Join us in GROUPS, join the "Homeaway Review Policy" group and the "unjust negative review? FIGHT Homeaway" discussion therein.
Homeaway does not agree that one rogue review counteracts tens of positive ones, nor do they think it wrong to put homeowner’s on the defensive – i.e. once a rogue review comes in – we HAVE to try to get tens of positive reviews to counteract – so we spend a lot of time calling old renters. WE don’t want to be prepared beforehand. We don’t want to HAVE to have reviews to mitigate the possibility of a bad review or simply because Homeaway feels it’s the “hip” way. Our business was excellent beforehand and we are happy with none or a few reviews.
PROTECT YOURSELF – add a Gag Order-like clause in your Rental contract. Explain to your prospective renters the reason for its existence – you will get good at it and you will not lose customers after a bit of practice explaining it correctly – without shame. It’s an issue of trust more than anything. There is no reason the fate of our entire business should rest in anyone’s hands.
Our contracts contain a gag order-like clause in which reviews are not permitted unless requested by owner. However, in many cases you can succumb to the reviewer’s implied demands – ie pay them back *all* their security (regardless of the damage) and they will, in exchange, remove the unreasonable review of their own accord.
It is unfortunate that Homeaway/VRBO force us to make that choice, but thanks to them, we must give in to the people that rent from us when they leave us rogue reviews as spite in not receiving all security back.
GAG ORDER CLASE
The best protection is a clause in your Rental Contract such as:
“While all of our reviews have been favorable in the past, we cannot risk the rogue review. Certain websites allow reviews that are unchecked with regard to reasonable sentiment. As such, you agree that the relationship between you and the landlord is and shall remain private. Specifically, guest agrees not to post a review on any website unless solicited in writing by the owner, understanding that even minor unreasonable negative sentiment may unjustly cause thousands of dollars in damages to owner’s future business. Guest agrees to pay Owner damages of up to $10,000 upon demand by owner if any review is posted by Guest or invitee thereof, is not requested in writing by owner, presents unreasonable negative sentiment in the sole judgment of owner and is not immediately (within 48 hours) removed by Guest upon request by owner. A copy of this document shall serve as Guest’s full authorization to remove any such review promptly upon request by owner.”