Most listing sites, including HomeAway.com, VRBO.com allow travelers to submit reviews of the properties they stayed in on recent vacations. While the vast majority of the reviews are wonderful, some reviews are 4s, 3s, 2s, and even a few 1s.
And without fail, each time that anything less than a 5-star review comes in, the owner gets upset. But before you react, consider for a moment the benefits of a negative review.
Travelers are cynical — Travelers hold reviews in high regard. However, they become skeptical if the reviews are too perfect and think that perhaps the owners (or the owners' friends) wrote the reviews.
But they are smart — When a traveler sees a negative review sandwiched between many good reviews, they see the reviews as being fair and balanced.
Be objective — Though sometimes we don't like to hear negatives, you have to look at a guest's comments rationally. Does the reviewer make a legitimate point?
Think of a negative review as constructive feedback — Wouldn't you like to know what could be improved about your property, customer service, etc.?
Show that you're willing to go the extra mile — Take a negative review as a challenge to remedy a sticky situation with aplomb. Champion your solution as an Owner Response, if the site allows it, and remember that your audience is future travelers, not the traveler who left the bad review.
Control the medium — When you receive a negative review on HomeAway, you're given the opportunity to respond. However, if a renter goes on a rampage posting across forums and travel review sites, you won't likely be able to give your side of the story.
Balance negative reviews with glowing ones — Perhaps one guest didn't have a perfect experience at your home. So,solicit reviews from one of the many guests who did.
The listing sites didn't create the ratings and reviews system as a vehicle for unhappy renters to personally antagonize you. Reviews should be considered an additional marketing tool for you to use to build credibility and trust with potential guests. Take a negative review in stride and focus instead on how you can ensure experiences for your future guests.
*Last Updated April 11, 2018
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