I Got A Bad Review On Airbnb As A Guest: What To Do? – Podcast 009

In this episode B and Jack talk about Airbnb reviews. First, they talk about how to consistently get good reviews. After that, they discuss what to do if you sense you will get a bad review. Finally, they discuss the century-old question” I got a bad review on Airbnb as a Guest, what should I do?” as well as their main alternatives


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1. Summary

1.1. This topic within the context of the broader Digital Nomad Life System

  • The Digital Nomad Life System is a 6-step meta-system created by us at Nomad Tactics that aims to explain how someone can go from living a non-nomadic normal life to living an optimized digital nomad life.
  • The sixth step of the system is called the “Departing Process”. This can be understood as the things the digital nomad needs to do before he leaves his current base to guarantee a smooth departure and transition to his next base (the city you will stay in). The Airbnb review is one of the things you will need to consider in this step of the system.
  • To have a general overview of the Digital Nomad Life System you should listen to this episode.

1.2. How to get good reviews on Airbnb (almost) every time

If you were to ask me what is the easiest way to prevent a bad review on Airbnb, I would respond that it is by receiving a good review. It sounds obvious, and it is in one sense. Nonetheless, I think there are a few easy to follow points to keep in mind when staying in an Airbnb that can almost certainly guarantee you a good review. I will cover those first, before explaining the additional “damage control” techniques you can employ to prevent bad reviews.

There is one crucial mindset to remember whenever you are staying on an Airbnb if you want to receive a good review.

You should not behave on an Airbnb in the same manner as you would in a hotel.

What do I mean here exactly?

There are certain types of things that are considered “ok” to do in a hotel, but that are not acceptable on an Airbnb.

So what sort of rules should I make sure I follow on Airbnb?

Here are the three main rules:

  1. Keep the property clean
  2. Be quiet in the property
  3. Be as friendly and polite as possible to the host

If you follow these three simple rules, I guarantee that 90% of the time these will be enough for you to receive a good review.

If you are new to the Airbnb game you might ask:

“Why should I bother so much about getting a good review in the first place?”

There are two reasons why you should care about that. Once again, these are quite obvious, but if you are new to Airbnb you might be unfamiliar with them.

  1. Ethical reason: When using Airbnb you are staying, at least sometimes, in someone’s actual house. It would not be cool to treat either the host or the property poorly. Nobody is asking you to be a saint. Just don’t be a dick. That should be enough.
  2. Practical reason: Airbnb is a review based website. In other words, both the host and you can give reviews to one another. Thus, what the host thinks about you is significant. If he dislikes your behavior during your stay, he can write you a bad review and this will negatively affect you when you try to book on Airbnb again. This is because future hosts might read your previous bad review and they might be reluctant to rent you their places.

1.3. What if I made a mistake and I sense I will get a bad review

Airbnb review

Not this time, Airbnb

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

Nonetheless, even if you take all the possible precautions to do with cleanness, noise, and general respect and friendliness towards the host, sometimes we do something that upsets the host. Or sometimes, the place is just not what you expected.

There will be a time you will say to your buddy in a trembling voice:  “I got a bad review as a guest”…

If this is the case, there are a couple of things you can do to try to reverse the seemingly bad situation.

I will go over a damage control method.

The Late Checkout Method

1. Apologize: The first thing you need to do is to apologize. If you sense you did something that made the host upset, then apologize immediately for it and say it will not happen again. Many people underestimate the power of a sincere apology and how it can diffuse anger. And as a consequence, a possible bad review that the host would eventually write to you.

2. Ask for a late check out: After the apology you should ask your host to do the check out from the Airbnb in person. Also ask him to check out later than the check-out time stated on the Airbnb listing (the default checkout time is 11 am).

Usually, hosts will be ok with that (unless another guest is coming on the same day). Airbnb only allows people to leave a review once the listed check-out time passes.

Thus, meeting later allows you and the host to leave a review for each other on the spot.

3. A small gift and prompt the review: When the time comes and you finally meet the host for check-out, be nice and give him a small gift (e.g. chocolate) to thank him for the stay.

Once you do that, you can tell the host the following: “Oh before I forget. I will write you a good review right now. You could also write me one and then we will not forget about it.”

The key thing here is to prompt him to write you a review just after he got his gift.

By doing so it is way more likely that he will write something positive about you since he will be compelled by the persuasion principle of reciprocity.

