As the owner of a rental chalet, you’ll understand the importance of guest reviews. Not only can they help attract more bookings, but they also play a key part in upholding the reputation of your business.
However, knowing how to achieve positive guest reviews can be overwhelming. And with so many factors to consider, it’s easy to become lost in the details.
In our last post, we explained the importance of guest reviews and how they can impact your online presence and overall success. Now we’re going to demonstrate how you can take action, by providing you with practical tips for ensuring your guests have an exceptional experience that leads to glowing feedback.
Transparency and honesty
As an owner, transparency is crucial when listing your holiday rental property online. By being upfront with prospective guests about the details of your property, you can prevent misunderstandings down the road and save yourself time.
Clearly listing the rental price, security deposit, and any additional fees or utilities included in the rental agreement are some of the basics. Providing accurate and detailed descriptions of the property’s features and condition also helps build trust with potential guests.
However, there are plenty more factors to consider when it comes to striking the balance between highlighting your property’s competitive advantage and misrepresenting it in order to secure bookings:
1. Do not oversell your property
When it comes to renting out your property, it’s important to manage guest expectations. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a property only to find that it’s nothing like what was advertised online.
That’s why it’s so important to be honest and accurate with your property listings. It’s much better for guests to be pleasantly surprised by your property than to be disappointed because you oversold it online.
By being transparent and truthful about your property’s amenities, condition, and location, you can avoid negative reviews and build a reputation for providing a high-quality guest experience.
So, be honest, and your guests will thank you for it.
2. Ensure your property matches the photos
When guests arrive at your property, it’s crucial that the space they step into matches the images on your website. This means ensuring that the configuration is the same and that none of the elements in the photos are missing.
Using props to enhance the images and bring them to life can be an excellent idea. For example, laying the table and placing some food in the middle helps to create a more welcoming atmosphere. But you wouldn’t photograph a state-of-the-art sound system in your living room if it won’t be available to guests.
This is also the case when you upgrade or renovate your property. Make sure to organise another photoshoot to capture the changes.
All of this helps you establish a sense of consistency and trustworthiness. Both of these are essential for building a rapport with your guests. Plus, you’ll be able to manage and meet their expectations, as well as put them at ease from day one.
3. Write accurate property descriptions
The copy on your website is equally as important as the images. And the same rules apply when it comes to creating descriptions which accurately reflect your offering.
For example, if you advertise the property as a “secluded mountain getaway” and the guests arrive to discover that it is surrounded by other homes, they’re going to be disappointed. Similarly, if you list a BBQ as one of your features, you need to make sure there actually is one available for use.
And while it’s tempting to only highlight the positive aspects of your rental, it’s equally important to point out any potential downsides. For example, if your property is located near a busy street or has limited parking options, make sure to mention this in your listing.
By being transparent about both the good and the bad, you can ensure that your guests have a great stay and are more likely to leave a positive review.
Ultimately, providing accurate descriptions helps set realistic expectations so that guests are not disappointed upon arrival. As a result, you reduce the risk of receiving negative reviews, which could have been easily avoided.
4. Trust is key
Trust is absolutely key. Without trust, people will be hesitant to book with you, and you will struggle to build a loyal base of returning guests.
However, even with the best intentions, issues can still arise from time to time. The key is to deal with them as quickly as possible before they escalate.
This is particularly important because once a guest has faced a couple of setbacks, they may begin to seek out more problems.
To avoid this from happening, it’s important to address all matters as soon as they arise. You need to do everything you can to ensure your guests feel confident that you have their best interests at heart.
Clarity and easy access to information
In addition to a transparent property listing, you also need to provide clear instructions and easy access to information.
To do that, consider the following factors:
1. Give clear directions
It’s no secret that Alpine properties are often difficult to find. A great deal of chalets are located in secluded areas along narrow roads, which can pose a few challenges. Many guests will also be travelling from inner-city areas and might be unfamiliar with driving in the mountains.
And although many people may rely on Google Maps or other navigation apps to find their way, it’s important to make sure that your guests feel prepared with all the information they need to get to your property without any confusion or delays.
