No matter how beautiful your vacation rental home looks on your listings (get more tips to make them look great with our staging and photography tips), you cannot underestimate the power of a good vacation rental review. A full 90% of respondents who recalled reading online reviews claimed that positive online reviews influenced buying decisions. With 68% of consumers saying they will leave a review if asked. And you better believe that the quality of the reviews matters to you financially. According to Harvard Business School, a one-star increase in a Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue for businesses in general.
The more reviews you have, the more bookings your vacation rental property will receive. They give you credibility. Additionally, reviews allow you to fix issues with the home that you may be unaware of, such as broken blinds, a clogged shower drain, or the need for additional eating utensils. So, let’s work on getting you better guest reviews with these vacation rental review tips.
Make Them Happy From the Start
Before guests even arrive, do something small but thoughtful. Send them an email letting them know how excited you are to host them and not to hesitate to call you with questions about the local area.
When they arrive, display small touches like flowers on the dining room table or dog treats for Fido (if you accept pets). Tiny efforts like this go a long way to making the renters feel at home and endearing yourself to them.
During their stay, be available for your guests. Let them know you care about their happiness and that you’re available for any immediate needs.
Ask For a Vacation Rental Review
After your guests leave, send them a “thank you” follow up email and ask for feedback. You should invite them to leave a review and provide them a link or instructions on how to leave a review. It’s important to keep this timely, contacting them within a couple of days of their departure. If you wait longer than that, guests have returned to their daily routines and you’ll be lost in their life shuffle. Leaving you a review will get put on the very bottom of their priority list and eventually slide off altogether.
When they leave a positive review, thank them for their time and feedback.
How to Deal With Less Than Stellar Reviews
First, let’s learn to not panic when we don’t get 100% A+s from guests. While five-star reviews are something we all want, a study out of Northwestern University suggests that five-star ratings come across as “too good to be true.” The study’s authors say that, in moderation, bad reviews actually help boost sales. So if you get 4 stars instead of 5, that’s OK.
With that said, if someone leaves a truly negative review, don’t fight them, and don’t respond immediately. Give yourself time to cool off then thank them for their feedback. You should share your perspective. Let them know your rental is designed a certain way by choice, but acknowledge it isn’t for everyone. If the feedback is valid (i.e. broken lights, etc.) then make it known you will fix the issue as soon as possible. Make them feel heard, and then move on.
If a negative reviewer just can’t be satisfied, or their complaint is outlandish (“It rained too much and the towels were the wrong color.”), the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog suggests you draw attention to all the positive things people have said. “In my review response, I might say something like, ‘I’m really sorry you didn’t feel our rentals offered good value for the price you paid. We’ve been in business for 10 years and have hosted more than 800 guests, our team likes to use the very rare incidents like this one to re-oil our operations so that dissatisfaction never happens again.’” A response like this is a good way to point out your happy customer base while still making the guest feel acknowledged. In the end, you can’t please everyone.
Putting in small efforts up front and straight up asking the guest for a review upon departure goes a long way to ensuring your reviews become more positive and frequent. Do you have a tip for how to get more (and better) vacation rental reviews? Leave your suggestions in the comments, we’d love to hear them!