Pro tip: If the host does not meet you in person for check-out for some reasons (e.g. a self-checkout property) then you can try to emulate the same thing over text. Basically, what I would do is to message him saying that you left a small gift on the Airbnb as a “thank you” for the stay. After that, you could message him saying that you will write him a good review and that you would like him to review you one as well. Yet, keep in mind that the face to face approach tends to be better.

1.4. Too Late… I Got a Bad Airbnb review as a guest, what to do?

What if something did not work out and you got a bad review for some reason.

First of all, you need to assess how bad the review is and what is the ratio of positive/negative reviews in your profile. If the ratio of positive/negative reviews is overwhelmingly positive and the review you just received is only mildly bad I would not worry about it. Probably this will not significantly decrease the chance of you renting new places on Airbnb in the future.

On the other hand, if the ratio of positive/negative reviews is NOT overwhelmingly positive and/or the review you just receive is very bad, then there are three possible approaches to follow:

  • Contest the review: You can try to contest the review on the Airbnb community page; keep in mind that it is unlikely that Airbnb will remove the review unless you can provide some sort of evidence (e.g. messages, photos, videos, etc.) for why the review is unjust.
    • Pro tip: Whenever you check-in and check-out an Airbnb property make a short video with your phone to have video proof of the state of the accommodation. With such video you can avoid unjust negative reviews that claim you damage something in the property when, in fact, you did not.
  • Increase the positive reviews: You can cover up the bad review by increasing your positive/negative reviews ratio by staying in many different places that offer the “instant booking” feature. Places that offer instant booking automatically accept you as a guest without the host assessing your profile in the first place. Make sure that if you follow this strategy then you are extra nice to the host to guarantee the positive review.
  • Create a new account: You can delete your Airbnb account and create a new one. This is, of course, an extreme measure and it will depend on how bad the review was and how many positive reviews you already have. For instance, if you have 15 positive reviews and 1 negative it is probably not such a big deal and you should keep your current account. On the other hand, if you have 3 positive reviews and 1 negative it might be a good idea to delete your account and start fresh since the ratio of positive and negative reviews is too close.

We hope that now when your friend asks you “I Got a Bad Airbnb review as a guest, what should I do?” you know what to reply to him ;).

 

