In the lodging industry, guest reviews are among the most critical performance metrics. Guest reviews do more than tell potential guests what they can expect when booking a vacation rental with you. Positive reviews can drive reservations (and, in turn, revenue). They can even boost your rankings on OTA websites like Airbnb and Vrbo.
The best part of vacation rental guest reviews is the opportunity they provide to improve guests’ experience. But sometimes, those changes benefit future guests, not the current guests staying with you right now.
This summer, why not try proactively asking for guests’ feedback—before check-out?
The more you make yourself available to guests regarding feedback, and the faster you implement changes, the more likely you will get that coveted 5-star review.
Here are five ways you can engage guests for feedback before check-out and take steps to address it in real-time.
Establish Open Lines of Communication
Communication between you and your guests starts as soon as they initiate the booking process. In fact, why not ask for feedback right after they finish booking? Your booking experience is your first touch with guests, whether on an OTA website or your booking website. Inviting feedback here shows guests that you and your team are open to hearing from them.
Go Beyond Email
You can use several methods to communicate necessary information, such as directions to the home, keyless entry codes, and other check-in instructions.
Email is a tried-and-true method of communication in the vacation rental industry. But in a fast-paced time like summer, offering to communicate with guests their way can help establish trust and improve their overall experience of your brand.
Consider offering guests a choice: Do they want to hear from you via email? Or what about via text message? SMS message tools allow property managers to pre-write text messages and schedule sends. Or maybe guests like the chat feature in the booking site app instead?
Personalizing communication builds trust and respect between you and your guests. In addition to the different means of communication, you may also ask guests how often they’d like to hear from you before their trip. Some people want several reminders. Other people would rather hear from you once and call it a day.
Offer Clear, Concise Directions
It’s a funny experience staying in an unfamiliar house. But even the silliest things, like searching for the remote, can put a vacation rental guest in a tailspin. Save your guests the trouble of calling your Guest Services line as often as possible, providing clear instructions in a house guide. You can also include check-out instructions, cancellation policy information, listings for local attractions, and your contact information.
Rather than using a paper booklet, which can be easily damaged or lost, consider adding a tablet to your rentals to add to the overall guest experience.
Reach Out to Guests Mid-Stay
Summer guests often book much longer vacations than they would other times of the year. These longer reservations allow you and your team to check in with guests while still with you! Even a simple “Hey, are you enjoying yourself? Need anything?” can make a difference.
Respond to Guest Questions Promptly
Terrible guest reviews often happen when a guest can’t get ahold of anyone to help them. If guests do reach out with feedback or because they’re experiencing an issue, don’t respond as quickly as you can. Even an automated message that tells guests you’ll answer them in x amount of time can help soothe guests’ frustration—as long as you stick to your time window. Make sure you have the resources to answer phones and respond to emails, online messages, or texts. This way, you and your team can build trust with your guests by dealing with issues the moment they happen.
In addition, responding to post-checkout reviews shows future guests your willingness to grow and improve.
Guest feedback is a vital part of the vacation rental industry. While you won’t please everybody, demonstrating your willingness to hear guests out and make changes when possible is what matters. We’re here to give guests a fantastic experience, after all!