The backbone of any successful business is growth. From innovation to taking massive action and collaboration, and possibly the most important, growth from the past. Growth from successes and failures that turned into lessons learned.

Growth in the form of feedback or reviews, in particular, is truly the backbone to the success of a vacation rental property. Vacation rental reviews give you an accurate depiction of your business from the perspective of someone who has figuratively and literally lived through it. Reviews can do wonders for boosting credibility and ultimately boosting your bottom line along the way. They allow you to see your business from a bird’s eye view and allow you to adjust and move forward with more knowledge.

Most vacation rental property owners have now learned the hard way if nothing else how to earn a good review. And those who are fresh to the industry will quickly pick up on tips and tricks from a few stays and a few reviews. You know, great communication, accurate listing descriptions, cleanliness, location, arrival, value for the buck… you hear and see it all the time. But what if there were other ways to beat the growth learning curve and land a 5-star review every time; and what if no one was talking about these tips?


Here are the unconventional secrets no one tells you about how to land a 5-star review on your vacation rental.


Make it personal

Many vacation rental property owners either start out or quickly find their way to spaces like Airbnb for exposure to millions and easy to learn marketing efforts. This, in turn, is also one of the many places your property is going to get reviewed. But, it’s not just the business owners getting reviewed, it’s the guests as well!

The next time you have a new booking, take a look around your guest’s profile and dig into the reviews. Guests reviews will be very telling of who they are, how they act, and what some consistent behaviors they have. From these reviews, you can curate a more tailored guest experience. Now, we know what you’re thinking, this sounds like a lot of extra work and time spent tailoring a stay to each guest and their preferences? It sounds like a lot, but you can actually make it quite simple. For example, recommend bars and restaurants around the neighborhood if you notice this information was something they were lacking from their previous stay. Perhaps you are picking up on the hint that they enjoy using certain appliances in the house, so be sure to point them out when they arrive.

If you don’t have the time to do a little searching around their profile and reviews, dig a little deeper. Your guest asked you how close your home is to the ballpark, so it might be safe to assume know your guests are coming in town for the big baseball game this weekend. Send them over a weather report a few days before their arrival for the weekend weather. You not only look prepared and communicative with one short message or tweak, but these actions show them you are thinking of them and care about the quality of their time in town. One or two personal touches can take your already 4.0 rating to a solid 5.0.


Leave a local gift

With a little creativity and genuine passion for your city, this tactic will make you stand out above the crowd. Leave a local gift for your guest for them to enjoy during their stay or a trinket for them to take home. This could be anything from locally brewed coffee, a few pastries made from the bakery down the street or a little trinket that symbolizes your cities culture. These gifts do not have to be anything massive or expensive, but small, heartfelt gifts create a warm welcome and make for a memorable stay.

JZ Tip: This is also a way to build authentic relationships and potential partnerships with local community businesses that you get your gifts from.


Share your story

This one has to be one of our personal favorites. And funny enough one that is done the least. Travel in all senses is about finding a genuine human connection. So, when you are constantly welcoming travelers into your home, why hide the fact that you are much more than a business or property owner. Tell the guest your story, the story of your city, the story of the people in it. Let your guest have the opportunity to get to know you and build a connection with you. Small genuine acts rapport will make the guest feel like family, and as if they have a new friend in this new city.


Treat guest like family

Now that your guest feels like family, treat them like so! This is all about comfort and welcoming your travelers. Often times, these people have been traveling for hours on end when they arrive at your Airbnb. The first thing they want to do is check in, let down their bags, kick up their feet and get comfortable. Give them a warm welcome, and let them enjoy the feeling as if they had just stepped into their favorite relatives home.


Review them first

We know what you’re thinking, and no, this is not a game of “if I give them a good rating right away they have to rate me well.” The true idea behind this is that if you give them an honest review first, they will be more likely to take the time to review you. And, if you had done all of the things above, you can ensure a 5-star rating is headed your way.


Bonus JZ tip: how to stop bad reviews

Ask for suggestions! Leave a suggestions box so they know you are open to communication and improvement.


What is your favorite unconventional way to ensure a 5-star review?