By The Hospitable Team
Did you know that 93% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase, and 92% would hesitate to buy something if there were no reviews?*
That’s why getting reviews for your short-term rentals is so crucial.
Reviews build trust and authority, boost revenue and occupancy, and ensure your rentals continue to thrive with each new guest.
But good reviews are only one part of the puzzle. Actually getting guests to leave them is a whole other challenge. So how can you improve response rates without having to stay chained to your phone, typing out messages every 10 minutes?
And what about typing out reviews manually for each of your guests? Leaving guests reviews is recommended, and increases the chance of getting one in return—but it can take forever.
The answer? Automated messages.
Automation saves you time and effort, sends messages at the exact right times, increases the chance that guests will leave reviews (positive ones too!), and can even leave reviews for your guests for you too—no time-consuming manual typing required!
Here’s how to do it, and why.
Reviews influence your earnings as a host.
5 benefits of automating your review requests
First things first. Here’s why automating your review requests is so powerful—from saving you time, to boosting future bookings, to building excellent relationships with guests.
1. Saves you time and effort
For hosts with multiple properties—with guests checking in and out at varied times—automation is less a nice-to-have and more an absolute must.
Without automating your vacation rental review requests, you’re left manually typing (or copying and pasting) review request messages to guests at the exact right time, every time. This keeps you stuck by your phone or laptop, spending hours manually personalizing messages and hanging onto your guests’ every move.
Not only is this impractical, mundane, and time-consuming, it’s also wide open to human error, as you could easily accidentally forget to send a message, get the personalization wrong (eek!) or send it too late to be effective, losing you reviews for no good reason.
Automation enables you to send genuinely personalized messages at the exact right time, for more reliable, effective requests, without you needing to be near your laptop or phone at all.
2. Increases the number of reviews
Because automated review requests are set on time, every time, they actually increase the chances of your guest leaving a review.
As they say, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Asking for reviews promptly, politely, and with personalization, massively increases the chance you’ll get them.
Automated messaging tools can be set to send your requests just before or after guests check out, and can even send follow-up reminders the day or week after (whichever you choose), meaning guests receive the request while the stay is still fresh in their minds.
3. Boosts future bookings
Research shows that 97%* of customers factor reviews into their buying decisions and 79% of customers trust online reviews as much as they would personal recommendations. In fact, the presence of reviews actually directly increases sales by 18%.
That’s because reviews are a form of “social proof”; they prove to readers that you have experience as a host, and that other guests have successfully stayed with you and had a good time.
Reviews (especially good ones, of course!) put prospective guests’ minds at rest, and reassure them that booking with you will be worth their hard-earned cash.
Very few guests are happy to take the risk of being among your first-ever guests (as they have no reassurance that their experience will be any good), so the more reviews the better.
Good reviews can even help boost your visibility on OTA platforms. For example, Airbnb gives search result priority to properties with Superhosts, who are proven to offer good experiences and have high ratings and positive reviews, meaning your listing is more likely to be viewed and booked.
4. Builds a good relationship with the guest, especially if you leave a reciprocal review
Encouraging guests to let you know what they thought of the property invites them to have a say, building a strong relationship with them after their stay, building on the positive relationship you already began pre- and during their visit.
It shows that you care what they think, and gives them a chance to offer useful feedback that can help you improve future stays.
But automating your review system isn’t just about asking guests to leave you reviews. Many short-term rental platforms ask the host to leave a review of the guest within 14 days too.
For example, Airbnb strongly encourages hosts to review guests and gives hosts credit (towards accolades such as Superhost status, for example) for their responses to guest reviews. Hosts that leave guest reviews also look more professional, attentive, and friendly.
Automation platforms like Hospitable.com can help you do this more easily by leaving guests five-star reviews after they check out, to keep things friendly. You can also intercept this pre-written review before it goes out if you want to manually mention something specific, or if the guest was distinctly less than five-star.
On Hospitable.com, you can even set up automated bad reviews, and set them to post just before the 14-day cut-off point, to minimize the chance of a guest retaliating.
With positive reviews, it’s a good idea to leave them soon after the guest leaves, because if guests see that you’ve left them a review, they’re more likely to leave your rental one in return.
5. Demonstrates professionalism
If you’re using an automated messaging tool like Hospitable for your guest communication, your messages are always personalized, and sent at the exact right time (for example, on check-in or on the day of check-out).
As a result, review requests will likely be just another part (maybe even the final part) of your overall messaging flow, from booking confirmation to check-in details, to check-out reminder.
This is good news, because setting up a predictable, personalized, and reliable STR messaging flow reassures guests and displays your professionalism as a host. Guests always have all the information they need, and are likely to appreciate the steady flow of communication.
Establishing consistent communication right from the start, via automation, means that when it comes to your review request messages, guests are already used to hearing from you, trust your messages, and respect your service. They’ll be much more likely to leave you a review in return as a result.
How to send automated review requests to guests: Step-by-step
So now you know that the review request message is an essential part of a standard STR message flow, here’s how to set it up in our tool, Hospitable.com.
