It eventually happens to every vacation rental manager—the dreaded one-star rating that finds you ‘Googling’ phrases like: how to remove a negative Google review.

We know negative reviews can be very disheartening. After all, you work so hard to provide a great short-term rental experience for your guests that you expect nothing but glowing feedback. But there are some people you simply can’t please, no matter what. And it might not even be your actual property that causes someone to leave a less than positive review. Sometimes, a guest will equate poor weather with a bad stay and will rate according to their general foul mood. Sometimes, negative reviews are from competitor sabotage. And then again, it might be from a bad experience.

No matter what the cause of the negative guest review, when you see that poor rating, your first reaction likely is that you want it gone. But how do you remove a negative guest review from the Internet?

First of all, take a deep breath. A negative review is not the end of the world. Google does have a process for removing inappropriate or defamatory reviews, so those can be dealt with. But if the negative review in question is simply a guest who didn’t enjoy their stay, you may be doing more harm than good by trying to make it disappear.

So what do you do if you can’t remove a negative guest review? You do the next best thing: respond to the negative review. Answering a guest’s grievance in a professional manner puts you in a good light to potential customers by demonstrating that you care about your guests’ experience. These tips from MyVR will help you deal with that negative rating and in following this advice, you may actually find you get more positive reviews in the long run!

First, do not react emotionally

Whatever you do about this negative review will have a lasting impact on your brand. The most important thing to do is to stay calm and don’t do anything until you can take emotion out of the equation. Remember, the way you respond shows future guests how you’ll handle any issues they might have if they book with you.

Do not ignore the review

Yes, it might be unfair that a guest left a negative rating because they didn’t like the brand of coffee you provided for their enjoyment, but you still have to reply. Potential guests will read these reviews, and they will care more about how you respond to that disgruntled guest than what caused them to leave a negative rating. If you leave a negative review hanging without any sort of resolution or reply, potential guests might feel like you don’t listen to feedback.

Put the blame on yourself - even if you aren't at fault

To the hypothetical guest who did not enjoy their coffee, after you’ve taken a day to cool off, you could reply by saying something like, “We are sorry that you did not enjoy our coffee during your stay with us. We carefully choose our coffee blends from local suppliers, and we apologize that they weren’t to your liking. If you kindly call us, we will gather your contact information and send you a Starbucks gift card to make it up to you.” This type of response shows that you listened, acknowledged the guest’s issue, and offered to fix it. NEVER, ever, ever blame a guest for the issue.

Some tips to keep in mind when you’re writing your reply to a negative guest review:

· Set the tone by apologizing for the issue, but no need to overdo it.
· Be polite and professional. This reply is going to be out there for all future guests to see.
· Put the blame on yourself, never the guest.
· Offer to rectify the situation.
· Tell the guest you appreciate their business and close with another apology.

The main takeaway here is that you must reply to each review, especially the negative ones, to show future guests that you are on top of your customer service game. This speaks volumes about you as a vacation rental property manager or owner. A negative guest review is really a great opportunity to show potential guests that their concerns matter to you.

But what if you do have to remove a negative review because it violates Google’s review policies?

Log in to your Google My Business profile and find the review you want to report. In the upper right corner of the review, you’ll see three circles stacked on top of each other. When you click on the circles, you’ll see an option to “flag as inappropriate.”

After flagging the review, you’ll be given a list of options to choose from, to let Google know how the review violates their review policy.

If you can’t find satisfaction for your negative guest review this way, there is a phone number you can call…another benefit of having a Google My Business profile. To find the phone number, log in to your Google My Business account and look for the Support option. That’s where you’ll find the number to call.

We hope these tips will help you manage negative guest reviews on any platform.