This might mean providing detailed instructions on how to get there, including landmarks or street names that will help them navigate. You could also include photos or videos of the route, highlighting any key turns or indicators that will help them find their way.
By going the extra mile to help your guests get to your property, you’ll help their holiday gets off to a stress-free start.
2. Make check-in information easily accessible
Providing easy check-in information is crucial for a smooth and hassle-free arrival for your guests.
For those who opt for a self-check-in, it’s essential that the instructions are crystal clear and easy to follow. Wasting time searching through flower pots or under doormats in search of a key box after spending hours travelling is extremely frustrating.
Starting off with a negative experience could make it very challenging for you or your manager to regain the guests’ trust. But by providing clear and concise check-in instructions, you can help your guests feel welcomed and at ease from the moment they arrive.
If this positive experience is maintained throughout their stay, there’s a greater chance of them providing excellent feedback when they return home.
3. Create guides on how to use all equipment and amenities
It’s important to provide instructions explaining how to use facilities and equipment to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.
If guests are unfamiliar with how to use certain things, they could potentially injure themselves or cause damage to your property.
Although it may seem obvious, cover all bases by providing a guide which covers everything from operating the washing machine to using the oven. This way, guests can be self-sufficient and not have to rely on your assistance to operate features like the hot tub or call you every time they have a question.
4. Share local recommendations and tips
You know your town better than your guests, so it’s a great idea to share insider knowledge about the local area with them.
Not only will this help them to get the most out of their stay, but it will also enhance their overall experience and make them feel more connected to the community.
By sharing tips and ideas of things to do and see, you can help your guests discover hidden gems and local attractions that they might not have otherwise known about.
This will not only make their trip more enjoyable, but also adds a personal touch that guests will remember when it comes to providing their reviews.
5. Provide contact details
Whilst the goal is to empower independence, make sure the guests know exactly who to call and how to contact them at any time – this will provide them with peace of mind.
It’s also useful to supply the contact details for the local doctors, pharmacies, vets and emergency services.
Cleanliness and maintenance
Though they may seem basic, it’s vital you don’t neglect the cleanliness and maintenance of your property.
Make sure to plan carefully and take note of the following points:
With the threat of COVID-19 still present, guests are more cautious and concerned about cleanliness and hygiene than ever before.
By providing a clean and sanitised space, you not only ensure the safety of your guests but also gain their trust and loyalty.
A spotless property creates a good impression and increases the chances of guests leaving positive reviews, which in turn helps to attract more business.
Keep it clean!
Provide linen, towels and toiletries
When aiming for a high-end experience, linen, towels and toiletries (including toilet paper and shower gel) are considered basic necessities which should be included in the rental price. Doing so will avoid minor inconveniences for guests or the risk of them having to drive out to the shop after a day of travelling to pick up supplies.
The same also applies to kitchen essentials such as cooking oil, salt and pepper, as well as cleaning products like bin bags, washing liquid and sponges.
Avoid and anticipate wear and tear
Ensure the longevity of your furniture by purchasing quality items and checking their condition regularly.
But, do remember that with high footfall, furniture in a rental property may not last as long as in your own home. It’s also possible that some guests may not be as mindful of your furnishings as you are, however, this is something that is difficult to avoid.
Therefore, although it’s important to opt for quality, we wouldn’t recommend decorating your property with extremely valuable items which you are very precious of. Save these for your own home and family to enjoy.
Routinely update equipment to avoid failure
If you can see that one of your pieces of equipment is on its last legs, think of changing it before it breaks throughout someone’s stay.
This is especially important for key features such as hot tubs, home cinemas or pools. These are the types of features that guests will specifically book your property for – so the last thing you want is to have to admit it’s not working.
A personal touch
With so much competition on the market, owners are under pressure to stand out from the crowd. Therefore, adding that personal touch to your service is essential.
Here’s what you can do to create a memorable experience that keeps guests coming back:
1. Pay attention to detail
Your “wow factor” will be what makes your property stand out, making the guests feel lucky to be there – and it’s also what will make your property memorable and unique.
