Receiving positive reviews and feedback of any kind is super important to your holiday rental business.

This could be in the form of handwritten comments in a visitors book at your cottage, spoken to you face to face, sent in an email or a review left online.

Positive reviews and testimonials can really encourage other guests to book. So share them on your website (via a dedicated Guest Reviews page). Also post them regularly on social media.

Online reviews left on eg Airbnb and Trip Advisor are no exception.  Not to spoil the party, but the downside of online reviews is that as long as they meet the listing site’s guidelines, they’re made public.  Even if that review is negative,unfounded or downright unfair!

Accept that that may (or may not) happen, it’s part and parcel of listing on these big listing sites. If you choose to be on these sites you have to roll with the punches.  If it happens, respond with positivity, objectivity and professionalism. So potential guests will then see that review for what it is – a person with a gripe, who simply can’t be placated.

Let’s not spend anymore time focussing on any negatives.

Let’s focus on getting the positive, on those genuine people who don’t gripe and moan but appreciate a great holiday home and a fantastic holiday experience when they see one.   How can we best serve those people?

How can we get them to leave an awesome online review? Here’s how:

5 top tips to getting awesome online reviews

1 Exceed Expectations

Think about it. If you’ve have an average holiday experience would you bother leaving a review? Unlikely, even if you could think of some positive things to say.

If you’ve had a genuinely dreadful experience (and a don’t mean a silly gripe, I mean really poor customer service and shoddy accommodation). Where the owner simply hasn’t cared, then your instinct is to tell others; to warn them.

Likewise if you’ve had an amazing holiday experience that exceeded all your expectations then you want to shout about it. Almost brag about how smart you were to choose to holiday there!

Exceeding expectations is about adding value to a guest’s holiday, that they didn’t expect.

Guests know what facilities you have from your listing, they’ve seen your images, so what can you do to exceed their expectations on holiday?  Many things;  leave a locally sourced welcome hamper, small gifts for the kiddies, a map, a guide you’ve written. Have a detailed information folder that explains how all the appliances work, a fully equipped kitchen (just like they’d have at home). You get the drift. So think this through. What can you add, and it’s very often the smallest touches that make all the difference, yet don’t cost you very much.

2 Be A Real Person

Come out from behind your brand. Let guests get to know you as a person.

This can be trickier when processing bookings through third parties, rather than your own website. Here you can start to build the guest-owner relationship immediately. But it’s still possible.

It means replying to their enquiry as you (using your first name and not the name of your property). Respond in first person rather than the usal third person.  Write as you, don’t be stuffy or use vocab that doesn’t feel right.

Create a person to person relationship, not a person to holiday let one.  Become their ‘friend’. I don’t mean a bessy relationship or something forced and over the top.  But be someone guests feel they can turn to with a query and rely on to respond.  It’s about showing you care.

Friends help each other.  You’ve helped them, by giving them an amazing holiday, they want to help you in return. If they’ve felt appreciated and closer to you, they’ll do more to help you than those that didn’t!

Human nature means we’re more likely to help a person than we are a business.

3 Ask For It

As I said above, if you have the friendly, person to person relationship you can ask much more easily for guests to leave a review.

If they don’t automatically leave one, if a week or so later they receive a request from you, they’re much more likely to oblige and help a ‘friend’.

Don’t sit hoping a great online review will be left. Add it to your checklist of tasks to do when a guest’s holiday is over.  Of course it goes without saying that if that listing site asks you to review your guest, you must do so, even if they haven’t (yet) left you a review.

4 Impress From The Start

Treat each enquiry as if it was a confirmed booking. Remember that all enquiries come from potential guests. These may well be the people down the line that you’re wanting to receive a positive review from.

Be respectful and helpful from the start and reply quickly.  If you haven’t time to give a detailed response right now, acknowledge it and reply tomorrow when you do.  Think carefully about your response. What exactly is your guest asking, not what you think they’re asking!

It’s likely they will email 5 more holiday lets, this is your chance to impress from the off.

Once you get the relationship off to a great start, then continue it.  Have a system where you email them two months ahead of arrival, one month and then one week. At each stage checking all’s Ok with them and they have everything they need.

5 Deliver Awesome Customer Service

Doing all the prep work to exceed guest’s expectations and to build excellent relationships doesn’t end once your guests arrive.  It continues throughout their holiday.

If you don’t greet them personally on arrival (and that’s not necessary if you live away), make sure you call them to check they’ve arrived safely and are happy with everything. Then leave them to it.  Don’t give them a list of dos and don’t at this point. Point then instead towards your welcome folder which includes this info.  Remind them where to find your telephone number and that you’re available to help them. The more info you include in your welcome folder the less likely they need to call you. Great for you and your guests.

Be on hand to deal with any queries or problems as they arise. If not you, then a trusted housekeeper. How you respond to problems is crucial to getting that great online review. Have a water-tight system in place. and a list of trusted contractors to hand. Keep the guests informed at every stage too.  Leave an evaluation form for them to give you honest feedback.  Thank them for any comments and explain what steps you have taken or plan to take as a result of their feedback.

AND THEN continue to nurture your relationship with your guest and get them to rebook with you directly!  Which is ultimately what we all want.

Karen

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Would you like an easy to follow check list, to ensure each time you’re doing all you can to nurture those guests and to bag yourself an awesome online? Then I have just the thing for you.

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