The mystery is finally SOLVED: How to rank more consistently on the 1st page of search on Airbnb

How to Write a Review for Any Situation

Writing reviews for your Airbnb guests can sometimes be challenging - especially if you've had a less than ideal guest. In this week's video 🎥I cover nearly everything there is to know about writing reviews 👨‍🏫

Reviews are one of the most important jobs you have as a host and an Airbnb business owner!👨‍💻 The short term rentals community depends on Airbnb hosts providing factual accounts of what it was like to host a guest. Don't shy away from writing an honest review - even if the guest was bad. There won't be any repercussions for doing so and reviews are written in secret 🙈until both sides have completed them.

Just imagine 💭how angry you would be if you hosted a guest who didn't treat your home 🏡with respect and this guest had done the exact same thing to a previous host. But that host didn't record it. You'd be furious 😡

On this week's episode 📺I'll cover:

👉Exactly how reviews work

👉What you can't say in a review

👉What you should say in a review

👉Some examples of good and bad reviews

👉Show you how to deal with bad reviews

Here is a link 🔗to the official rules for reviews from Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.ca/help/article/2673/airbnbs-review-policy

 

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TRANSCRIPT

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Hi!! And welcome back to my channel! I’m Matt the creator of airbnbuncovered dot com and Airbnb super host. On this channel I uncover some of the best kept hosting secrets as well as share with you everything that I’ve ever learned after hosting over 3000 guests.

Today’s video is everything you need to know about posting reviews on Airbnb. I’ll explain how reviews work, what the rules are, how to write them and how to deal with the bad ones.  

This channel is fully dedicated to new hosts. The types of videos I post weekly provide the must-have information to become a stellar host as well as the things I wished I’d known when I was first started my Airbnb. I’m focused on creating a community of responsible and reliable hosts who will likely go on to become Super Hosts. If you’re new to my channel, please subscribe so you won’t miss out on any of my new videos. If you’re enjoying my videos, please share them with other new hosts.

If you've already gotten sole reviews, copy-paste the one you're most proud of in the comments below 

So let’s get into how reviews work on Airbnb. The first thing you need to know about reviews is that reviews are written secretly. So you won’t be able to see how your guests have reviewed you until you review them. Once both reviews are written they are unlocked and posted to the respective profiles. And you'll now be able to see what your guest thought. Both the guest and the host have 14 days after a reservation has ended to write their review and reviews cannot be written until the guest has checked out. Once both the host and the guest have posted their review they cannot be changed, unless they violate one of Airbnb’s rules. 

I’ll explain the rules in a second. 

But If the review is found to be in violation it will be taken down or edited by Airbnb.  The host or guest can never change any part of the review once they’re both posted. You are however able to edit your review so long as the guest hasn’t posted their review yet and it’s fewer than 14 days after check out.

Reviews are one of the most important responsibilities we have as hosts. Future hosts rely heavily on past reviews when determining if they want to host a guest or not. I’m guessing the first thing you do when evaluating a reservation request is check the guest’s past reviews. 

By not reviewing your guest, you deprive the community of one its most helpful resources – a look into what a potential guest could be like.

When the review period opens, you will see the option to review your guests inside the message thread. This usually happens a few hours after check out.  You will be asked to provide information on the guest’s stay in 4 areas: 

  1. Public review,
  2. Private message,
  3. Rating out of 5 stars for cleanliness, communication, and adherence to the house rules, and;
  4. The answer to the question of whether or not you’d host the guest again. 

Let me briefly explain each:

The area is a public review that will go on the guest’s profile. This part is NOT written for the guest, rather it’s written for future hosts. A lot of hosts make this mistake and will write a personal message to the guest thanking them for their stay and encouraging them to return. 

This is an incorrect use for this space. In a moment I’ll give you some tips on how to correctly write this section after I finish explaining the other 3 parts of the review.

The second part of the review is the private message section. This is the section where you write your personal message to the guest thanking them for their stay and welcoming them back – if they’re a good guest. If they were a less than ideal guest you can give them tips and areas for improvement. This part is only shared with the guest and is made not public.

 The third part of the review process is a rating section for 3 key metrics: cleanliness, communication, and adherence to your house rules. You rate each of these out of 5-stars.

Finally, the last question is whether or not you would host the guest again – either Yes or No. While this question appears to be innocent, your answer to this can impact a guest’s future ability to book on Airbnb. If you select “no” the guest may no longer meet the eligibility requirements for instant booking – if a host has selected the “previous host recommendation” as part of their instant booking criteria.   

Many new host struggle with the public review. And I think it’s often because the host is worried about repercussions from such a public statement. Don’t let this deter you. Reviews should be factual, fair and truthful. Airbnb provides some guidelines of what not to say, but they don’t give you a ton of guidance on what to say. I'm going to go over both. Violating the rules of what not to say could get your review deleted and that doesn’t help anyone. 

 

 So Let’s first start with what you can’t say:

  • Don’t make it too personal –leave out a guests’ religious, political or societal views and anything negative about their character or personality. Definitely do not comment on race and/or sexual orientation.
  • Do not name call, attack or use profanity.
  • Occasionally guests can be infuriating but don’t let that cloud your review.  Remember the community of hosts needs your review not to be removed so we can be warned of a bad guest.
  • Don’t comment on past reservations or past hosts. A good example here would be say something like, “I don’t know how this guest's past hosts could stand him.”

