Booking.com Webinar: Managing Guest Expectations to Ensure a 5-Star Outcome
What did we talk about?
Given the increasingly competitive landscapes of the short-term and vacation rental industries, it makes sense that property managers would pull out all the stops to make their listings stand out and attract guests. Still, it’s crucial for hosts to ensure that their listing profiles accurately reflect what their properties have to offer, or they’ll likely have to deal with less-than-satisfied guests once check-in comes around.
Walking the line between overselling your rental and creating an appealing listing profile is a tough balancing act. That’s why we joined forces with Booking.com to discuss the critical topic of managing guest expectations to ensure a 5-star outcome.
Led by Michal Freier, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Guesty, our free webinar featured the insights of Booking.com Account Executive Rebecca Shaw and Booking.com Connectivity Partner Manager Benjamin Levine. They walked us through each step of crafting a page that both stays true to your rental and showcases it in the best light possible in order to encourage lots and lots of bookings.
Finally, we were joined by Guesty’s very own product manager Tal Brayer to round off the webinar with a helpful Q&A that gave participants the opportunity to clarify some important points. Below are some highlights.
Q: Aside from what you mentioned, are there other things you think could help create a unique experience for a guest?
A unique guest experience can vary depending on the type of guest, but here are some values all guests can appreciate: Friendly, knowledgeable and reachable staff, all working facilities, cleanliness, welcome and thank you messages, good working WiFi, and comfort. It’s always important to read your reviews to see where you can improve.
Q: You spoke about what makes an attractive page, but what makes a ‘bad’ page?
We find that bad pictures have the worst impact on conversion. As we discussed in the webinar, you only have 10 seconds to grab your potential guest’s attention with pictures, so make sure they count!
Missing information is also detrimental to conversion on Booking.com. Failing to provide all the information potential bookers want to know about your property could cause confusion, which may lead them to click away and book another property.
Q: What is more important – raising our visibility by adding commission to bookings or offering special deals and discounts to guests?
Everyone attending this webinar, including Booking.com and Guesty representatives, wants our guests to experience the world and to provide a great traveler experience. Before adding commission for extra marketing, I would suggest offering your best deals to guests so they are able to experience your property or destination. This can also lead to better conversion, leading to more visibility.
Q: Are there any statistics around how many reviews a listing needs in order to be effective?
There isn’t necessarily a number of reviews that you need to be effective, but we require a minimum of 5 guests to leave reviews in order to get a review score. Typically we find that a large proportion of guests like to filter by properties who have a review score of 8+, so anything that you can do to squeeze the review score up towards that is great.
Q: Does Guesty offer any tools or features to help increase the amount of reviews from guests?
Communication with guests is key to earning good reviews! Guesty’s Unified Inbox and Mobile Management App can help you be more responsive and thereby boost guest satisfaction, motivating them to leave great reviews. We also highly recommend taking advantage of Guesty’s Auto-Messages, with which you can set up messages to be sent automatically, as well as Auto-Reviews, since reviewing each of your guests gives them a little nudge to review you in return.
Q: Is there any data regarding pros and cons surrounding replying to your reviews?
When we tested replying to reviews, we found that it did not have much of an effect either way. However, as per the hosts’ feedback, being able to reply to their reviews was extremely impactful for their business. Therefore, Booking.com decided to keep this facility in place. It is a good chance for hosts to reply to negative reviews in a positive manner.
Q: What can we do if we receive a bad review for things that are clearly stated in the listing description?
Booking.com has a separate reviews team that is responsible for the removal of unacceptable reviews, which tend to include comments about a specific staff member, inappropriate language, racism etc.
In the specific case that you mentioned, our suggestion would be to respond to the review and comment appropriately about areas that you disagree with. Potential guests can then see that you’re rational and in all likelihood you won’t encounter the same image again.
Q: How does the Guesty platform help property managers offer their guests better experiences?
Guesty’s goal is to help property managers do their jobs more efficiently, which naturally makes things better for guests too. By offering property managers features like efficient communication tools, which enable them to stay on top of their guests’ inquiries, and task automation, to ensure everything gets done correctly and on time, we’re also helping them give their guests a smooth, hassle-free vacation.
Plus, we’ve got Guesty coupons, which you can use to motivate returning guests to come back and stay in your properties. And there’s a whole lot more in the works!
Be sure to watch the recording above and stay tuned for updates about future webinars from Guesty. Together, we can take your short-term rental business from where it is to where you want it to be!