Written by: Vanessa
At FlipKey and TripAdvisor, we’ve seen first hand the monetary success that coincides with having reviews. Properties that have reviews earn higher rankings and placement in search results. Think more visibility, more inquiries, and more bookings! Having reviews for your rental properties is so crucial that we want to share some essential tips to make collecting reviews easy for both you and your guests.
The Importance of Reviews
A listing is not complete until you have collected at least one review. Reviews provide a sense of trust, credibility, and confidence amongst consumers searching for a vacation rental. In fact, nearly 80% of travelers say they are significantly more likely to book a property if they can read reviews from past guests(1).
In order to appeal to the 80% of travelers who heavily rely on reviews from past guests as a signal of your property’s credibility, you must consider the process of collecting reviews as a fundamental first step in renting out your property.
Here are some helpful tips to make collecting reviews easy and stress-free:
- Encourage Your Current Guests to Leave Feedback After Their Stay. Set the tone by letting guests know that if they enjoyed their stay, you would greatly appreciate them sharing their feedback with other travelers by leaving a review.
- Explain The Review Process. Let your guests know that you’ll need their email address in order to send them a review invitation, but that their email address will exclusively be used to solicit feedback in the form of a review. One way to indirectly remind guests to leave a review is to add a small note or written request in your rental contract.
- Initiate the Exchange of Email Addresses. Start by giving guests’ your email address. In return, ask for the email address of two or more people in your guests’ party (just in case you have trouble collecting a review from one person). Sharing your email address first not only makes it easier to ask them for their email address, but is also a good way to make sure that they have your contact information in the event that they choose to return.
Swapping contact information with your guests is easy:
- Make Business Cards For Your Property. Create business cards with your contact information and your property links on FlipKey and TripAdvisor. You can also leave a stack of cards on the kitchen counter or coffee table (we’d recommend conveniently placing them next to a guest book that has a column for guest email addresses).
- Create Pocket Sized Area Maps with Contact Information. Create a pocket size map of the local neighborhood. Include your home, great restaurants, and key attractions on one side of the card and your contact information on the other. Give it to your guests in exchange for the email addresses of multiple guests in the traveling party. A tourist is always looking for a map to make sure they hit all the “hot-spots” in the area.
- Remind Guests to Leave a Review During Their Stay. Design an attractive sign with a catchy logo reminding guests to leave a review on FlipKey and TripAdvisor. Place the sign in a high traffic area, like the inside of the front door or kitchen where guests will see the sign frequently.
- Set a Time Frame. Tell your guests that you will be sending a review invitation almost immediately after their stay. Sending a review invitation while your visitors are still relaxed from their wonderful vacation and while your property is still a vivid memory will increase the likelihood of positive feedback. As time passes and as they get caught up with the chaos of daily life, they will forget that you even asked them to leave a review. So be sure to request your review in a timely manner.
- Time is Money. Send follow up emails within 48 hours after the initial invitation. Guests are significantly less likely to respond if too much time passes in between their actual stay and the time that they receive the email review invitation. Since reviews are central to property rankings on FlipKey and TripAdvisor, and higher rankings mean more viewings, inquiries, and bookings, you want to make sure that you successfully add a review at every opportunity you get!
- Send a Personalized Email. FlipKey makes following up with past guests very simple by allowing owners to send a personal email directly to past guests. When sending an email from your personal email address, include the unique URL to the review invitation so that your guest can easily click on the link and leave a review. Including a memorable part of your home in the subject line will make them more inclined to open your email immediately. Make sure to distinguish your email from all the other emails that are clogging up their inbox.
- Create a Thank You Note. Write a basic thank you note that you can tailor to each guest. Many owners require a refundable deposit, so this is a perfect opportunity to let your guest know that you are returning their deposit and to slip in a link to have them leave a FlipKey review.
- Increase Your Odds by Emailing Multiple Guests From The Same Party. Since you have collected multiple email addresses from the various guests who stayed in your property together, send a review invitation to each guest that shares their email address with you. In your personal email feel free to sympathize with your guest about the rough adjustment back to normal life, but remind them that feedback about their stay would be sincerely appreciated, and that they are welcome back at anytime (repeat business)!
In a perfect world, every guest would respond to your invitation, but the truth is that most guests are going to need a bit of a nudge. A guest may have a great experience staying in your home, but may never leave a review due to the chaos of every day life (work, laundry, kids, etc). In fact, only about 40% of people leave a review after their stay(2). Although it can be disappointing that more travelers are not the reviewing type, you can be confident that your guests likely had an amazing time. Most travelers have great experiences staying in a vacation rental, and nearly 90% of vacation rental guests would recommend renting a vacation home following their stay(3). Our own research confirms strong satisfaction from travelers across the entire vacation rental category, as the vast majority of reviews on FlipKey are extremely positive. By taking advantage of every opportunity to collect reviews and following up with guests you will certainly see a much higher success rate!