The vast majority of internet users in the United States check online reviews before making decisions on just about anything. In the vacation rental home game, the volume and quality of your property’s reviews can boost it closer to the “top of the list” on your rental platform, too, increasing your rental potential!
So That Happened…Don’t Panic!
The bad review…No matter how hard you try if you’re operating a vacation rental home, it’s bound to happen at some point. Bad reviews can seem like personal attacks, even if that wasn’t the intent of the reviewer. And feeling personally attacked can cause all sorts of things to come out of our mouths – or our fingertips to our keyboards – that we wouldn’t say under normal circumstances.
DO NOT IGNORE IT, but don’t panic, either. Take a breath…or six dozen. It may take a bit before you’re able to objectively look at the situation from all angles. It is important that you address the review online, but only after you’ve had a chance to compose yourself enough to compose an appropriate response.
Acknowledge and Apologize
When crafting a reply to the bad review, do your best to sound professional, but keep it real. No one likes a “canned” response to a complaint – they want a person, not a spokesperson. Simply apologize for the bad experience they had and express your desire, as the owner of the vacation rental home, to “make it right,” and offer your contact info for follow up.
Once you’ve done this, you’ve very effectively put the ball in their court – and that should be the end of any online interaction on the matter. Any further communication on the matter should be done person-to-person, not in a public forum. NO ONE wins in a cyber-fight.
What Will Make It Right?
Put yourself in the role of the disgruntled guest writing the bad review. If whatever happened to them happened to you, what would YOU be comfortable asking for, to “make it right”? If and when the guest contacts you for follow up, ask them directly what THEY feel would make it right?
Hopefully, the two of you aren’t terribly far apart in what you think is a fair resolution. By the way, it’s quite possible that your guest was a little bit hotter under the collar when they wrote the review than they will be after a little sincere and positive interaction with you. If it turns out the guest is actually demanding less than what you had in mind to “fix this,” offering a little bit more may even cause your guest to remove or edit their review in your favor – especially if they had a very valid complaint.
What Did We Learn?
Always let the experience of dealing with a bad review be a learning experience. What exactly went wrong at your vacation rental home that led to the bad review? Whatever it was, if the complaint was valid, it’s now your job to figure out how to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Sure, there will always be the occasional guest who’s nit-picking or looking for way more of a settlement than seems fair. Some guests even make a habit of it, unfortunately. It’s okay to wave them off once you’ve done your part in trying to make things right by offering a reasonable solution.
Moxie Girl Can Help!
Operating a successful vacation rental home can be stressful! Putting the Moxie Girl team in charge of your between-guest turns is a great way to reclaim some of your time as a vacation rental homeowner. Click here for a FREE CONSULTATION!
As a vacation rental home owner, you know that bad reviews of your property can be expensive. Seeing anything less than a positive review (especially if it’s recent) will cause many potential guests to keep on scrolling! No matter how fantastic your vacation rental is there will always be complaints, but here are some common ones that can quite easily be avoided.
“Property Not as Described”
No one likes unpleasant surprises! When listing (and photographing) your vacation rental, be honest about all aspects of your property. Of course you’ll want to showcase the fabulous – whether it’s the view, the pool, a grand garden bathtub…even nearby attractions! But you’ll also want to be sure your guests are prepared for other, not-so-great realities, if they do indeed exist.
Be thoughtful with your descriptions. Even some flaws may be turned into selling points for the right crowd. For example…let’s say you have a gorgeous vacation rental with loads of amenities…but it’s down the street from an outdoor motorcycle testing facility that “revs up” at the crack of dawn five days a week.
You can play up every single amazing feature on your property, but neglect to mention the fact that the motorcycle testing facility WILL be your alarm clock on the weekdays, and you’re definitely going to garner some guest complaints – and many of those WILL turn into bad reviews on your rental platform. But, if accurately described…
“Early rising thrill-seekers – this is for you! A stunning 2Bed/2Bath condo, beautifully decorated and upgraded to absolute luxury, in a gorgeous Arizona desert setting! Monday through Friday, start your day with the thrilling sounds of the world’s most technologically advanced motorcycles being tested at the nearby Xtreme Wheels facility. (The facility also offers free public tours and test rides, 7 days a week!) Evenings are quiet and minimal light in the area makes it perfect for sunsets and stargazing from the relaxing hot tub overlooking the Valley!”
