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Oct 23 2012

Soliciting Guest Reviews: Strike While the Iron’s Hot!

Surely by now all homeowners realize how critically important it is to have guest reviews posted on their vacation rental listings. The words “pictures and guest reviews, pictures and guest reviews” are repeated like a mantra here in the office to homeowners seeking marketing advice for their listings. In this age of online shopping, credibility and transparency are required to alleviate any fears of purchasing products “sight unseen,” and lots of great pictures and feedback from other vacationers provide that necessary trust. So, if you don’t have any guest reviews posted on your listing, get on it! Contact your past tenants, and ask them for some feedback!

How can you solicit feedback from your prior guests?

No matter how much they adored your property, your tenants are probably not going to offer to write you a review. So, here are some suggestions on how to solicit feedback:

• If your home is listed on WeNeedaVacation.com, use our terrific feature enabling you to generate an email to your tenants directly from your listing using a template provided for you. It’s really easy for you to do. And, more importantly, it’s even easier for them to comply with your request! All they have to do is click on a button in the email and start writing their rave review of your home.

• After their departure, email them on your own and ask if they would either reply to your email with some feedback or log in to your listing and submit a guest review. (Be sure to remind them of your property ID #.)

• Keep a guest book in your home, and encourage your tenants to write something in it. You can then transcribe this feedback onto your listing, and it will appear as a “Homeowner Entered” review. Although not as credible or noticeable as Vacationer Entered reviews, which include eye-catching, bright red, star ratings, they are certainly more effective than having no reviews posted at all.

When should you solicit a guest review – is it too late in the year?

It’s NEVER too late! Ideally, of course, the sooner the better – when tenants’ vacation memories are still fresh and poignant. The more time that elapses since their stay, the less apt they are to take the time to submit feedback – and the feedback is less likely to be as glowing.

I have adopted a practice of returning security deposits within days of my tenants’ departures, and then commencing my Guest Review Request Form email to them with the news that I have just mailed the deposit back to them. Needless to say, they are much more amenable to writing me a positive review knowing that their deposit is already on its way to them. Watch our how-to video for more on using the Request Form.

Read about other advice regarding guest reviews, including the importance of posting guest reviews, what to do if you get a negative review and how to prevent receiving a negative review.

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About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for WeNeedaVacation.com since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and have managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation.com, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family since the 1920’s. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV.com Homeowner Support Team, I am particularly involved with our new listers, providing assistance with the sign-up process and advice about how to create the most effective listing to ensure their booking success with us. I have recently taken over our press and public relations needs. And, with owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the content on our website, our monthly newsletters, and the blog posts. My husband and I live in Wellesley where we have raised our 2 grown kids and our Black Lab, Maisie. Email Elizabeth

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