We had this sad experience lately, where we had 4 chineese guests, who didn't speak any english, stay at our penthouse in Phuket for a single night. Communication was through the airbnb communicator (so everything is recorded). I just wanted to add that they refused our airport pick up service and decided to take a municipal taxi. Our airBnB offer of the penthouse is highly described with plenty of photos portraying the place.
They arrived late, with hassle, due to the fact that the taxi driver didn't know the area and couldn't find the place (chineese guests can't use google maps on their smartphones), they were dropped of at the main street (which is outrageous) and had to walk uphill to the building (again this is not our fault).
Our building manager was there who takes care of the place waiting for them (we weren't there ourselves in person which is described in the listing). After their arrival they ceased all communication and failed to respond to our check up questions via the airbnb communicator.
Just yesterday we received a terrible review - 1 star and a review stating that:
1. Our place is in a different town than the one they wanted to go to (which is clearly stated in the listing).
2. That we had Buddha paintings by Thai artists on the walls (which is clearly portrayed in the photos).
3. That we and the manager only speak english (actually we speak a lot of languages and our manager is Thai, but neither of us speak chineese - and this is clearly stated in the listing)
4. It's an 1,5h drive from the airport (beacuse it's the south of the island, where the airport is in the north - and this is clearly stated in the listing)
5. That in the building and around town are only "Foreigners" - I cannot understand this argument (am I supposed to describe that tourists visit the island in high season???)
6. That there was a stain on the pillow - but this wasn't communicated to the reception nor the manager (if there indeed was a stain and our guest would ask for a pillow change we would do it immediately).
So taken all this into account, are we wrong to recognize these arguments as completely irrational and besides our hosting capabilities (apart from point 6 narually).
Because the guest joined AirBnB directly before booking our place, we asked AirBnB for support in removing this review. Our reviews are all very good and we've maintained superhost status for a couple of years now, but this last review just seems ridiculous and I don't see why I should accept nor tolerate such irrational and hurting guest opinions.
Unfortunately AirBnB support agent just copy-pasted a typical reply, in short "sorry, against airbnb policy, we feel for you". Given, he was in such a ruch, he even copy-pasted the name of the previous host instead of addressing it to me.
So dear AirBnB Community, is there anything else you can think of that could clear this sad, unfair stain from our review plate? Can we protect ourselves against such irresponsible and damaging reviews?
All comments highly appreciated,
Thank you all!
All the Best,
I'm sorry this happened to you. As you've just found out, Airbnb rarely remove reviews, and they only do so if the review breaches a specific set of rules.
Your best bet is to reply to the review of the guest, and make your rebuttal to their claims. You can reply to your guest if you left them a review. As the review seems to have been published, this means you have also reviewed the guest, or 14 days have passed.
Before you reply, you might also like to consider if it's worth it. The way Airbnb lists reviews is that people see reviews from guests that are reside t in geographically close locations first, then they see other reviews in the same language, then finally reviews in foreign languages. If the majority of your guests are not from China, or do not read simple Chinese, then you might choose to let the review drop off the bottom sooner, and not draw attention to it.
If you don't want this review to stand, then reply to the review. Only rebutt claims made publicly and write as if for your next guest - politely and helpfully. Do not show your (rightful) anger. Make it clear to anyone else reading this that you have set certain things up for their comfort and convenience, and that you are happy to address problems, but you need guests to notify you of them. I would very strongly recommend against mentioning the language barrier, save to say that you had to rely on the Airbnb translation engine, which has thrown up some limitations for both you and the guest in this case. I'd also not bother to address the unusual point about foreigners, nor would I address their reading skills (the fact that the place is in a different town or the artwork).
Having a reply let's people know that this guest made claims that are unfair, and will let them draw their own conclusions about their star rating. Unfortunately it is the best you are likely to get in terms of accommodation, since CS have already mentioned they won't remove the review.
I'd write something like:
"I'm very sorry that your first Airbnb experience did not live up to your high standards. I strive to make every guest's stay special, and think that some misunderstandings got in the way of your enjoyment.
As mentioned in the listing, the building manager and I speak a number of languages between us. For those we do not list, we rely on translation engines to help us communicate. Sadly, we may have found the limitations of translation software in this instance.
My lovely penthouse is a fair ride from the airport, and takes an hour and a half. I have tried to make this clear in my listing, and will be looking at this again to make this as clear as possible for all my guests. The distance, and the fact that taxi drivers from the airport may not be familiar with my town, are reasons that we offer a shuttle service to and from the airport, so guests can travel in comfort directly from their arrival point on the island.
I can only apologise that you needed fresh pillows. My building manager would have been very happy to replace these for you immediately , had you informed him that there was an issue.