I’ll put a link in the description below to Airbnb’s official page outlining their guidelines for reviews.

There’s a couple more things I generally avoid when writing reviews for my guests – I keep my opinions and feelings to a minimum. If a guest drove me nuts asking a million questions about things that are outlined on my listing. Even though I'd love to write something like “this guest doesn’t read anything and sent me a ton of messages with dumb questions”. I'd write something like “The guest didn’t read my listing details which caused them to ask numerous questions.” This way I’m helping the next host be prepared for lots of questions and keeping my own subjectivity out of it.

 Now that we know what we can’t put in our guests’ reviews. What can we put in them? 

I write my reviews in the most matter-of-fact way possible. The number one thing I always do is give an accurate account of how the guest’s stay went.

I see lots of questions from hosts who’d hosted less than ideal guests and they want to know how much of the bad experience they should include in their review… and it's usually because they’re worried about being mean.

I say include all of it!

But again, be matter-of-fact and non-judgmental. By covering up a guests’ misdeeds because you want to be polite, you’re actually hurting the next host, by exposing them to unnecessary risk. You’re also telling a guest that the actions they took in your home are acceptable and they’ll probably continue doing it. Guests know there’s a review process on Airbnb and they should be prepared to have their actions publicly documented.  

To help frame my reviews, I centre them around 3 key key areas – cleanliness, communication and observance of the house rules. These are the same areas that you will be asked to rate out of 5-stars further down in the review process.  I note how well the guest communicated with me leading up to reservation, during it and after it. Then I accurately describe the condition I found my home in after the guest left. So if it was messy, I note it. If it was clean I say so too. Finally, I include if my guest followed all my house rules or not. If not, I often say which ones if they're major issues. I always include whether or not I recommend the guest for future stays in the written part. And I always mention the guests’ name at least once in the review. 

I mention their name on purpose because it can help to identify fraud. Very rarely, a guests’ account on Airbnb can be hacked. Often when this happens, the hacker will change the details of the account to match their own. So, if I see a request with one name and the reviews all point to another, I do a bit more investigating.

Sidebar here – when a guest is part of a group booking, only the primary guest’s name is shown. The fact that it was a group booking will be only shown under the review.  And unfortunately, you can generally only see this when you’re logged on your computer and not on mobile.

Let me give you a couple of examples of the types of reviews I would write:

In the case of a super guest, I say something like “John was an ideal guest. He communicated clearly leading up to his stay and during it. He left my home in pristine condition and followed all my house rules. I recommend him to future hosts”.

Since the large majority of guests on Airbnb are excellent, I often just copy-paste this review and change a few details to suit the exact situation.

If I hosted a less than ideal guest, I’ll specify exactly what was less than ideal about the guest in a matter-of-fact way and non-judgmental way. My review will read something like “Eric was a mediocre guest. Communication was hard and I only received the details of his arrival and departure at the last minute. On check out I found a messy condo and stains on my linens. I would not host Eric again”

Notice how I left out all of my own opinions in this review. I didn’t say how frustrating it was for me to only receive his check in details at the last second. I didn’t say I was disappointed or angry that this guest didn’t treat my home with respect. And I didn’t go into details about what types of stains I found on my linens to give the guest a measure of privacy. 

I didn’t gloss over exactly what happened out of fear of retaliation from the guest. Instead, I was honest and factual. Alerting future hosts that this guest isn’t ideal for home-sharing.

Sometimes being factual in your reviews requires thick skin on your part. Guests may not be happy about how you’ve reviewed them. And that’s okay! You were doing your part to build a community of responsible hosts and guests. I generally just ignore any follow-up messages. I’ve found over the years that when I explain my review, the guests just continue to argue with me. Remember a review can’t be changed once both sides write them… so there’s nothing to argue about.

 Here’s what you do if you get a review that is unfair. First, check to see if the review violates any of the rules. If it does, contact Airbnb to see if it can be removed. At the same provide an explanation of what happened.  Airbnb allows you to leave a response below every review. In this space outline what happened from your perspective. If the guest complained about something that broken, but that you fixed then say so. If a guest didn’t like your hosting style, then comment that you’re upfront with your guests and the details of how you host are in your house rules.

 Sometimes guests may try extorting a good review out of you. This is 100% against the Airbnb rules. Conversely, you also can offer something in exchange for a good review either. Doing this is almost a sure-fire way for Airbnb to take disciplinary action against you, which could mean being kicked off the platform. Airbnb takes reviews very seriously.

Let me give you a quick summary. This week’s episode looked at reviews. I explained to you that they’re double-blind and you don’t get to see how the guest has reviewed you, until you review them. I covered the rules of reviews: which are not to make it personal, not to attack a guest, and not to comment on past hosts. I encouraged you to make your reviews as matter-of-fact as possible and be truthful in them. By covering up a guest’s shortcomings you’re putting future hosts at risk. Just imagine how annoyed you’d be if a guest was disrespectful in a past Airbnb and then did the same thing to you and the host didn’t warn you. I also prepared you for dealing with bad reviews as both the recipient of one and the author of one.

 If you enjoyed this video, please give it a thumbs up! If you’re new to my channel, please subscribe and click on the notification bell to be notified of when I posted a new video. They come out weekly, on Tuesdays. If you know of someone who could benefit from this video, please share it with them. Until next week, bye for now!

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