It doesn’t matter how long you have been working in the holiday rental business, the importance of reviews has always been prevalent – and this has only increased since the dawn of the digital age. In fact, a Phocuswright study reported that, “53% (of guests) won’t commit to a booking until they read reviews”
Furthermore, an astounding 80% of TripAdvisor customers read approximately 6 – 12 reviews prior to booking. But what happens if get a bad review on a holiday let?!
Of course, the immediate reaction is often one – or all – of the following:
– Only a 1 star rating! Can I delete it?
– It’s not even true, I’m going to report them!
– Can I just ignore it?
– I’m going to give them a piece of my mind!
These reactions are normal and expected because you care about the reputation of your business, the high standards you work towards and the potential damage this one poxy bad review could do to future holiday bookings. However, none of these tactics are productive; they will not contribute to rectifying the situation.
First off, take a deep breath. This isn’t the end of you. In fact, bad reviews can be used to your advantage. You can both resolve the problem, and use it to demonstrate how much you care about your guests!
5 Simple Steps For Dealing With Bad Reviews
Step 1: Review the review
It is vital that you keep calm and analyse every bad review before making any rash decisions. Look at the review objectively and assess what the problem is and if there is a simple way this can be resolved. Even if you disagree with the comments made, there is a time a place to pick your battles and the public forum of the world wide web is not a forgiving place for businesses who argue with their customers.
Step 2: Plan
Create a structured plan for how to deal with bad reviews when they occur. Are you the best person to address this issue? Is there someone who has interacted with the individual before? Get a reference from a colleague (the less biased the better).
Step 3: Reply ASAP
Make sure you apologise, and do so quickly. Use this opportunity to find out as much information as you can, and reassure them you are taking this seriously, and what will happen next.
Step 4: Acknowledge
It is important that you recognise that your holiday rental guest has gone out of their way to express their point of view, so you need to respect that. Thank them for their opinion, be empathetic and show you care. You can include stats here if it helps. For instance, “We have had 1,000+ people stay at this accommodation before and none of them had this problem. We are taking this very seriously”
Step 5: Be constructive
As a vacation rental owner/manager, it is vital that you work with this feedback to ensure you never receive it again (or minimise the risk of it happening as much as possible!). Ask yourself the following: Is this something specific to one property or one person’s customer experience? Could it happen elsewhere? Is this happening more than once and if so, how can I resolve it?
This may require a quick financial fix – such as a replacing a dishwasher in a home – or it may require a better holiday rental management system for your employees.
Whatever the problem, don’t always jump to the conclusion that a bad review means a guest will never book a holiday again with you. In some circumstances, just some recognition and an apology is enough, and you can ask them to take the negative feedback down.
Encouraging good reviews
Unfortunately, it is a common fact that customers are much more vocal when they’ve had a bad experience over a good one. So you need to work hard to get some good reviews!
As seen in our blog 19 lessons you can learn from Airbnb, you can encourage guests to share imagery and reviews of their stay by using a hashtag on social media. Alternatively, you can provide an incentive, e.g. submit a photo/review for a chance to win something, or write a review for a discount on your next holiday rental booking.
For more examples on encouraging good reviews (also known as User Generated Content) see our Awesome Ways To Use UGC For Your Vacation Rental Business blog.
Preventing bad reviews in the future
As mentioned previously, resolving a bad review can be reflective of your company ethos to continually improve the customer experience. You can even shout about a great turnaround on social media!
However, it is important you treat every bad review seriously – track it, resolve it and log it in your system. In this respect, iPro software as a great management tool as it will help you quickly identify problems, respond quickly and help prevent them in the future. For instance, our customer relationship management module enables you to see every interaction a guest has had with you (from emails, to bookings to phone calls) – providing you with complete transparency within the business should a problem suddenly occur, or you wish to prevent a particular bad experience from happening again.
To find out more about how iPro Software could help you improve your customer service and your business management, please contact us or book a demo below. We look forward to hearing from you!