Oct 10, 2011

TripAdvisor's Annual Vacation Rental Survey for 2011 addressed the importance of having positive reviews posted for your vacation rental. "Traveler reviews" was a key influence cited by 27% of respondents, when deciding between different rental properties. This was only second to "Photos of the home" (42%), and was ahead of "Cost of staying at the properties" (13%). In other words, your vacation rental reviews are more important than your price.

One of the challenges is where to collect these reviews. Most Vacation Rental Listing sites have their own review section. We primarily use HomeAway and VRBO. Something you'll want to do once a guest has checked out, and you have refunded the security deposit, is send a request for a review. Here's the email that we use:

Thank you again for choosing Sunset Beach Bliss for your vacation. 
I wanted to ask if you would like to share any good thoughts about our condo with other vacationers via our online guestbook?  It really helps us and also other vacationers a lot when you take the time to post a few comments.   
(Note:  In order for your review to be allowed online, HomeAway.com will send you an email containing a link you can click to validate that your review was actually written by you.  Sometimes folks' email accounts mis-categorize this validation email as spam; and so, if you don't see this email after you submit your comments, you may need to peek in your "spam" folder in order to find it.) 
[ link to our guest comments page ] 
And, of course, if you have any suggestions on things we could do - or perhaps add to the amenities at our place - to make things nicer and more convenient, I would truly appreciate your emailing me directly with any suggestions you may have for me.  Some of my best improvements to the condo have been inspired by my guests!
There are a few things here that we've found important. You want to make the process for leaving a comment as easy as possible. We provide a link directly to the page where they can leave a comment, and also let them know in the email what to expect from the process. We also encourage them to send any suggestions for improvements directly to us by email, and preferably not in the review.

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