Writing a good review is easy, but what a Vacation rental owner needs to know is, how to write a negative guest review. At times, your guests might not abide by the rules set out by you. They may even end up damaging your property. These are instances when you should point out that such behavior is unacceptable.
However, it is not always that simple. You might have many doubts when it comes to how to write a negative guest review. The most obvious doubt would be how would it impact your business. Another doubt could be whether will it ensure a negative review war between you and your guest.
Ultimately, you might even think of letting it go and do nothing. However, you should not. You need to bring it to the attention of the listing website so that they may include necessary checks in their guest background process. If they already have such checks in place, they might want to enhance them. The online travel agency sites wouldn’t want a disgruntled owner but rather want to address any issues that arise.
Further, most websites have a restricted visibility option. This reveals the reviews by the guest and host to each other when both have reviewed each other. This prevents a review war and helps in getting genuine reviews only. So, you can feel free to write a negative review, however, you need to know a few things about writing a negative review, let’s look at this together.
Scared of losing clientele if you speak your mind? Find out some quick tips in the below slides on how to tactfully give your guests a negative review:
6-Point Guide on How to Write a Negative Guest Review
Below are the key aspects to be covered in your negative guest review:
Honesty is the Best Policy
It is best to give an honest review, even if it is a negative one. Do not exaggerate in your reviews. If the guest’s behavior is mildly off, don’t make him look like a devil. It could have been an honest mistake also.
Further, there are several benefits of giving an honest review. Your future guests will notice that you don’t give a dishonest review if 9 out of 10 of your reviews are positive.
When only one review is negative, future guests are assured that your review is a genuine one.
However, if you exaggerate in every review with negative details, your future guests might feel, you are difficult to deal with. They might even get scared of booking your property.
Also, listing websites have a certain review policy. If you exaggerate in every review, they might ban your property and you would not want that.
To prove that your review is genuine, you may even add pictures of your property before and after the guest’s stay.
Most of the security cameras of vacation rental give the option of having an auto-generated timestamp on the photos. This could further the genuineness of your pictures.
If it is something that can’t be conveyed through photos, you may just describe the situation. You may not want to write that the guests were noisy. That is just an opinion.
However, you may write that the guests played music till 3 a.m. and the neighbors found it disturbing. You need to describe both the problem and the cause to convey your point properly.
Don’t be Rude
Even though you are the victim in the situation, do not be rude in your reviews. Politeness always gets you accolades. Your guest will not be hurt if you are polite.
If your review is genuine, then your guest will be aware of his behavior. If you put it rudely, he might get hurt. If you are polite, he might consider your review acceptable. This type of behavior will help your vacation rental stand out.
If you are rude, he might not recommend your property to his friends, however, your politeness can win him over.
Further, a polite review doesn’t give the listing website a reason not to publish your review. It also gives them the incentive to update their rules and regulations for an ideal guest.
Mix it Up
Your guest might not be entirely bad. He might have been a good guest otherwise, however, some things might not have been in his control. For example, your guest might be traveling with little children.
While playing, children might have written on the walls or might have broken some furniture. The guest might have only found out about this later on.
In such a situation, it is actually not anyone’s fault. Kids will be kids. However, it did cost you a lot. You tried asking for a recovery from the guest and if they refused. This is when you might give him a negative review.
However, otherwise, the guest was very nice. He didn’t play loud music. He used all the appliances properly and did his best to keep the rest of the property in the best shape. So you might start your negative review with the positives.
Yes, you read it correctly, the most important ingredients in the recipe of how to write a negative guest review are the positive aspects of your guest.
However, you should not trivialize the negative aspect by mentioning it at the very end. So try combining it with the related positive review point.
Describe in Detail
This guide is about how to write a negative guest review and not about what to write. Just writing that the guest’s children were unruly would not help. It would appear rude.
Try describing their actions. You may write something like, ‘Even though the guest tried his best, he couldn’t stop his children from writing on the wall.’ You may go on further and say, that repainting costs you a lot of money.
You may point out that being a short-term vacation rental property manager, you didn’t have enough time to repaint before the next guest arrived. These details will help you convey the cause of giving a negative review.
Further, it will inform some of the future guests, which is not acceptable behavior.
Don’t be Afraid
Even though you might be convinced about writing a negative guest review, you might still be wondering about the repercussions. There are a few things you need to understand about the review system on most listing platforms.
As mentioned earlier, reviews are not published until and unless both parties have reviewed each other. So no one can give a review that is ingenuine. Most of the websites allow reviewing within a limited timeframe only.
Therefore, if you give your review closer to the end of the expiration time, you reduce the chances of retaliation.
On top of this, the editing time is even less. Sometimes only 48 hours. So, there is even less chance that after seeing your review, the guest will edit his review. But our advice is you should take the necessary steps to handle negative reviews if there are any.
Further, if you are wondering, how will your negative review impact your future business, it generally won’t be affected too much. One reason is that you would not want to rehost the same guest.
Another one will be, that your prospective guests might not dig down for the bad reviews given by you. If most of the reviews are positive, they will not delve deeper.
Generally, the kind of guest who would go to such lengths to find that one bad review is those who are scared. As the saying goes, ‘a guilty conscience needs no accuser’ This is the guest, who already has a bad review from another host. He might even be a guest who plans to not abide by the property rules.
If this is the guest, then you are better off if they don’t choose your property. Prevention is better than cure.
So in most cases, giving a negative review will not impact your future business. This analysis will give you the confidence to write a negative review fearlessly.
Don’t lose perspective. If you didn’t face much of a monetary loss, or you can avoid a negative review, it’s best to not give one. Your guest might give you a positive review if he had a wonderful time.
Remember, a negative review is only the ultimate tool. You don’t end up using it for every tiny wrongdoing of your guest since, after all, no one is perfect.
So, sometimes not saying anything says a lot. If you don’t publish a review, and your guest does, then your message is conveyed to your guest as intended. At times that is sufficient closure.
In conclusion, the 6-point guide to writing a negative guest review has the following key ingredients:
- Balance of positives and negatives
- Detailed explanation
- Fearless description
- Forget and forgive
Having understood how to write a negative guest review, it is also important that you read about the review policy of various listing websites. Some of these might not have the features such as not publishing reviews until both parties have reviewed each other. Stay away from giving bad reviews on such websites.
This doesn’t mean you won’t list on such websites. You can list your property, just don’t give a negative review on it. Either way, be sure to list your home on newer websites such as rentaltrader.com.
Most of the time, newer websites include all such features at a lower cost, so do your due diligence before making up your mind.
We hope our 6-point guide about how to write a negative guest review was helpful to you. If you have any further queries, fill out the web form below, or feel free to call us.