You can plead your case with CS and the mods but, from what I understand, once submitted, they can't be taken down.
Meanwhile, use your opportunity to add comments to the review. I've never had a bad review but my plan has always been to use the comments to address one if I ever do.
In your case, I think you could just make it humorous and move on. Anyone who reads it will understand that you don't control the weather. My cabin is in the woods and I've had people mention bees and such in their 5-star reviews. If anyone ever gave be a bad review over contact with nature, I would add the comment, "don't come to a cabin to commune with nature and then expect nature to serve up a specific subset of critters to your liking -- if that's what you want, you should have gone to the zoo."
In your case, I would comment thusly:
"Dear guest, I am thrilled to read that you enjoyed your stay at the guest home. I need to apologize for the storm and abundance of seaweed. As part of my routine maintenance of the planet, I utilize weather patterns to 'mix things up' at times which helps circulate air, churn water, and bring much needed nutrients to the plants and animals in my care. I apologize if the timing of my latest tempest interfered with your sunbathing.
To the best of my knowledge, you cannot remove a negative review. Although I have never tried this, other Community members have posted that if you call Customer Service, you can have them move a favorable review that was given previously to the top of your reviews so that the negative review won't be the first one that people read.
Definitely respond to the negative review, but keep in mind that your audience is potential guests, not the person who left the review. Don't post your response in haste. You want to come across as a caring, responsible vacation rental owner. I'd thank the reviewer for the wonderful things that he said about your rental and use this as an opportunity to educate future guests about the seaweed (not sewerage) that was left by the freak storm. If you want to copy the guest's review and post your draft response here in the Community, many members will be happy to offer their advice about wording.
AFAIK you cannot have the guests review removed. You can ask the guest to call CS to have the review removed. In this case, I would do as wildiris suggested, respond to the review. Keep in mind your response is for future travelers, be professional, factual and non-emotional.
Reviews can be removed only if they violate the Vrbo terms of service. Otherwise, it stays.
Your response to this review is key. You get to add one to every review, although i use them only to clarify points made in reviews that might surprise a traveler, so that future travelers fully understand what their stay will be like.
In this case, the best response will include empathy for the guests' not getting the idyllic beach conditions that are more common and an explanation of the condition that was obviously outside anyone's control that caused the condition. Keep it short and simple. Post here if you want feedback on what you want to use for your response.
When I first started, I had guests complain about the large roaches that are common all around Florida... the response I want to post (but didn't) is "they were here first, you're just visiting." Instead, I added something to our welcome document, explaining about the variety of insects that are very active during the summer and that we take steps to keep them out of the house and what steps they need to take to keep them out of the house (like not leaving doors open). So communications before arrival is important, not just after you get negative feedback of the local environment.
I would not use the suggestion of bonesxxx.
Although meant compassionately with humour , I think it comes off as sarcasm...which is not desireable.
Owner responses are meant for the futue undecided guest so.....
Respond kindly and appropriately. -
" Thank you for Loving the house. It was unfortunate that a freak storm arrived and brought seaweed to our shores during your vacation. Thankfully, Mother Nature also swept that seawead back out to sea where it mainly lives. We hope you return to enjoy our beautiful beaches during good weather. "
Wondering if your Guest was 'new' to Australia + absent any atmospheric/cultural details? Sad but true: an OTA like Vrbo ain't gonna provide these important nuances. But you should. In your listing. And in your agreement.
Perhaps you have,
You say that "Beach holidays in winter come with the perils of the weather and out of our control." If you haven't already? Absolutely 'season' your property description. With the beauty + benefits and DETAILS of 'winter' (= now) @ your beach, et cetera. Photos, too. I, for one, love an off-season coastal locale. The stormier, the better. But some might not be so … nautical.
Per wildiris ~ DO consider sharing the Guest's review + your draft response. Lots of skilled folks here who will willingly offer constructive feedback.
Here is the correct answer:
1. You may move the offending review down one space by making another review your featured review. That, at least, gets the bad review out of the most prominent position.
2. You may ask the guest to contact CS to have the review removed. This can be done, Erinn helped me do it a couple years ago when I had a "damned by faint praise" sort of review. This is not easy, getting the person to comply. I had to write a couple times to the guest, finally appealing to them and expressing that the review had cost me several thousand dollars in lost income. They did finally have the review removed. Please note that the review cannot be edited. It either says "as-is" or goes away.
I'm bummed that you've removed the ability to promote one review. What was the reasoning?
We owners can really be slammed by a bad review. In my case, a reviewer gave me four stars (not horrid...) but went on to say things like all of the kitchen appliances were dated (the oldest was five years old -- but how do you respond? Call the guest a liar?)
Now, in spite of all of our convincing ourselves that a couple less-than-perfect reviews just make all the other reviews look genuine, my inquiries tanked -- I mean went to ZERO until I talked the reviewer into removing the review. Being able to at least pick a great review to put above the clinker gave me a fighting chance.
Here's a vote for adding that feature back in -- and if the powers-that-be want to show full disclosure, label that owner-selected review for what it is -- the owner's favorite.
I realized that too. Last year I got a - gasp - 2 star review - on otherwise mostly 5 * property. While some of the issues were valid (although not impeding their stay), some things really rubbed me the wrong way because if their apparent unfairness. Like that there was no bathroom next to the hot tub ( the floor plans are posted among photos so no surprise, they knew what they were renting, besides, there are typically no "pool baths" in the mountains), then the shape of my drinking glasses(what???)... then that we provide only starter supply of TP, paper towels etc and they and to buy some( clearly disclosed in rental agreement and welcome email). That the closet has no light in it??? (what? neither they do in my own house). So this review, I believe, tanked my VRBO bookings for 2019.
Just now got another sourpuss review a 3 * - also half of "grievances" are actually matter of perception or taste, and seem to stem from champagne expectations on beer budget. So now I fully expect it to tank my 2020 bookings.
Last 1.5 years have been brutal. I think OTAs are cross marketing to hotel guests and those have unrealistic expectations of vacation rental homes. They think if they paid more for a whole 2000+ sq ft house per night than they would have for one hotel room for 2, they expect Ritz level services and amenities. Expectations unfounded but they do result in "buyers-remorse" reviews.