Did you know that 93% of consumers report that reviews influence their online buying decisions? It shouldn’t be a surprise that the vacation rental industry follows the same trend. After all, no one would book a rental that has no reviews. Getting online reviews plays a vital role in your marketing strategy and can help increase high-quality bookings as well as boost revenues.
Why reviews for vacation rentals are so important
There’s also a lot of psychology that goes into online reviews, namely something called social proof. This happens when someone is influenced to do something based on what he or she sees others do. When it comes to vacation rental reviews, it’s quite simple. When a potential guest sees that others enjoyed your vacation rental, they’ll assume that they too will it. Christophe Salmon of Revyoos (an industry-leading review management app) puts it in simpler terms: “Your reviews are the golden nuggets of your business and their impact in terms of generating trust, increasing your SEO and boosting your bookings on your own website is huge”. Christophe adds that these reviews have to be genuine and verified (more on that later in this article).
Good reviews also validate that the host is doing something right. This gives hosts more leeway to charge a higher price per night. After all, if an expensive rental keeps getting great reviews, it has to be worth it right?
The first step to 5-star reviews is… being open to feedback
In the beginning, your goal should be to get any sort of feedback. And it doesn’t necessarily have to 5-stars across the board! When you first start out, the first few reviews serve more to show potential guests a few things:
- Others thought the rental was somewhat worth staying in.
- The previous renters were generally satisfied with their experience.
- If there were issues, you corrected them.
It’s essential to remember that regardless of the feedback you get, it’s not professional to contact the guests after the review is left.
4 tricks to get guests to review your vacation rental
There aren’t any quick hacks or silver bullets to guarantee all guests will leave reviews after every stay. However, there are still a few ways you can increase the odds:
#1: Ask for a review right at checkout
The best time to ask is when the vacation is fresh in the guest’s mind. So why not take that final communication where the guest tells you checkout is complete and ask for a review?
Most of the time, guests will agree and review your vacation rental within a few moments. But if you want to increase your odds, you can end your request by appealing to the guest’s sense of kindness. Explain to the guests that reviews are important to you because they help you improve the rental and attract great guests like them in the future.
If you wait until guests get home, the vacation will already be a faded memory. That’s where you risk getting a generic review like “great place” instead of a more heartfelt, genuine or emotional one (which looks better on your review page).
#2: Make it easy for guests to review you
The modern traveler is used to having everything they need at their fingertips. If you want to increase your chances of a review, make it easy for your guests to do so. One easy way to do this is to leave a mention in your digital guidebook asking for a review in the checkout instructions section.
#3: Review your guests the same day they checked out
Guests aren’t the only ones that should be leaving reviews. As a host, you have the option to leave a review on the app about how the family treated your home during their stay.
Leave this review a few moments after you completed your inspection and the guests have checked out. They’ll be notified that you left a review about them, but won’t be able to see it unless they reciprocate. This simple trick appeals to the guests’ curiosity and is an extra incentive to get them to leave their own review.e
#4: Boost review counts across multiple platforms
A problem any vacation homeowners and property managers face is that they manage numerous online reviews across different platforms. This means that if a guest leaves a positive review on one site, it’s only visible to those who visit that site.
Hostfully allows hosts to sync all their reviews so that guests can see reviews from other sites on the one they’re booking. By using this feature, hosts can instantaneously boost their review count with a click. Note that this feature also enables vacation homeowners to display their reviews directly on the property’s own website.
The 4 don’ts of guest reviews
Although reviews are critical to the success of your vacation rental business, there are a few things that you should not ever do:
#1 Offering to pay for positive reviews
To put it simply, this is illegal in the US. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has guidelines, but basically, you can’t offer a reward in exchange for a positive review. Similarly, paying for positive reviews is against the Terms of Service (ToS) of the major vacation rental platforms. So why risk fines, getting banned from a platform or the future of your vacation rental empire? Better to avoid these risks and attract reviews in a natural way.
#2: Pestering your guests via the app and phone calls
If you used the above strategies and a guest has still not left a review, there’s probably a reason. Pestering your guests via multiple messages on the app or phone calls will not only deter them from leaving a review, but it’ll also prompt them to write a negative one.
#3: Communicating more than 24h later
Asking for a review days or weeks after the guest leaves can come across as unprofessional. At this point, guests have either returned home or are on the next phase of their vacation. There’s also a good chance their memories may have faded. If you don’t get a review in the few days following their departure, it’s best to move on.
#4: Contact guests after they leave you a review that doesn’t match expectations
It’s hard not to take negative reviews personally. We get it. But a single one-star won’t sink your business. It can actually be an excellent opportunity to show potential travelers how you responded to the unhappy guest and improve.
Be open to feedback and accountable for any mistakes or errors you made. Your professional and honest response will speak volumes about your character and business practices.
On the flip-side, properties with all five-star reviews tend to set off red flags for interested guests. It gives the impression something was doctored. So if you get a negative review, consider it the Wabi-Sabi of your rental.
Wrapping things up
Reviews are one of the best ways to market your vacation rental. They give interested guests a real-world account of what the home has to offer. With just a few tricks, you can boost your review count. So get out there and start collecting!