Friday, September 02, 2011

Survey: More than 50% of Vacation Rental Sites Feature Renter Reviews

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A recent survey commissioned by COHR found that more than 50% of vacation rental sites now faciliate renter reviews. An additional 13% of sites indicated that they plan to add this feature to their vacation rental site in the next year. Hence, it certainly looks like providing the facility for renter reviews is becoming the standard in the industry.

At the moment, it appears that use of renter reviews is still not terribly widespread. On sites that offer the facility, only about 25% of properties listed actually have reviews. However, it is likely that this figure will increase over time.

Although contentious, renter reviews have been shown to increase enquiries on sites such as Flipkey. It looks likely that, over time, more and more sites will offer this facility, so choosing a site that has associated policies that you are comfortable with it a good idea. Hence, COHR also explored some of these issues.

When asked what validation they perform on the renters, 40% of sites said that renters must provide a valid email address, while 20% require renters to be registered with their site. Others ask the vacation rental owner to confirm the renter's name and one uses a third party validation process. One site requires a Facebook login for the renter, something which I imagine will be a little contentious with renters.

When asked about the approval process, 30% of sites allow the Owner to approve the review. Given that a single bad review can do a lot of damage, this is no doubt of great comfort to the owners on these sites.

On the other hand, 20% of sites don't require anyone to approve the review, which surely must cause some concerns among owners on those sites.

Other sites use either approval by the vacation rental site staff or third parties.

Some sites allow owners to respond to reviews, providing a means to address anything that they feel is unfair or inappropriate in the review.

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