Well - I have reviewed the guest. To me, It makes sense that if I review them, it might remind them or encourage them to submit a review. I know that is against the recommendation of others here but it doesn't change what makes sense to me.
Why would it make sense to not allow the guest to edit their recent review? What does VRBO / HomeAway fear would happen that would be negative if they allowed it?
Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe we can edit what we write here on this forum and I'm sure most people here would feel more comfortable knowing that they could edit what they wrote if they later notice a mistake that needs correcting?
OK, I read the correct answer and of course I printed it out for future reference. I might conclude that VRBO / HomeAway is afraid that the guest and the owner might try try to blackmail each other into performing actions that they might not naturally take. Or that the two of them might be inclined to create a side deal off-line to gain some advantage?
Am I missing the point? Or am I basically correct?
So what about some "best practices" advise for me? Can I create a template to replace the generic one HomeAway sends out to the guest with one of my own? If so what careful wording should I use to emphasize the importance of the "Star" ranking to the owner -- since the majority of our guests have no knowledge at all that these reviews are a major scoring factor used by HomeAway to rank us owners?
BTW I edited this reply to correct a minor spelling error --
You mentioned that "reviews are supposed to be honest". But now I would assume that it is believed that both parties will become dishonest if they are allowed to edit their reviews. That makes good sense -- if you revise your perspective to read "since both owners and guests are basically dishonest" -- then it makes better sense to not allow them to edit what they wrote.
So I would now assume that HomeAway also basically sees us as dishonest too! I get that -- that kind of falls into the general overall perspective that I see every day on this forum. We don't always trust HomeAway for a lot of reasons and they don't trust us for a lot of reasons.
I get it -- I think that is the way it is.
I think some guest are fussy, and when they have a moment to reflect perhaps they might realize they were to quick to fuss.
(or they are on vacation with their family and there the "family issues" that arise when vacationing together)
A neighbor told me she reached out to a guest and let her know how her review impacts others and the listing.
She is a very diplomatic person, and after she re-explained about the incident the guests admitted she can sometimes just to conclusions.
It was a win win for both and now that same vacationer is a regular with her.
HomeAway will not edit, nor allow edits to reviews. We have a two-way blind review system as feibus mentioned. If the traveler made a mistake in the review their only option would be to reach out to Customer Support and request the review be removed. They will not have an opportunity to resubmit a corrected review. Thank you.
HomeAway Community Manager
my really inexperienced perspective and suggestion to the author of this thread
1. given that as it is reasonable HA/VRBO utilizes a double-blind review system to avoid/minimize retaliations or trade-offs, as it is a general practice by the way
2. i suggest you ask the traveler to send you an email, perhaps on the HA/VRBO platform, stating precisely what they told you and how on second thoughts they would have liked to write the review - you may then post the text of that email as a comment i believe it is called, by going to Edit Property, Reviews on the lateral tabs on the HA Owners Dashboard - it will appear without stars,therefore no rating, but the prospective guest will see both the original review and the comment and integrate the two.
I will start out by saying I appreciate you taking the time to respond --
However, I'm just not interested in a rather complicated workaround -- there are just too many workarounds we already have to go through.
And I think the average guest just wants a simple process to make a review that doesn't require complicated workarounds. I don't think most guests even look at the review they wrote on HomeAway's Website after they write it up.
I'm really more interested in finding out if I can use a custom written template to request a review and that allows me to guide the inexperience guest through the review process.
Actually I can live with the results easily -- I suppose that by posting it here one would assume that the guest made some grave error. Actually he simply submitted a very complimentary 4 star review. I have received 29 reviews thus far -- all have been 5 star. So I asked the guest if their was something we could improve since we received a 4 star review. They responded that they assumed that their review included a broader range than just our condo -- They thought a 5 star review would apply to the Presidential Suite at The 4 Seasons. Remember no one provides any guidelines to go by. They apologized and said they would change it to a 5 star but they didn't know how.
Hence my question. We joked around about it -- And I eventuality just told them to give me a 6 star review next time to make up for it!
This world of condo rentals is just some strange game played without rules -- sort of like the movie -- "Maze Runner". At least that is how it seams to me.
In my real world life -- I cannot live without editing and improving EVERYTHING I do. Whether it is instructions to repair something. Tax Preparations, Accounting. Creating complicated spreadsheets. Plans in general. Even - how to pull off a good vacation. I write up a plan and constantly improve it as time goes by. So it is natural for me to assume that I can edit something I wrote when I need to.
Since no one addressed whether I could create my own template to ask the guest for a review -- the answer to that question remains unknown to me.
You can find the answer to this and many other questions by logging in, clicking the little squares icon in the top left corner of your listing, click "support" and then scroll down to see if your question is answered there, OR you can do a search.
And yes, agreed, there probably SHOULD be some sort of explanation to travelers as to what the star scale means, however, I would imagine that VRBO does not want to lead a guest into their review, so I can definitely see both sides.
We've all been on the receiving end of that "perfect" 4 star review. Your future guests aren't going to make their decision on the stars that your previous guests gave you (unless of course you have alot of low reviews), they are going to make their decision on the comments. Even a 1 star review can be viewed as an "opportunity," by showing your future guests how well you handle issues as they come up.
I try not to sweat the little things. We have about 5 4-star reviews. It's not affected our bookings in the least.
Go to your listing's email templates, the review template is right there near the bottom of the list.
As for worrying about a 4-star review, don't. There's a reason VRBO's metrics include both 5- and 4-star reviews... for many travelers, there's not a big difference, so they could them the same, except for the average score. But anything over 4.6 is still great.