When you are charging people to stay overnight, they will absolutely expect a comfortable sleep! Don’t go cheap on beds and bedding. In fact, if you’re going to “splurge” on anything in your vacation rental home, make it the mattresses and linens!
Quality bedding will not only leave your guests feeling pampered, but it also makes financial sense. Higher-end linens tend to be more durable. Linens used in vacation rentals are going to be laundered considerably more often than in your average household. Do you really want to be replacing sheets every two months?
“Amenities/Expected Provisions Lacking”
Competitiveness in the vacation rental home market (especially in the Phoenix area) has led to increased expectations. Many guests may just assume they’ll find the same type of amenities they’d find in a hotel – body-care products, tissues, etc.- PLUS the basics they’d find at home, such as dishes, cookware…you know, “the basics”.
Your vacation rental listing should clearly state what is provided for guests and make sure the property is adequately stocked for the duration of your guests’ stay. Especially important: toilet paper and trash bags! Moxie Girl has published some great tips for stocking your vacation rental home in our blogs “How to Set Up A Vacation Rental Home Kitchen” and “Laundry 101 for Vacation Rental Homes” too!
Imagine arriving for your stay at a vacation rental home having eagerly anticipated a nice visit to the hot tub with a nice pinot noir, only to find that the hot tub “with the relaxing, spectacular view” OBVIOUSLY hasn’t been maintained or tested any time in recent history. Sad face. Then ANGRY face. Then, aggressive dialing of the phone. You really don’t want THAT phone call on a Friday night, do you?
Regular testing and maintenance of all home systems and appliances is a must if you expect your vacation rental property to be a success. Issues you might just ignore or “work around” in your own home aren’t acceptable for a paying guest to deal with. A great way to stay in touch with the condition of your vacation rental property is to actually stay there yourself. Use our blog “Visiting Your Own Vacation Rental Home?” as a guide!
One of the most frustrating things a guest can experience is difficulty accessing the vacation rental home and associated amenities. After each guest departure, all keypad and lock boxes should be checked for function, and any keys accounted for. Be sure your guests have current codes to access anything they’ve been made to understand is available to them – including WiFi, community pools and laundry rooms!
“Tired and Worn-Looking”
Many things contribute to the overall appearance of your vacation rental home, including everything from like linens and cookware, to larger items such as furniture and window coverings. Replacing items costs less in the long run than bad reviews. Consider updating and replacing items BEFORE they start to look shabby. (Use our blog, “Refresh Your Vacation Rental Home for Spring” for some quick tips – they can be applied to any time of year!)
Cleanliness in a vacation rental should never be an option. Your guests should feel as though they are entering a space which has been prepared with them in mind. NO ONE is expecting any “ewwwww” moments – especially when they should’ve been easily caught by the cleaning crew well before check-in time. Our blog “Review Killers” points out some common cleaning “misses” you should definitely be aware of!
There’s a lot you, as the vacation rental home owner, can do to not only avoid complaints but garner great reviews! Being proactive in maintenance, seasonal “refreshes” and cleanings keeps your property continually looking and feeling its most appealing to your guests.
If you’re a vacation rental home owner in the Phoenix Metro area and interested to know how Moxie Girl can help your property shine, click for a FREE CONSULTATION!
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Review Killers – Vacation Rental Home Cleaning “Misses”
When guests book your vacation rental home, they’ve seen photos of it online looking it’s very best, so you’ve already given them a great (virtual) first impression. And now that their expectations have been set, it’s up to you to make sure your guests aren’t disappointed during their stay! As fantastic and fresh as it may look at first glance, a guest discovering a cleaning “miss” – or worse, multiple “misses” – during their visit can really diminish their overall perception of your vacation rental home.
We all hope that a great experience will translate to a great guest review, but we know a negative experience, even if it’s due to one or more seemingly minor issues such as cleaning “misses” will nearly ALWAYS translate to a less than positive guest review. Moxie Girl, your vacation rental specialist, is here to alert you to some common cleaning misses to avoid – all of which can be huge turn-offs to guests.
