As guests check out of a homestay, they’d usually have formed opinions about their experience staying on the property. And how can they channel those opinions out? Well, some guests will write a review about how satisfied or dissatisfied they are – all on their own accord. In some cases, some reviews are written after the guests have been reminded or encouraged to do so. Whereas the remaining would prefer to skip that process. This leads to guest reviews becoming one of the major keys that help your potential guests decide whether your homestay tick all their boxes. Doesn’t matter if they write the review through an online booking site, a guest satisfaction survey, or any other platforms –all reviews matter in improving your homestay management, no matter if it’s in Bintulu, Miri or Kota Kinabalu.

 

Why Are Guest Reviews Important?

As we all know, guest reviews are subjective. They are written from the opinions of a bunch of different people. But why are they so important to your homestay? Let’s put it this way: would you trust how good something is and spend your money and time on it –without proof, or without a personal recommendation from someone that you can trust? If your answer is no, then you’d understand what reviews are for. In this era where you can basically access any information anywhere, your potential guest is doing exactly that. 

Do you know that 81% of travellers always or usually go through reviews before booking their accommodations? Booking a room in a homestay requires a little researching, and reading the reviews can provide them with the answers that they want. Without us noticing, guest reviews build your homestay reputation and presence, especially on online media platforms. This being said, more than half of individuals would never book a hotel with zero reviews. 

Not only does a review help you find out what the guests think, but it is also beneficial for you to assess your business performance from a customer point of view. Especially reviews that are highly constructive, they can be a valuable piece of information that helps to pinpoint and solve the issue with your homestay before it’s too late.

 

Types Of Reviews 

Imagine performing your best to make your guest feel welcomed and comfortable. So, you check all the platforms available to read the reviews. Probably from the feedback based on the guest satisfaction survey, the direct email or the booking site that highlights your property management company that is perhaps in Miri. If I were you, I’d expect that my guest will leave a positive review and a high rating. Yet, managing a homestay isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Despite doing your best, there’s always something that doesn’t satisfy your customer enough which could lead to bad reviews. It could be anything –the service, the interior, bedding. Well, there is no one-size-fits-all solution in the homestay industry.  Even so, there’s still joy in knowing that there’s someone happy and satisfied staying at your homestay from the good reviews. That being said, let’s dive deeper into the 3 types of reviews: positive, neutral and negative.

 

1. Positive Reviews

It’s expected to see a huge part of positive reviews on your site. As long as your guest enjoys staying at your homestay and the service they get is excellent, you don’t even have to ask. They’ll willingly give you a high 5-star rating and throw a few compliments in their review.

Here’s an example of a positive review:

“Exceptional! The room was clean, has a big space, complete with kitchen set, sofa, TV, dining area, refrigerator and washing machine.”

 

2. Neutral Reviews

Neutral reviews basically mean that your guest is satisfied with an aspect of your hospitality but is unpleased with another instead. They compliment your great elements but also notify you and other potential guests of what could be improved as well. 

Here’s an instance of a neutral review:

“Beautiful view (especially the sea view). The operator has been kind to replace my room with sea view rooms due to double bookings. I like the room space provided by the property and the location of it. The space is wide and good for me and my family that are staying together. It is also close to multiple beach locations.

However, some of the amenities like the washing machine was malfunctioning. Some lightbulbs were spoiled. A technician came and replaced the light bulbs. The operator was ready to assist with the issues at hand.”

 

3. Negative Reviews

Since there are good and neutral reviews, there will also be bad reviews. Bad reviews usually mean that your homestay doesn’t meet your guest’s expectations or there’s just something unpleasant about their stay. Either way, there’s a high chance that they truly mean what they say. A study says that 86% of users will think twice about considering a company with negative reviews. Knowing that, very rarely, the negative reviews could actually be fake and ingenuine just to bring down your reputation. 

Here’s a sample of a negative review: 

“Nightmare! Do not stay and avoid this management property. The management was unapologetic and guests satisfaction was definitely last on their priority list. The unit was dirty with clothes of previous guest left in the wardrobe. Kitchen cloth was extremely dirty. The access card was not labelled with unit number and the unit doesn’t have a sign outside. Terrible! Checked out after day one and the management still didn’t offer a refund.”

 

Why Should Every Business Respond To Reviews?

Despite all that reviews, there’s good news and bad news for you. The bad news is –the moment a review is written and posted online, it cannot be undone. Editing it is doable on certain sites but deleting it may not be possible. However, the good news is –there is a way to face any of the reviews. The best approach to manage the reviews, good or bad, is to respond to them. Doesn’t matter if it’s a review from the online booking site or a guest satisfaction survey about your management at the homestay in Miri, all reviews deserve to get a response.

Responding to guest reviews will display your trustworthiness and willingness to accept the guest feedback, no matter what you get. The essential part when responding to the guest reviews is to reply according to the type of review you get. Based on a report by Bazaarvoice, 41% of respondents say that companies who responded to their online reviews make the customers feel like truly care about their customers. Thus, always remember that the way you respond matters a lot. 

 

How Should An Ideal Review Response Be?

Now that you know what to do, let’s move on to how to do it. So, how do we respond to the reviews? First things first, identify the type of review. Then, you can start writing your response to the reviews. But what if you don’t know how to start and what to write? Fret not, we’ve prepared an ideal response formula consisting of 4 steps for writing each type of review.

Firstly, address your guest by their name and thank them for taking the time to write the review and rate your homestay.

Secondly, customize the response based on each review. For the good feedback in positive and neutral reviews, emphasize a few of the mentioned compliments. To follow that up, express delight in the good experience they had while staying at your homestay. Doing so will deliver and reinforce a positive impression of your homestay. On the other hand, for negative reviews, offer a respectful apology for the troubles experienced during the guest’s stay. 

Thirdly, this part is specifically for the bad feedback in negative reviews or neutral reviews. After making your apology, this is when you show your guest that their review is being seen, heard and taken seriously. Responding to the negative reviews truly displays the genuine side of your homestay management. You should mention the steps you’re going to take or have taken as a part of your improving your homestay.

Lastly, thank your guest once more and encourage them to visit to return. For any bad reviews, remember to mention that they will get to experience the improved services if they were to return.

 

Conclusion

Reviews and how you respond to them are equally important in building your homestay’s reputation. Either asking your guest to fill in a survey form or leaving a review for one of your homestays in Miri on your homestay management website, there’s no exact way to do it. On top of that, it is not necessary to respond to all of them, but showing the effort to respond to them will add a bonus point to your homestay. Last but not least, if you want your guest to leave great reviews, feel free to contact us as Evernent is always ready to offer property management services and consultancy.