Why? Let’s get right to it.
1. Shows host engagement to future potential guests (FPGs)
2. Allows host to highlight one or two positive aspects of a lengthy review
3. Allows hosts to respond to negative review without calling attention to it
It surprises me how few hosts actively respond to their Airbnb guest reviews. The above three reasons are why I recommend all my hosts respond to reviews. But, there is a bit of science to it. I’ve told you why, now let me explain how.Most Airbnb hosts don't respond to their guest reviews. Don't be one of them! Click To Tweet
First, you don’t need to respond to every review. But, you should respond to most even if it’s just a “Hi [guest name] – Thanks for the five-star review!” Responding to reviews shows FPGs that you’re an engaged host who reads and cares about their reviews. This bodes well for you.
Second, we know that guests don’t read, right? Right. But, some guests like to leave lengthy reviews. In this case, cherry pick one or two aspects of the review to highlight in your response. Did they mention that really nice view or how central your location is? This is your opportunity to review yourself based on a guest review. The FPG is more likely to read your response and synopsis than the entire review. This is really powerful when the review starts positive and then lists a few negatives. The FPG will likely scan the first line for negative words, not find any and go down to read your succinct response, therefore, missing the slight negative altogether! See my example below where a guest left a lengthy and mostly positive review with a minor, slightly negative point. In the response, notice the slightly, negative point was ignored and the positive was emphasized:
Third, it’s necessary to respond to negative reviews to briefly address the issue and how it was resolved. A FPG doesn’t want to read about your defensiveness towards the situation, only about how it was resolved. And, since you’re already responding to positive reviews, you won’t call added attention to it. Alternatively, see below for how it looks when you only respond to the negative reviews (Yes, this example of what not to do is from my listing):
Pretty obvious, right?
Remember, all of your responses should be short and sweet (or, Snappy, Catchy, + Thorough), even the negative ones. The rule of thumb is no more than two sentences or half the guest review, whichever is shorter!
Is it possible to avoid negative guest reviews entirely? My friends at City Relay say yes!
Also published on Medium.