Online ratings are not known for their nuance. Between outstanding and appalling, people are not interested in the grey areas of descriptions. Leave 5 stars if you were happy, and just 1 or 2 if you weren’t.
The peer to peer network has redefined the rating system to a point where a 5 star rating represents satisfactory, maybe better than expected service. Praising the passable rather than the remarkable.
5 star ratings now mark out vacation rental managers that run well-managed, clean, and organised properties. They say ‘This property was as I imagined, I have no complaints.’ The place was clean, termites didn’t carry away our luggage and we didn’t have to climb the drainpipe to get in. 5 stars.
In an analysis of over 600,000 Airbnb properties, they found that nearly 95 percent of the listings scored either 4.5 or 5 stars, the highest possible rating.
For many managers, this is the basic minimum they would provide, not the best the vacation rental industry has to offer. Our current rating system doesn’t have the depth to reward the sublime or recognise the very best of vacation rentals. A 5 star hotel can still raise eyebrows of indulgent luxury, yet a 5 star vacation rental rating means that this property wasn’t actively painful to stay in.
This makes for a grayer world. Why make Citizen Kane when you can get the same result from the Fast and the Furious 12?
Yet there are managers that always try to do more and give their guests experiences that are truly worthy of the 5 star rating.
How can you stand out in the forest of 5-star reviews and what’s in it for you if you do?
Whilst it might not be reflected in your review score, if you constantly exceed expectations people will want to seek out your business again. A great brand is more powerful than multiple five-star reviews. You can control your own reputation and your brand will carry the assumption of great service.
Reviews only relate to that one portal site you list on, whereas a brand has a universal appeal. Your reviews then become a tool for you to use, not the only feature that defines your business, so use them as part of your brand. Don’t let other people have the final word on your properties.
Feature your reviews on your website, but focus on testimonials that resonate with your customer base. If your properties are aimed at family holidays, pick some quotes that best describe your business and brand. Feature these on your website, add them to email footers.
Ignore the stars and use reviews to bolster your total brand image. In this example, a Vreasy customer uses images of hand-written reviews to add to their image as a well-hosted, friendly and personal business.
Show, don’t tell. The best reviews show other people what it’s like to stay in your properties. Many guests know that 5 star reviews should often be taken with a pinch of salt and will spend the time reading through reviews to find one they can trust. A well-crafted recommendation, written by someone that genuinely loved your property but that also contains some of the limitations of your property will be the reviews that convert enquiries.
Reviews are set to move towards, natural language processing where reviews are automatically analysed for the words they use. This will then be used to gauge the emotion and feeling of the review to give a more precise way to categorise experiences, rather than the blunt starring system.
Encourage and incentivize your guests to leave written reviews as well as stars. One vacation rental company offered a 100 EUR discount to every guest that blogged about their trip, and a 100% free stay to the best post of the month.
Instantly, they were able to start bringing in high quality testimonials and stories from their guests, full of photos and stories that drew new guests in. Reviews are a big part of your marketing so don’t limit them to the portal that the original booking came through.
Reviews are important but they only ever relate to one property. If you have a 5 star review, use it to promote your professionalism. Let your guests know that they can rely on you and your team to help improve their guest experience. Reply to message efficiently, have tried and recognised ways to take payments and offer professional guest services such as airport transfers, and you will instantly stand out.
Use your rating to become more than just a place to stay and provide a more complete travel experiences. The majority of guests know that you can have a 5 star experience in a 1 star property and likewise in reverse.
The benefits of having multiple five star reviews means that it is easier to turn your business into a complete travel brand. No guest ever wants to trust their vacation rental essentials to a company that seems unreliable. But, promote your 5 star rating to demonstrate that you take your guest’s vacation rental seriously and you will be able to add extra revenue from guest services to your business.
If you have reached 5 stars and don’t want to stop there, click here to try the ways that Vreasy can help you go above and beyond.