How to use your vacation rental website to take control of your rental property reviews
The infamous review website TripAdvisor.com is ranked 183 in the Alexa Global website rank (17th September 2015). Positioned above Fox News, Mozilla, Telegraph and American Express TripAdvisor is the market leader in online reviews of attractions, accommodation and restaurants. Unfortunately, there is little you can do to control what your past guests write on TripAdvisor and we all know that not every guest is always 100% happy. However, there is a way that you can control your reviews, your own website!
Your website is just that, yours! You control its content, it’s photos and, of course, the reviews potential guests get to see. Adding reviews on your website either at the footer of every page or on a dedicated page is a great way to entice potential guests to make a booking at your property.
Start by allowing previous guests to make a review of your property using your website. Many properties give guests as they check out a small business card asking them to leave a review. By doing this, they are much more likely to leave a review at your website (which you can control) than on a website such as TripAdvisor (which you can’t control). Some properties even offer an enticement to guests for leaving a review. For example, the chance to win a free night or a gift voucher for a department store.
The review form on your website should be easy to use and quick to complete, don’t list 101 tick boxes, just ask them for their name, the date of their stay (in case you want to get in touch with the guest to thank or apologise), their review and an overall ranking between 1 and 5 for their stay.
Depending on how your website is setup and if you use vacation rental software, you should be able to filter your reviews to ensure only the best are displayed to potential guests visiting your website. Don’t hide every review that doesn’t rank you 5 stars, be genuine and just hide those that really don’t portray a positive image for your business. You should also respond to your reviews and post the response under each review on your website, this makes your website more personal to users.
It’s inevitable that you will get the odd negative review on websites such as TripAdvisor. Although they can have a drastic effect on the number of bookings your property receives you should use them as a way of receiving feedback from your guests. Learn from such feedback and implement changes in your business to stop the same problems from arising again with future guests.
Many review websites allow you to reply to reviews left by past guests. You should be extremely cautious when doing so. Potential guests will scroll past the odd negative review understanding that you can’t please everyone, however if your response is rude or unapologetic then it’s extremely likely that the reader will simply look elsewhere.
When replying to a review left by a previous guest you should allow someone you trust to read over it, preferably someone other than a member of your family who may want to appease you. Many times you’ll find the reviews left to be unfair or unjustified, however, these are the opinion of your guests. If you don’t agree. Simply reply apologising, nothing more. Getting into an argument on a public review site will seriously damage your business!
A bad example of how not to reply to a guest review
“Thank you for leaving a review, however, I can tell you now that all our bedrooms are cleaned daily. There was no rubbish in your bin before you arrived.”
Now, here’s a good way to respond
“I’m glad you enjoyed your stay. However, I am terribly sorry to hear that you had a problem with your air conditioning. If you had told us about the problem during your stay we would have resolved the matter immediately. We have had the unit fixed today. Thank you for bringing it to our attention, we take all feedback very seriously and will have a member of our maintenance team check the units in all rooms.”
Hi, I’m Sean Preston, Lead Developer at Vabooki. Our mission is to make creating a website for your vacation rental property easier than ever! Our unique vacation rental software has been designed to meet the needs of property owners just like you.