How to Manage Positive & Negative Reviews for YOUR Vacation Rental

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Running a vacation rental business in a modern world means online reviews will come your way, good and bad. As a property owner with a vacation rental investment, it’s important to recognize the power and lasting effects of guest reviews and star ratings for your short-term rental property. People want social proof that your vacation home is what you claim it to be before clicking book, just like you want to know if a product or service works well before paying for it. Great reviews can drive direct bookings, and bad reviews can steer renters away from your vacation rental…

In order to protect your business reputation in the vacation rental industry and keep guests coming back to your property, you’ll need to know how to manage vacation rental reviews and make the most of guest feedback. After all, positive and negative feedback is a gift — you get to learn what works and what needs improvement to help your financial investment succeed. Remember to take criticism seriously and with a grain of salt, and when raving reviews pour in, celebrate!

Bottom line: being proactive to attract 5-star ratings and handling negative feedback constructively are keys to managing vacation rental reviews successfully. To help vacation rental owners like yourself, Georgia Cabins for YOU — a vacation rental management company with decades of experience handling guest reviews, boosting occupancy, and providing 5-star stays — has put together a simple guide for managing guest reviews effectively.

Why Guest Reviews Matter

It’s no secret guests want the best vacation experience when choosing a vacation rental. While your property listing may have a beautifully written description, stunning photos and drone shots, plus a virtual tour, these pale in comparison to online guest reviews. If you want your property to be chosen among the myriad of options available, keeping up your star rating is super important…and it’s a full-time job. 

It’s a fact: people put more trust in what other people say than in the words of companies or business owners. Consider guest reviews as a way to build trust with potential customers and increase profit. Cultivating positive reviews can place your property in high demand for more reservations and repeat stays. And responding appropriately to negative reviews as well as addressing any mentioned issues promptly shows you care and can inspire confidence to book.

Ultimately, managing guest reviews properly matters because online reviews and star ratings have a direct impact on reservations and revenue.

5 Ways to Cultivate Good Reviews

1. Offer vacation extras to your guests.
Unique experiences are what we live for these days, and your guests are no different. If you can provide a little something extra, it can really make a difference in positive guest reviews for your vacation property. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

  • Equip the kitchen with everything needed to prepare meals, minus ingredients.
  • Curate a book of coupons for local attractions, shops, and restaurants.
  • Provide a basic kit with vacation essentials, like toiletries and trash bags.
  • Add top-notch amenities, like a hot tub, wet bar, or home theater.

Upgrade major appliances and expected amenities, like big screen TVs.

2. Streamline everything to help stays go smoothly.
Giving your guests access to basic details about your property can help them enjoy your property to the fullest, which can nudge good reviews your way. Whether you have an online guest information booklet, a binder in the vacation home, or a smartphone app, adding this convenience helps answer guest questions quickly — and keep calls down.

3. Keep your vacation rental super clean!
Cleanliness is next to godly reviews, right? YES! Even if you can’t offer extras or update amenities right now, above all, your guests want a clean place to stay. It’s often the first judgment guests pass when they arrive, and it won’t be forgotten in their review of your property. Make sure to clean between each stay and schedule seasonal deep cleans.

4. Respond to guest communications 24/7.
Swift and genuinely helpful responses to emails, text messages, and phone calls are a must for 5-star experiences, from booking to arrival to departure to review. Potential guests and those at your property want to know you’re there for them if and when they need you. It’s also a good idea to have plans in place for any cleaning or maintenance requests that may arise. Resolving issues quickly can be the turning point from 4 to 5 stars.

5. Request honest feedback. 
Soliciting positive reviews for your vacation rental is A-okay when done correctly. What’s not okay is asking for a 5-star review. Instead, simply ask for honest feedback. If you’ve put in the hard work to deserve more than an average rating, you’ll likely get it. 

Timing is also important, so be sure to request reviews 1-2 days after a guest stays when their vacation experience is still fresh in their mind. Keeping your ratings and reviews current, especially on Google, is essential to helping others book your property. After all, a review from last week is more valuable to potential guests than a great review from 3 months ago.

