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Guest reviews and your holiday rental business

A whopping 99.99% of online consumers read customer reviews before they buy. And this is true regardless of the industry.

Online reviews are therefore crucial when it comes to attracting future tenants. They can tip the balance of a decision, along with the price of the stay, possible discounts, or even recommendations from friends and family.

Given this trend, it is important to understand why customer reviews are so important for your holiday rental business, and to include them in your marketing strategy.

What makes a good review?

Taking a closer look at good feedback

The most obvious answer to this question will often be “a positive review”, “a review that speaks well of my chalet” or “a 5-star review”.

It’s not always that simple

This is probably what came to mind, especially if you are just starting your holiday rental business. You’re already imagining your chalet’s online description, a beautiful photo gallery at the top of the page, followed by fifteen or so reviews that say your property is the best.

You’re partly right, and that is the goal. However, defining a positive review as simply a good 5-star review is to focus on just the tip of the iceberg.

We asked Jessica, revenue manager at OVO Network, what she thought:

A good customer review is one that describes the property, makes future holidaymakers want to book, but also confirms their choice.

Jessica, Revenue Manager – OVO Network
Five gold stars underlined on a chalk board
The value of a good review depends on its authenticity © Canva


When a guest (or a consumer or a tester) writes a review, they become an ambassador for your property and your brand. They are taking the time to create content to share their feelings about their holiday. They share their experience honestly, whether it was particularly good, particularly bad, or somewhere in between.

Authenticity is the main factor

The value of a review lies above all in its authenticity. This should be your main concern before any other parameter. The reader of the review – your potential future guest – must be able to identify with what he or she is reading and with the author of the review. This will make them want to take action. We are attracted by what speaks to us and what we can relate to.

Secondly, the aim is to collect reviews from satisfied customers who are happy to say so online.

Finally, the form of the review is also important. A well-written review which is free from errors, detailed, contextualised and objective is more likely to make an impression than a simple “5 stars – Great stay”

The characteristics of a good online review

Good advice on a macroscopic scale

The quality of reviews is studied on a microscopic scale, but also on a macroscopic scale. Your future holidaymakers pay special attention to details that you might not think of.

There are two types of potential customers:

  • The regular online booker who is used to reading customer reviews and who instinctively knows what is real and what is not.
  • The cautious customer who will look for the slightest detail that could confirm or deny their decision to book.

So a good review is presented in a way that ticks all the boxes for the potential buyer.

Here is what online consumers pay attention to, in addition to the review itself.

The number of reviews

How many customer reviews do you need, in order to help the buyer feel confident about their decision?

The answer is, it depends on multiple factors including:

  • The market sector.
  • The competition.
  • The length of time you have been in business.

Overall, the general rule is, the more the better.

A graph showing what % of consumers look at reviews before making a purchase
The vast majority of your future guests read your online reviews very carefully ©PowerReview

Only 1% of online consumers say they never pay attention to the number of reviews published; 33% always pay attention, and 46% regularly pay attention.

More than half of the Internet users surveyed think that a product should have more than 25 reviews to be truly credible.

A graph showing the minimum number of reviews a product needs to give the consumer confidence
Potential customers are reassured by a greater number of reviews ©PowerReview

In addition, almost half of Internet users say they generally read between 1 and 25 reviews before deciding on a purchase.

A graph showing how many reviews consumers read before buying a product
Most online customers read up to 25 reviews before making their decision

But a word of caution – it is important to be consistent and once again, authentic. For example, a rental company that is just starting out will appear suspicious if it already has 10 or so positive reviews after only a few hours/days in business.

The date of the reviews

Recent and regular reviews will give a better overall impression to your audience. Guuests are looking for “fresh” content.

A laptop keyboard and  symbols of online shopping
Your future guests will be looking for recent reviews of your property ©Canva

Research suggests that 64% of respondents are more likely to choose a product with fewer but recent reviews than a product with more reviews but which is more than three months old.

