How to Get More Reviews on my Vacation Rental

7 Replies

Hi All-

Question for vacation rental owners out there.  We've had our listing on HomeAway, VRBO and Airbnb for about a year now.  Here's the listings in case anyone wants to take a look:

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2349920?guests=4&s=Ifqk

http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p3719746

We've gotten about 35 reviews between the different sites.  The thing is, we've had about 55+ reservations during that time.  On Airbnb, we've gotten a review from every one of our guests, but on HomeAway/VRBO, we've only gotten reviews from about 60% of our guests.

After every reservation, I'll reach out to the guest and ask them how their stay was.  If they don't have anything blatantly negative to say (which they never do), I'll go ahead and ask them to write a review.  Usually, I'll get a response like "Of course we'll write a review - we'd love to.  We loved our stay!" and then they never actually do it.  I usually follow up with them once, but that's it - I don't want to be too pushy.

Another thing to note - we sometimes greet guests when they check in (if not we have a keyless lock on the front door so they can let themselves in).  We don't ever really meet them when they check-out.  Perhaps if we were to ask them in person, or offer some sort of incentive (although I don't know what kind), it could increase the odds of us getting those extra reviews?

If anyone has any advice or experience on how to get more reviews, I'd love to hear it!

Thanks,

Catherine

Originally posted by @Catherine W. :

Hi All-

Question for vacation rental owners out there.  We've had our listing on HomeAway, VRBO and Airbnb for about a year now.  Here's the listings in case anyone wants to take a look:

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2349920?guests=4&s=If...

http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p3719746

We've gotten about 35 reviews between the different sites.  The thing is, we've had about 55+ reservations during that time.  On Airbnb, we've gotten a review from every one of our guests, but on HomeAway/VRBO, we've only gotten reviews from about 60% of our guests.

After every reservation, I'll reach out to the guest and ask them how their stay was.  If they don't have anything blatantly negative to say (which they never do), I'll go ahead and ask them to write a review.  Usually, I'll get a response like "Of course we'll write a review - we'd love to.  We loved our stay!" and then they never actually do it.  I usually follow up with them once, but that's it - I don't want to be too pushy.

Another thing to note - we sometimes greet guests when they check in (if not we have a keyless lock on the front door so they can let themselves in).  We don't ever really meet them when they check-out.  Perhaps if we were to ask them in person, or offer some sort of incentive (although I don't know what kind), it could increase the odds of us getting those extra reviews?

If anyone has any advice or experience on how to get more reviews, I'd love to hear it!

Thanks,

Catherine

 Hey Catherine, 

Like you said the easiest way to increase surveys is to incentivize leaving reviews. You could always try giving a discount to returning guests who have left reviews, but usually immediate reward works the best. I think the best option is to offer a small discount (something like $25) on their stay for leaving a review. I'm not sure how you would work it out though. 

The second thing you could do is find a loss leader, something like an tablet or cheaper TV and make it a prize, everyone who submits a review gets an entry. Even though you would have to do it semi-annually or annually for it to make any real financial sense, I think a free iPad or the like would encourage people to give reviews. 

Adam

@Catherine W.  had some interesting ideas to boost the numbers. We advertised on HomeAway and I used to send people a link to the review page to make it as easy as possible. I think AirBnB does that automatically? Could explain the higher response rate there. It's just human nature that quite a few people won't take the time to write one for whatever reason - they forget, get busy, don't know what to say, or maybe they didn't love it and don't want to tell you. If you boosted that 60% number by a little bit, you'll still have a ton of reviews a year from now; considering you're already at 35, you're well on your way.

One other thing to note: remember that you don't necessarily need 100% 5-star reviews, either. I read a good tip that said if all of your reviews are 5-star, then people will question the authenticity of them (like they're all friends and family or you're writing them yourself). The occasional 4 or even 3-star review is not a bad thing, and folks will take it with a grain of salt in light of all of your other great reviews. Just something to keep in mind if/when someone chimes in with a little criticism.

I've wondered the same for my place. 

Often when I write a review, I feel I'm communicating with the owner more than future customers.  Almost every guest at our VR has left us a lovely note/review in our guest book.  I wonder if they feel they've said their bit and see no point in the review.  Asking them for their feedback in person might result in the same thing?

Send a review request from the advertising website where they found you (not from your personal email), that way they just click on the link provided and it's very easy for them. 

@Maura Paler  

That's actually exactly what we do!  I'll ask them if they're interested in doing a review, and when they say yes, I'll tell them that I'm going to send them a link through the website, which goes to them via email. 

@Karin DiMauro  That's odd - there should be a "reviews" tab in there that has all of the reviews. 

Thank you for the advice - you're right, if we chug along we will have a decent sized collection soon. Also, good point about having all 5 stars - although HomeAway/VRBO doesn't allow you to post your own reviews on behalf of others (well, they do, but they're marked "owner posted" and don't count toward your review tally)

@Adam Hershman  Thanks for the tips.  I like the idea of a small prize - maybe an Amazon gift card that can be sent to their email address.  I know an incentive like that would work for me!

Do you get a security deposit, if so give them notice that they will get an extra $20.00 with their security deposit if they review within x days. Never tried it but I don't know it could work and it has a timeline. 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.