Vacation Rental Reviews: How To Get Great Guest Feedback

Your vacation rental is in great shape, has plenty of amenities, and a guest book full of kind notes from happy guests, but you’re still not getting a ton of online reviews. How could that be?

The unfortunate truth is that guests don’t realize how important reviews are to you as an owner. When they don’t know that reviews are important, they’re never going to sit very high on your guest’s priority list when they get back to their day-to-day lives – unless you’re prepared to do a little work.

If you’re new to the vacation rental game, you might be wondering if reviews really make that big of a difference to your vacation rental’s performance.

 

In fact, reviews are often the deciding factor in whether travelers choose to book your property. A TripAdvisor study found travelers are 80% more likely to book a vacation rental that already has reviews.

We’ve compiled our best dos and don’ts for getting more reviews on your listing.

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DO: ASK FOR A REVIEW!

The first step is easy. Follow up with guests after checkout with a phone call, personalized email, or a handwritten note (for extra credit!) and ask them for a review.

It’s ideal to get in touch within a day or two of checkout, so guests will remember that they loved sitting on your deck and enjoying a cup of coffee in the mornings, or that your bathroom was perfectly stocked with all of the toiletries and freshly laundered towels they needed. Those are the kinds of detailed reviews that prospective travelers love to read.

If you wait too long – say a week or more after they check out – your guests will have returned to their daily lives. While they’ll recall that they had a nice stay in your home, those little details won’t be as easy to call to mind.

The fewer details they have to rave about, the less likely they’ll review. After all, they’ll think, do they really have much to say? Is it really that important?

Make the decision easy for them with a prompt request for a review while they’re primed with their recent memories.

Bonus tip: include a link or address to the page where they can leave their reviews. The easier it is for your guests to leave a review, the more likely they are to do it!

DO: APPEAL TO THEIR SENSE OF KINDNESS

Thank guests for booking your property and politely ask them to leave a review about your property. Communicate that their feedback is really important to the success of your vacation rental, and that you rely on reviews to make improvements for future travelers.

Appeal to your guests’ desire to be kind and helpful. Let them know they’re doing you a huge favor by writing a quick review. Not only is it true – it’s a powerful incentive.

People like feeling connected to other people, and one of the ways we get that connection is by trading kind gestures. When you ask nicely for a review as a favor, you’re reminding your guest that a real human being was behind their enjoyable stay – and they’ll start thinking they’d like to say thank you.

That sense of goodwill is going to come across in a heartfelt review that will make future travelers feel confident about booking your property.

DON’T: FORGET TO WRITE REVIEWS FOR YOUR GUESTS

One of the best ways to encourage guests to review your property is to write them a review first.

Airbnb has always allowed both guests and hosts to leave a review, and now that exchange is available on Homeaway and VRBO as well. You can give your guests between one and five stars to indicate whether you’d recommend them as guests to other owners.

When you do, your guests receive a notification that they’ve been reviewed by their host and that they can see their review – after they leave one for you! Guests want to know what you said about them, and their curiosity often entices them to leave a review for you.

We, at KDC Home Protection appreciate reviews of our services as well…hint hint 🙂

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The aftermath of Hurricane Irma

The aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma was a devastating force in the state of Florida not only when she hit as a Cat 3-4 strength hurricane but the on going aftermath our residents are dealing with.

Nearly 5 million Florida residents lost power ( and at the time of this blog many still have not been restored ) FPL and LCEC have been working around the clock in dangerous conditions. We are so very thankful for these lineman who have left their families to restore power to our community. If you see them out there, offer up some gratitude.

Rivers and coastal waterways experienced significant flooding, even inland areas that were not in the surge or evacuation zones became impassible. In Lehigh Acres, Florida we witnessed hurricane force winds and flooding creating white caps on the streets. In Fort Myers, Florida severe flood and wind damage, potential sink holes have developed adding to the destruction.

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Seawalls in Cape Coral, Florida and throughout Lee County, Florida are beginning to collapse causing thousands and thousands of dollars of damages usually not covered by insurance.

Vehicles were flooded, sunk, or floated away

Trees were uprooted, homes destroyed or severely damaged.

Drinking water with high fecal matter and e coli counts.

This list goes on and on…

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Many calls we received at KDC Home Protection Services were from panicked absentee homeowners who waited too long to verify if their management companies had secured their homes or simply had no management or Accredited Home Watch Company looking after their most valuable asset. Management companies were calling us to deal with the overflow of Home checks that their depleted staff resources needed help with ( many employees evacuated out of state ). I am proud to say we also worked around the clock up until the eve of the storm helping to secure, photograph and advise concerned home owners who were not present to do so themselves. Here are some things we observed:

 

  • Homeowners with no hurricane shutters at all. This was a challenge as nearly every large chain such as Home Depot and Lowes, as well as the smaller stores were sold out of plywood. Everyone realized they were in trouble at the same time. Solution? If plywood is the only investment you are willing or can afford to make, buy your sheets now, cut them to fit, purchase the correct hardware, weatherproof each piece and label each one for easy identification. Do not wait for the next emergency.