Internet users interviewed explain this preference by different factors:

  • They think that it is more indicative of the quality of the product.
  • They feel more reassured at the time of purchase.
  • They have the impression that the reviews are relevant.
  • They feel recent reviews are more trustworthy.

This need to have access to recent reviews is increased when dealing with an unknown product, brand or platform.

Again, it is these ideas of trust and authenticity that are important. Renters have nothing against a new holiday rental company, as long as they feel reassured when booking.

How do you collect customer reviews?

Chalet owners often think that it will be easy to get good feedback from guests. However, this isn’t always the case. Even if guests were delighted with the stay, it is very unlikely that you will receive any spontaneous feedback.

To get reviews, you have to ask for them. Some customers will only need a little push, others much more.

By concentrating on the number of reviews, how and when they are written, you will improve your chances.

Five gold stars, one of which is smiling
When is the best time to ask your customers for reviews? ©Canva

When should you request reviews?

Professors in business and marketing have tried to answer the question of when is the best time to ask for a customer review in an article published on the Harvard Business Review website.

According to them, counter-intuitively, requests for immediate feedback, ie those received one to three days after the product has been received, decrease the probability of the customer responding. After studying the behaviour of the panel of individuals tested, they determined that the ideal time to request a review from a customer was 13 days after receiving the product.

For the holiday rental market, many marketing experts suggest that the ideal time is between 7 and 14 days after guests have left the property.

There are risks that come with asking your guests for feedback too early. That’s because when your guests leave your property, they don’t necessarily return home refreshed and ready to go. They have to make their way back, unpack, reorganise for the new school year, and go back to work.

But a few days later, they will be looking back with nostalgia at the wonderful week they have just spent in your chalet and will be giving a detailed account of their holiday to their colleagues at work. That’s when they’ll appreciate writing a few lines for you.

Two hands holding a mobile phone and three smiley icon - a red angry one, a yellow neutral one and a green happy one
The best time to ask your guests for a review is seven to 14 days after their stay ©Canva

How many times should you ask?

So, how many reminders should you send?

In the study we mentioned earlier, the researchers found that you need to send at least one reminder. The time intervals between the reminders and the initial request do not matter.

Reminders, regardless of when they were sent, sometimes have a memory stimulus effect and sometimes a psychological reactance effect – this is a phenomenon that interferes with the customers’ sense of freedom of action.

The younger generation has grown up with the development of e-commerce. They feel autonomous online and resent being given instructions on how to do things. So in this case you should not adapt your strategy to the products you offer, (in this case your property), but rather to the age range of your guests.

A laptop user with his credit card and phone ready to make an online purchase
At least one reminder is necessary if you want to get an online review © Canva

Ultimately, there’s no perfect way.

Sometimes the best plan is to look at the problem in reverse. As you collect reviews, look at the behaviour of your customers. Try to find out when they respond to most to your requests. You can adjust the timing and frequency of your reminders accordingly.

How to ask?

Jessica, revenue manager at OVO Network, once again provides her expert advice:

OVO Network automatically sends a form to holidaymakers after their stay and takes care of collecting the reviews. Property owners and managers can encourage guests to complete the form, either in a verbal exchange or by sending them an email after their holiday. In this way, tailored follow-up emails are the most effective way to successfully collect customer reviews.”

80% of site reviews come from email requests (PowerReview marketing experts, in their Complete Guide).

If you want to write your own email, you can follow these tried and tested tips…

1. Make it personal

Holidaymakers (and customers in general) like to feel special. This means calling them by their name, slipping in a reference to an anecdote from the week, or a reminder of one of your conversations with them.

2. Guide them with tailored questions

Writers don’t have a monopoly on writer’s block. When faced with a customer review form, your guests are likely to react in one of two ways:

  1. Quickly leave a formatted, low-quality review to get it over with as quickly as possible because they can’t organise their ideas.
  2. Abandon the process altogether.

