One of the most critical areas in vacation rental property management is to know how to deal with guest complaints.

It is never pleasant to receive a complaint from one of your guests. Also, the additional threat of bad reviews appearing online can be a worry.

But if you can prepare yourself for the possibility of a complaint, it will not be so daunting when it does happen. Read these tips so that you can respond to guest complaints professionally.

Tip #1 – Listen And Stay Calm

It is natural to become defensive when somebody criticises you, and even more so when your vacation rental is the cause of the complaint. You have spent time, money and passion on a property, so people can feel relaxed and enjoy their vacation.

That is why you need to take the emotion out of any complaint. Remember that this is not a personal attack on you. Everybody has different expectations, and you need to be open to all different viewpoints.

Take notes as you listen to the guest. When they have finished, go back over the main points that you have written down and check with the guest that you have covered everything.

When you go the extra mile, it can help to rebuild confidence and trust. It shows guests that you are taking their complaint seriously.

Tip #2 – Acknowledge The Problem

Once the guest has listened to your recap and confirmed that your notes are correct, you can then respond to the complaint directly.

Sometimes you might not be able to handle a complaint there and then. An acknowledgement of a complaint can, in some cases be enough for a guest to feel it has been dealt with satisfactorily.

Nobody is perfect and guests realise this, they just want their complaint to be taken seriously.

Tip #3 – Understand The Needs Of The Guest

If you have received a complaint, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your guests. Sometimes a complaint might seem trivial to you, but it could have had a stronger effect on your guest.

You need to show empathy with your guests. It can be uncomfortable making a complaint, especially if they are shy. So, be respectful to the guest and give them your full attention.

Getting to the root of the problem will get things back on track. Especially if the guest has just started their vacation, you will need to rectify the problem fast.

Also, knowing how to handle bad guest reviews when they appear online after a stay is an essential part of customer service.

Be sure to respond to the bad review just as you would to a good one. This commitment shows that you are approachable. Potential guests will notice this extra effort.

Apologise for any upset and thank the guest for taking the time to make their complaint. Give the guest your email address so that they can send their contact details to you.

Sometimes things can be misinterpreted via written communication. A telephone call is more personal and can help rebuild the connection.

Tip #4 – Take Immediate Action To Solve The Problem For The Guest

If it is an obvious mistake, you can rectify it quickly. Apologise for the inconvenience and advise that you will solve the problem immediately.

If it is a matter of cleanliness, arrange for a cleaner straight away. The guest will not relax until their home is clean, don’t let the problem fester.

On some occasions, the complaint might be more detailed and require further investigation. If this is the case, explain this to the guest and advise the next steps to resolve the situation.

For example, if it is related to electrical problems, come up with an alternative solution for the guest until an electrician can get to the property.

A customer service study on the Harvard Business Review found guests will return if their complaint is dealt with quickly.

Tip #5 – Put Steps In Place To Avoid The Same Complaint

If you receive a complaint for something that has happened before, your complaints system is not working correctly.

To avoid this situation altogether, every time you have a complaint, recheck the problem. Also, check your other properties for the same issue.

Your.Rentals is a reliable solution for property managers if you need to handle complaints from multiple sales channels. The strong customer support at Your.Rentals is recognised for being professional and efficient and can support property managers with any issues.

Also, consider using a Visitor Book and review the book regularly to pick up on any problems.

Bonus Tip

Don’t be scared of any negative reviews that you receive online as a property manager. It is possible to put a positive spin on them and make them work in your favour.

Be quick to respond to these public complaints and use a positive, friendly introduction, highlighting the advantages of your property, such as the location, competitive price, etc.

You can still acknowledge their complaint but mention it further down in your response.

By following this technique, the negative aspects of the review are not noticeable and are “pushed down”. Potential guests may not even see the negative part unless they decide to click on “more”.

Guest Complaints Vacation Rentals – In Summary

There is no need to be afraid of complaints and any bad reviews you might receive for your vacation rental.

Swing it around into a positive and look upon any complaints as opportunities to improve your business. Respond to guest complaints in a friendly way, so everybody is happy.


  • Act quickly.
  • Listen and take notes.
  • Check all the details with your guest, so everything is accurate.
  • See things from your guest’s point-of-view.
  • Offer a solution that will satisfy the guest.
  • Put steps in place to avoid the same problem occurring.