Responding to guest reviews: top tips

Did you know that the way you respond to a review can be more important than the review reviewsimageitself? Our studies suggest that, whatever their rating, reviews on adverts with responses get an average of 12 per cent more enquiries than those without.

Tips for responding to reviews:

  • Respond as soon as you can but make sure you have carefully considered your response before submitting it. Don’t forget to check it for spelling and grammar.
  • Once you’ve written your response, sleep on it and look at it again with a fresh pair or eyes in the morning; you’ll probably find that you end up changing it again for the better.
  • Ask a friend or family member to read it. They might spot something you’ve missed and offer an alternative perspective.
  • Try not to say too much: just thank the guest for their feedback and suggestions, apologise if necessary and address the main points. Try to keep your response to a few paragraphs and keep it shorter than the review itself if possible.

Here are some examples of good responses to reviews.

A great review:

“We just wanted to say thank you for a great holiday at Rose cottage. You’d thought of everything right down to the travel games for the kids in the welcome pack. Everywhere was so clean and the outdoor shower was great for cleaning up after a day at the beach! Just a shame we had more rainy days than sunny ones but we will definitely be back bring better weather next time! We’re recommending it to our friends too.”


“Thank you for leaving such lovely comments. It was a shame about the few rainy days that you had so I hope you put those games to good use! We’re glad that you enjoyed your holiday and will look forward to seeing you again”.

✔ The responder shows they are polite in thanking the reviewer for their comments from the outset

✔ They’ve addressed the issue of the weather and turned it into a positive by highlighting that they have board games at the home for rainy days

✔ They have reinforced that the guest had a great time despite the weather and welcomed them back to encourage a repeat booking

A not-so-great review:

“We were so disappointed staying at this apartment. The microwave was broken when we got there so we couldn’t use it which was really inconvenient. When we arrived it was so windy and cold so we couldn’t go to the beach and loads of places were closed. The theme park was shut and so was the zoo. We couldn’t find many places to eat out so ended up cooking at the apartment most nights. Everyone was so bored there was nothing to do at all. It says on the advert that the pool would be heated but it wasn’t so we couldn’t use that either. All in all, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.”


“Thank you for your comments. We’re so sorry that you didn’t enjoy your holiday. We do say in the advert that the pool is heated but only from May to September and your stay was in early October. We do offer great deals when travelling out of season but warn our guests that some local attractions may be closed. There are many beautiful walks nearby and local restaurants that are still open. Unfortunately, we were unaware that the microwave was not working so we thank you for pointing this out to us and apologise for any inconvenience it may have caused you. We have now replaced it with a new one.”

✔ The advertiser has thanked the reviewer for their comments and the response is concise

✔ They’ve addressed the main issues regarding the broken microwave and the fact that the guests chose to stay out of season

✔ They are managing the expectations of future guests who may choose to book out of season and have said they will replace the microwave

✔ The guest complaint has been acknowledged and an apology given where necessary

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6 thoughts on “Responding to guest reviews: top tips

  1. Kerry Shaw

    Is it possible to change my reply to a review ? I have had two lovely reviews left and went on to say thank you but both have now got the same message which looks stupid as the same people did not post both reviews and I would like to change my response so that the first reviewers have their right name on my reply can I do this ? I am not sure what happened maybe I hit the button twice?

    1. Kate Post author

      Hi Kerry. It’s not possible to edit a response but we can ask TripAdvisor to remove it so you can resubmit it. Please contact us with all the details (Owner ID, name of review, etc): Many thanks. Kate.

  2. Fran

    As a home owner, i agree that answering reviews and adressing client complaints is important. This system works well when the clients are honnest and the complaints are reasonnable. Yet, the emphasis on reviews has given rise to a new breed of “nightmare clients”, in addition to the feared trash-the-property type: the client who complains about absolutely everything, asserts that the property is a piece of junk not worth a penny (while it consistently gets top ratings) and asks for a refund. Offers to fix the alledged problems come to no avail, indeed the complaint might even come by email after departure, when it is too late to act. Only a refund will satisfy them, and when if refused, soon comes the threat of a terrible review on Trip Advisor. I have been letting for several years, and this never happened before. Year to date, this is the second case (all other reviews this year were 5s). These people believe they can threaten to damege your rental reputation to get whatever they want — namely a free holiday. And the owner’s right to answer the review won’t do much good. To start with, the average note will take a signficicant plundge if you get one single 1. Basically, a client can trash my property or destroy its reputation, and I shoud smile and answer nicely. I think it is high time that HL stop pretending that all clients are wonderful reasonnable people who are always right, and acknowledges that there is fortunately small minority of abusive clients, against which home owners feel unprotected. And starts implementing a client review system like some other rental websites already do.

    1. Kate Harries Post author

      Hi Fran. Thank you for your comments on this subject. The vast majority of travellers are keen to share their positive experiences so reviews are a very useful marketing tool. However, if a holidaymaker is threatening to write a bad review based on a fabricated experience, this is considered blackmail and TripAdvisor take claims of blackmail very seriously. If you believe you’ve been threatened with a bad review or are concerned about any aspect of the reviews procedure, please do contact us at Holiday Lettings: Thanks again, Kate at Holiday Lettings.

    1. Kate Harries Post author

      Hi Fiona, You can certainly link to your Holiday Lettings advert or your TripAdvisor advert from your Facebook page just by copying and pasting the link. Here’s more info on how you can use social media to market your holiday home: Thanks, Kate at Holiday Lettings


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