We live at a time when digital words burn faster than a lit match. Whether we like it or not, online reviews are how the world expresses opinions. They are integrated into Google search, Facebook, Twitter and all the major online travel agencies. Although some brands still choose to ignore what their customers say online, we know it’s better to not only manage your vacation rental reviews - but solicit and respond to them. However, both actions require a strategy. We’ve got some solid advice.
Why Reviews Matter
A recent Trustpilot survey emphasizes digital review importance across multiple industries, including travel. A whopping 89% of online shoppers indicate they read reviews at least “sometimes”. Travel reviews pack an even bigger punch. According to 2016 research by TripAdvisor and Phocuswright, 96% of TripAdvisor users believe reviews are important when planning trips, and more than half of TripAdvisor users will not book a property with no reviews. In short, everyone is paying attention to what your customers say. You should as well.
Why Timing Matters
Given the vital role that online reviews play in a traveler’s decision-making process, vacation rental management companies should capitalize by actively managing their reputations. The truth is, your guests already know you would appreciate a good review and also know your vacation rental business depends on their feedback. Chances are great they actually chose your property because of previous reviews.
An ill-timed request could be off-putting and sour an otherwise fantastic guest experience. VRMIntel states “If done properly, not only will VRMs be able to avoid diminishing the warm feeling people get when they have experienced authentic, genuine hospitality, but also increase the likelihood that the guest will follow through with their posting."
Send a Post-Stay Thank You Note
We recommend you send a thank you note directly after a guest stay and politely say you would appreciate a review. Include a link to Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway or your chosen review site. Timing your request appropriately will keep guests happy and will likely result in a more thorough, positive feedback. Additionally, post the reviews on a special reviews section of your vacation rental website.
Responding to Vacation Rental Reviews
Once a guest writes a review, it’s highly recommended that you create a unique response. If the guest mentions the thoughtful bottle of wine you gifted or the amazing bathroom cleanliness, thank him accordingly. Yes - bad reviews happen to even the best hosts. Responding to negative feedback is actually just as important - if not far more integral to your business success. Ignore a negative review or provide an overly assertive response and it could affect your bookings. Be polite, address specific concerns and offer to continue the conversation offline. Timely response to both positive and negative reviews will portray you as a respectful, professional and mindful property manager.
Kigo's Vacation Rental Solution?
Kigo helps vacation rental management companies provide the kind of customer service that glean great reviews. From our streamlined booking software to our dedicated vacation rental contact center, Kigo facilitates a smooth guest experience that prompts guests to review your properties favorably.
To access more information about how to grow your company with Kigo, check out our free eBooks today!