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July 16, 2020

How to remove a bad review on Airbnb

A bad review on Airbnb is one of the worst things that can happen to you as a Short Term Rental host. The reason is that a bad review can prevent a guest from booking your listing, affecting directly your revenue. 

Having a bad review is a sign that you need to improve your operations to provide an amazing hospitality experience to your guests. But sometimes, they may reflect the frustrations of someone who is lashing back on your business simply because their plans didn’t go as expected.

On this post we want to tell you our experience on how to remove a bad review on Airbnb, hoping this can help you with your vacation rental home. 

A guest left a bad review on Airbnb for this listing; Cozy Oasis.
Cozi Oasis is the home where the guest inquestion stayed.

Our experience with bad reviews on Airbnb

In our entire experience as Vacation Rental hosts, we’ve come across two guests that were totally unhappy. Also unknown to us is the possibility they are seeking a miscellaneous credit back. We as Short term rental hosts do the best we can to help the situation. 

More often than not it proves highly difficult when the guest has other plans in mind and releases the frustration by leaving a bad review when their plans don’t go as they thought. Airbnb’s review system has worked wonders for their success and we think it is very helpful when it is used for its purpose. 

We actually love to listen to our guests for constructive feedback or ideas to enhance the experience for all the future guests checking-in. It is also important to reply to those reviews with much gratitude as it serves its purpose. One occasion, in particular, was one in which we did everything possible to satisfy the guest and it was never enough.

This may interest you: We have a guest squatter in our vacation rental.

On the back, in the left-hand side you can see Cozi Oasis work station for guests.

A guest hard to indulge

The home sits on a corner lot in a quiet peaceful neighborhood. The previous 3 guests were truly happy, one of which stayed for over a week. The guest in this instance flew into Miami for work. The property was booked by his wife and we were delighted to have him since the home has desk space and plenty of space for him to work. 

As soon as the gentleman checked in to the Vacation rental he called us and mentioned there was a weird smell in the air and he could not remain in the property. He left for the night and would return the next day. 

In order to address this, we aired out the home opening all windows and had the AC technician come in and check for anything unusual in the air conditioning system. We had housekeeping come in and reclean the home. At last, we replenished all the air wicks. As hosts, we couldn’t explain it because we had guests prior to this one with long and short stays and none reported any issues. 

As soon as the gentleman came back late at night he left without explanation and then the claims for refund began. After trying to do everything possible and investing time and money to salvage the situation. We felt a full refund would be unfair. At last, we agreed to a $400 refund + refund of the remaining nights in the reservation but his wife was still unsatisfied therefore, the threats began with bad Airbnb reviews and a lawsuit. 

Was he blackmailing us?

While we contemplated the turn of events it seemed as outright extortion in order to give them a refund. At this point, we felt bullied and decided we would cease communication other than through Airbnb because of the lack of respect from the guests.

In the interim, we braced for impact as we felt the bad review was headed our way. This negative Airbnb review was extensive, to say the least. We immediately pondered on the possibility of having our case heard. This is when we reviewed Airbnb review guidelines and policies. 

To read them in detail: Airbnb Review Policy

Study Airbnb’s review rules and highlight what guidelines the guest may have broken to support your case.

Know the rules and use them on your favor

In essence Airbnb reviews should follow three rules.

  1. Reviews should not violate Airbnb content policy. 
    • Within this particular review and its extensiveness, the guest broke the inclusion, non-discrimination policy when they wrote “Contacted Stratton and it was a woman (located in Venezuela btw)”.
    • Extortion and incentivization during her Airbnb chat with us violated the content policy. 
  2. Reviews should be unbiased.
    •  The guest was clearly upset because he couldn’t get a total refund from his booking, exaggerating the facts on his claim.
  3. Reviews should be relevant.
    • In the review, the guest mentioned another property we offered as an alternative to remedy. 
    • She broke the relevancy rule when the guest inaccurately informed Airbnb that informed that action where we did not hire an Air Conditioning company. Thankfully we had receipts from the technician to substantiate our case. 

That being said… How to remove a bad review on Airbnb?

  1. If you think the Airbnb review you received is unfair, contact them and scale the case. Don’t try to negotiate outside of the Airbnb chat.
  2. Collect all the evidence possible to back up your claim. Let’s say your guest complained about how dirty the home was. A receipt from your cleaning company would be something you would like to share to prove you actually paid a cleaning company to do the job. Other evidence like after-cleaning pictures or video recording is strong documentation to win the case.
  3. Study carefully Airbnb review rules and highlight what guidelines the guest may have broken to support your case. For this, keeping track of all your communications with the guest is the best way to go. If your guest is telling lies about your home, written evidence can help you win the claim. 
  4. Maintain a high standard on your customer service. Disrespecting your guest is something you should never do, even if he/she makes you lose your mind. Breathe deep and be polite all the time. Remember everything you say can be used against you. 
  5. Follow up on your case until it arrives at a resolution. Airbnb customer service often delays giving you an answer. Send a follow-up email every day until you hear from them. Remember this is about your business reputation and profitability. 

This may interest you: Optimize your Airbnb for longer stays!

The difference between violations to the airbnb review guidelines and constructive feedback

While this is an undesirable avenue it does occur and we are glad there are rules and guidelines in place to follow. If this does occur to you as a host it is important to separate the violations of guidelines and actual constructive feedback. 

When it is obvious a guest has an ulterior motive you can resort back to the airbnb rules and policies for reviews then give airbnb a call.

Every so often we come across people that for one reason or another, no matter how much you do they will not be satisfied. There is always that one thing! Thankfully that doesn’t apply to the majority of people out there. 

Have you ever succeeded in deleting a bad review from your Airbnb account? We’d love to hear your story! If you think this content is useful, make sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter. We post something new every week! 

Disclaimer: In order to protect our company we do not share the specific review or names of the individuals.


Sebastian Giraldo - Head of Sales and Marketing - Strattton Hospitality

Sebastian Giraldo

Head of Sales and Marketing Stratton Hospitality

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Category: Tips for Hosts
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