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Nobody likes to be criticized. Opening up your vacation rental to public scrutiny can be daunting – sometimes even scary. But online reviews are incredibly important to any vacation rental owner. Indeed, with the rise of review sites such as Yelp, internet users are more likely to trust the opinions of other users than those of “experts”. According to one study of 2,100 internet users by BrightLocal, 84% of respondents said they trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations. More significantly, over 74% said that positive customer reviews would make them trust a business more.

So, as you build your vacation rental site, keep in mind that the online reviews should be the backbone of your web presence. With the right strategies, you can turn your online reviews into a powerful tool for attracting new customers and creating a loyal customer base.

With Lodgify’s review system you can easily collect guest reviews and recommendations directly on your website. Accept or reject submitted reviews and directly respond to them. And while Lodgify’s review system makes viewing, managing, and responding to your vacation rentals reviews incredibly simple, here are some simple ways to get even more out of your visitors’ feedback.

1. Reputation management is a full-time gig

The most effective way to maximize your online reviews is, quite simply, to always be aware of what people are saying about your vacation rental. That means staying informed, monitoring new reviews as they come in, and proactively responding to comments from your visitors.

2. Curate your best reviews

Studies have found that the majority of online browsers will only read 2-3 reviews on average before making their decision, and a slightly smaller proportion will read about 4-6 reviews. This means you should keep your best reviews near the top where they are easy to spot.

3. Respond quickly – no matter what!

When a visitor takes the time to leave a review, always validate them with a short thank you. If the review contains criticisms, it is especially important to follow up. Be polite, take their concerns seriously, and listen. Above all, don’t be defensive. By doing this, you can turn a potential negative into a positive.

4. Get in touch with negative reviewers directly

If people have complaints, send them an email. Ask them to detail their concerns and let them know you are always trying to improve your rental.

5. Learn the difference between negative and abusive reviews

Negative reviews contain constructive criticism. Abusive reviews are vague, irrational, or contain profanity. In the latter case, the best policy is to delete them immediately. Be sure to follow up directly with the reviewer via email. Let them know why you deleted their comments but that you’d be more than happy listen to their specific concerns.

6. Just ask!

Often, renters simply forget to post reviews – even if their experience was superb. Or they may not realize that their opinion is valuable to you. Send your guests a personalized email requesting a testimonial after their stay and be sure to include a link to the review page. Let them know their opinion and feedback really matters to your business.

7. Share! Share! Share!

Share your best reviews on Facebook and Twitter and encourage your renters to do the same. By engaging via social media, you establish a deeper connection to your potential and existing customers.

8. The more, the better. Period.

It’s simple: the more reviews you get, the better chance you’ll have that some of them will be fantastic – and the more likely future renters will leave reviews. So remember: don’t get discouraged and keep listening and responding to renters.

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