In 2017 everything is at our fingertips, our gadgets make everything so easy to find and reasearch, consequently when it comes to planning a getaway, I often find myself spending countless hours reading reviews on a serious quantiy of Air BnB's, Holiday rentals and cottage getaways - all in a bid to make my holiday less stressful.
The reviews make it so much easier to decide where I am going and what I am going to do, without having to worry if I have made the right choice. Someone else has already tried and tested these places out for me!
It doesn't take much, does it? For someone to write down a few sentences, about where they stayed on holiday or what the food was like in a local gastro pub. Nevertheless, those few sentences make all the difference.
Who do they make a difference to? Take a look from both sides...
The husband, planning to take his wife for that special anniversary get away.
Browsing through the list of self- catering holiday cottages, he finds a property that ticks all the boxes, except one – the last few guests wrote reviews suggesting it was a busy area. So not a bad review, just one that suggests this isn't the type of holiday home he is looking for.
The next property he finds has a review stating “The most gorgeous house they we have seen, and set in such a peaceful and picturesque location”, bingo! Just like that he has found 'the one'!
The reviews made it easy for him to chose a holiday cottage, that suited his requirements.
The holiday cottage owner
Upon receiving this booking, a note was left stating this was an anniversary get away. So the owner ensures special arrangements are made for their arrival – Champange on Ice, a little welcome hamper and of course those adorable swan towels we all love to find in our hotel rooms.
After the guests leave they tell the owners what a wonderful time they had and thank them for making their stay so special, but they don't write a review when they get home.
This isn't unusual, and it doesn't mean they didn't enjoy their stay. So what can we do?
As a company working within the hospitality trade (working on behalf of Holiday homes and Cottage retreats) we recognize how influential reviews can be.
As an owner you take note of the constructive criticism - if someone suggests a set of swings for the children in the garden, you go out and buy a whole play set for them!
You also learn from the positive reviews – when the guests write that they enjoyed lunch at the local pub, you recommend it to your other guests ensuring they have a memorable time while staying at your property.
Now here comes the hard part, you have to get those guests writing reviews! Here's a few points to help:
Keep it personal – Guests love to be greeted at the property. This gives them peace of mind that all the information for their stay has been handed over. A personal touch also greatly improves your chances of getting a review when they have left.
Always give guests a contact number to call in case they need something – even if its just for directions to the shop. If they know you have done everything to help them enjoy their stay, they will remember this.
Don't be afraid to ask – Ask them for a review. OK, not every time you talk to them, but follow up their stay with an email. Ask them if they enjoyed their stay, and if so could they write a review.
Use links when asking for reviews – I know I have just stated how important reviews are, but we all know its slightly tedious, and we never know what to write. So make it easier for them, put a link in your follow up email to take them right to where they need to go.
I hope this has given you a little to think about, and several ideas to take away to use in growing your holiday home business. If you think you could benefit from an extra helping hand, to make running your home a breeze – Speak to us directly at Key Turner Management.