Marketing Your Vacation Rental

Taking the sting out of a negative review

5/5 - (9 votes)

bad-reviewI’ve read thousands of guest reviews over the last several years. Many are thoughtful and informative, others are hilarious. And, yes, some are downright ridiculous, like the vacationer who complained that the sand on the beach was “too soft, making it hard to walk.” Or the vacationer who was distraught because there were no salad tongs in the kitchen. Oh, my!

Fortunately, the vast majority of guest reviews are positive and constructive. But things happen, and sometimes a homeowner is faced with the task of having to respond to a negative review.

In a previous post, we addressed the issue of what to do if you get a negative review and how important it is to take the high road in responding to it. Even though you would be addressing the author of the review (your complaining tenant), consider that the audience will ultimately be prospective tenants, who will be anxious to see how you handle a situation like this. Is your response defensive and full of excuses, or does it show gratitude for the feedback and a desire to “fix” the problem presented in the review?

Readers are savvy enough to read between the lines of a review and can detect a fussbudget vacationer who was very difficult to please. But if a vacationer has a bona fide complaint, be sure to respond tactfully so that you come across to the reader as a responsible homeowner who really cares about your guests.

Recently, we heard about a negative review on Yelp complaining about poor service in a restaurant. But just look at how this restaurant owner turned the tables (so to speak) and made the complaints sound pretty foolish. I imagine you’ll find yourself cheering for the restaurant owner as we did.

Hopefully, you will never receive a negative guest review. But if you do, remember that a well-crafted Owner Response can totally take the sting out of the review and sway the court of vacationer opinion decidedly in your favor.

About the author

Joan Talmadge

Joan Talmadge - My husband Jeff and I created in 1997, shortly after buying our Cape home. My background includes teaching fifth grade for 8 years and writing and editing educational publications for 15. I get great joy from helping fellow homeowners successfully rent their homes. Jeff and I are proud to have two of our three grown children working for, truly a family-run business. For me, the Cape and Islands are magical all times of the year -- whether it's walking on Nauset Beach, playing golf, or enjoying family and friends. Email Joan