The best way to encourage them to be more talkative is to offer them some guiding questions:

  • When did you stay – what was the occasion?
  • What did you like best about the chalet?
  • Was the property just as it was described online?
  • Is there anything we could do to make your stay better?
A man drinks a coffee while looking at his tablet
80% of the reviews published on the sites come from email requests ©Canva

3. Make the process easier

Your reader must understand the purpose of your email right away. You need to write clearly and without frills and the request should be written in a straightforward way.

The more steps there are to follow (closing the email, going back to the rental platform’s website, logging in to your account), the less likely your customers are to follow through.

You then have two options:

  1. Insert a review form directly into your email.
  2. Insert a link to the exact place where customers can leave their reviews.

You may be able to communicate with your guests verbally or by message during their stay. If you have the chance, you can set the ball rolling as soon as your guests enter or leave the chalet. If you tell them that they will receive an email, they will subconsciously expect it and pay more attention to it when the time comes.

Where should you post reviews?

Holiday rental platforms such as OVO Network, Google My Business,, Airbnb, and Chalet Montagne all automatically publish customer reviews on their website. That way, they are visible to all future holidaymakers.

The best approach is to have several marketing platforms, each listing several good reviews. To do this, you can ask your customers if they agree to their review being published in various places.

A person uses a laptop asking them for a review
Holiday rental websites will publish their guests’ reviews automatically © Canva

Why are good reviews important?

Online reviews help holidaymakers make decisions – about your property – quickly and confidently.

The virtual circle of customer reviews

Online evidence drives bookings

Online consumers want information that allows them to make their decision quickly and without regret. Reviews from former customers are the best tool for this, as they act as social proof.

Speed of decision making

Internet users often make their decision within minutes. And with so much information and stimulation online, that isn’t an easy task. Knowing what other holidaymakers have chosen and liked helps to reduce the time they spend thinking about it.

Making an informed decision

A good, well-written review allows a prospective guest to get a feel for the chalet and imagine their holiday. Testimonials from former customers help them judge the value for money of an offer.

A purchase without regret

Online buyers want to be sure that they’ve made a wise purchase. This is even more crucial when large sums of money are involved and the satisfaction of an entire group is at stake.

It’s apparent that consumers who buy with the help of online reviews feel that they have made the right choice after the transaction.

Online reviews can tell consumers what or what not to do

Creating a calm atmosphere around the booking process is the first step towards a positive customer experience.

Prioritise customer satisfaction

The long-term future of your holiday rental business depends on the satisfaction of your guests. Using the reviews you collect can help you improve and grow your business.

It sends a positive message to your customers, showing that you care about what they have to say.

This increases your chances of retaining former guests. It’s also likely that they will spread the word about your business.

You know exactly how to improve the quality of your property and how you can meet the expectations of your future customers.

Customer reviews help you communicate with your tenants and build loyalty

Better visibility online

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the set of criteria (or algorithms) that a search engine, online tool, digital sales or rental platform uses to decide how to rank the items it offers.

Each algorithm has its own rules, but the objective is the same each time. The more relevant an article is to a consumer’s query, the more it will be promoted by the platform.

As the graph below shows, product pages without reviews account for 60% of product pages on the Internet, but just over 10% of traffic. The web does not like pages where customers do not interact.

A graph showing the impact of the number of reviews on the web traffic of the page
A graph showing the impact of the number of reviews on the web traffic of the page. ©PowerReview

Here’s how it applies in the holiday rental industry, regardless of which platform you list your chalet on: the more likely it is to appeal to guests, the higher it will appear in the search results.

And the more a property is promoted, the more likely it is to be chosen by guests, the better it will be listed and so on. You enter a virtuous circle that is very profitable in the long term.

The notion of relevance is also specific to each algorithm. However, it is possible to identify a common core of recurring criteria, which makes online reviews particularly essential: keywords, expertise and commitment.


