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Top Trending Negative Reviews for Vacation Rentals & How to Avoid Them

Updated: Jan 4

In this era of easy web access, a positive online presence is critical for any business. More specifically, reviews have become an invaluable asset for businesses. Consumers more than ever research prior to making any purchase. In fact, 90% of them regularly read reviews, and about 88% trust them as much as personal recommendations.


Given this reality, we, as business owners, need to ensure our online presence reflects the best aspects of our business. Inevitably, we will have a negative review here and there, as it is impossible to satisfy everyone. However, there are some trends identified in negative reviews that, if taken care of, can help us avoid them.


  1. Inaccurate description - The property description field in the listing sites is often overlooked. A good description describes every room and area of the house, proactively addresses any concern guests may have, such as stairs, and is true to the experience the guest will have. Do not oversell to get a booking! It will bite back in your reviews if you overpromised and underdelivered.

  2. Poor communication - I've read so many stories about guests that didn't have service or cellphone coverage and couldn't communicate with the host. Make sure to send an email 1-2 hours prior to check-in with all the specific details to enter the property. By doing this, you avoid any issues by the check-in time, and shows consideration to guests that may be traveling and exhausted. Making it easier to your guests only improve the experience, and your overall review!

  3. Uncomfortable beds - When we go on vacations, we expect to have a pleasant experience, and nothing better than resting like a king! Invest in a good mattress and bedding set. This will only increase the value of the stay at your property. Leaving with a horrible back pain is not a good souvenir for your guests, and your reviews will show it!

  4. Lack of cleanliness - I don't have to explain much here. I wouldn't like to sleep in a bed where other strangers slept without it being washed. Same thing with kitchen utensils, floors, and specifically the bathroom. Be thorough in your cleaning, and inspect your property before your next check-in. Having a checklist helps!

  5. Location deception - When describing your property in your listing, describe the location and add some pictures of the surroundings. Will I have a view to the neighbor's backyard? Will I need to walk across your residential property to get to the rental? Is it located in a dead end? Avoid guest's deception by being as specific and descriptive as possible.

  6. Lack of privacy - Whether you are renting a room or a house, your guest's privacy is important. Don't show up unannounced and respect the areas you are renting. If there are common areas, make sure to define them and specify the rules of use.

  7. Too many rules - Being specific in your rules is a must! But be careful to sound intimidating and scare your guests away. I was once searching through Airbnb for a stay and found this beautiful cottage so I clicked to read the description and rules. The rules were more of a "if you do this, you will be sued" kind of thing. And even if I knew I was not going to professionally photograph their place without their permission, I feared I could do something wrong by mistake! What if I shared my pictures in a blog and that was considered breaking up the rules? So I decided not to book for my peace of mind. Be thoughtful of how your prospective guests will feel when they read your rules. You can be specific and clear without being intimidating.

  8. No WiFi - If you don't have WiFi in your rental, be explicit about it in your description. Nowadays, it is kind of expected for all properties to have internet services. Your guests may need to work from your property, and realizing there is no WiFi can be a real inconvenience. Write it in CAPS at the beginning and at the end of your description to avoid negative reviews.


Do you have some spare time during this #lockdown? Go ahead and review your listing with fresh eyes and make sure you are proactive and avoid these common negative reviews.


Need help responding to negative reviews? Check out our post on How to Properly Respond to Reviews. Good and Bad.


Happy hosting!

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