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Short Term Rentals: Ultimate Guide to Respond to Negative Reviews

Reviews…loved and feared at the same time. They are a controversial topic in all industries, and even more so in the vacation rental sector. 

This industry is prone to the ratings and opinions of the guests which are vital in order to achieve client loyalty as well as new bookings. They are a double-edged sword, since the more bookings you have, the chances of receiving negative reviews increase and you will see all your efforts tarnished. 

And we are sure that most Property Managers make a big effort to offer an exceptional experience for the guest staying at their properties. Nevertheless, escaping a bad review is almost impossible. No company is exempt from a bad comment from a client throughout their professional existence. 

Is There Really a Need for Reviews in the Short Term Rental Sector? 

When guests make a booking, they create expectations in reference to the service that they will receive and when they arrive at the property and these are not met, you will probably receive a negative review. 

“Clients who have had a negative experience are two to three times more likely to write a negative review than those who have had a positive experience.¨

Probably, at this point, you are asking yourself if these types of ratings are worthwhile or if they simply impact your brand negatively. 

Even though  it is quite tough to face up to negative reviews, these always have their positive side, as you will see in the statistics below: 

Why Do I Need to Answer All the Reviews? 

Once we are clear that ratings are important, and we cannot, nor should we, escape from them, the next step that can create friction is the answers.

Should we answer them all, whether positive or negative? The answer is clear: Yes. Once again the statistics are revealing:

When a user makes an assessment he is revealing to the rest a small sketch of what they will live if they decide to make a reservation in your accommodation. On the other hand, the answer also provides information on how the Property Manager interacts with the client both to thank them for a good experience and to offer solutions and face possible inconveniences.

“When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make product, service, and business better.” When customers share feedback, businesses can use that knowledge to evolve products and services and remain competitive in the market while also maintaining customer satisfaction.¨  Kristin Smaby ¨Being Human is Good Business¨

Before Answering – Stages you Need to Consider 

The dreaded moment has come, and you need to confront the negative review! But before you answer you need to consider the following two phases: 

#Phase 1 – Relax

When you have made a great effort and you do not consider that the review really reflects reality, it is normal that the first instinct is to respond indignantly. However, emotions should not be allowed to cloud your judgment, since the answer will not only be seen by that user, but by everyone who searches for your properties. 

#Phase 2 – Take responsibility

While it is true that you may not consider the assessment to be entirely fair, it is possible that to some extent you must assume responsibilities and possible mistakes. You can even look for an impartial vision that makes you see the critical points that you must assimilate and face, all with a single objective: to improve the user experience and get more reservations.

Preparing the Answer – Tips for Responding to Negative Reviews

Finally, after these two phases, it is time to get down to writing. 

👉# TIP 1|Respond as soon as possible. Immediacy is necessary in the digital world. In fact, responding within 24-48 hours after receiving the assessment is vital, it is a reflection of your interest in the user experience. In addition, timely resolution of incidents can prevent negative reviews from becoming conversational threads where other users can express their discomfort and provide an unrealistic picture of the situation.

👉# TIP 2| Thank the guest for their comment. | You may not fully agree with the assessment, but even so, if a customer invests time in doing a review it is important to be thankful. For two reasons:

  • It offers you the possibility of solving a problem that you may not have known about.
  • It offers the rest of potential guests a positive and humble image.

👉 # TIP 3| Accept the evaluation | It is difficult to recognize the criticisms, but it is important to know the weak points that can be generating a decrease in your bookings. For this reason, you should write specific answers that take on the responsibility for what happened. However, sometimes certain assessments contain situations that may escape our control (e.g., the weather was not as expected, a certain tourist area did not meet expectations, etc.), in which case we can offer an apology and a possible solution (e.g., we are very sorry that your experience was not as expected, it is true that the weather did not accompany those days. If you want to enjoy the experience again, we recommend the months of…).

👉 # TIP 4| Contribute your vision | In case the situation or incident has been solved during the stay and later, but before receiving the review, it is important to highlight it in the answer.

74% of guests would still be interested in a property with a negative review depending on the content of the review and how it was answered.”

Get More Reviews Online

94% of guests would still be interested in a property with a negative review if it is accompanied by positive ones.

There is no better way to mitigate the negative impact that a negative online review than to counterbalance it with positive reviews. Because this will imply that this is a one-off situation.

One of the best customer feedback is at the end of their stay, so if we know first hand that the guest experience has been positive we can urge them to leave us a positive assessment. 

In addition, special promotions can be offered to customers who leave positive reviews or periodic raffles that encourage users to make an assessment.

Online reputation is a fundamental part of the booking process. Maintaining smooth, careful and constant communication with customers is essential. In other words, it is another fundamental part of customer service. 

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