If you own a vacation rental property or are a property manager, you know how important reviews are. When it comes to platforms such as Airbnb, reviews can make or break your rental business. It can take up to fifteen 5-star reviews to make up for just one 2-star review, so making sure you’re getting as many 5/5 reviews from your guests is extremely important. Potential guests judge a rental property based on their online status and some platforms prioritise properties with the highest review scores. So, be sure to pay close attention to our list of tips and tricks that can guarantee a 5-star review from your guests.
Set the right expectations
One surefire way to receive a negative review is by setting the guests expectations too high. Promising things that you can’t deliver or not keeping your information up to date leads to disappointment and frustration for your guest. It’s natural to want to embellish a little or only point out the good aspects of your property, however, this isn’t always what the guest needs to know. If the property is by a noisy road, there are parties next to your property every Saturday night or if your property doesn’t have air-conditioning and gets hot in the summer, let your guest know. It’s much better to under-promise and over-deliver than το disappoint. To get those 5-star reviews, make sure to provide as detailed a description as possible, clear and up to date photos and any extra information on quirks that your specific property has.
Communication is key
We understand that communication with your guest can take up the most time out of a property manager’s day, but if you’re searching for those 5-star reviews, it’s something you’re going to have to master. Whether it’s pre-check-in, during their stay, check-out or post-checkout, you need to be there to answer any and all questions your guest may have. Imagine the electricity goes out in the middle of the night, your guest doesn’t know how to work the WiFi, or the oven won’t turn on, these are things your guest will need resolutions to ASAP. Good communication during the booking process is also essential as this is your opportunity to share all your information and tips and tricks for your property. Providing clear information on the heating, WiFi, local area, directions to find the property and how the amenities work before the guest arrives, is a great way to reduce questions once they have checked in.
Another fantastic communication tip to go above and beyond for that 5-star review is to ask the guest what they need. Ask if they have any special requests before they check-in, then on the day of check-in ask if they found your property and have settled in ok. Also, let them know you’re just a message away should they have any questions during their stay. Then, on their last night, leave your guest a quick goodbye message. This is a great opportunity to send them a link to your Facebook, Instagram or Review page.
A smooth check-in process
After a long flight or drive, all a guest wants to do is check-in to their vacation rental, put their bags down and relax. As a property manager, having a smooth check-in process not only helps you manage your time and daily operations better, but it also gives your guest a great first impression. Start by providing your guest with extremely clear directions to your property, adding in photos or a short video if it’s in a hard to find location. Then, if you’re meeting your guest in person to give them the keys, be sure to show up before you guest so you can greet them at the door and give them a warm welcome. On the other hand, if you’re using a smart-lock or lock-box, be sure to send clear instructions and the code before your guests leave their home as they may not have access to WiFi to download this information once they arrive at your property. If you want more tips on having the best check-in process, you can read our previous article about mastering the check-in process.
Amenities, amenities, amenities
One of the easiest ways to get those 5-star reviews from your guests in ensuring you have everything they may need readily available throughout their stay. People often opt for vacation rentals over hotel rooms as they presume they get better amenities. Your guests want their vacation rental to feel like home, so be sure to provide basics like toiletries, high-end towels and linens, a comfy bed with plush pillows, a hairdryer, an iron, WiFi and cookware if you have a kitchen. Entertainment is also key for a good stay, so be sure to have a smart TV with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, some books, board games and maybe some puzzles or colouring books for the little ones. Finally, there are those above and beyond amenities, those little touches that make your guest feel special and lead to glowing 5-star reviews. Why not leave some chocolates, herbal teas, locally sourced food items, bottles of water and maybe a fruit bowl. Adding in these free amenities won’t cost you a lot, but they will mean so much to your guest and lead to high ranking reviews.
Create an experience from start to finish
Now more than ever, people are travelling for experiences. They want to explore a new city, eat local foods and learn about different cultures. No one knows the area your vacation property is in better than you do, so be sure to share this information with your guest. You can recommend tour companies, beautiful restaurants, live music venues, places to store their luggage and reliable transfer companies to help them get to your property. Whatever you want to recommend, make sure they are top-quality and their products and services reflect your 5-star review worthy vacation rental. For example, your guest could simply take a taxi from the airport to your hotel, but you wouldn’t know that they would be getting the best experience possible. Instead, you can use a company like Welcome Pickups, a world-renowned and trustworthy transfer service, offering a specific and free solution for vacation rentals. Welcome will alert you when they pick up your guest, let you know an accurate time of arrival to make the check-in process easier, and provide your guest with a comfortable, friendly transfer.
Review guests and reply to guest reviews
As soon as your guest leaves, be sure to give them a positive and personalised review. This will solidify your guests experience with you and will prompt them to leave you a 5-star review in return. Having your guest leave a positive review as soon as they’ve checked out, while their stay is still fresh in their mind, will allow them to give a more detailed description and possibly provide some lovely photos.
Equally important is replying to both positive and negative reviews you receive on your vacation rental. For positive reviews, simply leave a thank you message. This will make you appear like a good, friendly host and give new guests a sense of trust to book with you. For negative reviews, be sure to address them right away. Apologise for the problem, state if you made an effort to fix it and also make sure it’s clear if this specific problem was noted in the original listing. This way, any prospective guests can see that you made an effort to rectify the problem or that you were upfront about it before they booked.
Implementing just a few of these tips and tricks will have you well on your way to receiving 5-star reviews from your guests. Treating every guest like they are staying in your own home, providing an organised and enjoyable experience from start to finish, and being open and honest about the good and bad points of your property are a great way to score a 5/5 review from your guest.