How to Respond to Negative Travel Industry Reviews

Published: December 5, 2022 | Last updated: January 9, 2023

Like ex-employees, travelers are less concerned about leaving negative reviews because the chances of returning (especially if they've had a bad experience) are not high. Therefore, careful consideration should be taken regarding what to offer this group of people beyond kind words and promises to do better in the future.

Many people will not visit the same city or country twice, so your response to a negative review may be more for the benefit of future visitors than the original customer. As with travelers (of which hotel guests are a subset), the chances are good that a guest won't return to a hotel if they had a bad experience there.

If the hotel in question is part of a larger chain, a voucher or gift certificate for a stay elsewhere could be considered. Still, otherwise, a response should be tailored to consider future guests just as much as the original customer.

Here's an example of a slightly negative review left on Airbnb. Note how the response:

  • Addresses the reviewer directly
  • Explains the issue
  • Invites more personalized service if and when the reviewer returns

This serves a dual purpose of both responding to the original customer and showing potential guests that the listing was not intended to deceive anyone:


Here's an example of a negative review for a major tourist attraction in London. Note how the responder:

  • Apologizes
  • Explains how they deal with this issue
  • Offers a solution to improve the experience
  • Signs the message personally


Here's an example of a negative review about a circumstance that was likely a one-time occurrence. Note how the manager responds:

  • Thanks to the reviewer for their feedback
  • Apologizes
  • Empathizes
  • Asks the reviewer to contact them privately to discuss things further

This response takes into consideration not only the customer but potential future guests who can see that the hotel is responsive to complaints:


In this review, the customer describes a billing problem. Note how the manager:

  • Apologizes
  • Volunteers to take action
  • Invites the reviewer to email them personally
  • Reiterates that the matter will be addressed 


In this review, the customer describes a network and kitchen problem. Note how the manager:

  • Thanks the reviewer for the feedback.
  • Reported that the network has been restored and working fine now.
  • Explained to the customer the rules of the Airbnb process.

The response was made to clarify the customer and educate future customers about their Airbnb process. It shows how they care for their customers and to make their stay comfortable.

The Airbnb host also gave a discount to his clients. This shows a considerate host. Future clients will see this attribute and anticipate a good experience.

As an Airbnb host, your response to bad reviews should be able to convince and win over your potential customers.


In this review, the customer complained about the unpleasant state of the place. Note how the manager:

  • Apologizes for the condition of the apartment
  • Acknowledged the problem
  • Took action to remedy the condition
  • Appreciates the customer for his honest review

This response shows a humble host. The manager responded in a way to clear doubts in future customers, promising to make prospective clients' experience more pleasant.

The client also complained about an allergy to Cheetos served by the Airbnb host. This is an eye-opener for hosts to always enquire about clients' food allergies. The host apologized for it, which shows a host concerned about his client's health.


In this review, the customer complimented the apartment before making his complaint. The complaint was about problems with his door hook. Let us note some points from the manager's response:

  • The manager appreciated the customer for his review.
  • The manager made corrections about the hooks of his apartment.

He attempted to solve the hook problem.

As an Airbnb host, clients will complain about things that make them uncomfortable. As an Airbnb host, you do not have to downplay bad reviews of your customers, and it is essential to inspect your apartment and make amends.

In responding to your customer, you have to plead with them and show that you will take action to correct any fault. This enables future clients to trust you and book your apartments for use. Looking at the review below, the host highlighted the client's complaint.

You should always treat customers with the utmost respect. Do not make the customer feel it was a mistaken lodging in your apartment. Response to bad reviews should be welcoming and accommodating, and this will give them a chance to revisit your apartment.


In this review, the customer complained about the dirty condition of the apartment and poor ventilation. Note how the manager responded:

  • The manager appreciate the customer for the feedback
  • Admitted that the feedback was helpful
  • The manager indicated updating the apartment

The customer gave a detailed review of the host apartment, which warranted an urgent update on the apartment. As a manager, you need to be ready to learn and improve from your customers' reviews. From the manager's response, future customers will know that the apartment will be updated in the coming weeks.


