Don’t be afraid of holiday reviews
An increasing number of holiday rental websites are offering guests the opportunity to review accommodation after their stay.
Many second home owners are nervous of these reviews, fearing that poor feedback could wreck their reputation and future bookings. But there really is much less to fear than you imagine – in fact reviews can seriously boost your rental revenues when handled properly.
We’ve analysed holiday rental review patterns over the last few months and they throw up some results that may surprise you.
1. Mr Angry is in the minority
Conventional wisdom holds that the unhappiest customers are the ones who shout loudest. However in the holiday rentals sector the opposite is true. Over 90% of reviewers give positive ratings and write very constructive comments.
On closer inspection this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Renting a holiday home is a personal business and guests are likely to form a closer relationship with a property owner than a faceless firm. The result is that happy customers can’t wait to show their support (and reminisce on their holiday!) when they get home by writing a review.
2. Five is the golden number
When we analysed enquiry rates for property that had been reviewed, we found a tipping point once a property received five or more guest reviews. Enquiries surged at least 20% (much more for many properties) when visitors saw that the property had been heavily reviewed.
To make the most of this effect, encourage all your guests to write reviews after their stay. Email them after they leave, thank them for their stay and send them a link to your review page.
3. Poor reviews are essential to being believed
Web users aren’t stupid. Google undertook extensive research into shopper behaviour that shows people don’t believe online reviews when they’re all good. It seems that a poor review actually serves to make the good reviews more believable.
Potential customers are also very good at judging reviews by “how” they are written. Bad spelling or grammar is often a sign of an unthinking writer and people subconsciously downgrade the weight of such comments.
4. Complaints are an opportunity
Most holiday home owners will have at least one guest per year who just can’t be pleased. All your efforts will be in vain with this person and you should expect poor comments after their stay.
This can be a chance to really shine. Most review systems allow the owner to reply to guest comments and it is essential to use the opportunity wisely.
Never get into an argument – however tempting! Instead thank the guest for their stay and offer feedback on how you’ve taken their comments on board and have acted on them for the good of future guests. This conveys the message that you listen – something prospective renters value above all else.
This article was written by Richard Speigal, Editor of España Breaks – a specialist website for villa holidays in Spain. The business has been operating in the rentals market since 2002.