 

  • Homeowners who had shutters and had never installed them or inventoried them in the case of new construction. Several homeowners we encountered were astonished they were short specific sizes to complete covering their door and window openings, or had too many of another size. Their shutters were lined up in the exact spot the builder had left them, however, they were never inventoried by the homeowner-it was assumed they had the proper shutters and sizes. Solution? When you purchase a primary or Florida vacation home that comes with shutters, spend a day to do a test run and make sure you have the proper coverage for your home and the hardware! Several homes had bolts on the first floor but required wingnuts on the second floor. Guess what happened-no wing nuts or hardware to be found three counties wide the day before the storm. Even Home Depot closed at noon on Friday before Hurricane Irma hit…

Great Story from 10 News Sarasota on what sold out first

  • Homeowners who depended on friends or family to secure or check on their home before, during, and after Hurricane Irma. Mandatory evacuations throughout the area and the dangerous conditions made it unrealistic to expect anyone to put their families at risk to make sure your pool furniture was put away or your breakers were off. Most neighborhoods were inaccessible with flooding and downed power lines afterwards. Many families who fled could not purchase gas or pass the gridlock to return. Solution? Hire a Nationally Accredited Home Watch Company who makes it their business to secure your home.

 

  • For those who could not evacuate by choice or otherwise and were not prepared for the power loss and did not have a generator, or those who had not started their generator in years, we know this was brutal. I would trade my next vacation for a working generator when faced with 7 days in Florida with no power, and gas plenty of gas. We would like to explore several different generator options in a future blog.

 

  • Communication was at a complete stand still. Cell towers were down all over the area. No Power, water, communication was terrifying as families tried to check on loved ones. It was a feeling of utter isolation we have never experienced before, and for many we have spoken with-the worst part of the storm and aftermath. Again, in a future blog we would like to open a dialogue about communication in an emergency.

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We at the KDC Home Protection family are saddened by the loss of our community, our families, our friends. Our heart goes out to everyone who is still without power, to those who are trapped with no air and have medical needs, to those who lost pets in the mayhem. We will be stronger, we will learn to be better prepared, and we will survive.

Below are a list of resources for those who have experienced loss in this tragedy:

Apply for FEMA disaster assistance

American Red Cross

Florida Emergency Management

Operation Blue Roof

Gas Buddy

Free Legal Help

Food Packages

Lee Lost Pets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing for Hurricane Irma

We have received countless calls from homeowners needing hurricane prep on their homes this week with Irma on the way, and KDC employees have stepped up to the plate! Our crews worked tirelessly securing homes in over 100 degree heat.

Some of the challenges we faced were homeowners with no hurricane shutters at all, and we all know that plywood has been nearly impossible to obtain anywhere right now. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is what my Grandmother always said and unfortunately in this case its not only a painful truth but a devastating one.

Shutters in Florida are a must, make the investment now because we have more storms coming now and forever in Florida.

Call us before the storm for shutter attachment and after for removal as well as a full property inspection of any possible damage. If your home suffers from the effects of Hurricane Irma we have a vetted list of contractors on stand by to help. We have been providing full interior and exterior photo documentation for insurance purposes on every home we visit. We will help you sort it out, you are not alone in this. 833- KDC-HOME

For a full list of our services visit http://www.kdchomepro.com

 

What is ‘home watching’?

Home watch is so much more than house sitting. Owners of multiple properties are often forced to take days out of their lives dedicated to maintaining their homes-away-from-home. It’s difficult enough to keep up on a property in another city, let alone another state, or even country. At KDC we gladly take on that burden. Homeowners can stay home while KDC and their trusted, local contractors ensure that your property is safe and cared for. We don’t just ‘house sit’, we keep the lawn groomed, pool clean, and ensure that nothing is out of place as long as you are away. In Florida our service is not only recommended, it is essential when your beautiful homes are under frequent threat of hurricanes, brush fires and floods. A house sitter may not be willing to retrieve sentimental’s or valuables from a home facing a natural disaster, but with KDC you can rest assured that not only your home, but everything in it, are safe and secure.house_magnifying_glass_shutterstock_92285236_3 

Florida offices earn NHWA seal of approval

We are proud to have earned National accreditation with the NHWA for our Florida offices, NHWA, who holds us to the highest standards and requires all members to be bonded, insurance and of the up most integrity. If your home watch company is not NHWA accredited your property may not be in the best hands.

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