In this review below, the customer complimented the apartment, but the issue was the size of the apartment. 

The manager appreciated the client for the honest review. The review was a constructive criticism, comparing the apartment to US apartments.


Key Points To Responding To Negative Reviews 

Every Airbnb guest review has the option to be answered by the host. Here's why you should never pass up this chance.

If you've been hosting on Airbnb for a time, you've probably observed (by the volume of queries you get from visitors) that visitors frequently fail to read the listing description, even after making a reservation. Internet users these days have extremely little patience. Your listing's photographs and Airbnb user reviews are the two areas where potential visitors will undoubtedly look.

On your Airbnb listing, the reviews section is the most prominent area. Even though you strive to provide a fantastic guest experience, you have little influence over what your visitors will say in the reviews. However, you are in charge of how you react to these reviews.

Responding to reviews does not take up to a minute, but it plays a vital role in how potential customers think about you. This involves how well you respond to negative reviews. You can start by responding to good reviews and appreciating them for their patronage. In responding to negative feedback, you need to do the following:

Appreciate the customer

Gratitude goes a long way in representing your brand, and it talks about how welcoming you are. Thank the patient for using your Airbnb. A simple thank you can ease your customer's emotions and change potential clients' perception of you. At Airbnb, the customer is always right!

Always stand with the facts

When a customer drops a negative review, it is normal to want to project a story that favors you as the host.; you need to stand with the facts. Do not make your customer feel like his thoughts and reviews are irrelevant. In stating the facts, look for loopholes and make adjustments.

Address the concern

Airbnb hosts would want to boycott the issue and blame the customer. In responding to negative reviews, you must always address the issue. Use call-to-action statements, and you can point out how you will improve your apartment to make customers' stay worthwhile.

Avoid the use of curse words 

As an Airbnb host, you must be as polite as possible. When responding to negative, do not use curse words. This attribute will make potential customers have high regard for your brand

Apologize and show sympathy

It is vital for you to apologize immediately for a bad review. Even if the review is exaggerated, you need to show sympathy and render an apology directly. This shows you care for your customers and creates a good impression about you in your customers and future customers.

Respond quickly

Treat all reviews immediately. Negative reviews should be treated urgently. You need to correct misconceptions, plea where necessary, and set things right with your customer. Delay response can paint your bad in the minds of customers and potential customers, and there should be no excuse for a late response.

Always refer to past reviews

When responding to a negative request on Airbnb, you should refer to old positive reviews of your apartment. It tells your customers that you are trustworthy and others have arrested to it, and it makes new customers have faith in you.

Always be brief

When responding to negative reviews, ensure your responses are brief and concise; do not write jargon. Your customer should be able to understand the message you are passing.

It is normal

Every entrepreneur, owner, and the host receives unfavorable reviews. It is a component of the enterprise. The best services are the only thing you should strive to provide. There will be days when you receive positive evaluations and days when you receive bad reviews. Simply responding calmly to each review is the best course of action.

Be Professional

Do not overreact and lose your temper, as this can influence your future reservations. Remember that reviews are irreversible. In a very objective, professional approach, address the issue your guest was complaining about and say how you will fix it.

Review your response and submit

Make sure your response is brief, polite, and easy to understand. You can now submit it

Final Thoughts

It is essential to know that sometimes it is hard to please guests, and this can you them dropping negative reviews. This should not discourage you. Do not be afraid of guest complaints; instead, use them for your favor and improve your services.

You need to be prepared to tackle customer reviews and change their perspective on your brand. Always remember that your response to negative reviews will help you win new customers.


ProvenExpert is the online platform for qualified customer feedback and review aggregation. A tool that enables business owners and service providers of all sizes to actively seek customer reviews with industry-specific survey templates, bundle existing customer reviews in one location and present the overall score in a way that makes it more effective. Already more than 270,000 entrepreneurs and service providers of all sizes benefit from ProvenExpert.