The nature of our connected and sharing society means we rarely buy or do anything unless we’ve heard or seen what others have thought about it.
We read reviews for appliances, services, software, books, movies and even clothing, and Trip Advisor has transformed the way we select our dining experiences. In the same way, most travellers will look for reviews to help them with their vacation choices.
Statistics show that site visitors spend more time on a listing that has three or more reviews so make it a goal to attract more feedback. Reviews should be uncensored and real – never diluted or picked over just to show the best bits. Travellers are savvy and can quickly see through a fake review or a series of 5* testimonials that are remarkably similar.
While the goal should be for top rated reviews, getting the occasional feedback that is less than stellar is fine too, particularly if you respond non-defensively.
Make it Easy
It is a challenge to get your guests to write a review so you have to make it easy, remind them to do so, and make it worth their time doing it.
Most guests will look at a checkout list. They want to know exactly what is expected of them before they leave your property, so include a request for them to go to the CanadaStays website and write their review while they are still there. This has the great benefit of the vacation still being front of their mind.
Memories fade fast when your guests are back in their home environment and busy again with their working days. You will need to remind them of their stay and ask for the review. Always link to the review area so they don’t have to hunt around to find it.
Avoid just saying, ‘Please review your stay’. Instead as them to tell you what they enjoyed the most. This is just an example:
“We hope you had a wonderful time, and enjoyed the cottage and the surrounding area. Other visitors to our listing would love to know what you enjoyed the most and why they should experience it too.”
What will get you a 5* review
1. No surprises
Everything in and around the property should be just as described. Removing a facility or feature without telling your guests will guarantee a lower rating.
Holding back on information that might impact their stay will have a similar impact. For example, if you fail to disclose close neighbours, the nearby power station or the train that passes by three times during the night, your guests will be sure to share that information for you.
2. Nothing to complain about
Your primary goal should be to ensure everything about the property meets your guests’ expectations.
But it’s more than that.
You may be judged on every aspect of the transactions you have with your guests from the speed of your email response to the quality of information you send to them. Making sure each part of the process is focused on customer service and hospitality will bring out the best in your guests (and their feedback)!
3. A fully-featured and well equipped property
The best testimonial you could get is when your guests say you thought of everything. From the ice-cream scoop and garlic press to the safety night lights and child-proof cupboard locks, you gave them an enjoyable, safe and stress-free vacation.
4. Minimal demands at check out
Regardless of the first impression the property made on your guests, or the great time they had, if you make their checkout day stressful, that may be the most memorable experience they have. Asking them to clean washrooms and floors may save you 15 minutes but it won’t bring you the 5 star review you need to attract new guests. Give your guests an easy ride at check out and you may be rewarded with referrals and positive testimonials.
5. The relationship you have with your guests
If you take the time to get to know your guests and understand what their needs and expectations are, you’ll develop a connection with them. A simple phone call when they arrive to make sure everything is OK and to answer any questions can go a long way to a great review.
Of course you can’t think of everything but if it really shows you have their vacation pleasure in mind, they will love you for it.