Reviews are often seen as the lifeblood of any product, service, or business, and the threat of a negative one can be enough to send a vacation rental owner or manager into a tailspin. But the stats tell us it’s not all bad news. In fact, having only 5-star feedback can be damaging too.
If you didn’t live through the early days of vacation rental disruption (before Airbnb came on the scene) you may not have known the furor caused by FlipKey deciding to publish live reviews. Those were the days before it was compulsory to look at 100+ consumer reviews before buying a $40 coffee maker, and the whole idea of allowing a guest to post feedback without it being screened by the owner or manager was unthinkable.
Nowadays, while the fear of negative feedback is still high, the primary goal of a start-up STR is getting a bevy of 5-star reviews. We positively welcome them and boast about how many perfect Airbnb or Vrbo ones we have.
And with good reason!
There’s an obsession with reviews, as evidenced by posts on myriad Facebook groups lamenting the occasional 4-star feedback an owner has just received. We classify it as unfair and talk about the guests as if they were some sort of pariah having the effrontery to reduce our average to less than 5.
Often there is no clear reason stated in the review, and the less-than-perfect score could simply reflect the nature of the reviewer. Some people will never give 5 stars as that implies nothing could be improved – others just weren’t wowed enough to give top marks. We may never know.
Christophe Salmon, the winner of this year’s VR Tech Awards, a property owner and manager based in the Costa Blanca in Spain, joins me to talk about the evolution of guest reviews, the statistics that make it imperative that you display them on your website, and the benefits in terms of trust and credibility if you are working towards more direct bookings.
Since an owner or manager can influence the nature of the review from the moment the first inquiry comes in, I talk about the different places in the guest journey that the foundation for great feedback can be sown.
- Why older reviews are less trusted
- The percentage of guests you could be missing by not having reviews on your site
- The four factors guests pay most attention to in a review
- Why you get more trust when you have some with fewer stars
- The value of a good response to a negative comment
- How you can use poor reviews to your advantage
- Why being transparent and honest reaps benefits
Christophe Salmon & Heather Bayer will be presenting at the virtual HOST2020 conference on November 4th and 5th.
Tickets are free and you can register for yours here.
Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion