You’ve found a holiday rental online that you’re interested in, but you’re not sure it’s 100% right for you. Reading the reviews of previous travelers can give you peace of mind that your stay will be absolutely perfect, or it might highlight issues with the property and things you should take into consideration.
But where do you find reviews and what should you consider before allowing them to sway your decision?
Finding Vacation Rental Reviews
Holiday rental listing sites such as Rentola are a great destination when searching for vacation properties, with not only photos but also a description of the facilities that are available. Many of these comparison sites also have a “reviews” section where you’ll find feedback from previous guests. After checking out from the property, guests are prompted to leave a review to assist others in making their decision, as well as give the listing a star rating.
In addition, you may be able to find reviews of the property on other sites, such as Google or Facebook, but keep in mind that anyone can post reviews here, and there are no checks in place to ensure that the person has actually stayed in the property. In some cases, reviews on these platforms have been faked to present overly glowing or scathing impressions.
If the vacation rental has its own website, sometimes the owners will upload testimonials from previous guests, although these are almost always positive. It’s unlikely that an owner is going to present a balance of both positive and negative feedback on a site designed for their own promotion.
Things to Consider When Reading Holiday Rental Reviews
• The Star Rating
The star rating of a property is like a first impression that quickly tells you the overall experience of guests, but it’s a more reliable indicator for properties that have a lot of reviews compared to those with just a few. For properties that only have a handful of reviews, one bad one from a disgruntled guest can have a big impact on the overall star rating. It’s also important to keep in mind that the star rating of reviews doesn’t reflect its level of luxury. You can have a 5-star experience at a budget-friendly rental, just as you can have a 1-star rating at a high-end property.
Sometimes you will read a glowing review of a vacation rental and it just doesn’t seem authentic, or perhaps the property has been given 1 star with no valid explanation why. Generic reviews that don’t highlight any aspects of the property or the experience of staying there should be seen as red flags. Unfortunately, property owners have, on occasion, enlisted family and friends to boost their ratings. At the same time, competitors have been known to try and sabotage the success of a listing through negative online reviews.
Most holiday rental sites and review platforms will list the most recent reviews first and this is for good reason. Properties change over time and owners usually respond to negative feedback, so older reviews may no longer be relevant. If there has been a long time between reviews, this may be cause for concern (although closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic should be taken into consideration). If there is any mention of construction work or renovations in the reviews, it’s a good idea to contact the owner directly to check the status of these.
• Common Trends
Every traveler has their own expectations and “wants” when staying at a holiday rental and what is an issue for one person may be perfectly fine for another. When reading reviews, consider how a negative issue raised by someone might affect you and your family/friends. If you are seeing the same issue raised by guests again and again, then it may be something that the owner is not willing to address, and therefor cause for concern. Again, decide if this will negatively impact your stay and if so, begin looking elsewhere.
• Owner Responses
On some holiday rental sites, the owner will have an opportunity to respond to reviews and address any issues raised. By reading their responses, you may get an idea of the legitimacy of the concern, as well as how willing the owner is to improve the experience they are offering. Many owners value constructive criticism and draw on this information to enhance their properties moving forward.
At the end of the day, reviews are a valuable tool for assessing how suitable a holiday rental is and how much it lives up to its online listing. But only you can decide how relevant the experiences of others are to yours, based on what is important to you during a vacation stay. If, after reading the reviews, you have a great feeling about a property, then it’s probably your instinct telling you to book.
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