My secret to incredible guest reviews

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  • Avatar
    Chris Gregg

    Hi Akwador, I think you are right if I had more rooms... You are doing well with a score of that and if your competition is lower then happy days. I also agree with what you say that people give great reviews but lower the score. I have had lots of similar things happen just had people who left and said they had a great time and everything was perfect made a point of saying it was in a fantastic location and had all they needed but mark us down on location and facilities. I contacted them to ask what we could do better to improve and they said it was because it wasn't luxury. It worked out that as their was 5 of them, they were paying £25 per head per night meaning less than the local hostel. Our view is if you want the Hilton book the Hilton but unfortunately we can't say that.

    I have read reviews on other hotels and B&B's and have seen fantastic reviews but the score being 2.5. Sometime you just cant win. 

    To stop a little of it we contact guest when they leave and ask was all good. If it was we follow up with another message asking for a good review.

     

    Thanks Chris

     

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    Akwador I really like your map idea and am going to try and do the same. Meanwhile, Chris Gregg, did I understand correctly - you've got a score on two properties of 9.9/10?! That is amazing, but how many reviews do you have? 

  • Avatar
    Katerinka12

    "I have had lots of similar things happen just had people who left and said they had a great time and everything was perfect made a point of saying it was in a fantastic location and had all they needed but mark us down on location and facilities."

    I would imagine how you feel. Imagine, we are just 300m (!) away from the airport and you can walk through brandnew fully air-conditioned walkalator and they still complain about location!

    With 71,263 people per square kilometer, Manila is also the most densely populated city proper in the world.

    I can't believe that people, who represent themselves as successful businessmen, can't simply google. And also I found out, that they have been to the country, so they know that space here is very expensive. And yet enough is never enough for them.

    "It worked out that as their was 5 of them, they were paying £25 per head per night meaning less than the local hostel."

    Taking a chance, I would like to warn other hosts not to make to low prices. I made such mistake before as a newbie and got more problems than money. People, who do not pay, do not have respect for others as well.

  • Avatar
    Chris Gregg

    Hi Akwador,

    The property I have going for 2.5 year has 154 reviews its at 9.9 and the other going a year middle of October has 55 reviews and its just gone to 9.8. Would be as much as people with lots of rooms.

    I sort of think its a target now for people to give it less reviews but as long as people go away happy hopefully try to keep it above 9.7.

    Hi Katerinka,

    I agree when it comes to pricing but I target larger families and small groups. I try to offer a better alternative than a hotel which would cost them up to 4 or 5 times the price. We would have a lot of competition now and because it's from people who are doing it as a part time job they can charge less. I'm happy with where my pricing is now and do keep an eye on it more now than I did before.

     

    Thanks  

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    michael beeston  I don't think I have ever looked up a property mentioned here but I looked up yours when you said your score was 10/10. A huge well done. I looked at your prices too - it seems people get a lot for what they pay with 4 weekdays days in October costing some 100 Euros per day. I really have no idea what that kind of payment leaves you with as profit. In any case I would definitely stay at your place :-)

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    From Katerinka "Taking a chance, I would like to warn other hosts not to make prices too low. I made such mistake before as a newbie and got more problems than money. People, who do not pay, do not have respect for others as well."

    I tend to agree. It is best if we keep our prices in the same region as other similar properties in the area. Apart from what Katerinka said, lowering prices too much might lead to a price war, where everyone would need to lower prices, then standards, which would eventually lead to the collapse of the business. 

  • Avatar
    Huntmadeleine

    Is it there possibility on booking dot com to transfer reviews from other sites? Since the calendars are synchronised the same should apply to reviews.  there are possibilities to invite guests to leave the review on homeaway trip advisor and other even if they book through different site . It really make sense to synchronise that in order to make clear and matching with other site picture of the listed property

  • Avatar
    Katerinka12

    I think transferring reviews from other sites is not a good idea. The crowd is different from site to site, why to mix them?

