Most Common Airbnb Guest Complaints: Solutions & Strategies for Hosts

Lizzie Griffin
Lizzie Griffin

April 22, 2024

As an Airbnb host, managing guest expectations and communication is an essential part of the job. While you strive to please every guest, complaints are inevitable in this industry, even for the best hosts. What separates good hosts from great hosts is how they respond to these issues.

Focus on ways to solve the problem before the guest checks out. If unresolved, these complaints could easily turn into bad reviews and negatively impact your business.

In this article, we'll explore some of the most common complaints that Airbnb hosts receive from guests and provide practical solutions and strategies to address them effectively for more 5-star Airbnb reviews.

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Responding to complaints about access to the Airbnb property

Most travelers booking your Airbnb will be visiting the property and the destination for the first time. Given the unfamiliar environment, arriving at the property after a long travel day can be a stressful situation for guests and one of the first places you may receive complaints.

When Airbnb guests arrive at an unfamiliar location, they could have trouble identifying where to access or enter the property, how to use a smart lock, issues with the door code, or having to wait for physical keys. Issues could arise even before they arrive at the property if you’ve had to delay their check-in time due to operational delays like a missed clean or malfunctioning appliance. 

How to prevent guest complaints about accessing the Airbnb

  • Have a digital guest guidebook. In this situation, having a physical guest book in the property won’t help anyone. Emailed instructions can also get lost in the shuffle or end up in spam folders. With Breezeway Guide, you can automatically text your guest a link to their digital guidebook at the right time based on rules you set with personalized information about how to access the property for their specific stay.
  • Position lighting and signs on the exterior of the property to help guide guests through the check-in process and give clear directions on how to access the property. Put yourself in the Airbnb guests’ shoes and think about what you would need to know how to enter the property for the first time. Consider including a video on how to work the smart lock in your digital guest guidebook. For some, this may be their first encounter with this type of technology and a short how-to can be incredibly valuable to avoid frustration.

guest digital guidebook

With essential insights, house rules, and local recommendations, Breezeway Guide can save you hours of time by allowing guests to independently find the information they need.

Resolving complaints about the Airbnb's cleanliness

When a guest walks into your property for the first time, they expect to be wowed. Delighting them with the cleanliness and presentation of the property is your first chance to make a good impression. However, this also leaves room for disappointment and subsequent complaints if the condition of the property doesn’t live up to their expectations.

The last thing you want is for guests to complain about a smell in the home, food left in the fridge, hair in the sink, or in the worst-case scenario, to alert you that the property hasn’t been cleaned at all. While there’s always room for human error, these issues should all be preventable with a few extra precautions.

How to prevent Airbnb complaints about cleanliness

  • Create cleaning checklists customized for each rental property. Every property is unique and has different cleaning needs based on the amenities, features, and layout of the home. A generic cleaning checklist could leave room for specific areas to get overlooked. Breezeway’s mobile app makes it easy for hosts and property managers to create customized digital checklists with photo verification that cleaners can use in the field to verify the quality of their work.
  • If you have the resources and time between turnovers, hiring an inspector to review each property after the cleaning and before a guest checks in will be a great way to prevent these complaints. You can also create customized inspection checklists in Breezeway so inspectors can double-check commonly overlooked items.
  • Be aware of property readiness. Nailing the turnover process is one of the hardest parts of property management. Tracking when guests are arriving and the status of each home can be difficult on a busy turnover day. Breezeway’s Operations platform gives you visibility into property status so you know when it has been cleaned, inspected, and is ready for check-in. Having this visibility gives you 100% confidence that a property is ready before guests arrive.

Requirements-1Breezeway’s mobile checklists are easy to use and will help make sure your Airbnbs are always guest-ready.

Solving complaints about maintenance issues

During the stay, if the dishwasher breaks or the AC stops working, for example, you expect your guests to tell you. This isn’t necessarily a complaint, but it will definitely turn into one if you fail to resolve it quickly and professionally.

While you can’t always predict if or when something will break, you can work to prevent this as much as possible and communicate any known issues ahead of time.

How to prevent maintenance issues and guest complaints

  • Communication is key in this situation. Especially if this issue is affecting the quality of their stay, like the AC breaking or the pool heater not working, guests will want an immediate response that shows you are just as concerned about it as they are. With Breezeway Messaging, you can quickly communicate to let guests know you are working on resolving the issue right away. You can also create a work order for your maintenance tech right from the message and follow up on the status of the work order.
  • To help prevent these issues from happening in the first place, set up recurring maintenance tasks. Breezeway’s Operations platform makes it easy to set up reminders to check the pool filter, for example, at time intervals of your choosing so you can identify these issues before they become a problem for guests.


Addressing complaints about a lack of communication and information

Every short-term rental host can relate; you get asked the same questions over and over again, “What’s the WiFi password?” “What’s the door code?” While these questions might be tedious, failing to communicate this information can severely hinder the guest experience and your reviews. Guests might only be staying at your rental for a night or a weekend, so taking a day to respond could ruin the experience of their whole trip and lead to bad reviews.

Beyond this, vacation rental guests will also expect to receive proactive information about how to work the amenities (like hot tub jets or accessing bike locks), local recommendations (like restaurants or local attractions), and any house rules or local guidelines (like pool times or quiet hours) without having to ask.

How to prevent communication complaints

  • The best way to avoid this is with a digital guidebook that answers all of the frequently asked questions you typically get from guests. This way, guests have all of the information they need at their fingertips without having to ask you, helping prevent complaints about a lack of information.
  • Having an accurate Airbnb listing will also help prevent these issues. For example, if the wifi tends to drop, say so in the listing. For some potential guests, especially those planning to work from home, strong WiFi might be the biggest factor in their booking decision. Without this information, they could leave a bad review and damage your reputation. Give potential guests all the information upfront so they can make the most informed decision for their stay.
  • When issues arise after hours, guests still expect a timely response. Breezeway Assist can help you maintain fast and accurate response times 24/7 with our guest support team trained to respond to guest messages and calls at any hour. You’ll never have to worry about being on call or accidentally missing a guest phone call in the middle of the night again.

Turning Airbnb complaints into happy customers

Being proactive in property maintenance and understanding the guest journey can help you identify issues before they arise. But, hospitality is hard, and unforeseen issues will inevitably come up. Don’t panic, not every guest complaint will turn into a bad review. Be action-oriented in your communication with guests about how you will resolve their issues quickly and how you plan to make up for any inconveniences.

Consider the impact the inconvenience had on their stay. Can you offer a late checkout or passes to a local attraction as a way to say you're sorry? Do you have a relationship with a local restaurant that you can provide a gift card to, or does it truly warrant a partial refund or discount? This thoughtful communication will help not only solve the issues faster but also reduce the likelihood of bad reviews.

Get ahead of guest complaints and get more 5-star Airbnb reviews
Use Breezeway to automate your guest messaging and work coordination processes.

Book a Demo