How To Handle Guest Complaints + Bad Reviews For Your Vacation Rental

Vacation Rental Email Tips - Marketing & Productivity | Bookfull

No matter what you do or how you try to accommodate a guest, some guests just won’t be satisfied. And when those unsatisfied guests leave bad reviews for the world to see, it can seem like a devastating hit. But a few bad reviews don’t mean you should give up. They can actually give you a chance to showcase your customer service and communication skills. Here are some tips on how to handle guest complaints and bad reviews for your vacation rental!

Respond Quickly

When guests call to complain while they’re staying at your property, you have a small window of time to address their concerns and make it right. Guests want to feel like their concerns are valid and a top priority for you. Responding right away can make them feel like you care about their experience. Being diligent can help to prevent guests from leaving bad reviews, even if it’s to tell them you don’t have a solution yet but you’re aware of their issue and working on it. Follow up when you say you’re going to follow up and do what you say you’re going to do.

When guests leave a bad review after staying at your property, your response time is just as crucial. Responding to a negative online review within the first 24-48 hours shows that you are checking reviews often and are genuinely interested in what your guests have to say.

Be Grateful

It may seem weird to be thankful for a bad review, but it’s important. A negative review gives you:

  • An opportunity to fix/change a problem and improve guest experiences;
  • The chance to respond in a way that lets potential renters see your character and integrity.

Take advantage of this opportunity. Start off by thanking your guests for taking the time to leave a review and giving you a chance to make it right. Sure, it can be difficult to thank someone for leaving a bad review, especially if you feel it’s unwarranted. But this is often the best first step in resolving a complaint. If they had anything positive to say, focus on that and thank them for sharing it with you as well.

Take Ownership

The age-old mentality that the customer is always right can be hard to accept, but at the end of the day the renter paid money and, for whatever reason, didn’t feel like they got what they paid for. This is where you can step up and own the part you (or your property) played in their dissatisfaction.

A genuine apology goes a long way, especially when it’s specific. Don’t just go with the generic “Sorry you feel that way.” Instead, try responding with something more precise like “I’m sorry that the house didn’t have as many towels as you expected,” or “I’m sorry that the bed didn’t meet your expectations.” That said, there are some things you just can’t take ownership for. Guests will leave bad reviews about the weather, the neighborhood or the fact that a local area attraction was closed. Don’t feel like you have to apologize or compensate them for these things.

Be Honest + Accurate

Before you sit down to write your review response, make sure you’ve checked and double-checked the facts of the situation. Talk to everyone involved and get the full story so that your response is accurate and fair. Use this chance to correct any false accusations or misunderstandings that they posted—but do so politely. If the review has revved up emotions in you, take a day or so to calm down so your response is professional. And no matter what, don’t get personal. Focus on the issues and keep your opinions about the renter to yourself.

Avoid The Back And Forth

When working on how to handle guest complaints, understand that there’s no need for an online feud that goes back and forth for days. Respond quickly to the complaint, and leave contact info for them to reach out if they want to discuss it further. If the conversation needs to continue, the World Wide Web isn’t the place for it. A phone call is a much more private, personal, and professional way to handle a conflict.

Ensure Your Property Is Up To Snuff

Of course, the best way to handle a bad review is to avoid it altogether. If you seem to be getting the same guest complaints over and over, it may be time to change the way you’re handling certain things in your property. Consider these most popular guest complaints and see how your property measures up:

  • Inaccurate property descriptions
  • Uncomfortable sleeping conditions
  • Lack of communication with the host
  • Inaccurate location description
  • Bad Wi-Fi, Internet signal
  • Cleanliness
  • Lack of privacy
  • Too many restrictions

Listening to the reviews, especially the bad ones, will help you make necessary changes to your property to improve guest experiences. A negative review here and there will not significantly impact your business. What will impact your business is how you handle it.

Travelers who are reading rental reviews get weary of a home with all positive reviews. No property is perfect. Things happen, mistakes are made, people are human. However, travelers who see you handle complaints and bad reviews with grace may be more likely to trust you with their vacation experience.

Bookfull Can Help

In addition to our user-friendly vacation rental management platform, Bookfull offers access to expert vacation rental reservation management services. We’ll serve as your first responders, so you can get back to what’s important to you. With us handling your inquiries, you can spend more time with your family or working to take your business to the next level.

Learn more, and request a quote today.

Comments (5)

  • Zenaida

    2 years ago

    Thanks for the terrific post

  • Danish Khan

    6 months ago

    Thanks for this information but my question is What is your fee structure? https://ascendbigsky.com/

    • Ronii Bartles

      6 months ago

      Bookfull is free to use.

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