  • Avatar
    Huntmadeleine

    I beg your pardon Katerinka12...what do you mean  by "the crowd is different" ? When people search for holiday destination they using as many sites as possible to find the best and most suitable accommodation. The same location should have matching information on all sites including available dates, price (that could vary depends of the interest charges of particular site) ,description and guests opinions and comments.

     

  • I once had a perfect 10/10 review score and then came some super shady guests who left 5.2, 5.4 and then a 2.5.

    If you ever had to deal with dramatic romanians, you know what I'm talking about and how ugly it can get because they think that they can get away with anything. 

    Well, not on my watch.

    Anyways, everything above 9.0 is a great total score and you should be thankful for it. 

    Some places have 8.6 and they are amazing places to stay at, just that guests don't have their expectations meeting their pockets, that's where the issues start to happen 80% of the time.

    I do agree that we need an overhaul of the review system in BDC because it's horrible compared to other OTAs and sites. People reviewing simply mess it up because it's counter intuitive the way BDC presents it to them.

    I also have issues with the location score. Seems like a quiet near the forest B&B is not something that everyone wants or that they say the location is not in the city center, well I have yet to see a forest in a city center (ok, maybe Central Park in NY). 

    People are people and what matters is how they feel and when they return, that means you've done a great job.

    Zsolt - www.thuild.com

  • Avatar
    Katerinka12

    Are you a host or a guest? :)

    Why to look from guest's perspective only?

    The same place can be totally different player for each platform. In other words, good Airbnb place can be good only with Airbnb and nowhere else. And yes, the crowd is different. I don't want my Booking guests know about my happy Airbnb clients. Though my score will reach ten.

    I am here for business and I am not renting my place for free or almost free as many guests from Airbnb except. My area is Luxury in all senses and Very Expensive. We strive to provide classy service, not a chat over coffee ala "meet locals" in exchange of providing the "free" (not used) bed. Though Airbnb started to change, it's not over one night people will change their mindset and expectations (and some can't change pocket, period:))

    Anyway, despite what is said above... Why? Why out of all platforms in the world its Booking who has to pull out reviews from other sites?? I have never seen such discussion on other sites. Hey! Airbnb! Pull out reviews from Booking. It makes me smile. Why, they will say. And who will pay for it? You?

    I understand, Priceline owns Agoda. That's why reviews to Agoda are pulled out from Booking. But why all of a sudden Booking will pull out reviews from His Competitors??? Didn't you know that if Booking will do that, they will be sued right away. For hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • Avatar
    michael beeston

    Hi Joey and Katerina.....great to see your replies and yes Joey, we sell the rooms on a week day (*when its quiet) for 100 Euros but more on the weekend and Xmas /Easter...We shall make over 32 Thousand Euros this year  (Gross) and like Katerinka12 says ..its purely BUSINESS for us.!!! .THE PROPERTY IS VERY LUXURIOUS AND HAS EVERYTHING THE CLIENT WANTS.!!!.....we have stopped using AIRBNB as AIRBNB in Australia has a poor name (unfortunately) but if their BRAND improves we shall use again but with booking.com its almost full full and at really good prices...........Joey/Katerina....you are ALWAYS welcome to stay.........The Gold Coast in Australia  is BRILLIANT !!..Thanks for the very interesting comments EVERYONE.......Michael.

  • Avatar
    Huntmadeleine

    Yes I am a host  Katerinka12 and I totally disagree about some mysterious selection of guests which belong to particular sites. Accommodations are often  recommended to people by searching engines rather than individual search. The first ones which are automatically selected  are those ones that match the person requirements and have most positive reviews in general. If anyone have lots of reviews on any other site than BDC then the BDC is loosing  potential clients who will book the same property  through other site only because have more reviews on it.

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    AirBnB keeps being mentioned but I have never accepted a booking from them. I know that calendar synchronisation issues have been mentioned here many times and this week I tried once again to sync BDC with AIR BnB - I got dates which were not booked being blocked. Apart from that I cannot understand how AirBnB suggest that I sell a room for Euro 34 when I can sell it easily on BDC for Euro 75 at this time of year. No, but really what is happening?

