It’s never fun getting a bad review from one of your guests. Especially if you were completely blindsided by it! Of course you would have jumped in head first to resolve the issue the moment you had known! In any case, getting a bad review can have serious consequences on your vacation rental – and ultimately hurt your ROI.
So you’re asking yourself: “What do I do now?”
First, just take a step back and breathe. Second, read on. I’ll guide you through the steps and show you how to respond to get your vacation rental listing back to 5 star status.
What Happens If Your Vacation Rental Gets A Bad Review?
Well, it’s not the end of the world, but you will see a dip in your property’s listing reputation. AirBnB may pause your listing for a few days. Which means people won’t be able to find it in search results or even navigate to it using a direct link.
Whether you’re a new or seasoned vacation rental owner, too many bad reviews can cause your listing to be removed permanently.
The big takeaway here: If you get that bad review, it’s time to jump into action. It’s not the end of the world but it’s important that you provide immediate, hospitality-driven action that addresses the issue head-on.
How to Respond to a Bad Review on Your Vacation Rental
When a bad review rolls in, most platforms allow homeowners 14 days to respond. How you respond depends on you doing these 3 vital things.
1. Take a Breath
Jumping right in to replying as soon as a negative review comes in is never a good idea. Your initial thoughts and emotions, the words you choose in those moments can cause you to come across harsher than you wanted. It’s also important to note that once a response goes live on sites like AirBnB it cannot be edited. (Other sites do allow edits, however.)
2. Look at the Feedback Objectively
On AirBnB in particular, star ratings aren’t shown next to the reviews themselves, so if the review itself is neutral, it’s probably best to just leave it alone. In these situations, you’ve not really been given a whole lot to go on or any reason for the bad rating (and neither have browsing guests), so your online response can sometimes be the factor that draws negative attention and keep people from booking your home.
If the bad review also has negative comments, however, use this time to put yourself in your guests shoes and try to understand where things went wrong so that you can put together a thoughtful response. Maybe the review mentions a bad smell, or that your beds are not compfortable. Looking back through reviews you might find that even your 5 star guests had mentioned the same thing but just didn’t bother them as much.
In this case, it is important that you respond. (Once again, after you’ve had a chance to take a breath and reflect on the review.) Lack of communication makes guests think that you could care less. So take in the feedback and prepare to write back, because your response might say more about your dedication to hospitality than the negative review did.
3. Be Forward-Focused With Your Response
Now that you’re ready to respond, make sure you assure your guest that you have heard their complaints while keeping future bookings in mind. Let them know that you’re taking action to right the wrong, showing the steps you’re taking, so every new traveler will receive that five-star guest experience they deserve.
All that being said, responding with grace is easier said than done, I know. You’ve put a lot of hard work into your property and its easy to let your emotions get the best of you. But if you follow these steps, you should be able to bounce back from that bad review very quickly.
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