Vacation rentals live and die by their reviews. With every property different from the last and a range of companies offering a range of levels of service, people need reviews before booking. Everyone wants to avoid being the protagonist in one of the Internet’s cautionary tales of trusting an untested site. It is sometimes not enough to have a great property and exceptional service. Your guests may well enjoy their stay, but by the time they are home, vacation rentals are out of their minds and the review they once thought about never materialises.
Quantity has a place alongside quality.
If one property has a wide range of reviews and another, just a handful of 5 star ratings, the property that has a large number of reviews often seems to be the better choice, even if these reviews are not all perfect.
People read online reviews with a touch of cynicism. We all know that fake reviews exist. You can even pay companies to fill up your review slots with hastily copied and pasted exhalations. Your guests know that not everyone is always so enthusiastic and gushing about their two days in Montauk Bay. They look for reviews that show a real aspect of staying at this property. One that doesn’t skirt the possible shortcomings but stays balanced and measured.
Reviews are a tool that let us get a quick sense of what we can expect from a property, the features, the amenities and the overall experience. But, more than that they allow us a sympathetic glimpse into what sort of holiday we can expect to have. Reviews are about creating a sense of anticipation for the guest as much as they are about duly checking off the things you need to know.
And more than that, first-time bookers will be wary of the process, echos of vacation rental ‘Horror Stories’ in their minds. They will want to see that your business is legitimate. Real, verifiable people have stayed here and can describe the realities of staying in the property.
So, how can you ensure every guest leaves a review?
First things first, is remember to ask. There is nothing unethical or distortive about requesting reviews from your guests. Once your guests are home and no longer have to think about your business it can be all too easy to forget about leaving a review. A simple reminder to leave a quick review if they enjoyed their stay will see their numbers of reviews rise dramatically. What you should avoid is requesting specifically good reviews. Having one or two reviews that mention some of the least popular features of your property gives your reviews an overall sense of authenticity.
But sometimes, just asking isn’t enough. Offering something extra as an incentive for guests to leave a review is a way you can ensure that every guest wants to review your property. It can be small things, such as a free late checkout or a bottle of local wine to take home with them. A small touch shows your guests that reviews are important to your business and that you appreciate them taking the time to write them.
As well as getting reviews, your promotions can also help to ensure repeat custom to your site. The rewards for posting reviews can be set so they only apply to your customer’s next stay in one of your properties. This means that happy guests will leave positive reviews and then have an incentive to stay at your property again. If you offer a perk for guests that review and then book again, you are not only building an online reputation, but you are also building customer loyalty.
Encouraging your guests to leave reviews is an important part of establishing each of your properties as an appealing prospect for new guests. If you have guests that want to talk about your business, make sure you encourage them. Find out how Kigo can provide automated emails to ensure that every guest leaves a review.