How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
Cincinnati, OH
Level 3
274 Views

I received the following review (1 star ratings for location and value, 5 star for all else; my listing had a 5 star overall rating prior to this) from a guest with no complaints during her 2 night stay:

 

"This was a charming, cozy house and the host was proactive with communications. The only problem was that it is very close to a major airport runway and Amazon Air cargo hub (CVG). I was awoken very early each morning and even ear plugs didn’t help with the nonstop low flying full throttle jet traffic lifting off overhead. Still have the dark circles under eyes from this sleep deprived stay. If you normally wake up at 5 am or earlier- maybe you wont mind… its otherwise a pleasant, interesting neighborhood."

 

She checked out a week ago so the dark circles comment seems a little dramatic.  Do I reply?  If so, is this reply okay?:

 

Sharon did not communicate this issue to me prior to this review.  Acceptable noise level is subjective to each person. Usually, guests find our place very peaceful and quiet so this is unexpected and clearly out of my control however I do sympathize with Sharon.  Our home is about 6 miles as the crow flies from the Greater Cincinnati Airport so naturally the area can occasionally be affected by flight patterns. Temporary variations to flight paths may occur due to wind, weather, or operational conditions to ensure flight safety. There can also be variation in the altitude of the airplanes for various reasons.  Fortunately, this is infrequent and no issues have been reported by guests previously.

 

Any other action I should take?  I try to be very accurate in my listing - do I need to add anything about this? I should note my listing says it's near the airport (seen by many as a plus).

20 Replies

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
San Diego, CA
Level 5

What a weird situation. Do you also live on premises? Was there maybe an unexpected amount of air traffic those two days? My city has a military base and while we’re usually out of the way, once in a while they’ll change the flight path  to right over my work office!

 

I would keep any response very short and not go into details. Essentially it’s her feedback against all other guests… but you don’t want to come across as trying to gaslight her either. How about: “we are sorry to learn your stay was affected by the airplane noise. In the past noise was never an issue for this listing, but flight paths do change. We will definitely take your feedback into consideration for future guests comfort.”

 

I did also check this guests’ profile out of curiosity and had to laugh at her response to your review… did she have a male guest with her on the “down low”? 😂

 

 

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
Cincinnati, OH
Level 3

We live 4 blocks away from the home, about a 5 minute walk.  We are outside the noise contour of the airport and standard flight paths but yes, weather or safety can occasionally change those patterns.  

As to the husband, my error. Most guests never "register" the 2nd person and I was too hurried in my review. I'll watch that from now on, and if in doubt, just reference the guest who booked unless there's a reason to do otherwise. So do I respond to that (apologize for error) or let it go?

I appreciate your feedback, it's so easy to take stuff personal when it is your house. 

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
Auchenblae, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Louise1073  I think someone just got busted 🤣

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
Hay Valley, Australia
Level 10

I assume you mention the proximity to the airport in the listing? if you've acknowledged there might be some airport noise on occasion then you have a right to be upset. I hate being dinged for location, guests can clearly see roughly where you are when they book. 

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
Cincinnati, OH
Level 3

My heading says "near CVG" as many times that's a plus for those flying.  It is common sense if you are near an airport that there may be airport noise. Since we are outside the noise contour and standard flight patterns, I don't say anything further and in almost 3 years with many repeat guests, this is the first issue with it. 

What more do you think I should include in my listing and where? 

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
Cincinnati, OH
Level 3

I have updated my listing to say there may from time to time be noise from planes, but gee, there can be unexpected construction or traffic noise too. 

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
Greenville, SC
Level 10

@Renee291  I think what you said in your response to her review is great. As a potential guest, I would want more details about the planes and their noise, which you have provided.

 

There is a section under Listings in which you can specify “Potential for noise”. I would also add a sentence  to your description under “Other things to note” saying that there is an airport 6 miles away, and that guests may hear planes overhead from time to time, even though the property is outside the flight patterns.

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
Cincinnati, OH
Level 3

Thank you, I updated my listing as suggested.  

