Reviews: why they are good for your listing and how to solicit them from your guests

    The importance of reviews


    Reviews matter to travelers and will help you gain trust and credibility. Be sure to request a review from each and every guest who stays with you.  Why? Travelers look for them; reviews from past guests give travelers confidence when booking your vacation rental. Reviews aid in establishing trust and credibility. A vacation rental is a big expense for the average family. Prospective renters want to read reviews of your home from past guests to reassure them that the home is depicted accurately.

    Build instant trust with potential renters by getting past guests to write reviews of their stay at your home. We also encourage you to respond to less-than-positive reviews so that you can help other potential renters put the review into context. Every vacation rental is different. Reviews are even more important for vacation rentals because the traveler isn't considering two or three brand name hotels; they're comparing vacation homes rented by individual owners.


    How to get more reviews

    We spoke to several vacation rental owners who've shown a knack for getting their guests to post reviews. We rounded up their best advice below.


    Recognize that positive reviews generate more positive reviews

    Guests have told me they definitely feel better renting from a private homeowner having read other guests positive experiences, and I've found that the guests who mention they booked because of the online comments generally turn out to be my best renters. They've done their research and are looking for a great experience. And if the guest has a great experience, they are going to be most appreciative and more than willing to comment in our online guestbook.

    –Debbie T (VRBO #82395, 141 reviews and counting)

    Mention your reviews from your very first interaction with a potential guest

    When responding to inquiries, we always mention our reviews, and provide a link to them in our response letter. I also use it as a closing tool. When someone has expressed an interest in our property, we also remind them to check out our guestbook. This lets them know that we consider this important to our business. Someone told me once that the longer you can keep a potential customer on your website, the greater the odds of booking. The guestbook is great at that. When someone emails me that they are considering several properties, I direct them to our guestbook which gives us an extra ‘push' in that kind of situation.”

    –Steve J VRBO 

    Establish a personal connection

    “We meet every guest when they arrive and get them comfortably settled. Then, when they check-out we help them with their bags and say goodbye to them. We feel that the ‘personal touch' is most important when dealing with our guests. When our guests leave we always ask them for feedback about their stay with us and then we e-mail them a thank you letter, which always contains a link to the guestbook for the property in which they've stayed. Most guests are happy to enter a comment.”

    –Steve and Trish Y (HomeAway #131703, 46 reviews and counting)

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