Owners Getting positive reviews should be one of the primary goals of your business. Prospective guests love to read reviews and hear what other guests have said about their stay in your vacation rental property. They can be hard to come by though, but when you do get them, treasure each one and shout it from the rooftops! “It was exactly as described in the listing” Be very careful how you describe your vacation home and get someone who is not emotionally involved in your property, but has visited, to check through your listing. Ask them how accurate it is. How objective is your description? Are you using words like ‘spectacular’, ‘stunning’ or ‘luxurious’? If so, make sure these subjective phrases are supported by reality. For example, “luxury” to one person may mean indoor plumbing and a hot shower; to another, their perception of the word could be very different and they may be expecting granite tiles, a whirlpool tub and a pile of huge, fluffy bath towels. “The kitchen was better equipped than my home” The secret to attracting this comment is to provide a range of small appliances; good kitchen knives; pots and pans of all sizes (don’t forget a steamer); matching dinnerware and glassware and a variety of bakeware. Include the items a ‘spur of the moment’ cook might need such as weighing scales, a zest grater, measuring cups and spoons, and a pestle and mortar. The cook in the rental group is often the one who needs the vacation the most, so making his or her life easier will attract a lot of gratitude. “The owner has provided everything we could possibly require” Over the time we’ve had our place we have listened to our guests, and have always paid attention to the feedback sheet, which says. ‘Is there anything we could have done to make your vacation better?” We can’t do anything about the weather although it is occasionally requested, but we have responded to most suggestions. This year we’re planting a small herb garden near the back door so there will be fresh herbs available; buying a hammock; building a sand box and putting Ipod docking stations in all the bedrooms. We always contact our guests who have taken time to leave us a suggestion to let them know we’ve acted on it, which has encouraged repeat business. “The beds were the most comfortable we have ever slept in” You can’t please everyone with the beds you provide, unless you have the sleep-number type mattresses, but you can supply good quality. This is probably the best compliment you can receive, and really worth working for. If you have not slept in every one of your beds, I strongly suggest you do. You may be surprised at the level of comfort (or lack of it) you are providing. “There was so much to do, even when it rained” Many people who used to go on package vacations, are now taking holidays closer to home and have discovered vacation rentals as a good economic alternative to more expensive options, particularly when they have a large family. They may be used to a ton of activities being provided for them, so a rainy day at your property could leave them wondering what to do with the children. If you’ve provided a lot of board games, jigsaw puzzles, activity packs, and a good library of videos and DVDs, you’ll have a bunch of happy campers who will sing your praises. “We felt so welcome” What compliment could be more rewarding than this? Working towards having your guests feel welcome in your home from the moment they arrive is the key to repeat customers and referrals. It could be a simple, personalized welcome note; a gift basket; some fresh flowers or a bottle of wine; a goodie bag for children or some treats for the dog. Sometimes it the smallest of things that can create the most impact and turn your paying guests into raving fans. Provide a guest book for comments, but also include a separate sheet that asks for general suggestions on improvements. Be good to your guests and they will respond in kind.