Simplify 5-Star Reviews for YOUR Vacation Rental Property

If being on-call every day, cleaning like a pro, developing an app, providing vacation extras, or staying on top of reviews sounds like too much work on your own, then Georgia Cabins for YOU is here to help! As a full-service property management company, we’ll handle everything to make your vacation property a 5-star performer — including supplying a starter kit, adding your rental to our Happy Stays app, keeping your property spotless, communicating with guests 24/7, and following up after each stay.

Fill out our online form to get started or give us a call at 1.800.584.5524 if you have any questions.

3 Steps to Bounce Back from Bad Reviews

You did everything in your power to provide a top-tier guest experience…and it still went wrong. Now you have a 1-3-star review to deal with, and it doesn’t feel good. Plainly put, that’s life, and the vacation rental industry is no exception. But you can overcome and, in some cases, even reverse the effects of bad reviews if you take the right steps.

1. Acknowledge, breathe, and move forward.
Taking guest reviews personally is unhelpful and unhealthy. Beating yourself up or defending your property to the detriment of your business won’t benefit you and will deter anyone reading your review response. Feel the feelings, breathe, then move on. 

Most importantly, never reply in the heat of the moment! Be objective and do your best to understand what happened and why to help prevent future issues and poor reviews.

2. Respond with understanding and kindness.
Rushing a review response isn’t a good idea. A guest has taken time out of their day to offer feedback, so taking your own time to understand the situation and respond appropriately is the right thing to do. Sometimes, the way you handle a poor review and homeowner response can lead to an amended review, moving to 4 or even 5 stars!

Make sure your response to any negative vacation rental review is heartfelt, genuine, and helpful to future readers. Cookie-cutter responses won’t do — authenticity is key! It’s also important to respond within an appropriate timeframe, preferably within an hour of the posted review.

How to Write a Good Response to a Bad Review

  1. Let the guest know their sentiments have not fallen on deaf ears.
  2. Thank the guest for sharing their valuable feedback.
  3. Apologize and explain how you will make amends and/or prevent these issues for future guests. 

Abusive Reviews

Before responding to a bad review, you must decide if it’s authentic or an attack. What’s the difference between a negative review and an abusive review? Negative reviews may contain anger but typically list specific issues you can tackle. Abusive reviews are often vague, riddled with profanity, and don’t make sense. 

If possible, abusive reviews should be handled privately. Let the guest know you’re happy to listen to any specific issues regarding their experience at your property. If they respond positively, great. If not…it’s best to stop communicating altogether and consider it a lost cause not worth any more of your valuable time.

3. Fix and prevent issues.
Okay, you’ve received great feedback and responded appropriately. Now, it’s time to put words into action. Follow up with anything that needs to be addressed until everything is satisfactory. And remember to implement the 5 ways to cultivate good reviews to encourage new reservations!

If you don’t see bookings on the calendar soon, dropping your rates for a bit can help. The faster you get new guests to enjoy your 5-star property, the sooner positive reviews will flow your way. When this happens, demand will rise — and so can your rates.

Professional Review Management for YOUR Vacation Rental

Managing vacation rental reviews across Google, Facebook, the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, VRBO, Airbnb, and your own website comes at a high cost to property homeowners — time. If you already feel like time is running low, adding online review management to your schedule will dry up your days and nights for sure. At Georgia Cabins for YOU, we handle everything for guest reviews so you won’t have to break a sweat. 

We work hard to provide 5-star guest experiences at every property, and when issues inevitably arise, we know how to handle the situation with care and maximize guest feedback. Responses are formed by trained professionals who have a heart for guests and owners and know how to write a level-headed, compassionate response on your behalf. 

Furthermore, all departments work together to address concerns and prevent issues for future stays. And we have a solid marketing team with the tools and insight needed to maximize YOUR revenue, regardless of current ratings, as well as rein in positive feedback to push your property forward. 

Property Management
When you partner with Georgia Cabins for YOU, we take care of everything for your vacation rental investment, from managing reviews, marketing online, and answering guest calls to housekeeping, maintenance, and inspections at your property. Stop worrying about every little detail, and let us handle it all for YOU! You’ll even have a personal representative whose sole responsibility is to make sure your goals are surpassed. 

Managing vacation rental reviews doesn’t have to be a struggle. Reach out to Georgia Cabins for YOU at 1.800.580.5524 or online for a complimentary consultation today!