2. Transcript

B: Hey hello welcome to the Nomad Tactics podcast here we provide life optimizing tips and systems for digital nomads I'm your host B. and I'm joined by the co host Jack. The topic today is about how to get good Airbnb reviews and prevent bad ones. I will start with a quick summary of the episode first me and Mr. Jack gonna talk about where this topic best fit in within our broader digital nomad life system after that we gonna make some general considerations regarding the topic then we gonna talk about the best way to consistently get good Airbnb reviews after we will talk about the main method to prevent bad Airbnb reviews if you sense you're gonna get one finally we gonna talk about how to deal with bad Airbnb reveals I hope you enjoy the episode.
Jack: So hello Mr. B
B: Hello Jack.
Jack: So the topic of the day is going to be Airbnb reviews.
B: That's right.
Jack: And I think for us it's always good to start with our digital nomad life system.
B: Yet.
Jack: Which is a six step system created by us and aims to explain how someone can go from living a stable normal life to living a optimizing digital nomad life.
B: So yeah Jack day topic today Airbnb reviews perfectly fit step number six of our system what is called a day departing procces so the departing process basically refers to the actions of digital nomad need to do when he's transitioning from one base to his next base. He just need to do certain things in order to make this transition as smooth as possible and of course making sure you get a good Airbnb review and prevent the bad one is one of the crucial pieces of the puzzle if you want to have a fuller picture off what we refer to as the digital nomad life system you should listen to our second episode because there we give a general overview of the model.
Jack: So there are two important points want to talk about before we jump into the main topic the first point is that we are talking about Airbnb is that this is the most widely use accommodation platform for digital nomads but keep in mind that the device we provide here can be used across all the review base share economy platforms.
B: Yeah that's right so whatever platform you use not necessarily Airbnb I think this advice going more or less fits in there also.
B: Another point I would like to make has to do with the fact that you know today we're gonna talk about how to prevent bad Airbnb reviews but we are not advocating that people should be a bad guest and try to cover for that with the tips we will discuss today so we're just sharing the tips of how to prevent bad Airbnb reviews because sometimes no matter how good of a guest you are generally for one reason and or another fairly or unfairly you might get a bad Airbnb review or you might sense you will get one so it's good to have in your tool kit some ways to deal with that.
Jack: I see so Mister B. that's going to main topic of today and first of all let's talk about how to get good reviews consistently so would you mind sharing how do you get do reviews?
B: So I think the crucial mindset to remember whenever you're staying on that Airbnb and you want to receive a good review is more or less the following you should not behave on an Airbnb in the same manner as you would in the hotel so there's certain things that if you were to doing the hotel perhaps this would be considered okay but if you were to do the same things on the context of an Airbnb most likely you would get a bad review so which kind of rules do we think are very important for you to follow whenever you stay on the Airbnb.
First one is to keep the property more less clean right doesn't need to be perfect but just a general clean states if they hold for one reason or another gold there he sees you're taking care of things.
B: Also be quiet in the property to avoid complaints from neighbors or if the host lives in the properties to avoid the host getting angry with you. And finally just be as friendly and polite as possible with the host because after all he's the person that gonna give you the review.
B: And if you follow this tree simple and common sense rose I guarantee that ninety percent of the time you will get a good Airbnb review.
Jack: I see but Mister B. why should I bother so much about getting a good review in the first place.
B: So two reasons here I think the first and perhaps most important is an ethical arisen and that's basically you are staying on the Airbnb and an Airbnb is at least sometimes someone's actual house especially if you stay in the place that the host lives therefore you should treat the host and a property in a good manner right nobody is asking you to be perfect but just try to be a good guest. The second reason the more pragmatic reason the more practical reason has to do with the reviews so as we said many times Airbnb is a review based website in other words both the host and yourself can give reviews to each other does what the host thinks about you is quite important is significant if he dislikes you for some reason he gonna give you a bad Airbnb review and that might hinder your ability to rent good properties on Airbnb in the future because other host other future host gonna have a look at your profile and see a look previous host did not like this guy's so why should I allow him to come to my Airbnb.
Jack: I see it sounds like a bad review has way more power than a good review yes and the that's bring us to the second part of our main topic of the day how to prevent the bed Airbnb review if you sense you will get one as we know prevention is better than cure and but sometimes even we take all the possible precautions to do is general respect cleaniness and noise sometimes we do things upset the host so in that case is there any way that we can make the situation better like a damage control method.
B: So yeah I do think there is such damage control method and this is more or less a three step process right so the first step of the process.
B: You should apologize to the host so whenever you sense the host got upset you should proactively apologize.
B: And immediately say that will not happen again so many people I feel they under estimate the power off like a very sincere apology and how that can diffuse anger but I think it does to a great extent so if you give a very sincere apology I think your chances of getting bad Airbnb review for the reason that the host got angry in the first place we will alread the drastically decrease but after apologizing I would go a bit further so what I would do is in the day of the checkout or one day prior to that.
I would text the host right and you say oh Hey I'm going to check out tomorrow but I would like to talk to you on the checkout if you don't mind could I check out is slightly later than day default time and they default time for Airbnb I'm not mistaken is around eleven AM so you simply going to ask can I meet you in person for the checkout and can I do it slightly later and most of the time I think hosts will be okay with that unless of course there's another guest that is coming in in that very same day.
