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

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

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


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