By Christophe Salmon, CEO and co-founder of Revyoos
Customer reviews, in any business, provide feedback (positive or negative) on a product or service bought or experienced by the reviewer. A guest review of a vacation rental stay can act as social proof of why a future guest should also go ahead and press the "book now’" button.
There’s no question that reviews are a vital part of the vacation rental booking process, as authentic reviews reassure potential guests, validate their choices and help to convert browsers into bookers. According to a report by the Spiegel Research Centre, nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase and displaying reviews can increase buyer conversion by 270% — we all value what other people have to say as we are all critics in our own right.
Owners and property managers are skilled multi-taskers who have multiple parts of their businesses to balance. They are usually obsessed with achieving 5-star reviews. As a property manager myself, with more than 40 properties on the Costa Blanca in Spain, I know how hard it can be to dedicate time and attention to each business decision, be that around revenue management, staffing levels or guest feedback.
However, your guest reviews are a vital part of your business, one which deserves attention because they can also become a valuable asset for your marketing strategy. It has been shown that even a negative review can be useful to a prospective customer if the property manager responds in a positive way with a good solution, instead of trying to hide or ignore a problem.
So, you have a fabulous vacation rental, great guest reviews — how do you make the most of your hard-won 5-star feedback?
I also wanted to make my rental reviews work harder for my business but I realized in 2016 that ‘my’ reviews published on some OTAs were not really ‘mine’ at all. When I switched to a professional account, after I set up my property management company, I lost all my past reviews from an OTA because they weren’t able to migrate them to my new account. It was not a great experience.
This is one of the reasons why I co-founded Revyoos, the only all-in-one review aggregator for short-term rentals. Revyoos exists to help property managers and owners to gather and display all their reviews from trusted sources, including Airbnb, Booking, TripAdvisor and Vrbo, on their own websites. Review aggregation has been commonplace in the hotel industry for a while now, but we are bringing this tool to vacation rentals for the first time.
By displaying all your property reviews from various channels, on your own website, property managers and owners can enhance their trust (and credibility) with guests, improve SEO and boost bookings. Our platform also helps managers to make business decisions based on feedback and allows them to store reviews indefinitely in the cloud (no more lost reviews). Furthermore, depending on property manager preferences or the T&Cs of OTAs, you can select to display the full review content or an average review rating and number of reviews.
I wouldn’t pretend to offer advice to owners and property managers on how to win great reviews — as every business functions differently and offers different benefits (which is what makes this industry so special!) But if I could give one takeaway, it would be to look after your reviews, treat them with care, collate them and make them work in your favor to increase the trust of past and future guests.
Trust has long been a buzzword in vacation rentals and now more than ever, guests need to feel reassured that they are making the right decision by booking your property. There are so many accommodation and booking options out there and authentic reviews from customers can really make the difference between a booking or no booking.
68% of internet users question the authenticity of reviews, but if all your reviews shown on your website are mentioning and linking back to the original source, then you are being completely transparent and reassuring customers that the reviews were written by real guests.
So reviews are important, for sure, but what’s equally important is how you demonstrate to customers that your reviews are completely authentic and where they’ve come from. If you get this right, your reviews will be a huge asset to your business and work hard to increase your conversion rates.
About Christophe Salmon - CEO & Co-Founder, Revyoos
Christophe has in-depth experience of the short-term rental industry. In 2005 he started out as a property owner and progressed to being a property manager after leaving a career in digital marketing working for a multinational company. Having decided to pursue his passion full time, he founded Costa CarpeDiem, a company managing 40+ properties on the Costa Blanca in Spain. He co-founded Revyoos, the only all-in-one review aggregator platform for short-term rentals, in 2020 after identifying a gap in the market.