As the saying goes, you’ve got to be in it to win it. If your advert isn’t coming up in searches, you won’t get any bookings. Here’s how to help your home the attention (and the bookings) it deserves:
1. Tell guests how much it costs
Without prices for the next 12 months your ad is seriously missing out. Your place will be at the bottom of the search results and won’t get seen at all when travellers search for specific dates.
Log in and go to Properties > Update prices and click on Set seasonal prices.
Read about how to set your seasonal prices and watch our short video guide.
2. Respond as soon as possible
Travellers tell us all the time that having to wait ages for a response to their enquiry is their biggest bugbear. Because of this, your response rate has a big influence on where your ad appears in searches. Find out how the response rate works and read our tips on how to improve it.
3. Collect reviews
Did you know that travellers can sort the search results by reviews? Even one review is enough to make sure your ad appears in these searches, but the more reviews you have the better.
Reviews help to build trust and there’s no better recommendation than the words of a happy guest. Start collecting reviews to get your advert noticed.
4. Keep your calendar current
Not only does it mean that your home will appear in all relevant date-related searches, it also stops travellers getting frustrated if they send an enquiry for dates that should have been marked off as booked. A recently updated calendar reassures travellers that your information can be trusted. Watch our short video to find out how to update your calendar or read our FAQ.
Find out more
Prices – how much to charge
Why updating your calendar is the key to securing bookings
There’s no better way of tempting a traveller to book than showing them reviews from happy guests who’ve stayed at your place. You may already know how to collect reviews, but here’s a bit more about how the reviews process works from start to finish.
- Your guest can write a review via your Holiday Lettings or TripAdvisor advert. When they click on the button to write a review, they’ll be taken to a form on TripAdvisor.
- Your guest will start by adding a few details such as the name on the booking and their date of stay. This is so you can verify the reviewer actually stayed at your home (more on this later). The rest of the form guides them through completing their review.
- When the guest hits ‘submit’ at the bottom of the form, they’ll be asked to sign in to TripAdvisor. If they don’t have a TripAdvisor account, they can create one for free or sign in via Facebook or Google.
- Your guest will know if they’ve submitted their review correctly because they’ll receive an email from TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor checks the review to make sure it meets the posting guidelines. This can take a little while, particularly during busy seasons.
- When the review is ready, you’ll get an email letting you know. You’ll then have five days to verify that the guest stayed. Log in to your Holiday Lettings account and go to Properties > Manage your reviews. You won’t be able to read the review at this point (more on this in ‘Need to know info’ below). If you don’t verify the review within five days, it will be posted to your advert automatically.
- The review will be displayed on your Holiday Lettings advert and your TripAdvisor advert. The review will appear on your Holiday Lettings advert as soon as you’ve verified it (or when the five days is up). It might take a little longer for your TripAdvisor advert to update and display the review.
- You can post a response to the review by logging into your account and going to Properties > Manage your reviews. Find out more about responding to reviews.
Top tip! If you haven’t written a review on TripAdvisor before, it’s a good idea to have a go. You can review accommodation, restaurants and attractions: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/
Need to know info
Why do guests have to sign in to write a review? The vast majority of websites that allow people to comment now require some kind of sign in. This is to stop any misuse of the system, take away absolute anonymity and make sure that owners can’t post fake reviews about their own home.
Why can’t reviews be read before being posted? To make sure that the reviews posted are a true reflection of other guests’ experiences, you’re not able to read the review before it goes live.
If you’ve received criticism and respond well to the review, that’s just as appealing to potential guests than having lots of glowing 5/5 reviews. It shows you’re willing to take on board feedback and make improvements. You’ll be able to see the guest’s name and their holiday dates before the review goes live. More about verifying reviews.
Where’s the review? If your guest has told you that they’ve written a review, you’ve been waiting for a while and you’ve not received it, make sure that:
- Your guest wrote the review on the correct advert.
- They received a notification email from TripAdvisor thanking them for their review (if they didn’t receive this, they may not have completed the review properly or signed into TripAdvisor).
- The guest is aware of the posting guidelines. They can check the status of their own review by visiting their TripAdvisor account.
If, after checking the above, you still haven’t received the review it could be that it didn’t meet the guidelines. In that case, your guest can try and resubmit their review.
Check out our help section for more information on how reviews work.
More like this…
Responding to reviews
It’s peak lettings season for many of you, so what better time to build up your reviews? Every guest you host has the power to bring you more bookings, so go ahead and ask each one to tell the world how great their break was.
Travellers love guest reviews
Most people now use online travel companies to search for their perfect break. And these days, holidaymakers want to see what their peers had to say before spending their hard-earned cash. For them, the best self-catering properties will have a thumbs-up from previous guests, so display holiday reviews and give brand new guests the confidence to choose you.
How do I collect TripAdvisor reviews?
You can collect reviews in two ways.
1. Send a sample email
- Log in to your Dashboard and choose Reviews from the menu at the top
- Click on the Collect Reviews tab
- Choose View sample email to read the pre-written message for guests – simply close the window when you’re done
- Choose Send request to enter the email address(es) of previous guests, then hit the green button to send the message to all guests in the list
2. Send a personalised email
If you prefer, you can send your own message from your Inbox or personal email account – include a link to your advert and ask your guests to leave a review.