If your content contains keywords that customers are searching for, it will be favoured. Reviews are full of very specific keywords: “chalet close to the slopes”, “a breathtaking view of the Alps”, “a heated indoor swimming pool”, etc.


The algorithms favour content created by experts. An expert, in this case, will be someone who is qualified to speak on a particular topic. A customer who has just spent a week in your chalet is an expert, and therefore the best person to give their opinion on the matter.


Algorithms like dynamic web pages. Customers who post reviews create content and demonstrate their willingness to connect with your business. It’s even more effective if you respond to reviews.

A graphic showing the cycle of online credibility
Customer reviews allow you to gain more visibility on digital platforms.

Google and other digital platforms want to identify the best solutions to user queries as quickly as possible. If you help them do this, they will return the favour.

Customer reviews are a key factor in the success of your holiday rental business.

Are Google reviews the only ones that count?

As we have seen, online reviews help to optimise your visibility on Google, whose influence has been proven.

You will therefore benefit from a good presence on Google. It is worthwhile creating a Google My Business page, a personal website and social media accounts.

However, Google reviews are not the only things that count. A good review is a good review, no matter what platform you read it on. While it is best to have several communication channels, this marketing strategy is complex and requires time and skills.

It is better to be particularly well-referenced on one platform than to be moderately referenced on several. It is therefore best to entrust your property listing to marketing experts who will help you develop various acquisition channels and maximise the credibility of your business online.

A man holding a tablet and a clip board
How can you be sure that an online review is true? ©Canva

How can you verify a client review?

There are two issues at play here:

  • Future tenants want to be sure that the customers who have left reviews are real, and that they are not fake reviews written by the company.
  • Property owners want to be sure that no one can damage their brand image by leaving false negative reviews.

False reviews are a fact of life in the world of digital commerce. There is no foolproof way to deal with it, but here are some things you can do to make sure you’re not caught out.

Choose trustworthy partners

This is your best weapon.

Digital platforms themselves have a reputation to maintain. It is in their interest to check the origin of the reviews they publish. OVO Network sends a review form to the email address of the person who made the reservation and checks the Google reviews. This is a guarantee of authenticity.

Trust your gut feeling

You are your best ally. If your intuition tells you that a series of reviews seems fabricated, it probably is.

There are certain things that should look out for:

  • A vocabulary, a writing style, and a construction of pseudonyms, which are repeated too often from one review to the next.
  • A sanitised page with only 5-star reviews, or comments such as “fantastic, nothing to complain about”.
  • Publication dates that are not well staggered over time.
A man holding a mobile phone and five gold stars
Are the reviews you are reading genuine? ©Canva

Methods of control

Measures are regularly taken online to anticipate or detect possible fraud.

Government organisations

In France, customer reviews fall under the jurisdiction of the DGCCRF (the Directorate-General for Consumer Affairs, Competition and Fraud Control). One of the roles of this body is to prevent the publication of false reviews.

However, with thousands of reviews published every day, mistakes can be made. You can always contact them if you are suspicious about a particular case.

The Verified User badge

You have probably already noticed this on platforms such as Amazon. It is a certification at the top of a customer review which means that the platform guarantees that the person in question has bought and tested the product in question.

Other rental platforms offer the same thing. However, this is sometimes counterproductive. If the badged reviews are verified, it potentially means that the others are not, which creates even more doubt.

A man and woman look at a table in an office
How should you respond to a negative review? ©Canva

Google Chrome extensions

Some extensions allow you to filter the most reliable pages, or to evaluate the value of reviews published by a company. This is what the Chrome extension from TrustPilot offers.

You can of course test it, but in this case, too, nothing is 100% guaranteed. Moreover, you will not be able to check out all companies, only those that already have reviews on the site of the organisations in question.

Dealing with negative customer reviews

Avoid negative reviews by being proactive

There are two things you can do to avoid bad reviews.

First of all, you should carefully prepare ahead of the arrival of your guests. This will give you the best chance of getting excellent feedback from them.

However, no matter how careful you are, things can always go wrong.