 

I don't want to seem defensive but I do want to clearly explain the situation for anyone who may read the review in the future. Don't want it to sound like the house is a half mile from the runway and you'll be scarred from the experience lol.

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
Frederick, MD
Level 10

@Renee291 our last listing was next door to a company where trucks would occasionally be washed. Every so often a truck would arrive and you would hear the beeping back up and engine noise. There was not a regular schedule to these occurrences nor any days we could determine that it happened. We stayed at our listing enough to understand the noise level. which was very minimal and occasional. We mentioned it in our listing. In about 200 stays we had a single guest who was very bothered by it. This guest was also very bothered by a mysterious blue light which she claimed made it "impossible to sleep." After a very deep dive into all of our nooks and crannies trying to figure out what the "blue light" was we discovered it was from a router which was INSIDE A CLOSET. The guest then revealed she had sensory issues. We certainly sympathized but there wasn't much we could do.

 

I think your response is very well worded and will be an honest and reasonable way to screen out those guests who are disturbed by the plane noise. You want people who are great fits for your space-- that won't be all guests. 

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
Cincinnati, OH
Level 3

Thank you.  I  agree that as hosts we need guests that are the right fit for our listings.  I am about 90% booked and my listing is not a vacation hot spot so I am ecstatic with that. I have updated my listing to include info about potential (fleeting) airplane noise. I have tried to be as accurate in my listing as possible as I'd rather guests were pleasantly surprised, not disappointed. It just never occurred to me that someone would be so bothered by the infrequent plane noise, and since it's 1 out of 97 reviews, I guess this reaction is rare, but the potential is now disclosed.

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Laura2592 @Pat271 @Gillian166 

 

There has been some construction work going on around the corner from my house and it's been going on for quite a while. The contractors are not there a lot of the time and don't seem to work long hours when they are so I have no idea when they will be there or not, but I find that the noise can sometimes be very loud.

 

I did not mention this on the listing because the site was supposed to be finished by last October and, in recent months, looked like it almost was, but it goes on and on. So, upcoming guests were warned as soon as I knew, but now I find that I keep having to message more upcoming guests to let them know that it might still be happening while they are here. Should I mention it on the listing? It looks like they will finish any day...

 

Luckily, none of the guests that have stayed in the room that faces that side have had any issues with it. They said it didn't bother them at all. The next guest coming says it won't be a problem as he is at work all day. No one seems to mind but me and I find it infuriating (I work from home) even though I should be used to it by now. I am just waiting for that one guest who completely freaks out about it.

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
Hay Valley, Australia
Level 10

@Huma0  ah we have similar, we are doing some works on our farm before the winter rains set in.  They aren't working outside the cottage, it's more like "4 houses down the road" suburban type distance, but i'm still amazed (and thrilled) that so far not one guest has brought it up, and we are still getting great reviews commenting on how peaceful and quiet it is here. 

Although this whole thread reminds me of one guest who commented last summer about the low flying fire service planes who sometimes do training exercises over our region. I pointed them out in wonder and appreciation (we live a serious bushfire zone) and she said "hmm, you should probably mention those in your listing" and honestly, I was so shocked at her attitude that it stunned me into silence (phew! haha). They are such gorgeous little planes (in yellow, red or other delightful colours) AND they are performing vital, life saving work, I never see them as annoying at all, and I always stop and wave to them. Of course all the families with little kids LOVED them, so they could actually be a summer "feature" if I can word it cleverly enough. 

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Gillian166 

 

Yes, the contractors here are working about three houses down from me and I have got somewhat used to the noise as they have been here so long, but at first I found it really too much so I am surprised that none of the guests so far seem bothered about it at all, especially those that are working from home.

 

My fear is that, before the construction is finished (should have been done by October but goes on and on), I'll get a guest who is not so thrilled about it. If it was the girl who mentioned the planes to me or your guest who saw the service planes as a problem, then it could be a big problem. Maybe you should mention it with a positive spin, e.g. "In the summer months you will sometimes see the lovely fire service planes with their delightful colours training nearby, which is something families always enjoy, but it might not be ideal to those very sensitive to noise." Or, just not mention the noise bit at all. People should be able to deduct that there will be some noise involved if it's something they are adverse to.

