Reviews are absolutely essential to running a short-term let on a site like booking.com. They build trust in the property, they allow guests to read real feedback, and unlike other review sites, all reviews on booking.com are from guests who’ve actually stayed at the property, as you’re not able to leave a review if you have not.
When you first start out with booking.com if you are charging too much (and you do get booked) you are not likely to attract 10/10 reviews.
Because a major factor in people reviewing a property – or indeed anything highly is – value for money.
If guests feel like they’re not receiving good value for money, or what they have paid for is over-priced, they are highly unlikely to leave a favorable review.
Therefore: when starting out on booking.com, Airbnb, Expedia or any other platform, you must be careful to price your property so that it will attract plenty of good feedback. Even if that means charging less than you want.
For example: When I first started with booking.com my average base nightly price was £70 per night. It’s now £120 per night, and we are regularly completely full. Why? because the trust we have built up over time is reflected in an average of 9.3/10 on nearly 200 reviews, so guests are far more willing to trust the quality of the property. (You can read my reviews here).
We recently had a competitor open extremely close to us who was charging 3 times per night compared to what we charge. I have checked out their nightly occupancy (easy to do with booking.com – just enter the property name and see if it’s booked) and they are barely half full. They are not going to get very far with this strategy. No matter how nice
In my view, they will not succeed, but only time will tell.
Cleanliness is not so much about getting good feedback, it’s more about not getting poor feedback. Guests expect their apartment to be clean, and if it’s not, this will be one of the first things that will elicit a poor review.
You can read my article about hiring cleaners here.
To give a quick summary of the absolute musts with regard to cleanliness, I have a quick list for you.
- Bathrooms – must be clean and “look” clean. If there is a vague smell of bathroom cleaning spray, then the chances are the bathroom will be perceived as being clean (remember, perception is reality, but for the avoidance of doubt it should look and be clean!).
- Make sure shower doors are clean. They look horrid if their dirty and full of grime and limescale.
- The section “Bathrooms” on this page has some great tips about making a bathroom appear clean and presentable.
- Buy a decent vacuum cleaner. I recommend the “Henry” – it’s cheap and does an excellent job. You might be interested to know that this is also the vacuum cleaner tradespeople use because it’s so good!
- Kitchens – just make sure they’re clean. Things to watch out for are hidden areas, the tops of cupboards, boiler cupboards, and limescale. No one wants to make a cup of tea with a kettle full of scale. Get rid of it!
- Floors. Mop wooden floors with wooden floor cleaner and a tiny bit of bleach after vacuuming the dust-up.
- Stains on sofas and armchairs. Get rid of them. Because of the high traffic your property will have, the simplest answer to preventing this problem is to by attractive-looking throws for sofas.
The fact is that when a guest books any accommodation one of the things that will make the experience a bad one is hassle along the way. What do I mean?
What I really mean is that if the service is difficult to enjoy and things are difficult to understand, this will detract from all the positive things that you offer. So in order to get consistently good reviews, think about the following items:
- Communication of information on location and keys
- Communication of check-in and checkout times
- Ability to operate and find things
- Whether or not the property has the basic elements that the property should have
Apart from the items mentioned above, you can refer to the following pages for tips and ideas of how to make your property look great and hence get good reviews:
- Getting started – creating a winning rental guests will love.
- How to furnish your property
- This one’s really important – how to build great relationships with your guests
Q: Do guest complaints mean bad reviews?
A: No not at all, if handled correctly.
I have given other examples of this on this website, but essentially if you deal with a guest complaint well, this does not (necessarily) mean a bad review.
We recently had to charge a guest for damage, which they were extremely unhappy about, but in the end still left us a 10/10 review and paid for the damage.
To cut a long story short, the guest left a not-inconsiderable amount of problems when they left. We called them and confronted them with this, and said that we would be charging the full damage deposit.
They firstly denied any damage was done. I said “Look, you either admit the damage, leave me a good review, and I charge you a small amount, or you dispute the damage, and we charge you the full amount.
The next morning I woke up to an apology from the guest, a “yes please” would you charge us a small amount of money, and they’d already written a good review.
If I hadn’t confronted the guest, I would have been upset over the damage, and they may have booked again (this was already their third visit) and thought they could get away with this sort of behavior.
As it now is, the guests are happy, I’m happy, we have another good review, and I’ve said the guest is welcome to come back anytime (and you can be sure they won’t make that mistake again!).