But what do we mean by “wow factor”? At OVO Network, this could refer to a number of different points, for example:
- Incredible locations
- Breathtaking views
- First-class facilities such as hot tubs and swimming pools
- Amenities which appeal to certain audiences such as remote workers, kids or couples
But it doesn’t have to stop there, think what you can do to create that special something that is exclusive to your property.
Check out these examples from OVO Network partner properties:
2. Provide a welcome basket
Providing a welcome basket of gifts for your guests on arrival is a wonderful way to make them feel special and valued.
Not only does it add a personal touch to their stay, but it also gives them a taste of the local culture and cuisine. Guests will appreciate the thought and effort that goes into creating a welcoming atmosphere, and the basket of goodies will help them feel right at home from the start.
Also, it can serve as a great marketing tool, as satisfied guests are more likely to leave positive reviews and recommend your rental to others. So, make sure to take the time to put together a welcome basket for your guests, and watch as it enhances their experience!
3. Reinforce the “home away from home”
Make sure to reinforce the fact that the rental property is still a home. Guests need to feel like it is owned by someone and cared for by someone. Doing this will also help avoid issues as guests are more likely to be careless with a “faceless property”.
Flexibility and reactivity
Your property is only as good as the service that comes with it. So make sure to prioritise the guests’ experience and provide that five-star service.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Be hospitable
Remember you are working in the hospitality industry, so be hospitable!
Guests are more likely to leave positive reviews and recommend your property to others if they feel that their needs were met and that they were treated with respect and kindness.
2. Be available
You must be available to your guests before, during and after their stay.
Keep communication open and respond to their needs as soon as possible. Even if you can’t immediately provide an answer to a question, always let the guest know you’ll get back to them soon, acknowledge their correspondence and let them know you aren’t ignoring them.
Remember, if a guest reaches out to you for information, then they’re looking for guidance from you. And part of the service you offer is to provide that guidance.
3. Be adaptable
Things don’t always go according to plan. And this applies to both guests and owners!
Changeovers can be stressful for owners and managers – but do bear in mind that things can go wrong for guests on their journey too.
Flights might be delayed or guests may get caught in traffic, so try to be empathetic and accommodate early arrivals and late checkouts. These gestures can go a long way.
4. Go the extra mile
Your way of going the extra mile may not be with one grand gesture. However, think of all the small actions you can take to improve the overall experience for your guests.
Perhaps it’s offering to help book them a restaurant or it could even be as small as arranging the towels in an interesting way to show your efforts. All these minor details add up, so if you always put in the effort, you will see that it pays off not only in the reviews but for your reputation on the whole.
Accidents happen and some issues are inevitable. However, how you react is what will have the greatest effect on your guests.
When operating any kind of customer-facing business, it is essential to be well-equipped with the correct tools to handle problems efficiently.
Here’s what we suggest:
1. Use the MIDAS technique
When a guest makes a complaint, a good tool to have is the MIDAS technique.
- Make Contact
- Stay in Touch
2. Do not bury your head in the sand
Being brave and having those difficult conversations whenever they’re required will show the guests that you care about them and creates space for level-headed exchanges to take place.
Aim to work together with your guests to avoid the “Us vs. Them” mentality.
3. Be proactive
Respond quickly to problems and be proactive in finding a solution. Don’t wait for the guests to ask for a resolution, think ahead and suggest ways of combatting the problem before it escalates.
The longer you make guests wait without communication, the more frustrated they will become.
4. See problems as opportunities
Finally, try and recognise the fact that problems can, in fact, be opportunities to strengthen trust and learn from your mistakes.
Realistically, some guests may never be pleased. This is a fact of life and is part of the role you play as an owner or manager.
However, if you handle things correctly, in some cases you may be able to turn a bad experience into a positive outcome, and guests will appreciate you all the more for it.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider in order to achieve positive guest reviews. And handling all of this alone isn’t easy.
At OVO Network, we support our owners in all aspects of their business to help them achieve great results and receive glowing feedback.
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