An Airbnb host's worst nightmare: the bad review

An Airbnb host's worst nightmare: the bad review
Airbnb Advice
May 24, 2021

Ah, the day has finally come, your first bad review for your Airbnb property (hopefully it’s only your first.) Try not to take this bad review to heart, because as the saying goes, "you can’t please everyone." Whether this negative review was justified, or the unreasonable response to a bad holiday, it doesn’t matter. All that matters now is what to do with this bad review. So what can you do to combat this problem?


It’s always hard to admit that you're wrong, or have done a bad job, (especially if you're sure you haven’t). But what can I say, it's part of the business! Always apologise publically, but you could also apologise to guests privately and ask what you could have done better (if it wasn’t obvious). As IGMS notes could even ask this guest to amend their review if you think you deserve a better one. Airbnb would be more than happy to contact this guest for you. Unfortunately, the bad review will remain, but your star rating could be improved. And after all, this is what really counts towards that superhost badge of honour!

Be kind

As your mother always said ’be kind,' Although it may be tempting to write a passionate message back in defense of your property, make sure to keep it professional and kind. Firstly, apologise for their bad experience, and let potential guests know that this negative experience was a one-off occurrence and you will fix ‘insert problem here.’ 

Remove their negative review

Now before you start thinking 'yay, this is the answer to all my problems,' you can only remove a review under certain circumstances. These include if the person has threatened you, or lied about their experience within your property. If this has happened to you, make sure to take a screenshot of these threatening comments or obvious lies (and provide proof they are lies), and email these to Airbnb.

The waiting game 

This one’s a bit sneaky, but it can work (and does). If you have a feeling that your guest will leave you a bad review (here’s hoping this wasn’t anything to do with you), you can try this idea by Smartbnb. Once your guest leaves your apartment, Airbnb will ask them to leave a review. After this, they will have a 14-day window to leave their review. Within this time, they won’t receive any further notifications unless you leave a review first. If you do leave a review then your guest will be notified to remind them to leave theirs. Therefore, if you leave your review until the last minute, they may actually forget to leave one.

Learn and improve

You can make something good out of every bad experience, so make sure to take into account everything your guest has said, and improve these areas for future guests. BNB Duck also agrees with this method.

Other sites

Airbnb is not the only Airbnb site in town, there are so many different sites that you could join, such as and Expedia. So even if a bad review on one site happens to affect your bookings, this won’t affect your bookings on other sites.

Wait for the good reviews to roll in

Even though this bad review may weigh on your mind, don’t worry too hard because it will pass. Give it time, and learn from your mistakes. Before you know it, you’ll have many good reviews rolling in that will bury the negative one.

The last resort

If, and only if, you’ve had a horrible review due to a traumatising incident, you can always start your listing from scratch. Although this may seem like a waste, it won’t be in the long-term if something like a bed-bug infestation has ruined your reputation. To avoid a bed bug infestation ruining your chances of a good review, check out this previous article.


Although a bad review may seem like the end of the world, it’s not. The most important thing is learning and growing from these experiences and keeping it professional. So here’s to your next good review, and many more to come!

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