  • Avatar
    Katerinka12

    Thank you, Michael, for your warm invitation. This year Australia should wait :)

    Did you see Dick Smith's videos about foreign otas killing local tourism business? Its so funny to read the comments. They say a lot what different people think about OTAs, do they love to pay otas or not, do they book directly in Australia or not (I was surprised, most in Australia don't), and many people say Dick Smith should run and be vice president :)

  • Avatar
    Katerinka12

    "mysterious selection of guests which belong to particular sites"

    It's not misterious. It's Arbnb! (I mentioned them and described in full colors).
    They have common characteristics. Though as Partner to Partner I wish you wouldn't meet them :)

    I find this information contradictory:

    "Accommodations are often recommended to people by searching engines rather than individual search."

    I am confused. First its search engine recommends. And not individual. And then suddenly its individual and "only because have more reviews on it."

    And "only because have more reviews on it." - and that's definitely not about me and many other people. It's simply impossible that other people will decide for me. Again, I never choose any accommodation "ONLY because have more reviews on it."

    Just think! More reviews LOL... If ever I even read reviews, one powerful review will beat hundreds of clones. And yet, never ever ANY review will push me and my money to any property.

    If other people (and in your case definitely misterious) push you to decide where to put your own body at your own expense, then what can I say...

    "The first ones which are automatically selected are those ones that match the person requirements and have most positive reviews in general."

    That information is not true. Thus your conclusions.

    Its not "automatically" selected. Those who pay get to top. Google doesn't care about any reviews. They care about budget for Google ads. And Booking paid more than anyone to appear on top. And lately they paid more to control Google maps.

    Its money, money, big money that decide!

  • Avatar
    michael beeston

    Hi everyone *

    Just another  funny story about people and their expectations and reviews.....................we had a Chap who stayed a month ago and went to the  Horse races on Saturday morning..are you ready..he gave us a 7.5 for location because he had to catch a taxi to the Racecourse ( approx 3 kilometers away)..then gave us 10 for everything else..I rang him and said " did you not look at the location on Google maps before booking.... he said yes but I thought it was closer !!!.He then said he loved the place so  much he has booked for another 4 nights...I then said "what about the location"..He said I will still give you 7.5 for location but 10 for everything else !!.WHAT TO DO (haha) 

    Another story.............we had a couple from the UK who stayed 3 nights......Champagne in the Fridge/Sparkling water/Beautiful Soaps/Shampoos/Luxury Towels @ $65.00 each/Tennis Raquets and balls for the Tennis court/Heated Swimming Pool/Movie room with 1.5 ,metre screen/Huge BBQ area with deck chairs and spectacular views/30 metres to the Nerang River and 300 metres to the World Famous Gold Coast beaches.........I went to see her and say hello before they left and her answer.."It was nice but not enough facilities and we didn't drink the Champagne because we don't like it and there were too many boats on the Nerang River..hahahaha still gave us 10 But Wow !!!.what more can you do..........

    last one........A couple from France..gave us 7.5 for cleaning and 10 for everything else!!..I rang and SHE said there was a cockroach in the apartment, it must have been "dirty"...They had left the balcony doors open all night because they loved the fresh air !!!..Guess what the cockroach had flown in (hahahaha).you have to laugh BUT that is the fickle part of Guests sometimes..

    Has anyone any more "funny" stories about people and their expectations..MAYBE WE SHOULD ALL WRITE A BOOK and call it the Great Crazy Reviews.

  • Avatar
    M Adamopoulou

    My reviews are excellent but I also have problems with the location since we are in a village up the hill and the village center is 3 kilometers away. The location can’t change and surely guests know where they’re coming. I think Location review has to be revised.

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    "Some places have 8.6 and they are amazing places to stay at, just that guests don't have their expectations meeting their pockets, that's where the issues start to happen 80% of the time." Thuild

    Moreover some inexperienced travellers don't know that you cannot compare apples and oranges. 

