Turning Bad Airbnb Reviews into Your Secret Marketing Weapon

Bad Airbnb reviews are one of the biggest headaches for hosts. But even if your property received a bad Airbnb review, you can still use it to your advantage. Check how hosts can reduce the negative effect of bad Airbnb reviews and even make them work for attracting new guests!

Most prospective guests read bad Airbnb reviews to get a more complete view of other guests’ previous experiences with a host or property. On the other hand, if hosts receive too many Airbnb negative reviews, they’ll lose bookings. As a result, many Airbnb hosts live in fear of receiving bad Airbnb reviews.

However, bad reviews are simply a fact of being in business. Even Superhosts do have to deal with Airbnb host complaints and negative feedback from time to time. 

But having a few Airbnb negative reviews may not hurt your business as much as you might think. In many cases, you can actually use negative vacation rental reviews to your advantage.

Here are the best ways to deal with bad Airbnb reviews and turn the ones you can’t remove into your secret marketing weapon.

4 Strategies to Deal With Bad Airbnb Reviews 

Regardless of what the negative review says, you always need to maintain a professional stance. To deal with bad Airbnb reviews effectively, use one of the following four strategies:

1. Ask Your Guest to Change the Rating

airbnb rating change

This is the most direct way to change a bad Airbnb review into a positive one. You can simply ask the guest to change their rating. However, if their stay ended on a negative note, this probably won’t work. But if there’s any hope, you’ll need to act fast and think carefully about how to word your request. 

Explain to the guest how important Airbnb reviews are to your business. While the content of the review won’t get removed if the guest changes the rating, at least the higher star rating will help you stay in good standing with Airbnb.

2. Contact Airbnb to Request Removal 

If you’ve received a bad review that is in clear violation of Airbnb’s Content Policy, which governs reviews as well, you’re in luck! In this case, you can simply contact Airbnb to have it removed. 

However, in order to do this, you’ll need to successfully prove your case. Common causes for the removal of bad Airbnb reviews include spam, extortion, incentivized reviews, and reviews that clearly do not reflect the author’s personal experience.

Make sure that you’ve abided by Airbnb TOS yourself and only communicate with guests via the Airbnb platform. That way, your own behavior on the platform won’t be called into question along with the guest’s review.

3. Delay Leaving a Guest Review

Guests have 14 days to leave a review. If you think there is a chance that the guest was dissatisfied with their stay, don’t leave them a guest review immediately after check out. 

This will give the guest a chance to cool down and perhaps leave a less scathing review when they get around to it. It also prevents Airbnb from prompting the guest to leave a review in return because you’ve already submitted yours.

4. Write a Response to Every Review You Receive

Making a point of responding to every review that you receive is a great way to paint yourself as a gracious and involved host. Make sure that every response is polite and professional, even on the bad Airbnb reviews. This shows your future guests that you are actually a good host to deal with.

It also lets guests know that you are willing to accept criticism and resolve Airbnb host complaints. Make sure you respond to both your good and bad reviews if you want this strategy to be effective.

How to Use Negative Reviews to Your Advantage

Now that you know how to effectively respond to bad Airbnb reviews, here are some ways that you can actually use them to your advantage. 

Focus on the Positive Aspects of Their Stay

use negative reviews to advantage

While your guest is likely to go all-in about every single detail of the stay that went terribly wrong in their negative review, here’s your chance to counter what they say. In your review, tell your side of the story. Try to turn things around by first carefully acknowledging your mistakes. Then use the remainder of the review to point out as many good moments as possible from your experience with the guest.

Leave Long Responses

Leaving a long response that only focuses on the positive aspects of your guest’s stay goes a long way to hide a particularly negative review. The more you write about the incident the more it will look like you made an effort to resolve the matter and the guest could have been more understanding. Finally, a review that is longer than the guest left will look like a more accurate account of the guests’ stay because your review contains more details.

Share How You Plan to Do Better

Some guests choose to leave bad Airbnb reviews because they simply want their hosts to do better next time. Show potential guests that you understand this by sharing how you’ve resolved the issues mentioned in the review. 

Make sure to mention any upgrades or perks that you’ve added since the complaining guest’s stay. This helps future guests feel confident when they book because they know that you take guests’ feedback seriously.

Show That You’ve Learned From Airbnb Negative Reviews

Use bad Airbnb reviews to learn what matters most to your guests. Once you’ve made the necessary improvements, announce the updates in your listing description and advertise them on social media. 

If you want a good strategy to improve your own reviews, read your competitors’ negative reviews. By doing so, you can identify their weak points to convert them into your strong points.

Recovering From Bad Airbnb Reviews: Final Steps

recovering from bad airbnb reviews

Bad Airbnb reviews don’t have to damage your reputation as a host if you have a plan to recover from them. Keep on providing a brilliant guest experience so that you can attract as many glowing Airbnb host reviews as possible. 

To improve your Airbnb rating faster, consider offering discounts or encourage shorter stays so that you’ll attract more guests in a shorter time span than your usual booking rate. 

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