As many of you have noticed, we recently released a new featured that enables you to review your travelers. The feature allows owners and property managers to rate their guests who book through HomeAway, VRBO or VacationRentals.com. HomeAway will collect the reviews from past owners and managers and make them available to owners and property managers that are considering a traveler, so they can make informed decisions about accepting reservation requests.
We’ve seen lots of really good questions posted here about the feature. Here are the answers you’ve been asking for! Thanks again for the feedback, discussion and great questions.
Why did you develop the traveler review feature on HomeAway?
We recently launched the traveler review feature so that we’ll be able to give you more information about travelers that want to book your property. Our decision to build this tool was also based on feedback we heard directly from owners and managers expressing interest in this capability.
How long do owners have to review a guest?
Both you and your guests have 12 months after a stay to leave a property or traveler review, unless the other party writes a review sooner. When you or your traveler submits a review, it opens up a 14 day window for the other party to write their review. For example, if your guest submits a review first, you will be notified and will have 14 days after that point to submit your review of the traveler. Ratings will be published either 1) after both you and your guest have reviewed the other within the 14 day window, or 2) after the 14 days are up. This means you can feel confident about both parties giving an honest opinion since neither will be able to see the other’s review first.
Can you wait until after they write a review?
However, if you wait until after your guest leaves a review of your property, we will not disclose its content until you leave a review about them or 14 days have elapsed. Reciprocally, if you leave a review first, your guest won't see the rating you leave them until after they've left one for you. You will also not be able to write a review more than 14 days after your guest leaves you a review, and vice versa. The goal here is to promote honest reviews.
Can the guest respond to the review I write about them?
Traveler reviews are currently using a star-rating system and we do not allow written commentary. Your traveler will not be able to comment directly on the reviews past owners or managers have left on their profiles.
Who can see the review and/or any responses to it on a Google search?
No one! Traveler reviews are not public. Owners and managers with online booking can access past reviews from the potential guest’s profile when in a discussion with them about a booking. Other travelers, owners without online booking, and owners who are not in a conversation with a traveler will not be able to view that traveler’s ratings.
Are there any protections in place for the owner if the guest responds with a retaliatory review?
Our review system includes a 14 day window during which neither the property nor traveler reviews are disclosed. Once the 14 days are through, the reviews that have been submitted are published and the content of the reviews is locked on both sides. This should prevent retaliatory reviews from happening.
Does the traveler’s review indicate which property owner provided the review?
No, we are showing aggregated star ratings only: the average rating and the number of owners who have provided a review.
Why did you choose to offer a star rating system instead of comment-based system?
We chose to develop a star rating system and set out structured categories to help provide an objective view on what matters most to many owners and managers when considering a prospective guest. We also wanted to make sure key categories of importance are touched upon. We understand these ratings are just one piece of the puzzle – your decisions can also be informed by other information available on the traveler’s profile, as well as the discussions you have with your potential guest prior to booking them.
Will you be standardizing property reviews with a star rating system of key elements to make them less subjective?
We are continuously working on improving our reviews system, so we are indeed exploring adding structured category ratings to our current property reviews framework. We still believe that written comments on properties are important for other travelers to understand the ratings provided by past guests and add additional color (usually positive!), and have no plans to remove written comments on property reviews.
Why do online booking-enabled properties have this feature, and others don’t?
The feature is available for online booking-enabled properties only because when a traveler books online we can accurately tie the review back to the correct traveler account.
Are owners required to leave a review of the guest?
No. However, the more owners and managers write reviews, the more information fellow owners and managers have to work with in the future.
Does not leaving a review impact a listing's placement in search results determined by Best Match?