How to deal with an ungrateful houseguest

Household 2 min read

How do homeshare hosts handle negative feedback from guests? We asked several hosts this question via homesharing community platforms and heard some interesting stories… 

There’s the one about the “bed bugs” that turned out to be mosquitos, which flew in an open window even though the air conditioner was on.  

There’s the bride who wanted a refund for some wedding guests who didn’t show up.  

There’s the guy who checked in 3 hours early yet still rated the check-in as only 3-stars because he was trying to open the gate the wrong way (obviously the gate’s fault.)  

There’s also the house in the French Pyrenees that was too mountainous, cows that mooed too loudly, a creek with not enough water, a bee that stung someone, a cloudy day, a cabin with too much nature, and a Catholic church bell that (wait for it…) donged.  

So, what’s a host to do about complaints? 

Here are some alternative tactics to try to alleviate guests leaving negative feedback:  

Set expectations:  

Be transparent about your bad review and have some fun with it. Use it to promote the uniqueness of your rental. It signals to would-be guests not to complain about the thing that makes your special place special.

If your popular street-level studio in the heart of a bustling, exciting city center is “too noisy” for some, go ahead and say that. Or be a little cheeky and say “If it’s too loud, you’re too old!” Or perhaps more helpful, “If it’s too loud, download the White Noise app.” This way, you attract the guests who want what you’re offering, and the other people can choose to opt out.

Re-set if necessary:  

If you’re getting repeat complaints about the same issue, have a look at it. See if it’s an easy fix.

Too sunny in the morning? Put up a shade. Door squeaks? WD-40. Rooms too small? Post new photos that better represent real life and include dimensions of the rooms. A little investigating and elbow grease can go a long way in quieting Grumpy Greg and Bitter Betty.  

Be honest:  

If you get complaints from guests that are really just out of line, don’t be afraid to give them a less than 5-star review. This peer review thing cuts both ways, which is why some hosts are hesitant to review a guest poorly, because they fear the backlash of getting poor reviews themselves.

Generally, though, the host community will be behind you and support your honest review because it will give them a heads up to be cautious when booking that guest—it could save them from a huge headache. Other hosts may feel, dare we say the word, grateful for that.  

And about that darned donging church bell? Here’s how another guest described it:  

“The cottage is full of charm, thoughtfully equipped with everything you need. The host greeted us with open arms, like you would greet great friends you haven’t seen in a while. A bottle of chilled wine, water, and ice awaited us. We truly enjoyed the area amenities. A barbecue under the stars, with the church bell ringing, made it even more enjoyable.”  

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