What else can I do?
Don’t miss an opportunity to gather feedback. Put postcards in your property with a link to your listing and a request to leave a review. You can also print this info on personalised business cards for guests to take away with them.
Once you’ve got a batch of great reviews, why not add quotes from your favourites to your business cards, brochures and other marketing materials? Don’t be shy – if you’ve earned the accolades you might as well use them to impress new guests.
Why bother with reviews?
- A good reputation inspires confidence: collect a review from each happy customer and you can grow your bookings as well as your fan base!
- Reviews get you seen: having reviews on your listing gives you a better ranking in search results, which means more attention for your property and more chance of filling those empty slots.
Our short video gives you step-by-step help with collecting reviews. Also see our extra tips on collecting guest reviews.
Draw holidaymakers to your advert and boost bookings with these simple tips:
- Pick great pictures. Your first photo should be the best as it appears next to your home summary text in the search results page – this picture has the power to draw holidaymakers to your advert. Pictures of unique selling points such as a pool, roof terrace or sea view work well, but keep it relevant to your home: those sea views will look much more appealing if your garden is also in shot.
Impress guests with your first four photos as these appear on the search results page. Choose high-quality pictures that show off different aspects of your place and really shout ‘holiday’.
Keep your photos fresh: remember, you have 24 photos to play with so why not update a few throughout the year to reflect the coming season? Quality seasonal photos really help holidaymakers to imagine what their stay will be like.
- Write to excite. Your home summary appears next to the photo in search results – this is your chance to entice holidaymakers in around 30 words. Talk to your target audience, say what makes your place special and add keywords for a search engine boost: well-chosen words can boost your bookings.
Most holidaymakers head straight to the gallery before reading the rest of your advert, so use captions to set that holiday mood. Rather than simply writing “Terrace”, why not “Start the day with breakfast in the sun”?
- Consider how your ad looks at a glance. Guests browse lots of ads before choosing which to read in depth. Try looking at your ad in the search results; does it jump out at you? If everyone else has a pool picture, maybe your beautiful bedroom will catch the eye?
Refine your search data, add reviews and keep your prices competitive to stand out in the search results and tempt holidaymakers to pick you out of the crowd.
- Draw on local knowledge. Tell holidaymakers about things to do in your area to tempt them to book. Many holidaymakers want to go beyond the guidebook’s advice and your local knowledge can give your place an edge over the competition.
- Collect reviews from your previous guests are so powerful. That extra testimonial could persuade a holidaymaker to book your home over another, so get collecting! Ask your happy guests to write a review for you through the Reviews page in your account. Find out more about collecting reviews.
- Keep your pricing structure simple and easy to follow. Make sure your table is as short as possible and group time periods together giving them a name for easy reference. E.g. ‘Summer’ or ‘High season’. The easier your pricing is to understand, the better the experience for the guest.
Holiday homeowner Rowena talks about how TripAdvisor guest reviews are instrumental in driving bookings for her Cyprus holiday let.
We’ve been listing our home with Holiday Lettings for two years now and collected seven reviews from past guests. In fact, one of the reasons we first chose to advertise with Holiday Lettings was because we knew we’d also be listed on TripAdvisor, giving us great exposure and giving our guests the opportunity to leave a review on a global travel forum.
More than ever people rely on other people’s opinions to make their purchasing decisions and I think our reviews have become a major selling point for our holiday home. No matter how many times we tell people how great our house is, they’re expecting us to say that. If a past guest says our holiday home is fantastic, this immediately makes our advert more credible.
Of course, everyone has different needs and expectations and what one person considers the perfect holiday, another may not like. Again, this is why reviews are important. People can share their experiences and give a realistic report of what guests can expect from the holiday home.
As an owner you can also reply to the reviews, which can be very useful. For example, if someone suggests an improvement you can tell them you’re considering it, or why it wouldn’t be practical. I always try to keep my replies friendly and helpful and whenever someone takes the time to leave a review I email to thank them.
I’d be interested to hear what other owners think about reviews – do you actively encourage them?
All the best!
Collecting reviews from people who have stayed at your place is one of the best ways to promote it to future guests. Some guests may leave a review on your advert without any prompting from you, but actively encouraging feedback from all guests can be really valuable for your business. Reviews are an unrivalled marketing tool and they’ll also give you ideas to improve the holiday experience for your guests.
- Collect reviews as you go. Reviewing a home is quick and easy, and many of your guests will be familiar with the process. After each guest has checked out, send them an email (including a link to your advert) asking them to review their stay. If guests email you directly with their feedback, thank them and encourage them to write their review on TripAdvisor.
- Leave some business cards in your holiday home. Include your contact details, a picture of your home, a link to your advert and a request to leave a review after their stay. This will remind guests about their holiday and might prompt them to leave a review when they get home.
- Engage the entire group. If you’ve had a large group to stay, ask the party organiser to encourage each guest to review their holiday. Alternatively, ask the organiser if their friends would be happy to be contacted by you, so you can prompt them individually.
For many people, booking a holiday is the largest online purchase they will make in a year. Reviews are a vital part of the research and booking process, so having them on your advert means holidaymakers are much more likely to send you an enquiry.