If a problem arises during your guests’ stay, don’t panic. If you focus on the upcoming negative feedback, you will react defensively. But you can turn things around.

If for example, your guests have a problem and have called you for help. This is your chance to save their stay. If you solve their problem, you will have a positive impact on their stay.

A finger clicks on a five-star rating
By being proactive you can avoid negative reviews ©Canva

As soon as you receive a negative review

The first thing you need to do is to step back from the situation. Remaining calm and not taking anything personally is key in this kind of situation. If necessary, allow a few hours or days to pass before taking action.

Then do your best to resolve the problem privately with your guests. Posting responses on the booking platform is not the best way to settle your scores. This is your last chance to turn a lost customer into a satisfied and grateful one.

Note: a negative review is not the be-all or end-all for your rental business. Your future guests will know that it is impossible to get 100% satisfaction and that there are as many tastes and preferences as there are holidaymakers.

What is detrimental is if the negative reviews start to accumulate, or outnumber the positive reviews (especially if the negative reviews regularly highlight the same problems).

Should you post negative reviews?

Generally speaking, you will not be able to delete your negative reviews online. At most, you can report a review that you feel is vindictive or dishonest.

As Jessica, revenue manager at OVO Network explains:

“Digital platforms do not allow you to delete a negative review; they advocate transparency. This increases the confidence of holidaymakers in the advertisements and the booking platform.

“Furthermore, a one-off negative review will not damage the overall reputation of your property. On the contrary, it helps to promote that much sought-after authenticity. Your property is real, and a real property cannot be perfect.”

A customer checks out reviews on a mobile phone
Seasonal rental platforms advocate transparency ©Canva

How should you respond to a negative review?

While it is important to get into the habit of responding to positive reviews thanking your tenants and encouraging them to return, it’s absolutely essential to respond to negative reviews:

“This is an opportunity to show your professionalism and the quality of your customer service.” – Jessica, Revenue Manager at OVO Network.

Your response should be professional and include the following:

  • An acknowledgement of the problem and a thank you for the time spent sharing the experience.
  • An honest, objective and factual account of what happened.
  • A list of the solutions you have tried to implement with the client.
  • The nature of the final agreement between the two parties.
  • Empathy, apology, good faith, and positivity.

For example, if you have compensated the holidaymakers, but they still gave you a negative review, you could answer as follows…

“We apologise once again for the problem you experienced during your stay. We have done our best to resolve this issue by doing X and Y. Unfortunately, we were unable to find an immediate and satisfactory solution. We sincerely hope that our financial arrangement will compensate for the problem and that we will have another chance to welcome you to our chalet so that you can enjoy this beautiful area in the future.”

A response such as this shows that you have been present, attentive and responsive. You also prove that you are capable of going the extra mile to satisfy your customer.

Learning from negative reviews

An isolated negative review is not a problem. However, a series of negative reviews – especially if the complaints are recurrent – will damage your holiday rental business.

Responding to a negative review is therefore also about putting in place effective solutions to the inconvenience your customers may have experienced. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of making changes to your advert description to make it more accurate. On other occasions, it is a matter of replacing faulty equipment or changing your concierge company.

A woman sits in a kitchen with her laptop and a bank card
Responding to a negative review is also about preventing the problem from happening again ©Canva

Online reviews can make or break your online reputation. And though it’s not always easy to collect reviews, they can make a big difference: more bookings, better referrals, and a more trusted brand image.

A negative review is just a bad step in your holiday rental journey, which you can take advantage of by reacting in the right way. If you need to discuss this further, our team of experts can help.

OVO Network, the leading rental management company for high-end chalets in the Alps since 2008, is at your disposal. We will look at your situation, identify the aspects of your property that are most attractive to guests and develop a winning marketing strategy to maximise the rental income from your Alpine property.

If you are interested in boosting your chalet rental business, you can accurately estimate the potential profitability of your chalet with our rental income calculator.

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