 

So far, I haven't mentioned the construction on the listing because I keep thinking the building must be finished soon, surely? It can go quiet for days or sometimes even weeks, I think it's done and then a new guest arrives and it starts again. The two rooms which might be affected by this noise are both booked up to September, so it seems a bit pointless putting it in the listings and better to message upcoming guests instead. If I had known how long it would go on, I would definitely have mentioned it before.

 

I have never mentioned the planes because it's literally been one guest who complained about it and she still left me 5* and has asked to stay again. We've actually met up recently for a drink when she was in London. She loved her stay and is, by her own admission, a bit of a moaner!

Re: How to reply to review with guest complaint about noise after stay

in
Hawaii, United States
Level 10

I had this issue in late 2019/early 2020. Close neighbors were building an unpermitted extension to their house  and used another neighbor to basically DIY the project. 

 

Noise included bandsaws, tablesaws, impact drivers, sanders and other assorted high-decibel power equipment that could and often did start at 6.30 am.  Because it was just one guy,  he'd be pooped out by noon and then just go home and the noise would end... until 6:30 the next morning, lol. 

 

He would work on it whenever the fancy struck, so this awful noise lasted months and months, but it was highly  intermittent. Sometimes we'd go weeks or even months without any work on the project and it sat there half finished. I hated looking at it because I knew it had to start up again eventually. 

 

For that reason I did not mention it on my listing, just took a chance that he would be "off" that week, and I lucked out.... had guest after guest stay who were not affected at all...

 

UNTIL the guest from hell checked in. Mind you, she was already a piece of work before any noise started and upon arrival was whining about the "rain" ("When is this rain going to stop? Why is it raining in Hawaii, I expected it to be sunny." To which I answer... "We love our rain,  it comes every afternoon, it's why we are green. As you know, without rain we would be a desert island..." Eye roll, what can you say to these people? )

 

Sure enough, on cue, the neighbor DIY noise starts up basically the next morning of her check in, and I knew my luck had run out. 

 

She did write to me to complain and I mentioned I was sorry, but had no control over the neighbors, nor did they offer me their construction schedules or timelines. I did offer to let her return at a quieter time to make up for the inconvenience, but I received no response.  

 

She said no more until on her way to the airport, when she slammed me for the noise, saying I should have let her know like a hotel would. (She had booked months ahead of this and I had no idea the neighbors were going to do DIY.) Then begins extorting me. "If you don't refund me a significant amount of this booking I will leave a review. I will give you three hours to offer a refund or I will review accordingly."   I took a screenshot of this conversation and didn't answer. Called Airbnb and they assured me they would remove the review if it was bad because of her violation. Knowing I'd get slammed, I wrote one of her and portrayed her accurately. Did not recommend this guest! 

 

Airbnb did as they said and immediately removed her review, although mine stood. Heh.

 

Bottom line, what happens outside of our property lines is out of our control. Other homeowners/neighbors/construction companies do not owe us their construction schedules and timing.

 

These projects can take a while. It's not your fault if someone down the street is making construction noise. Do you think a hotel in New York or any other large city would refund because of construction work on a skyscraper nearby? Or even in their own building? Your city of London seems to have a constant building boom. As such, it's just part of life there. We don't know when they are going to start, when they are going to stop and how long it's going to go on. We are only responsible and accountable for what happens within our four walls and property perimeters. 

 

That said, you could issue a disclaimer in your listing.

 

Though the project is done, thank god, I have added such a disclaimer to my listing:  "this is a family neighborhood and you may hear typical sounds during the day including dogs barking, children playing, construction/remodeling on homes, neighbors working on DIY projects or yardwork attended to with power tools.  This activity is simply a part of living in a neighborhood, is out of our control and we cannot issue refunds for unforseen and unexpected noise in the neighborhood." 

 

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