It seems obvious, but it can’t be overstated: bad reviews are bad for business. Ten-fold for the short-term rental industry. One terrible review from a disgruntled guest can wipe away a history of good ones in an instant. Getting in front of these before they occur is vital to ensuring you minimise the chances of bad reviews occurring and at the very least, reducing the impact of the rhetoric used.
It’s inevitable. If you’re in the short-term rental business – even if you manage the best property in the world – someone, somewhere, is going to be upset about something at some point. And as soon as they can, they’re going to let their feelings be known for everyone to see.
From Felix’s perspective, observing our property manager clients handle their guest experiences after they’ve checked-in and after check-out, we’ve seen directly the adverse effect of not getting on top of these situations early enough. You can corelate the impact of a negative review directly to future bookings for the property. Even if it’s just short-term: that’s money lost. While many people will use a range of reviews across a time period to get a thorough lay of the land when it comes to determining if a property is going to be suitable for them, many others will see one bad review and walk away. That’s money walking away.
So what do we mean when we talk about ‘getting on top’ of reviews before they occur?
If a guest is disgruntled, and they’ve made it clear that they are, you have an opportunity to make things right – or at the very least – help smooth things over a bit. Call them. Find out what’s wrong. Offer to assist, help or make things right in any way you possibly can. Provide understanding and acknowledge their concerns (remember, even if you feel like they’re in the wrong: often one doesn’t win by ‘being right’). In some extreme cases, offer refunds or credits. Check in on them as they’re completing their stay to see how things were. They’ll remember that last effort you made to check they were ok.
The point is, do whatever you can to try to minimise the chances of them writing a review that will stop your next sale. Those small things you do to keep the guest happy will result in a future financial gain (or at least reduce a financial loss!). The two are directly related.
We’re not saying you can please everyone. You can’t and we all know that. Sometimes no matter what you do, some people can’t be satisfied and that’s just a fact of life. But at the end of the day, if you know you did whatever you could to try to avoid that, then you know you are doing your very best as a property manager: happy guests, happy owners, happy business.
PS – don’t forget to reply to all guest reviews and write reviews for all your guests too…it all counts!