Guest reviews have become a fundamental part of the vacation rental consumer’s journey. Prospective guests love to read reviews before booking a stay. It’s true, according to Booking.com, reviews are the second most important decision making factor in booking an accommodation (the first one being the photos of the vacation rental). Just consider – would you book a stay without looking at the reviews and reliability of the property? If you answered no, then you’re in the majority. After all, in 2020, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, a further increase from the previous year. And that’s not odd, considering that reviews from different guests give a more complete picture of the property, the host and the whole experience.
Let’s look at the reasons why guest reviews are important, why you should care about them and how you could use them to increase your booking chances.
7 reasons why guest reviews are important
1. They allow managers to understand customers and improve the guest experience
Guest reviews are the best way for property owners and managers to listen to the guests’ opinions and feedback about the accommodation and the guest experience. They also help managers to understand if or how the guests’ needs were met. By inviting guests to leave reviews, and taking the time to read their opinions and understand the customers’ point of view, vacation rental managers are able to gather valuable information and apply necessary improvements to continuously enhance the guest experience. Keep in mind that guest experience includes a good and timely email communication, a smooth booking process, the quality and cleanliness of the accommodation, the quality and quantity of amenities provided, and all the small details that your target guest would care about.
2. They help build trust and customer loyalty
Guest reviews help build a sense of trust and reliability. Booking a property online is an action that involves uncertainty and distrust since the guest is not in direct physical contact with the property or the owner/property manager. Therefore, a vacation rental displaying many positive reviews will generate confidence as other guests have already booked and stayed at the property. At the same time, reviews will also help you increase customer loyalty. In fact, guests that take the time to write a positive review are more likely to not only become returning guests but also market your property to other people.
Guest reviews will make your listings more attractive but also more reliable.
3. Guest Reviews influence other customers
Potential guests trust the opinion of their peers. This is why positive feedback about a property will positively influence potential customers in their booking decision. Therefore, offering a fantastic guest experience and curating your reviews afterhand will help you improve your reputation and increase your booking rate.
4. They help in search results ranking and visibility
Search engine algorithms, on Google as well as on sales channels, see guest reviews as an essential factor in driving guests to view your property and increasing sales. Having guest reviews on your listing pages will tell the search engines’ algorithm that your listing is trustworthy, increasing your property’s ranking position and increasing your visibility to potential guests. The more five-star reviews you get, the higher your listing will rank in the search results, allowing you to be found by a wider audience. At the same time, reviews are also important for SEO as good reviews on search engines can increase your CTR (click-through rate).
5. Guest Reviews showcase transparency and professionality
Guest reviews, along with professional replies, all help in showing to the public that the company is serious, transparent and trustworthy. This is especially true when a negative review is involved. Replying in a calm, clear and proactive way to deal with guest complaints and negative reviews will show your professionalism. In fact, when a property owner or manager replies to the reviews of their guests and takes the time to acknowledge and resolve the issues presented, the result is an overall generation of confidence, transparency and commitment to your business.
6. Reviews generate more reviews
Reviews generate more reviews as guests are encouraged to leave their own feedback when so many more have given theirs already. Just the presence of a number of reviews is enough to give customers the incentive to submit their own review. And the more (positive) reviews you get, the better visibility and conversion you will get and the higher position in search results you will achieve.
7. They increase conversion
Following all we have just said up till now, it stands to reason that guest reviews can help you increase your conversion. The combination of increased traffic, improved click-through rate and the image of credibility, reliability, transparency and professionalism that can be inferred by your guests’ reviews (and your public replies to them!) will help you increase your booking rate.
After all, guests will read other guests’ reviews and want to book a stay at your amazing vacation rental, after which they will write a stellar review and spur others to complete the circle. All these reviews will pushyour listing higher in the search results, getting more traffic and clicks. Easy, right?
Should I publish guest reviews to my vacation rental listing?
Short answer, yes. Even if you’re afraid of the reviews you might get or fear that one negative review might hurt your reputation, it is actually worse not to allow guest reviews on your listing as this will make your business look less reliable. The best thing to do is to add guest reviews to your listings, provide the best guest experience possible, learn to respond professionally to potential bad reviews and keep improving the experience you offer thanks to the valuable information received from the reviews.