Reviews are essential for the success of many vacation rental properties. Prospective guests highly value past reviews when searching for properties for their vacations, both in terms of the quality and quantity of ratings. It’s crucial that property owners and managers provide a top-notch guest experience in order for guests to not just leave reviews, but leave glowing reviews.
To help create this list of best practices to increase the number of rental property reviews, we’ve interviewed property managers to get firsthand tips. At the end of the article, we’ll share some vacation rental management software tools that have built-in review management features to streamline the process.
Table of Contents
- How Important are Reviews?
- Top Tips to Get More Property Reviews
- VRM Software with Review Management Features
How Important Are Reviews?
In short: very! Reviews can make or break a property’s popularity, number of bookings, and display position on listing channels. Gail Goodwin of the 5-star rated Snow Bear Chalets says, “It’s the number one thing people look at when choosing a property.” Guests have seemingly infinite options when it comes to vacation rentals, so it’s critical that your property has high ratings.
Positive ratings are crucial, but the number of reviews is important as well. Having a crowd consensus on a property’s rating tends to make guests feel confident that your property is the one they want to book for a vacation. Some property listing channels will also reward properties with many high ratings by showing them closer to the top of the results for guest queries.
Top Tips to Get More Property Reviews
Below are some tips to boost both the number and the rating of your property reviews. Because it’s important to both have high ratings and have many ratings, these tips should be used in unison to achieve the best results.
1. Ask Guests to Review Your Property
The simplest yet most important tip on this list is to ask guests to review your property after their stay. It seems obvious, but if you don't ask, you won't get nearly as many responses.
Very few guests will submit reviews unprompted, and even if you ask for a review early into the stay, guests likely won’t remember that in the bustle of packing up to leave.
Our suggestion is to ask for a review at least one day after the stay has ended. Waiting this amount of time ensures that guests are no longer in a hectic traveling phase. Make sure the review request is still close enough to their stay that they can remember all the great things about your property, though—if you wait too long to ask, guests may have forgotten the details about the stay.
2. Automate Review Requests
Our next tip is to automate review requests. Whether you manage one property or twenty, it can be difficult to remember to ask each and every guest to submit a review at the right time. Many vacation rental management software tools include a feature that will automatically send guests a review request 24 hours after the trip has ended. Most software tools that have the review request feature will populate messages with dynamic content, such as the guest's name and details about their stay, to make the request feel less robotic.
This tip will help boost your number of reviews. Automating messages will ensure that no guest is missed, and though some guests won’t review even after being prompted, the automatic reminders will bump review numbers up.
Gail takes it a step further and sends a personalized message to guests as well. Even though her property management software sends an automated review reminder, she recommends sending a direct email to both thank guests for their stay and to remind them to submit a review.
3. Reply Quickly
One way to quickly sour a guest’s vacation is by going silent when they need to contact you. According to Airbnb, one in four guest reviews mentions a property host's helpfulness, communication, or friendliness.
Guests will need to contact you for a variety of reasons, small and large. If you aren’t available, guests may convey that in their reviews.
Sometimes there’s nothing that can be done to make disgruntled guests happy, but by responding to messages and rectifying complaints quickly, you can provide a calming vacation experience.
4. Respond to Reviews
This tip, provided by Gail, shows that you’re a responsive and dedicated property manager. She insists, “If someone takes the time to write to you, it’s important to respond.” Her recommendation is to respond to guest reviews in just a few hours. This is something that will continue to show your guest the 5-star experience, even after they’ve checked out.
While this tip isn’t always necessary, it shows your guests that you’re attentive and responsive. If the guests stay at your property again, they’ll remember those small details.
VRM Software with Review Management Features
A few software tools with review management features are listed below. These solutions are ideal for a wide range of property managers, from companies with many properties to individual owners who manage just a few.
Hostfully has an advanced and nuanced review management system. Not only can you automate messages to ask guests to review, but you can also:
- Display reviews on your hosted website
- Input reviews left on other listing channels
- Send reviews captured by Hostfully to other channels
This review management system is ideal for property managers with many properties, as reviews can be transferred in bulk. If you want to customize the review message, you can do so, but the pre-filled template is ready at the click of a button.
Hostfully is a vacation rental management software that’s used in the management of over 30,000 properties. It has a unique digital guidebook feature and a pipeline view for managing booking status. It's a highly effective and powerful tool that we recommend to all.
OwnerRez is a vacation rental management tool that’s ideal for those with up to three properties. With the automated messaging tool, you can automate review requests. There’s also a section to record reviews. You can respond to guest reviews as the owner or manager, and you can also choose whether or not to allow individual reviews to be shown publicly.
OwnerRez also has a tool called the Channel Bridge, which allows you to import reviews, along with other information, from various listing channels without an API integration. You can also install a review widget on your website to make it easy for customers to leave reviews.
OwnerRez is an established vacation rental management software tool with all the features needed to manage rental properties. Though the interface is difficult to navigate, the tool works quite well. We recommend it for those who manage up to three properties.
iGMS is a vacation rental management software that has an automated feature to allow hosts to review guests. While this is not quite as helpful as Hostfully’s system, which is more hands-on in terms of synchronizing reviews from all sites, it’s still effective. iGMS claims that reviewing the guest makes the guest more likely to review your property in return. The iGMS system lets you know when the guests have written reviews so you can respond promptly.
With the messaging tool, hosts and property managers can automate messages that ask guests to leave a review of the property. If you don’t need quite as intense a review system as Hostfully’s, we recommend the iGMS review management feature for its ease of use.
iGMS is a popular vacation rental management software tool with over 80,000 properties managed on their platform. It offers strong automations and is reliable overall. We recommend it for those who are interested in syncing Airbnb listings and do not need to build a website.