There is also the fact that, if this guest has half a brain, rather than 'sour grapes' they would take your review on board and think....must remember that next time!
As I said Huma, this is nebulous because I don't know the guest or what took place but you could adapt that to a more personal, "Over a cup of coffee we found a lot in common and I ended up enjoying ******s company".
Don't crucify the guest after they put the fire out!!
Hope this helps you Huma!
Thanks @Robin4 for your - as always - thoughtful advice! I still have a few days to ponder my review, so will definitely not rush it.
If you're interested in the specifics, I posted about it on this thread (from page 12 onwards): https://community.airbnb.com/t5/forums/v3_1/forumtopicpage/board-id/listing-and-reservations/page/12...
I actually ended up requesting that Airbnb move the guests, but they asked if they could speak to them first. After being issued with a strong warning from Airbnb, they finally started to behave themselves!
OK, just caught up with that thread....can't understand how I missed that one before!
I am off to do my 'penance' in the Meals on Wheels kitchen, as I do most mornings, so will respond to this later in the day.
There are ways to get around this one and still stay aloof from 'stone throwing'!
@Robin4, so my problem guests are checking out tomorrow. I have no idea what sort of review they are going to leave me. No doubt, they thought I was a total pain, complaining about their behaviour and even 'telling on them' to Airbnb! Regardless, I still want to leave an honest review whilst offering that olive branch.
Whilst the loud noise into the small hours stopped, there were no more disgusting toilet incidents, and they are always polite and friendly, they have continued to be a bit of an annoyance, helping themselves to other people's toiletries and food without asking, spending hours in the bathroom and leaving it not so clean (my housemate has been complaining about a lot of these things), using the washing machine to do two t-shirts, and generally being loud. All small annoyances, but together with the earlier hassles, it all adds up.
Tomorrow I will check that the room is okay after they go. I did go in as planned for a mid-stay clean, to supply fresh towels etc. All looked fine (they had prior warning so tidied up a bit), until I saw that a particularly expensive piece of furniture that I'd asked them to be careful with was weirdly folded away and lent up against the wall. On further inspection, it turned out they had damaged it and it looked like they'd rather ineptly tried to hide that.
Anyway, as it's my first experience of guests that would put me off hosting, I don't want to be too soft on them. I rarely leave much private feedback, but in this case, I think I must. What I leave in the public review is still a matter for consideration...
My leave pass has run out, time to get back up to that 'meals on wheels' kitchen and get the food staff into gear for a couple of hours.
Let's try and cover all the bases here! We will work out different scenarios and Huma, we will get something that will make you good and be positive all round hey!
I will get back in about 3 hours
What you leave as a review is up to you Huma, and I guess you just have to tell it as it is because, it ends up on their page, not yours.
"Unfortunately these guests had a somewhat 'flippant' regard to my house rules and my possessions. I did not find them to be those ideal guests we all hope to get. They were pleasant, and to a point understanding, but I would be reluctant to host them in my property again".
You haven't accused them of anything other than being a pain in the a***e! That says what you want to say and it has no impact on your profile.
Their review (if they post one) will come, and that's where the diplomacy will need to kick in Huma, because your response to their review will appear directly below their review....it is in your court, not theirs!
If they bring something up, it will probably be a comment about noise constraints because that's what caused you to involve ABB! I can see them saying...."Having to tiptoe around all the time was a problem and could be something other guests should consider before booking!"....something like that!
If that happens then you can protect yourself this way.....
"These guys were wonderful at communicating and it was a pleasure to welcome them into my home. There were however times when I found their level of noise a touch excessive, and I did find their lack of appreciation of what was required in, what is my home somewhat difficult to handle. It was nice that we were able to sort our differences out though! Being genuinely nice people they did understand.
I know the odd breakage is going to happen when you host...little accidents do happen, but just a friendly apology would have been appreciated with regard to the…………. But I sure it can be repaired so it’s no big deal!!
Your stay was an experience for me and I hope that from a comfort point of view the apartment lived up to your expectations. You seemed to appreciate the kitchen and the laundry facilities that I offered. All the best for the future and I wish you well for this New Year”!
So Huma, it's a bit long winded but it doesn't 'ramble' it keeps to the point and, once a again....you are dignified, and (apart from the apology bit) it doesn't insult them. If it were me I wouldn't bring up the involvement of Airbnb.......they know it so will not comment and the rest of us don't need to know it! We can tell, they were difficult.
In the final analysis I don't know these people or what you went through but from what you have said, if I read that, I would say....good on you!