The Age of Reviews

A restaurateur interviewed in a cooking magazine this month said we live in the Age of Yelp, where quality is judged by consensus instead of expert evaluation.  Sure, I read reviews on Travelocity and Trip Advisor to assist in my choices. (And I like to think I can spot the unfair critics with a beef of some kind.) Now, as a vacation rental manager, I am often the “reviewee.”  I am grateful and gratified that our reviews are almost all glowing.  But I will admit that the occasional bad one cuts like a knife.  It weighs on me all day and keeps me up at night.

Everyone loves to read an excellent review.  We pride ourselves on pleasing renters; customers feel satisfied with their experience; prospective renters (you!) look forward to your stay. Thankfully, almost all of our reviews fall into this happy category of customers who are thrilled with their experience, from service to property.

Believe me, as the business owner, I welcome and encourage honesty.  I don’t want a happy customer to make a basic, economy property sound like The Ritz.  I hope reviews will be fair and accurate.  Those are the reviews that really help future customers know what they are paying for.  I post photos which accurately depict each property, too.

But to the rare reviewer who submits an unfair review, please consider the following:

  • Writing a bad review when you never contacted me during your stay to say something was wrong is unfair.  After departure, it is too late for me to fix your problem or improve your satisfaction.  All of my communications say “Call any time if there is anything I can do to help you.”
  • Be honest.  Don’t exaggerate a weakness or make up a lie because you think the bad experience will sound more credible.
  • Remember that someone is working hard to run a successful business.  You’re not reviewing a faceless large corporation, but an individual trying to make a living.  Completely trashing us might make you feel satisfied, but it genuinely harms us, and it isn’t even honest or helpful for future customers.  Actually, it probably doesn’t even make you feel satisfied.

Do you write reviews?  I rarely do, and I can tell you that most of our customers do not, either.  People are too busy.  They are on to the next thing.  I find that satisfied customers usually don’t bother.  The customer who had an especially amazing experience will sometimes take the time.  And the disgruntled complainer will make the time.  I get it, you’re mad, you want revenge.  But please be fair in your evaluation.

Better yet, call me while you are my guest, so I can do my job and exceed your expectations.