Friday, June 24, 2011

Vacation rental reviews: Data from Flipkey and Escapia

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Many vacation rental sites now include the ability for renters to write reviews and, while good reviews can help bookings, one single bad review can do a lot of damage. Hence, many vacation rental owners are reluctant to use reviews. However, my advice is, if the vacation rental site you use offers renter reviews, don't shy away from them.

I recently came across some interesting data from Flipkey (owned by Tripadvisor) and Escapia (owned by HomeAway) on this topic that is worth considering.

Escapia reported that about 39% of renters who were requested to complete a review actually did so. (They also indicated that higher priced properties tend to get both higher average ratings and a better response rate.)

Across 142,000 reviews analysed, the breakdown of overall ratings was as follows:

5 Star : 64%
4 Star: 25%
3 Star: 8%

Flipkey's data is remarkably similar, based upon 320,000 reviews:

5 Star: 63%
4 Star: 23%
3 Star: 11%
2 or 1 Star: 4%

This is consistent with the view that most reviews are positive. However, how does this impact on the level of interest generated?

Flipkey looked at the impact of the number of reviews on enquiry volume and found that vacation rental listings with:

3-5 reviews received 34% more interest
6-10 reviews received 159% more interest
11+ reviews received 246% more interest

That's quite an impact! Clearly, when reviews are available, renters have a preference for vacation rental listings with lots of reviews. Hence, if the vacation rental site you are listed on offers the facility for renter reviews, soliciting lots of reviews should generate more enquiries (and hopefully bookings!)

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