    As I have a bed and breakfast with reasonable prices

    1. NO - I will not polish your shoes

    2. NO - there is no 24 hour concierge

    3. NO there is no spa 

    4. NO you cannot have Champagne and caviar for breakfast

    BUT

    1. YES you will get genuinely friendly service and a host who is interested in you and your culture.

    2. YES if you like I can walk with you to the shops and show you the best local delicacies

    3. YES I can take you to a hidden beauty spot not known by most tourists.

    4. YES I can cater for special diets when it comes to breakfast.

    5. YES you can come to the pub with me have a drink and chat to the locals. 

    6. YES you get personalised service and I make exceptions to the rules many times. 

  • Avatar
    Akwador

    We have all had the guest who cannot be appeased and sure enough slates everything in their review. The only thing I dislike more than that is the guest who is all smiles for their entire stay and tells you that 'they had a great time' and THEN slates you in a review, quite often anonymously - but you know who he is as he was the only Italian speaking guest for the entire month!

    We had a Spanish couple who came with a baby. They never told us about the baby but we provided a cot for them free of charge. They had no English, so probably understood half of what I was saying. They stayed three nights - and just as they were leaving he said that there was 'no water' in the basin. 

    I went to check the room and found nothing wrong. When his review arrived, he said they had to use the shower only as there was 'no water in the basin taps'. Basically he was turning the tap side to side and not lifting it first to get the water! I tackled that review by explaining that and then using the opportunity to say:

    Future Guests: If there is anything wrong, PLEASE come and tell us - we cannot assist if we do not know something is wrong!'

    !

  • Avatar
    michael beeston

    Akwador..............TOTALLY AGREE !!!.we also had a guest who arrived at 2pm and rang me at 7pm in the evening to say the TV was not working...I only live ten minutes away and tried to tell her, maybe it was a battery in the remote or could it wait until the morning.She said No so i went over ..ONLY to find she had NOT switched the electrical plug on !!!! and YES !!!.people who smile all day and then write a poor review are painful and most of the time it is anonymously.

    I always say if there is something wrong please please call me............very interesting comments everyone..Michael.

  • Avatar
    michael beeston

    Joey..Nice comments and so true..well done.

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    michael beeston - I so relate - are you British by any chance? (if you have already said so I've forgotten). ... but your point about not switching on electrical sockets happens to my guests all the time! We are used to having the extra safety feature of a switch on the socket so that if there is anything wrong with an appliance you can u can switch it off even if it does not have a switch. But many countries are not wired this way. BUT my God, does it take the IQ of a genius to realise that there is a switch on the socket? I try and explain these things to guests, but yet I've had a few burnt out appliances too. Not meaning to sound negative I will blame it on myself for underestimating the limits of human stupidity. And BTW BDC - thank you for offering me " your deepest sympathies". 

     

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    Huntmadeleine .... excuse me for being blunt but ... dream on. Imagine if you were a business owner (like booking,com) would you want reviews about the service obtained through other OTAs? Moreover apart from business reasons there are practical reasons too. The conditions offered by different OTAs are different so that really cannot be compared, I have asked this question before and I will ask it again: why is t that I can sell a room for Euro 70 in the low season through BDC but Airbnb makes me want to ask for Euro 34?

  • Avatar
    Katerinka12

    Hi Everyone!

    Your place, Michael, sounds like perfect luxury place to stay, where guests after champagne should forget about any reviews!

    Some guests, who are still under euphoria from the trip, do not write reviews. And some guests, I found out, just... Lazy! That's what they told me turning over their phones asking me to write review for myself.

    And I don't know the reason why...but Austrians do always write a review. No wonder many hotel general managers are Austrians.

    Joey, you really make me smile, because your love for Airbnb is amazing :)

    In the biggest nightmare I cant imagine the guest asking you to polish his shoes!

    We have 24/7 Concierge and Security (you can videochat with them right from apartment). They can help with anything you need, like manually catching taxi for you.

