So you want to get an Airbnb Guest review removed? It is not easy, but it is possible if you understand their internal rules. Airbnb is very reluctant to ever remove a review unless it violates a specific part of its content policy. In their own words, the Airbnb policy on removing a review is as follows:
You can respond to reviews, but you can't delete them. To promote trust and transparency in our community, we won't delete reviews unless they violate our content policy.
What this means is when you are contacting Airbnb to get a review removed, you must cite a specific content policy violation. They will only remove the review if it violates one of the terms outlined in the policy. In fact, if you are not citing a violation of one of these terms, I would not even bother submitting it as it will get denied. Just skip right to crafting a response to the review. But if you can convince your case manager that the review violates a single term of the content policy, then you are golden and the review will be gone. So what are the terms of the content policy? Here they are listed for you to review:
- Content created solely for the purpose of advertising or other commercial content, including company logos, links, or company names
- Spam, unwanted contact, or content that is shared repeatedly in a disruptive manner
- Content that endorses or promotes illegal or harmful activity, or that is profane, vulgar, obscene, threatening, or harassing
- Content that is discriminatory
- Attempts to impersonate another person, account, or entity, including a representative of Airbnb
- Content that is illegal or that violates another person’s or entity’s rights, including intellectual property rights and privacy rights
- Content that provides specific details or outcomes of an Airbnb investigation
- Content that is sufficient to identify a listing’s location or other content that may pose a personal safety risk to an Airbnb community member
Well, let's do a quick breakdown of each term to see how a guest review might be in violation. Remember the goal is to convince the case manager that the review violates one of these terms because that is the only way they will remove a review.
Content created solely for the purpose of advertising or other commercial content, including company logos, links, or company names
This one is pretty simple if the guest mentions their company, a product or really any brand at all you could make the case that this is an attempt at advertising. Though the word "solely" makes this one a long shot in most cases.
Spam, unwanted contact, or content that is shared repeatedly in a disruptive manner.
This one seems tough to prove as you only have a single review to go on. But if the review is super repetitive or repeats some other unpleasantries, you might be able to make the case.
Content that endorses or promotes illegal or harmful activity or that is profane, vulgar, obscene, threatening, or harassing
This one seems pretty clear and easy to prove. Let's start with the easy part. If the review contains any foul language, insults, or violent language, you can cite this term to have it removed. Next, if the review mentions any drug use in any way you might be able to get it removed as promoting something illegal. Lastly, the phrase "harmful activity" is very vague so you might be able to get some mileage out of that if all else fails.
Content that is discriminatory
If the review mentions race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or any other protected class you have an argument for having it removed. Remember, it doesn't need to be blatant and over the top like "I hated staying with this white gay Muslim man so much." Merely just mentioning any of the protected classes in any way could be argued is an attempt to signal future guests.
Attempts to impersonate another person, account, or entity, including a representative of Airbnb
Besides obvious impersonation cases, this term can be used if someone books for someone else that stays with you and then leaves a review as that person. For example, if an account holder books for their parents, and then leaves a review as the parents instead for themselves.
Content that is illegal or that violates another person’s or entity’s rights, including intellectual property rights and privacy rights.
I am highly doubtful that this one will come up very often. But if the review mentions any illegal activities, it clearly fits as a violation of this term. Or if for some random reason it quotes copyrighted material you could make the "intellectual property rights" argument.
Content that provides specific details or outcomes of an Airbnb investigation
This is a surprisingly common one that comes up often. If the review mentions in anyway Airbnb, the resolution center, their representatives, or anything that Airbnb did or said, then the review will be removed. Even if the person mentions something as simple as "I called Airbnb and they said..." This is a possible violation of this term.
Content that is sufficient to identify a listing’s location or other content that may pose a personal safety risk to an Airbnb community member.
This is pretty self-explanatory. If the review in any way mentions anything that can be used to identify you, your family members, your employees, or your property you can have a case to get the review removed.
And that is it. A violation of one of those terms is the only way to get a review removed. If you cannot convince a case manager that the review violates one of these terms, then it will not be removed. So when contacting Airbnb don't focus on how damaging it could be to your business or even that they are lying because it won't matter. They only care if it violates any of their content policy terms.
Remember if you cannot get the review removed, it is not the end of the world. You can at least respond to it and state your case to future guests. And, if you need help crafting a response to a bad review, just check out these tips.
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