It’s Okay to be “Hairanoid” – Especially in the Bathroom
You know, like paranoid…about HAIR. Nothing will ruin the appearance of an otherwise spotless bathroom than a hair – even one – missed during cleaning. If Moxie Girl happens upon an extra-hairy bathroom, we often use our vacuum attachment tool to get the bulk of it out of the way before we even start cleaning! Vacuuming any DRY sink, tub or shower, in addition to the floors, will make quick work of hair disposal and keep it out of your cleaning cloths, so you won’t be spreading it around. (Caution – Never vacuum a wet surface!)
Check those bathroom drains! Hairy drains are completely unappealing and if left unchecked, will leave you with slow-running or completely clogged drains.
Fabric surfaces throughout your vacation rental home – seat cushions, throw pillows, duvet covers – can all collect hair, dust and other debris. Moxie Girl recommends rolling all these surfaces with an adhesive lint roller, which can be purchased at your nearest dollar store.
And finally, double check bathrooms after you complete the rest of the home. Hair can float around for a while, landing in the most inconvenient spots. Double check that no “strays” made it back on to your clean surfaces.
The Kitchen – So Many Places to Hide!
The kitchen, with all its appliances, drawers and cupboards is a potential landmine of cleaning misses! For example, if you’ve followed the guidelines in Moxie Girl’s How to Set Up a Vacation Rental Home Kitchen, you furnished your kitchen with some type of coffee maker and a toaster or toaster oven. Guests will definitely expect those things to be clean and ready-to-use. This means clean, inside AND out! No soggy, spent coffee filter and grounds or used K-cups left in the Keurig, and certainly no toast crumbs littering the counter the second the toaster is touched.
Bigger appliances should be thoroughly checked out during the cleaning process, too. The majority of your vacation rental home guests may never use the oven or even the microwave, but still, take a peek! Moxie Girl has found food left in ovens (and microwaves) – even gooey evidence of an indoor marshmallow roast – more than once after guests have departed. And if we hadn’t checked, it could have been the next guest finding that mess – yikes!
Dishwashers and refrigerators should be empty, clean and fresh-smelling. Double check that all dishes, utensils and cookware are sparkling clean and dry – and neatly put away in clean drawers and cupboards! Don’t forget to check the inside of the trash bin to make sure there aren’t any messes lurking in there, either.
Handle(s) with Care!
Ensure your guests’ hands will come in contact with “nothing but clean” by thoroughly wiping down any and all handles in your vacation rental home – door knobs, drawer pulls, appliance handles and faucets. Sticky and/or greasy messes find it easy to hide here – especially on the back sides – only to be discovered the next time the knob is turned or the handle is pulled.
Moxie Girl recommends using your own clean, bare hands after cleaning your vacation rental home, to make sure all of these items throughout the home are clean and smooth. Don’t forget door knobs and handles on exterior doors – that front door handle is likely the very first thing your guests will touch upon their arrival!
Behind the Curtains – Insect Graveyards and Cobweb Farms
Pull open the curtains, blinds and shutters on all windows within reach. Not only will this give you some natural additional light while cleaning the room, but you’ll also be aware of anything hiding on window sills. This area seems to attract dead bugs and cobwebs more than most places in the home! Your vacuum attachment tool is useful for hands-free pick-up of any unpleasantness you may find here.
Shut the Front Door!
Actually, open and shut ALL the doors of your vacation rental home during cleaning. Dust and debris tend to gather in the corners behind the doors, so you’ll want to get in there with your vacuum attachment tool as well. Ignore it, and chances are the dust bunnies will scamper out of hiding the minute your guests get comfortable.
Monsters Under the Bed
With so much to do in preparation of your next vacation rental home guests, it’s all too easy to forget to check for “monsters” – trash, forgotten socks, dust bunnies and, well…just trust us when we tell you that you MUST check -under the beds! And in the drawers and closets – after every guest departure. Whatever you may find, you don’t want your next guests making that discovery!
Guests in a hurry to check out on time will often overlook personal items when they are packing, and sometimes jewelry and clothing items can get lost in bedding, or dropped on the floor and go unnoticed until cleaning. Your guests will appreciate being contacted immediately if you find something they mistakenly left behind!
Yes, we know that’s a lot to remember – but we also know that exceptional maintenance and cleaning of your vacation rental home is essential for success! If you’d rather not DIY, Moxie Girl can handle all those details for you. Visit www.moxie-girl.com and click on the big pink “FREE CONSULTATION” button. You are 2 minutes away from a stress-free vacation rental home!