Why guest reviews are important
Guest reviews are not just nice to have, they are a super-important part of your vacation rental marketing strategy. Here’s why getting good reviews is worth your time and effort:
- Guest reviews are a powerful form of social proof. They build trust in your holiday home and showcase the guest experience on offer.
- More reviews mean more bookings! Potential guests rely heavily on the experiences of others before booking their holiday accommodation. According to TripAdvisor, 83% of guests say reviews help them pick the right play to stay. 53% won’t commit to a booking without reading reviews first!
- Positive guest reviews boost the performance of your holiday home listing on key booking sites such as Airbnb, Expedia, Vrbo and Booking.com. These sites use guest reviews to influence where your property appears in their search results – those with good reviews rank higher.
- Good reviews validate that you are getting things right for guests. They pinpoint what guests love most about your vacation rental and where you can make improvements.
Here are five ways to get some great guest reviews in the bag for your vacation rental.
1. Set the right expectations
Poor reviews can arise where the guests expectations of a vacation rental don’t match the reality of their stay. Managing expectations starts with how you present your property online. Your photos and written description of your property should be an accurate representation of the property, and provide up-to-date information. Guests can be disappointed if something is not available as advertised. It is also a good idea to regularly review your amenity list, to make sure it is up to date, and that everything is in working order.
Our team are experts in listing optimisation – we help your create the best possible listing for your property so you’ll stand out to guests on the booking sites. For more information, check out our guide on How we make listings better.
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2. Make sure your communication is on point
This one is a no-brainer! If guests have a great stay in your vacation rental, they are more likely to share their experience by leaving a good review. It makes sense to offer a stellar guest experience. This starts with your initial communication with guests, to when they check in, right through to the end of their stay. Get things right from the start by contacting each guest before their stay to introduce yourself and share key information including:
- Directions to find the property
- Arrival instructions/how to access the property
- Check-in and check-out times
It is also important to respond to any pre-arrival messages from guests and answer their questions as quickly as you can. Check out our tips for great guest communication.
3. Go the extra mile for every guest
Guests are often prompted to leave a review when they are pleasantly surprised by something they weren’t expecting. As well as ensuring that the property is spotlessly clean and well-maintained, you can exceed their expectations with thoughtful touches such as:
- A well-stocked welcome basket filled with local produce
- A welcoming note, plus your recommendations for what to see and do locally
- Essentials such as milk and eggs left in the fridge
- Putting out some fresh flowers
- Providing bathrobes and slippers and nice toiletries
- If you allow children – provide board games, DVDs, books and toys to keep them entertained
- If you allow pets, leaving some treats for pets is a nice touch
- A bottle of wine or prosecco if guests are celebrating a special occasion
4. Be proactive - fix any problems during their stay
It is important to let guests know how to reach you in the event of any issues they experience during their stay. Unresolved issues can result in a poor review, so as well as providing a point of contact for guests to reach out to, it is also a good idea to be proactive with your guests.
If you can, check-in with your guests during their stay by sending them a message or giving them a quick call. Ask if they are happy with everything and confirm that everything is in order. If they do have an issue that needs fixing, it is important to address this as soon as possible to prevent a negative guest review.
5. Encourage guest reviews in different ways
Wherever possible, ask guests in person for a review. A good time to do this is when they are checking out of the property. Telling guests that their feedback really matters to you can encourage them to leave a review. Ask them to review you on whichever booking site they made the booking with (e.g. Airbnb, Booking.com etc), and that you’ll write a review for them, (if that’s offered by the specific booking site). It is also a good idea to send them a brief follow-up message a couple of hours after they check out, to thank them for choosing to book your property and including a link for them to write a review on the appropriate booking site.
Another way to encourage guests to review their stay in your vacation rental is to give them a few visual prompts in the property itself. For example, if you offer a welcome basket, you can create ‘Review your stay’ cards to leave out beside the welcome basket, as well as in other key locations such as in the welcome pack, entrance hall or noticeboard if you have one.