B: But the reason why you want to do that is because Airbnb only allows people to leave a review to charter once the checkout time passes.
B: So the official time as I said the eleven AM so if you leave the actual property after that when you meet the host you already going to be able to leave a review to each other this leads us to our third step of the process which has to do with giving the hosts a small gift and prompting they review so when comes the time to check out when you meet the host.
B: What I would advise if you sense you're gonna get a bad review is simply give a very small gift to the host like I don't know chocolate or a small souvenir or food from your country if you have you know whatever I'm not asking you to be cynical here.
B: I'm just saying that sometimes it's just like a trick to try to make up for the thing that made the host upset in the first place so you give this small gift to him and then what you gonna do just after is to prompt him to give you a review and I would do that is by simply saying oh before I forget I just wrote you a good Airbnb review and if you don't mind could you also write me a review right now otherwise you might forget so the key thing here as I just said this to prompt him to give the review just after you gave this small gift the reason why this will decrease the chance of you receiving a bad Airbnb review is because he just got a gift he saw you are sincere about your apology because you went the extra mile to make him happy therefore I think the majority of the times they won't give you a bad Airbnb review.
Jack: I see I think there's another scenario is what if the host does not meet you in person for check out.
B: Like a self checkout kind of situation.
Jack: Yeah exactly so in this situation you can try to emulate the same thing you just mentioned over text basically I would do is to message him saying you left a small gift on the Airbnb property as a way to say thank you.
Jack: After that you can message him saying that you write him a good review and then you can.
B: Ask him to also write your review.
Jack: But is giving mine that face to face interaction is always better.
B: Yeah that surely in the case.
Jack: Well so let's go into the last possible scenario is what if you actually get a bad Airbnb review.
B: Yeah so sometimes you didn't sense the bad review coming or you sense the bad review coming but you know this conflict was too strong and for one reason or another you got this bad Airbnb review so if that's the case the first thing I would do is to assess how bad the review is and what is the ratio of positive and negative reviews you have in your profile and depending on those I would take different courses of action.
B: So in the case the ratio of positive to negative reviews is overwhelmingly positive or the review you receive is only mildly bad I would not really worry about it you know because if that's the case what just happened won't significantly decreases the chance of you renting new Airbnbs in the future but on the other hand the ratio of positive and negative reviews is not overwhelmingly positive or you receive a very bad review Dan there are a couple things you could do so there three approaches here Mr Jack would you like to go through the first approach?
Jack: Sure the first one is you contest the review basically you trying to say to the Airbnb I don't think this reviewer is fair.
B: And you try to say today Airbnb customer service.
Jack: Or Airbnb yes.
B: Yep okay.
Jack: And you trying to say that that's not fair because of this and this and this and you try to provide an evidence but it is very unlikely that Airbnb will listen to you.
B: Yes and and that kind of links to another kind of advice we give to guests to digital nomads is that whenever you're checking in and checking out from an Airbnb property you should always make a short video with your phone because in cases like that let's say you receive unfair negative review on Airbnb if you have such video and you contact customer service and you provide such video let's say who said you broke something you can show that video and in that case they you might delete that bad Airbnb review so okay so that's the first method the second method is to try to increase your positive your good Airbnb reviews their rationale here is that you can try to cover a bad Airbnb review that you received by increasing the positive slash negative Airbnb ratio and one really good way to do that is by staying in Airbnb properties that offered the instant booking feature so this type of property basically you were asked to book and it's accepted straight away therefore is not reviewed by the host it's accepted by default so even if you have bad Airbnb reveals you gonna be able to rent the place and once you stay there and you are good guest because you should be in the end the it you're going to get a good Airbnb review from the host and over time you're going to be able to be with the positive ratio so there is one last method could use but this is perhaps the most extreme method and that is to delete your current account on Airbnb and create the new one as I said this is a quite extreme methods so I would use this.
B: In very limited situations first would be if you get something outrageously bad does it reveal and you really want to keep that in your profile the second situation would be if you have a very new account on Airbnb therefore you we still don't have a lot of reviews there anyway so if you were to delete your account and create a new one it wouldn't be a big loss for you because the problem is imagine you have like twenty five good Airbnb videos and then someone gives a bad Airbnb review if you were to delete and create a new one you would lose all this twenty five positive ones so yes in that case would be kind of hard to decide what to do.
Jack: I see so Mister B. this seems like the end of the episode.
B: Yeah.
Jack: And do you want to add anything to this episode.
B: Well not really so we cover how to get good Airbnb reviews how to prevent bad Airbnb reviews if you sense you're gonna get one and finally what to do if you actually got the bed Airbnb review perhaps just reiterate the fact that we are not advocating people to be bad guests we are just giving the tool kits in that case you do everything right you are a good guess but for some reason a bad review happen or if the host is treating you unfairly and he just doesn't like you and he wanna give you bad Airbnb reviews so you have this methods in your tool kit and you'll know how to deal with this sort of situation.
Jack: Yes so if you enjoyed this episode please make sure to subscribe and leave an review and you want the show notes of this episode you can go on our website Norman tactics dot com or there is a short links in the description and if you wanna follow us you can call a big social media Facebook Instagram Pinterest and Twitter just search nomad tactics if you want to know how to negotiate with Airbnb to get a thirty or fifty percent discount you can go on.
Jack: Our website or alternatively there's a short link in our description too so thanks for listening.
B: Thank you.

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