But, yes, it can happen: Despite your best efforts to provide a home that all of your tenants will rave about, you might someday receive a negative guest review – or a negative comment in an otherwise positive review. What should you do?
Respond quickly, graciously, and positively
How you as the homeowner respond to a negative review can have more of an impact than the review itself. A carefully and thoughtfully written response will give the reader an impression of you as the responsive and caring homeowner that you are, whereas an emotional or defensive reaction will just add fuel to the fire and greater credence to the vacationer’s criticism.
Potential renters know that unexpected and unfortunate situations occur. By taking responsibility for these occurrences, you will show that you are a professional and sensitive homeowner. Do your best to “take the high road,” take responsibility for any unexpected issue that occurred. Here are a few examples of negative reviews and the smart way some homeowners reacted to them in their public responses:
Tenant: We had a wonderful stay – the location is ideal for our family. We felt that the house could have been a little cleaner, especially since we had two babies crawling around on the floor.
Owner’s response: We appreciate your feedback as we strive to make it a comfortable stay for all of our guests. We will be speaking with our cleaning staff to be sure that, in the future, our home is spotless, even for crawling babies!
Tenant: One thing that was a little upsetting was that we could not walk to the beach from the front of the house because of the birds nesting.
Owner’s response: The nests of the endangered piping plovers caused a slight detour to the beach this year, but there was always access to the beach from the front of the house, just to the right of the original path. Thank you for taking the time to write your review and hope to see you all back again someday!
Tenant: We were disappointed in this rental. It was more rustic than we expected it to be, and we found some cobwebs in places. There was no dishwasher or air conditioning. But we had a great time anyway and loved being so close to a beautiful beach.
Owner’s response: We are so sorry that you were disappointed in our home. Our home isn’t for everyone, and we try to convey its rustic nature on our listing. We don’t list A/C or a dishwasher in the list of amenities but will spell it out in the description loud and clear. But we’re glad you enjoyed our beach – it’s one of the draws that keep some of our tenants coming back each year!
Get more reviews
One of the best ways to mitigate the impact of a negative guest review is to post other positive ones. You probably have had many happy tenants – ask them to write a review. Their positive comments will go a long way towards making your one negative review seem like the outlier.
On WeNeedaVacation.com, homeowners can use a request form to send a personalized email to their past tenants requesting them to write a review. It’s easy for you, and easy for them! See more.
Take steps to avoid receiving a negative review
Here are 3 important tips to assure your tenants’ happiness and increase your chances of their posting great guest reviews – and even returning for future stays:
1. Manage your tenants’ expectations before they arrive. – See more.
2. Check in with them shortly after their arrival to make sure all is well. – See more.
3. Treat them not as tenants but as your guests. See more.