    PLUS (!!!) in addition to that, there is a dedicated manager, who stays in the area till 10pm. I remember, when I was traveling to Bangkok and stayed in Shangri-la, I paid huge money for personal butler. Thailand supposed not to be expensive like UAE and Qatar (butlers there cost a lot, I tried).

    Imagine, how does it feel to have a person, who is attached to you personally and not serving 100 guests at the same time. Cleaning, laundry, buying tickets, exchange money, call taxi, get movie tickets, grocery delivery, travel advise, etc.

    And yet.... The guest wrote in review "Poor English" and gave low score. Just another very disappointing thing that English-speaking person expects 3rd world country speak perfect English. And completely disregards that over taking care practically about anything no nonsense guest can ask for.

    We are not even Bed and Breakfast, but I will be honest with you, partners. Joey wouldn't polish his guests shoes, but in Philippines it's normal and for small tip is even appreciated (we are lucky, so far no guest asked for that, he he)

    I am also disappointed with Booking allowing using vulgar words in reviews!!! Those guests are just angry with the country and all their anger falls on us. I cant teach them after bad review, that Manila is the highest density city in the world and we can't stop traffic in the prime area of the capital! Those things are out of our control!

    I wrote 3 (!) times to Booking asking to remove vulgar words from review as it is exposed to general public. I quoted several dictionaries and laws (I hope no one doubts here my ability to quote 100 things :))

    And here is the thing, Booking. If you allow to publish on your site and allow your partners to be called **, what kind of respect do you think you can gain from us???

    When we got racist comment on Airbnb, there was one special department involved. They tooked it absolutely very seriously and removed this comment. Before receiving that awful comment, I offered 2 nights for free to the guest, who was disappointed with the whole country. That's another prove, that champagne, Michael, is not enough facility :))

    All those "magical" electric plugs require printed House Rules with step-by-step explanations.

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    Katerinka you are amazed that www.booking.com allows guests to use vulgar words. Well let's say that vulgarity can be subjective but one of my guests who left a bad review kept writing that AirBnB had better prices and she mentioned them by name and BDC published it! I told them: Are you in your right minds to let a guest advertise on your own site that a competitor offers lower prices? But still they did not remove the review.

  • Avatar
    Katerinka12

    Some facts:

    1) Advertising budget = top place in search

    Now this sounds interesting. We know OTAs have been spending a fortune on Google AdWords for years (with Priceline Group Inc. and Expedia Inc. actually accounting alone for about 5% of Google overall revenue, some estimate). But seeing referrals from meta-search specifically listed here is actually a big change in Priceline’s visibility strategy. In other sources, Priceline is said to have spent about $350M on Trivago cost-per-click based advertising in 2016, representing about 10% of overall Priceline online advertising spend.

    2) Different business models

    Advertising business model:
    TripAdvisor

    Agency business model: Booking.com

    Merchant business model: Expedia

    3) Law vs. Dream :)

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    Katerinka - You've just reminded me - yes I did get a review which mentioned sh!t but it was written in German - which to my ears sounds even worse.

     

  • Avatar
    Katerinka12

    You are right about vulgarity. You know, there is always a "first time".

    Booking.com publishing competitors price on its site.. Wow, so unprofessional. And what is completely out of order, that they do not revise their reviews, and yet they can be sued for that (it's not the threat just stating the fact).

    Booking, wake up. You need to reorganize your review officers. As the situation became comic.

    Ready to laugh? :)

    "Dear Partner,

    Thanks for your request. We’ve taken another look at the review in question and have decided not to remove it because the comments don’t go against our policies. The review in question will remain online because it meets our guiding principles of being:

    Appropriate for a global audience
    Travel related
    Genuine and unique
    Respectful of others’ privacy"

    I didn't know that SH#%/T is genuine and unique!!!

  • Avatar
    Zoinks

    Katerinka12  That is the template they use. It is exactly the same words I get. If you insist (by focusing on SPECIFIC issues) you may get directed to the ' moderation team'. 

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