November 30, 2017

Why is my property not booking up like it should? Part II

This is the second blog post in a three-part series. If you haven't already, please read Part I of this series. Part III can be found here.

In the previous post we took a closer look at the pricing aspect of your property listing. In this post, we'll examine reviews.


If your property has one or more really poor reviews, you have a problem that requires immediate attention.

Reviews are the ultimate judgment on you and your property. They reflect your communication, responsiveness, listing accuracy, pricing, cleanliness, and overall care. At their core, reviews tell travelers not only about the home but also about your personal character and trustworthiness.

Even one really bad review can kill your rental, no matter how good your photos and pricing are. They send a signal to travelers that you cannot be trusted to ensure a positive experience.

To repair this issue, you first need to commit to doing a better job with your rental and your guests. This starts with having the right mental attitude of genuine care.

We once had an owner client who would constantly invent excuses to justify going after his guests’ security deposits, whether legitimate or not. Does this sound like someone who genuinely cares for his guests? For him it was all about squeezing out every dime from his guests. This is NOT a sustainable attitude, and he accumulated a slew of bad reviews. It wasn’t long before we stopped working with this customer.

Be honest with yourself. Is it just about the money, or do you sincerely want your guests to have a positive experience?

If it’s the former, your lack of care for your guests will eventually come to the fore and hurt your performance in the long run. If it’s the latter, then you need to get to the bottom of what the problem is. If you truly care about your guests but you’re still failing to please them, then your lack of execution is holding you back.

Do you just not have the time to be responsive to guest issues? Are you avoiding answering phone calls? Is your housekeeper doing a poor job? Are you trying to save money by being the housekeeper? Are you cutting corners on maintenance? Are your listings accurate? Do all your listings match?

Figure out why your guests have been critical of your hosting performance.

Again, be completely honest. Are you cut out for this? If not, there are management companies out there who can help you!

Assuming you are prepared to commit yourself to improving things, how do you rebuild trust with travelers?

Step one is to completely own your failure publicly. Acknowledge the bad reviews on your listing description, detail the remedies you’ve put in place to improve things, and let travelers know you’re working hard to regain their trust. Travelers will be more inclined to give you a chance if you exhibit complete honesty and transparency.

Step two is to drop your price below market. This signals that you are being humble and ungreedy in your attempts to rebuild your reputation.

Step three: Execute! Go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure every guest has an amazing experience at your home. Once the good reviews start to roll in, you can adjust your listing description and pricing accordingly.

Finally, if you have a new listing and have no track record whatsoever, see steps 2 and 3 above. Your listing will show up at the bottom of search results, so you will need to distinguish your property by having very attractive prices and photos. Once you start to get bookings, do what it takes to earn top reviews, especially for the first few.

Chang Kim

My name is Chang and I manage operations at Voyajoy. I've been in the short-term rental space for the last four years and have an operations career dating back 20+ years. I've learned about vacation rental management the hard way and have seen how quickly this industry has changed in a very short time. My objective is to use this experience and knowledge to give our valued clients big competitive advantages.

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