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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Owner said...

The industry needs to come up with a way to 'tag' vengeful reviews. Often times a negative review is the result of a guest causing damage and a portion (or all) of the security deposit is withheld.
They threaten to "post a bad review" if the money isn't returned.
This is similar to Somalian pirates.
If you break a $300 chair, you pay, period.
All 1 or 2 star reviews should allow for an owner's response with documentation to prove it's vindictive prior to the site posting the review.
I know if a guest broke a plate I wouldn't charge them.
If the listing clearly states no pets and you bring Snookie anyway, you pay.
The owners need protection too!

Anonymous said...

Good point, Owner, therefore we are creating an Owners Club here at ...

Markit said...

On Trip Advisor they ask you first if the person named stayed at your rental - in the case of a damage dispute I would respectfully suggest you decline... then the review (bad or good) won't be posted.

Vik Kachoria said...

Great post and reflects what we have found on our site, &

Our reports show that 5+ reviews can increase inquiry rates by over 1300% (

It is simply amazing how important reviews are for guests to even consider sending an inquiry.

Property owners should definitely ask their guests to write a review. Most will be really happy to post their experiences about the rental.

Boost Occupancy Report said...

Great post and insightful comments. A vacation rental owner myself, I became super curious about the legitimacy of these review sites (not to mention, the power or damage in getting your guests to review). My findings -- an 18 month study conducted with 9 property owners around the world -- are quite unsettling. Without shamelessly promoting the statistics we found in my report ( I will say that you should be very careful who and when you ask to review your property. Trip Advisor uses a very unique algorithm to rank their properties and the difference between #1 and #5 small hotels can be 40% occupancy.