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What If Customer Reviews Dictated Your Price?

Stand out with a innovative new approach to pricing

Have you ever felt mislead by a site or a review? There wasn't something so bad that made you request a refund but you had the feeling that you were paying a little too much for what you received. Today we imagine a world where owners gambled their price against their service!


Imagine a scenario where Vacation Rentals were grouped into 5 categories, similar to hotels. This would be based on the location, setting and facilities of the property and would be decided by an impartial and independent third party.

  • The seemingly highest quality properties would score a 5, meaning their price was set at $5, the lowest at $1, and so on.
  • The property would then be scored out of 100 by customers that actually stayed there. This score would then be multiplied by their price category and this would set the price per night.
  • For example, a $4 property that scored an average score of 75 would have a per night price of $300. A $2 property that scored 86 would cost $172.

Customers pay the price set by the average score at the time of booking and submit their own score after their stay. This would ensure proper reviews from people that have actually experienced the property. It would also stop crafty guests aiming to queer the patch for a cheaper stay before booking.

How many vacation rental managers would sign up to this? Could it ever work?

Would it drive an emphasis on the quality of experience and fairness of price? Or would it collapse into chaos?

There are certainly advantages to the system. No business could ever afford to become complacent. A 5 star rating has consistently been based on the quality of the facilities in the hotel, but this rating system would be the first to concentrate on the overall experience. Every guest would have to be concentrated on with the utmost importance.

But there are also disadvantages - we operate in a free market where people are free to choose their own prices and the level of service that they provide. People would be reticent to let others set their price. Also, can we trust these opinions? Some guests may have unrealistic expectations for their stay and reflect poorly on a place that doesn't meet them - even if they never professed to be a 5-star experience. Secondly, it is very easy to muddy the review of the accommodation with your overall experience of a holiday. It would be hard to give a glowing review for a place if your holiday was ruined by weather or some unexpected disaster.

It is far from a perfect system but it does serve to show that use reviews are becoming more and important. 29% of customers cite positive reviews as the most likely factor to make them book a holiday on-line. Sharing of information and personal experience is now part of the process when booking on-line.

So whilst this is just a hypothetical scenario, treat your business like this is the structure we have. Aim for a score of 100 with every guest. Treat their reviews as if they do dictate your price. And if you’re confident enough with your service, you could try it out. It would certainly be a risk, but it would be an interesting and bold new strategy that may garner you some great publicity.

Let us know if this is something you would be happy to try.

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