Real Estate

Why a bad review can make or break your listing

Hands Holding Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down Vector Cartoon Illustration. People leaving mixed reviews in contradictory evaluation process Illustration by Nicoleta Ionescu/Shutterstock

Your cottage might look like the perfect oasis, but experienced hosts know that the key to a successful rental listing goes way beyond appearances. According to Vrbo, as many as 92 per cent of travellers want to see reviews before booking. That means the next review could make or break your listing.

“Reading reviews and caring about previous experiences is something that really resonates with travellers,” says Mary Zajac, a spokesperson for Vrbo. “There’s so many choices. People want to ensure that what they’re getting from their experience is matching their expectations.

Reviews are also an important part of how hosts gain trust and credibility on rental platforms. On various rental platforms, you can earn special host status  if you meet certain criteria, including a minimum average rating. That recognition will boost your listing in search results. Bad reviews, on the other hand, could sink it. “Reviews definitely play a role and are a factor in the ranking of your overall listing,” confirms Zajac. A poorly reviewed listing will be seen less often and be far less attractive to those that do see it. And less demand means lower rates.

A bad review of your cottage could be the result of broken items, inaccurate descriptions of amenities, lack of cleanliness, poor communication, or rambunctious next door parties.

Thankfully, they aren’t common. According to Vrbo research, 80 per cent of reviews are positive, while only four per cent are negative. So, instead of worrying whether that bad review will ever come, try to focus on encouraging every guest to leave a review. Here’s a few tips:

  • Prepare them: Let your guests know ahead of time that they’ll be asked to review the property. This friendly reminder will show them you prioritize positive reviews.
  • Review the guest: Zajac suggests leaving a review for the guest as soon as you can, doing so will prompt the guest to leave a review of their own.
  • Help them with ideas: When you follow up with your guest after their stay, get them talking about their experience. This will give them a couple of ideas to write about when leaving their review.

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