Hospitable.com’s dashboard makes automating messages easy with messaging rules.
Here’s how to set it up.
- Head to Guest Experience in your dashboard.
- Hit Messaging Rules.
- Under Schedule a Message, choose when you want to send your review request. Some hosts like to send it as part of their check-out message (see our examples below), others prefer to wait a couple of days.
- Write your message template. Use shortcodes to personalize it to each guest (see our examples below).
- Scope your message. Choose whether you want it to be sent to all your guests, or just ones staying at a specific property.
- Save your messaging rule.
Hospitable.com automatically reschedules messages if the reservation dates change, and cancels them if the reservation is cancelled.
You can find all your scheduled messages for a guest (including the review request) in your conversation with them. Just go to the Activity panel in the left sidebar.
If a guest has already left you a review, our system will recognize this and automatically skip the review request message.
Last but not least, should a guest forget to leave you a review, you can schedule a review reminder message to be sent within a week or so of their stay, within the 14-day window.
Great examples of review request messages
Review requests are so crucial that we asked two of our real Hospitable.com users to let us sneak a peek at the exact messages they send to guests (and the details they recommend including in yours).
First up, Jason Wolohan and his wife Rachel, who run a successful six-person Airbnb cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They used automated messaging with Hospitable to run a thriving business from the very start.
Their rental review message looks like this:
This message clearly uses personalization—via shortcodes such as [guest_first_name], which are easy to set up in Hospitable—to make the message as friendly as possible.
This message has one point only: to ask the guest to leave a review. It’s clear, intentional, and explains in detail why leaving a review would be so useful to the host.
Jason also explains that his request message doesn’t just remind guests to leave a review; it is also written very strategically to improve the chance that the review will be positive and helpful.
He says: “I intentionally give guests examples of things that I know are worthy of five stars because 1) I know that some people have a hard time articulating why they enjoyed an experience, and 2) because I know these items set me apart from the competitors in my market, so I want future guests to see them in the review.”
Jason also tells guests that he values their feedback, to reduce the chances of a bad review and to continue building that positive host-guest relationship.
“I’d rather the guest give me feedback in private than in the review itself,” he says. “I tell them I’ll be leaving them a five-star review to encourage a feeling of reciprocity.”
Next up, we have Quyhn Vu, who went from being a full-time pharmacist to a short-term rental host managing six properties across three states (with her husband Tri) in just two years—partly because of how much time and hassle automated messaging saved.
Their rental review message looks like this:
Their request is a short, friendly paragraph towards the end of a much longer check-out message that also includes a check-out reminder, thanks, and detailed requests for guests to leave the place clean.
This request makes the review process seem like just a normal part of checking out, encouraging the guest to leave a review just as easily as they would turn off the lights when leaving.
How to automate your guest reviews: Step-by-step
Hospitable allows you to automatically review your Airbnb guests using review rules.
- Head to the Guest Experience tab on the left-hand side.
- Hit Review Rules.
- Click on the Add New button.
- Create a new review template. You can use short codes to personalize your review, just like you would personalize a message.
- Choose when you want your review to be posted. We recommend reviews to be published 3 days after checkout. This gives you enough time to review the pending review and make adjustments if needed.
- Activate the review rule.
You can set up several different review templates and set Hospitable to select one randomly with each guest, so you’re not just sending the same identikit review every single time.
To intercept a negative review (for example, if you suspect a guest has had a bad stay despite your best efforts, and you want to preempt their negative comments):
- Head to “Pending reviews” in your dashboard.
- Click on the one you expect to be bad.
- Write your negative guest review.
- Then select the “Bad review” toggle, and save.
This will post your guest review at the last minute (unless you replace it with an alternative in the meantime) when the 14-day window is closing, so the guest won’t have time to retaliate.
You can also delete a scheduled review if you’d prefer to just say nothing.
Automating Short-Term Rental Review Requests: Five-star fuel
Automating short-term rental review requests saves you time, effort, and stress, as well as increasing the number of reviews you receive, and the chance they’ll be positive. Automation can also help you leave reviews for your guests too.
This boosts future bookings, builds better relationships with your guests, and shows off the professionalism of your business. It also gives guests a chance to offer feedback, enabling you to improve future guest experiences and get even better reviews.
Hospitable.com makes it easy to automate review requests so they’re sent at the exact right time, and you can even easily personalize messages to make them even more friendly and persuasive. Use our examples to write your own review requests, and watch the five stars roll in.
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*Research from Dixa’s Reconnecting the Customer Experience 2022 report.
As guests browse through vacation rental listings, one thing that’s guaranteed to make your property stand out is a ton of amazing reviews. There’s no question reviews affect booking rates. If you’re worried about reviews, you need to see our expert tips and tricks to help you maximize the positives and avoid the negatives.
Writing host reviews is not a rocket science. It’s a time-stealer, though. In this article, you will get plenty of useful templates for your reviews. Even better: we’ll teach you to automate the whole process.
Have you ever had one of those guests that just keep nit-picking at everything?
These are the types of guests that’ll go out of their way to leave you a bad review.
Is there something you can do about it?