There's no doubt about it. The first place that people go before buying just about anything these days is online. Not only can you find just about anything you are looking for, you can also find others who have purchased and reviewed it. This is also true in the hospitality industry where more and more people are looking for the perfect vacation rental online, and they want to hear what others say about it.
For those who own a rental property, collecting and sharing customer reviews should be the cornerstone of your marketing and advertising program. Nothing sells a vacation property better than an honest, third-party customer review. Here are some considerations in managing your Airbnb reviews:
1. Earn A Great Review
It should go without being said, but the best way to get a great review is to earn it. Provide a clean, well-furnished, comfortable vacation home at a reasonable price to the market, and you'll earn positive points from the start.
Once you have the basics down, go above and beyond the call of duty to make your customers' vacation experience a positive one. If you can, take the time to learn about why your renters are coming to your property and what group is coming with them. Then, go out of your way to do something small to show you care.
For instance, if you learn that a couple is coming to celebrate a wedding anniversary, leave a note with your favorite classy restaurant recommendations or even a small cake for two. If a group of guys is coming to catch a big sporting event in the area, leave some pennants or plastic cups with the participating teams featured. Small touches like these are unexpected and often appreciated.
2. Request Feedback As Part Of Conversation
Most travelers are well aware that booking sites encourage feedback from all users. Some people diligently leave feedback after every trip; others may only leave comments if accommodations were especially good or particularly poor.
Although it's not inappropriate to request that guests leave feedback, choosing the right time, place and manner in which to ask can make a big difference. It's probably a good idea to wait toward the end of a visit before bringing up feedback so that you've had a chance to serve or perhaps pamper your guests for a few days.
Instead of asking for a positive rating, which can be viewed as self-serving, consider opening a conversation focused on your customer's overall experience, what you could have done better, and what was truly appreciated. This is also a good time to thank your renter for anything you appreciated about them as a customer. Were they patient in a difficult situation? Were their children well-behaved? Did they do extra things to clean or straighten the property during their stay? If that conversation seems to be going positively, gently ask at the end of the customer wouldn't mind sharing the feedback online and that you would do the same.
3. Address Complaints and Problems ASAP
Some travelers will have complaints about your property despite your best efforts. In many cases, a bad experience may not be all about your property; there may be other things going on that can contribute to a vacationer's bad mood. Regardless of the reason for the complaint, it's your job to try to resolve the problem and address the situation. Often, a customer will appreciate someone truly listening to them and trying to resolve a difficult situation.
One good idea is to check in with your guests soon after they arrive to make sure everything was as expected. Find out if there's anything you can do to help them right off the bat, and make yourself available if they discover a problem or have an issue during their stay.
Try to be reasonably responsive. Obviously, if a major problem like a plumbing issue occurs during a visit, try to have that repaired as soon as possible. If complaints are more minor or perhaps even unreasonable, at least make an effort to do something to address the issue or concern. Anything that you do while your guest is still at your property can go a long way in mending the situation.
4. Monitor and Respond To Feedback
Once your customers leave, it's likely that Airbnb reviews will appear soon after. Make it a priority to monitor the online reviews daily, especially during the peak season.
Be prompt in your postings and responses. Try to post your reviews and responses within a day. Remember your end of the bargain and leave a positive review, if it's warranted, for each of your guests. Try to find something unique and positive to say about everyone.
Once your guests leave you a review, be sure to respond. Remember that you are really not only responding to your former guest, but to the hundreds of potential guests that will read the thread in the future.
If you are responding to a positive review, thank your customer and invite them back for future visits. Consider mentioning something small that made their particular visit unique to you. This can illustrate that you are a caring, attuned host who is invested in customer relationships.
If you are responding to a negative review, be sure to do so in a calm and helpful way. Again, you want to show your character, honesty, integrity as well as a caring nature as a host for future guests. Most reasonable people can read into reviews that are unreasonable, and seeing your response to a difficult customer can earn you a lot of patience points.
In rare cases, a reviewer may be abusive or unethical in using the feedback tool. In these instances, you can contact Airbnb and ask that the content be taken down and the individual be suspended.
Airbnb reviews are a free and effective marketing and sales tool for all vacation rental owners. They provide an excellent way to gather third-party input to your property and can encourage others to book with you in the future. As an owner, you'll want to try to maximize your use of the tool by earning great reviews, encouraging guests to use the tool to share experiences, and illustrating how you interact with guests through review conversations.
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Air Concierge is a California-based vacation rental management company specializing in handling every aspect of your vacation rental - from optimizing your listing to interacting with your guests and overseeing turnover cleanings after guests depart, reviews, damages, maintenance. If you want to learn more about our services