I found "E-mail templates" under Property | Rules & Policies | E-mail Templates
Edit inserted; I just have to keep you guys entertained --
If you bother to think about it ---
Why does it make any sense to put "E-mail Templates" under "Rules and Policies"? It just looks to me like they needed to stick it somewhere and just found a hole there?
Maybe HomeAway isn't allowed to edit their own work --- If that were true --- That would explain a whole lot of things I see on this website!
I wrote up a custom Template for reviews and tested it to see if it showed up when I request a review. Yea, it's there.
I didn't make sure it was perfect -- I'm absolutely SURE HomeAway will let me EDIT it if I need to ------.
"As for worrying about a 4-star review, don't" I've learned that it does pay to worry about anything concerning the Policies and Procedures around here.
Earlier above -- I mentioned I was joking with our guest about the whole thing.
Several months earlier I was causally asking why my listing within our condo complex was shown (default) as 71 out of 76 listings? No one knew the answer.
Then in Nov this year, I was ask to become a Premier Partner. I accepted (after a little study). Ever since my listing is #1 out of 76. How come? I'll bet nobody knows.
So has anything else changed? No nothing else changed. I'm not getting more bookings or any other perk that I can tell. I don't see that it makes any difference at all -- maybe someone can tell me about the big advantages I should be seeing? BTW I'm still #1 out of 76 with a 4 star review since either HomeAway rounds off all the numbers they use to rate us or it just doesn't really matter
I had a guest put our condo # in the review. So I called CS and was told it will be deleted because (a rule I agree with) by providing my property address and my condo # combined with the calendar leaves me vulnerable. It is a nice 5 star review, why can't (1) it be edited to remove JUST THE CONDO # or (2) "rejected" with a note to the guest to please resubmit without the condo #. I was told once deleted the guest cannot submit a new one. I have not responded to the review or rated them, I am now cheated out of a nice 5 star review. Do I at least get credit for it for my PP status????
Just another host facing either leaving incorrect info in a review (they said my 2 bedroom is a 3 bedroom) or losing a 5-star review. I'll just message every guest after booking to clarify that it is not, in fact, a 3 bedroom. An unacceptable choice for an owner and it hurts guests. I think customer service needs to be able to make judgment calls on incorrect reviews.
I don't know what the answer is but I'm really on the fence. The number of reviews a property has and the stars are both used to rank the property, so I'd get dinged twice if I requested a deletion. Of course, if guests came expecting the three bedrooms that could be a pretty bad review. But then again if a guest booked bedrooms based on a review rather than the listing they're pretty dumb. I had a guest ask when was breakfast the other day so there are all kinds of false expectations. Blame Airbnb for that one.
You can completely bypass HomeAway's review system by using your own management system and asking guests to complete an exit survey for your property after their stay. (HomeAway will still send them requests to review your property but I find that these are usually ignored by guests.) A proper survey allows you to get real information from your guests that is really useful to improving your property and your service, because you can ask them about specific aspects of your property and their stay, and you will be able to see trends in responses over time.
This is something you can't do with "Did you like staying here and would you recommend it?" That is, in many ways, useless.
When you get an exit survey where the guest has raved about your property and clearly is pleased with their stay, you copy the guest's comments into a paragraph, give it a suitable title, and send it back to the guest in an email with a link to your review form on HomeAway, and ask them to post a public review online for you, by copying their own comments into the fields on the HomeAway form. And you ask them to rank you at 5-stars explaining that they are not rating the property, but instead the trustworthiness of the owner and accuracy of the listing information. You explain that anything less than a 5-star rating will hurt you in search results, and to please rate you at 5-stars, as long as they honestly can. If not, they should write you back and tell you why. (more research)
It takes just a minute of their time to do, they don't have to think about what to write, and you are making it really easy for them to post their own comments about your property. I suspect that supplying a template might just appear too manipulative and you may turn people off.
Plus if a guest was anything less than positive, you simply don't invite them to post their comments. No email is sent by you about a review, and the less than perfectly satisfied guest got a chance to vent and complain to you about any concerns through your guest survey (you will learn lots from criticism, lots more than from praise so pay attention and DO something about what you learn) which helps them to feel cared about as well. Your discussions with them are not in public and meanwhile, your positive reviews on HomeAway are ticking upwards.
Pros take control of their property and their results. They don't let sites like HomeAway run their business for them, no matter how hard the sites might try.
Sure, eventually you will get a guest who bypasses you, positive or negative and posts a review directly. Positive ones are a bonus. Negative ones, if you are a caring conscientious owner, usually come across as an anomaly and may be inevitable anyway if you are in business long enough. I just got a 1-star review from a vindictive guest angling for an undeserved refund. It didn't change my mind.
Maybe you can't control everything that happens, but you should take control of everything you can.
I like your idea of a property survey. Would you please post an example of your survey. I am interested to see what catagories and questions you ask the guest about.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Unfortunately that is not something I can do at this time. But all you need to do is sit down and make a list of what you want to know, and ask your guest to rate your property on each of those items. I suggest a 5 step scale with 1-2 being bad, 3 being satisfactory, 4-5 being good. Don't use numbers, use words that express the guest's degree of satisfaction with what you have provided.
Have a comments area after each section of questions. Nothing is more frustrating than a survey that doesn't ask what someone wants to share. If you have missed a topic you should be asking about, the comments section responses will guide you in adding additional questions that should be in your survey.
Don't just ask about the property, ask about your service as well.
After asking about various aspects of the property and your service, close by asking the guests how they felt staying in your property, and how they feel now that the stay is completed, with an open text box for written response. Those two questions will get you the greatest material for building great reviews that the guest can later submit for you.
Every owner's survey should be unique to them based on their own individual property.