With over 400 OTAs around the world, from large global corporations to niche metasearch engines, property owners have an array of opportunities to market and showcase their vacation rentals to a wider audience than ever. However, this also means that competition is greater than ever. As a consequence, it becomes more challenging to ensure that your rental stands out from the rest and that guests put their faith and trust in your business.
There are several ways for property managers to attract customers, including optimizing your website for SEO, adding high quality photographs to your listing, paying for online ads, and keeping on top of your social media channels. But, one of the most effective tools for marketing your vacation rental is genuine customer reviews.
In fact, reviews have been proven to be the third most decisive factor when guests are deciding which vacation rental they book, only behind location and price. Despite all the technology available to property managers these days, it’s often the little details and a human touch that can make the difference between a four-star and a five-star review.
So, with this in mind, how can vacation rental owners improve the guest experience to increase the number of five-star reviews they receive?
On Wednesday, November 16, SEO and Content Lead at Lodgify, Alberto Fernández, discussed this topic in an eye-opening and insightful webinar with two vacation rental industry superstars, Matt Landau, the founder of VRMB, and Christophe Salmon, co-Founder of Revyoos and a property manager of 50 units in Costa Blanca, Spain.
The purpose of this article is to offer all those who attended (and also those who did not!) the opportunity to access the webinar at their own convenience. You will find the webinar recording below, as well as a brief summary of what was discussed, including valuable tips and advice, and a selection of the best questions from the Q&A section.
Alberto kicked off the webinar with the guest introductions before filling the audience in on the latest Lodgify updates, announcing the news about the $30 million dollars raised in funding, the new unified inbox, the revamp of the Lodgify mobile app and the new integration with Google Vacation Rentals. Christophe Salmon then took the mic and gave us a brief history into his early days as a property manager and revealed how he was inspired by Matt Landau to quit his previous job to follow his dreams of owning a vacation rental business based on Matt’s advice, “A lack of time is a lack of focus.”
He then shared some incredible insights into the vacation rental industry with his presentation on the importance of reviews, as well as explaining how Revyoos can help all property managers, whether you own one unit or 50, with collecting and improving your business’ reviews.
The respect and admiration was mutual as Matt Landau began his presentation Limited Edition Hospitality as the New Marketing, retelling his memory of meeting Christophe in Madrid and being treated to a wonderful hospitality experience that left a lasting impression.
Inspired by these ‘surprises’, he provided a variety of ideas that vacation rental owners can put into practice to enhance their business, including analyzing the significance of “the human touch” and “thoughtful details”.
Question: Are reviews more important than length of stays in terms of business KPIs? I am just starting with my first vacation rental property, and I’ve heard that reviews are less important but I’m not sure. Answer (Christophe): As a property manager, there are many KPIs that we need to track. However, reviews and length of stays are two very different KPIs that will both help you. Length of stays are a reflection of your pricing management and minimum night stays.
Answer (Matt): The one KPI that a lot of people often overlook is the lifetime value of a guest. When you see a repeat guest comes on average X times a year and spends X amount of money, it more than covers the cost of a cheese tray (in reference to one of the ‘surprises’ PMs can do for their guests).
I would also look at the number of guests that arrive from OTAs and how many are direct bookings, because if you can encourage more direct bookings, repeat customers, you are well on the way to independence.
Question: Can Revyoos collect reviews from my Lodgify webpage?
Answer (Christophe): Yes, Revyoos collects all reviews from OTAs automatically, and you can also add reviews manually, and upload them from a spreadsheet.
Question: What’s the best way to add ‘little touches’ to a rural property, without as many activities?
Answer (Matt): I think the gesture of reaching out to your guest and messaging them to ask ‘How’s it going?’ really does it for me. I love receiving a little text message that says ‘I’m here if you need anything.’ Also, any thoughtful touches that would appeal to your guests will feel one.of.a.kind and that’s really special for them.
Question: It’s true that when a customer comes through your door for the first time you can work to encourage them to be a repeat customer, but how did you attract them in the first place?
Answer (Matt): This is an oversimplified question. When you start doing this for a long time, you will see that it’s just one part of a much more complex system. But to answer in a simple way, get your property on a listing site, optimize it, and generate interest. Then when you do receive a customer, do a great job and make sure they come back. You can create a newsletter and notify your guests of things like events, updates, and offers.
How to contact our speakers
Both Christophe Salmon and Matt Landau are happy to receive any more questions you may have for them. You can reach Christophe through the contact page on Revyoos and you can reach out to Matt by joining the VRMB community where you can discuss an array of issues and share ideas with fellow industry professionals.
We hope this webinar was an insightful and informative experience that has given you plenty of food for thought on how you can market your business through the little details, and in turn, increase your five-star reviews, which are bound to attract new and repeat customers. See you at the next webinar!
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