Much like other modern businesses, homesharing platforms like Airbnb succeed because of the 2-way review relationship that guests and hosts maintain with each other. On platforms like Airbnb, hosts and guests are both held accountable for certain expectations. The transparency of these reviews on both sides helps homesharing platforms flourish as the “cream rises to the top” so to speak, so that good hosts and guests are both rewarded. Although I primarily write to help educate hosts, I know that many Airbnb hosts are also guests at times, so I’ve broken down some helpful tips for writing a review on either side of the transaction.
- Be honest
- Be fair
- Be descriptive
How to Write an Airbnb Review for a Guest
Answering these questions can help formulate your guest review.
1. Did the guest follow the house rules?
You have house rules for a reason, and if people broke them, it’s fair to point that out. If you catch them breaking the rules during their stay, of course you should talk to them about it and not wait until they leave to write a bad review. Sometimes you won’t know rules are broken until after checkout, in which case noting that in the review makes sense.
Did they leave a giant mess?
Some mess is expected, but if your place really got messed up or damaged it is worth noting. If you feel the need to file a claim with Airbnb, the steps to do so are outlined here.
Were they disruptive?
Some noise is expected but if things are quite loud, it’s worth asking the guest(s) politely to be a little more quiet. If they are defiant and continue to be loud, that can be noted in the review.
I think this is a good time to mention that a solid visitor policy can save you from a lot of noise issues. A visitor policy can be a part of your house rules and will dictate the rules for any visitors who your guests may bring onto the premises. Any guests staying overnight should be registered and paid for. Some people’s visitor policy states that nobody other than the registered and paid for guests may be on site at any point in the day or night. Other hosts are more lax with their rules, so it is totally up to you. I’ve personally heard horror stories, like another host who did not have a visitor policy and quickly learned that their place was being used for a multi-level marketing (some may say pyramid scheme) presentation. Unfortunately after some suggestions from colleagues, the host realized because they didn’t have a visitor policy, there really wasn’t much they could do.
I don’t really have a Airbnb host or guest review template, just an outline to formulate your own review. Just remember to be fair and helpful for future hosts considering who to rent to.
Should I respond to my Airbnb review?
Yes! Whether a review is good or bad, you should always respond. Start off by thanking them for their stay, the rest is up to you. Hosts tend to add things mentioning that they’re glad they enjoyed it and that they are welcome back anytime in the future.
If you received a negative review, it’s especially important to respond so that you can show other potential guests who are reading that review that you care. Any negative review that didn’t even get a response from the host just shows a lack of caring to me.
How should I respond to a negative host review?
When you first read a negative review, it can be frustrating. It may make you so angry that you immediately want to start pounding away at your keyboard with a response. My advice is to wait it out just a little bit and cool off. Maybe this means an hour for you, or maybe it means 24 hours – the key is to not write while you are in the wrong state of mind. Never take a bad review personally, and don’t let one bad review spoil dozens of glowing, positive reviews. When you are ready to respond, still make sure to thank them, and acknowledge their complaints and state how you will address it in the future if possible. Potential guests will understand that nothing will ever be perfect, so simply acknowledging an issue and saying you will correct it goes a long way (it you will correct it of course).
How to Write an Airbnb Review for a Host
Writing a host review is all about being helpful for other potential guests just like you once were. Did the host do anything that stood out, good or bad? If so go ahead and note that in the review. Were you pleasantly surprised by something you’ve never seen in a short-term rental? Note that in your review as well.
Obviously if there’s an issue when you get to the place, you should talk to the host about it. Don’t ignore the problem just to wait and reference it in a review.
A lot of host reviews are very general and say cookie-cutter phrases like “great location!” Try getting more specific and stating what made the location so great for you. Was the place within walking distance of a restaurant you enjoyed? Suggestions like that can be super helpful for future guests planning their trip. If there was anything the host could have done better, you can note that in the review or send them a message privately.
If you had a chance to meet the owner, you can comment on that interaction and how friendly or helpful the host was. If you did not meet the host in person, you can comment on the communication style of the host whether that was via text, with a property manager, or something else.
Constructive criticism is very helpful for hosts, however it’s important to be polite when giving it.
Don’t be too nitpicky. An amazing stay with one minor complaint is not worth a low star rating.
Reviews are meant to be helpful for the next round of potential guests, and this is your opportunity to pay it forward and give your honest and helpful feedback.
Example of a good airbnb host review:
Dave wrote a super helpful review as you can see. He mentions proximity to a popular tourist attraction, specific amenities, and even a personal anecdote about what makes the place kid friendly. Using the allotted space to be as specific and helpful as you can really goes a long way with your review.
Example of a bad (vague) airbnb host review:
While Dharam’s review is not bad in nature, it is a bad review in terms of helpfulness. Maybe he was in a hurry, but adding more specific points like Dave did would have made his review much more helpful to potential guests in the future.
When Should I Leave an Airbnb Review?
Typically reviews are only allowed within 2 weeks of checkout, so the sooner the better. You’re usually allowed to edit your review 48 hours after posting, in case you think of other things you may have left out. It’s best to leave your review as soon as you’re able to while things are fresh in your mind. If you wait too long you may forget to mention some things that future hosts/guests may find helpful.
I don’t suggest using some type of template or review generator, it’s important to take the short amount of time out of your day to right a quick and honest review, whether you’re a host or a guest.