I wish you safe travels"
I haven't had time yet to go and look for this review. Once I do, I may pop back later with some ore suggestions.
Thank you so much for such great help and advice. I will surely learn from you. Thank you.
"Guests are highly recommended to use our taxi service. Our location is rather secluded and unknown to most. It is so unfortunate these guests did not have Google Maps used for Airbnb mapping"
This clears you, slights your ignorant guests AND markets your secluded, special place
BTW, I was recently in the South part of Phuket. It IS secluded and very mysterious for taxi drivers. Relatively expensive too.
I was not sure I would arrive at my wonderful Airbnb.
Advise guests to print out maps with your location. It would calm them and advise their taxi drivers
My place is in Karon 🙂 which is pretty well known and the turn to the building is of the main road. I provide guests with detailed instructions on how to reach the place (along with photos of the street, neighborhood etc.
But your advice on printing out the map beforehand is great. Will do that. Thank you 🙂
Sadly @Mary1369, I agree with@Gordon0. Furthermore, you have broken one of the few rules that Airbnb have about reviews - you must not comment about any investigation that you have opened with Airbnb CS. This alone could leave you open to Airbnb removing your response to this review if the guests appeal it.
Of course, we all understand your outrage. That is precisely what many people use these groups for - to vent frustrations, rail against the injustice of reviews like these, and get it out of our systems. It then allows us to respond much nicely. Again, the reason for this is not to appease this guest, and if they really feel that way, they will not return. Rather, it's a way to help future guests from being put off by a review such as the one the guests left.
I think now you just have to focus on the guests that are already booked with you, and do everything you can to give them stellar stays, which will hasten the advent of this review and your reply falling into obscurity.
I agree with you and @Gordon0 totally. Like I explained in the above, emotions got to the better of me. I will learn from this experience and try to play it out better in the future. Thank you for all your kind help.
Just one more thing. Would you agree that changing the regulations in order to protect superhosts more (so that it doesn't effect the ratings so much) against unjust reviews is necessary?
All the Best
Thank you for your opinion. You are right. I was just heart broken and acted on impulse. It's because I've been putting so much into this place over the last three years trying to keep a high level of service and satisfaction (renovating the place once a year - paint job etc) and I get slapped with a 1 star review. It was a terrible surprise because they did not communicate their issues during their stay. They argumented the review in such a way that felt completely absurd to me - like when someone would rate staying in London as poor because it's far from Cambridge.
So that's how I felt and just reacted. Only later did I communicate to CS and here through this community. I should've wrote what Mel advised but "the milk has been spilt" so I have to live with it now.
I just feel that superhosts should have some more protection from such unfair, unjust reviews and / or maybe the regulations should be modified.
Thanks for commenting,
We had EXACTLY the same scenario ( not Chinese but Australians) They didn't read our description, didn't look at our photo gallery, didn't read our messages, were unreachable by phone/Airbnb/WhatsApp on the day of arrival. They got lost, ended up in the wrong city and were 1,5 h late at arrival. When they finally arrived they were angry and frustrated and from that point on nothing was good anymore.... they criticized everything ... but themselves of course.
In my 2,5 y. of hosting I realized 1 important thing - THE GUEST WHO ARRIVES UNHAPPY, ANGRY OR FRUSTRATED WILL STAY AND LEAVE FEELING THE SAME... AND THE BAD REVIEW IS INEVITABLE. Whatever we do is useless, they just need someone to blame for their own mistakes, their miserable holiday and life in general.
You may answer something like:
"Unfortunately, guest xx didn't read our listing's description and didn't look at our photos so their expectations were different. It caused their frustration and resulted with this uncorecct review."
Thank you @Branka-and-Silvia0,
That is very sad and frustrating to hear. But don't you think we should be more protected against this harmful reviews? This 1 star review for instance will cause me to drop out of the superhost status. I know that plenty of people have this problem and that the airbnb rating system needs to be improved.
Take care 🙂
I took a look at the review. You might have grounds for requesting its removal because of the word foreigner. I’m no expert, but it looks like they used the word “WaiGuoRen,” in the Mandarin version of the review. That term, the way most Chinese use it, means foreigner, as in a non-Chinese person. It doesn’t really mean tourist the way you are thinking. The term *can* have a negative connotation.
The funny thing is that some Chinese people will use the term to refer to the local white people when they are traveling in places like the US or Europe.
I suspect they felt uncomfortable because they were the only Chinese people around in your neighborhood, not because it was too touristy.
You could have someone who reads Mandarin well confirm.
It’s a bit of a stretch, but you could argue that there’s a hint of xenonophobia in it. (Xenophobia is not uncommon in China fwiw.)
source: I’m married to a Chinese man and have been to China many times.