We rented our house out on Airbnb again in 2019 in order to fund our summer sabbatical.

As proud house owners, we work hard to ensure that everyone has a good experience and this is reflected in the very positive feedback we receive.  

At the end of August, we had one family where the rental seemed to go wrong at every turn.  The fridge broke, they couldn’t find the highchair for their baby and expressed concern about the safety levels in our house for kids.  

I was gutted when the negative review came in and then angry.  

I vehemently disagreed with what they were saying. Could I apply the 5 percent rule? Every piece of feedback despite its difficulty has something that is useful in it. Could I find the 5% that might be useful to me? Could I find the nugget of truth? Could we learn from this?

24hrs of calming were required before I could respond to their feedback.    In order to create a connection and ensure they felt heard I had to figure out what I did agree with.  I needed to empathise with the inconvenience they experienced. 

Perhaps our communication levels from France when sorting out the fridge problem hadn’t been good enough.   We have raised 2 boys in that house over the last 18 years with no problems at all but perhaps we have forgotten what makes a house “toddler-proof.”

It took a supreme effort on my part to calm down, look for the nugget of truth and see if there was a learning.   Since being back I have been reviewing our house with a fresh eye and seeing that we might need to do differently if we rent it out next summer. 

A tough lesson but a useful one!

Learning points if you don’t agree with the feedback

  1. Remember feedback is a gift.  It will help you improve. This mindset will help you buckle up as you deal with it.
  2. Don’t get mad, get curious – approach the feedback with questioning and not defensiveness.  Work hard to understand what the other person is trying to tell you.