A negative Airbnb review is always disappointing, but it’s even worse if you don’t know exactly why your guest was unhappy with their stay. Detailed complaints don’t make for pleasant reading but at least you’ll understand where you went wrong and how you can improve things for future guests (or defend yourself if the guest isn’t being fair or honest).
If your negative review was quite vague, odds are at your guest has experienced at least one of these five issues. See if any of these situations resonate and then you’ll be able to take note and hopefully prevent future negative reviews for the same reasons.
You’re lucky if your guests arrive and have no reason to contact you between check-in and check-out, but being a good host means always being prepared for them to get in touch. They may want directions or recommendations, have a question about the property, or have an urgent issue that you need to resolve. If they’re unable to get in touch, they won’t think much of you as a host.
It can be difficult to make yourself available all the time when there are other things going in on your life, so you have to do the best that you can. An ideal solution is to hire a property management support service that can deal with guest communications on your behalf – especially if you run multiple Airbnbs. Choosing a team that speaks multiple languages, such as Dubai-based company Frank Porter, gives an added advantage if you welcome guests from around the world.
However, if this isn’t feasible, keep your phone on at all times and check it regularly while you have guests. If you can’t respond immediately, send a quick message to let them know when you’ll be able to respond to their query. It might also be useful to have a friend or family member on standby to deal with emergencies if you can’t.
A lack of essentials
Even if you include everything that will and won’t be included in the property within your listing, there are certain things guests will be expecting no matter what. And if you don’t provide these essentials, guests will probably feel quite annoyed if they have to take time out of their holiday to source and buy them themselves.
The obvious examples are towels, spare bed linen, cleaning products, basic toiletries, toilet paper, tea and coffee, and basic foodstuffs (like sugar, butter, milk, salt and pepper, etc.). If you’re missing any of these, make sure you’ve got some to offer by the time your next guests arrive. Airbnb has a helpful guide to amenities here.
An inaccurate listing
White lies may seem fine as a way of getting a guest’s attention but this could come back to bite you. For example, saying that the beach is a 10-minute walk away when it’s more like 15 doesn’t sound like a big deal, but that’s still making guests travel further than they expected at the time of booking.
Other examples could be photos that make the property seem bigger than it is, overstating the number of people it could comfortably accommodate, or exaggerating the surroundings (like ‘good local restaurants’ when the food is sub-par).
The only way to avoid negative reviews is to be completely honest so guests don’t end up with unrealistic expectations. You could be exposed once they write their review so there’s no point risking it. And if you don’t think an accurate portrayal of your property will attract bookings, perhaps it’s time for you to think about making some improvements.
A dirty property
There’s no excuse for a dirty property. Your guests are going to spend a significant amount of time in your Airbnb and making sure it’s clean and tidy will be key to ensuring it’s an enjoyable experience.
If you’re struggling to find the time to give your property thorough cleans, consider seeking help from professional cleaners. Otherwise, make sure you dedicate a couple of hours to preparing for your guest’s arrival and don’t stop cleaning until you’ve ticked everything off this list.
A difficult check-in process
The first day will set the tone for the rest of the trip so you don’t want to provide a bad check-in experience. Directions to your property need to be clear and accurate, and you should find out when they are expected to arrive so you can be there to greet them (get there early just to be safe). Airbnb recommends that you send check-in instructions at least 24 hours in advance and confirm with guests that they’ve received them.
If you offer self-check-in instead, test out the things they’ll need to use to gain access, such as keypads, smart locks, and lockboxes. Instructions for using these must be easy to understand, so it could be worth asking friends and family members to follow the steps to get into your property and see how they get on. Make sure you or a different emergency contact is free during this time in case there are any issues, and send your guest a message later to confirm they have checked in.
Written by Rida Sheppard