Reviews are our lifeblood as hosts and when the dreaded bad review comes across it can be devastating. The truth is that it is not the end of the world by any means. Bad reviews are going to happen at some point in time. Again, bad reviews are going to come because you can’t be a 5 star to everyone all the time. In looking at how you can prevent them is the first step in reducing the 1 star reviews.
We make a point to communicate right from the beginning on how we are providing a 5 star stay. We also make sure they know that’s what we want and what they will receive. Here is our first message that comes out when they book:
Dear ________, we are so excited you have booked our ______ home. Our goal first and foremost is to provide you a wonderful 5 star stay. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any concerns, and please refer to our digital guidebook for any questions you may have. Again, we are so appreciative that you selected our home in __________, and we are preparing for your 5 star stay.
This is our introductory message that goes out and it outlines the expectations for them and for us. If you get back a great message back then you are well on your way to a 5 star review. If you don’t then you will have to address concerns right then and there. Be punctual with your response and provide all the facts they need. Clear communication is key.
When someone does give you a bad review I always suggest responding to the review in a very polite and factual way. We have had people say that our property’s ceilings are too high and it causes an echo. Yes, I’m not kidding. We responded politely with a response about our pictures and description that mentions 25 foot soaring ceilings. The reality is that some people’s perception is vastly different then others, and it’s natural to get defensive. In the end we want people to read reviews and come away with a feeling that you are an honest, open host with a fantastic property.
So, in closing bad reviews can be prevented, but not all the time. It’s something that will happen, and if you respond politely it will often not hurt you. In fact, most people only read a couple reviews and then look to book. Yes, can it hurt your Superhost rating if there are too many bad reviews? Yes, but it will take multiple to have you drop below a 4.8, and even if you do lose your Superhost status for a quarter it’s not the end of the world. It has happened to us and our occupancy rate stayed the same. Good luck and please leave a comment if you can! Thanks!