Keeping On Top of Maintenance Improves Reviews
Good reviews are the lifeblood of a rental listing. No amount of fancy text or Photo-shopped images will trump a dozen glowing reviews that applaud the property and the hospitality of the owner. And the occasional four star review is fine – after all, there are plenty of people (including our guests) who would never deliver a perfect score on principle and will remove a star based on things that are outside the owner’s control – weather and bugs spring to mind!
However there is a lot that is within your control and a lack of attention to detail on the maintenance front is often the trigger for negative comment. Take these reviews for example:
“We were a little disappointed that we kept finding things in the unit that didn't work: TV in spare room, cordless phone in spare room, radio in living room, blinds in-op, beach chairs were broken, beach umbrellas, etc.”
“There were a few minor maintenance issues (dishwasher worked intermittently, light bulbs blowing, screens ripped)”
“Only real complaint was the patio door blinds needs replacing”
“The only reason I didn't give it five stars is there was no reading light available in the bedroom area.”
“We woke up one morning and discovered that the sewer was backed up and it was coming up into the shower stall – the smell was awful. We tried the emergency numbers that were left and there was no answer (or voice mail) from the caretaker, and just voice mail for the owner. It was four hours before anyone got back to us, and then we had to wait another five hours before a plumber came out. I realize that it wasn’t possible to have someone out there instantly, but it was not acceptable that we could not get in touch with anyone. What had been a great vacation was spoiled by this ruined day.”
If every other part of the vacation goes as expected – the weather is great; the attractions are all open and give guests a great time; the travelling part went well, and the kids are happy, it’s possible that some minor issues will be overlooked. However, the merest annoyance can be given greater proportions if guests are marooned indoors because of bad weather.
There is one sure way to avoid complaints and subsequent poor reviews and that is to leave nothing to chance and create a checklist for your property manager or cleaner that ensures everything is covered. These are simple things like turning every lamp on to check bulbs, trying out the TVs and entertainment systems, and checking all outdoor equipment to make sure it is functional.
Keep the following easily accessible by either caretakers, or if necessary, the guests in an emergency:
• Spare jug for coffee maker
• Plenty of light bulbs
• Stove top kettle to replace an electric model that may break
• An assortment of batteries to replace any that may expire
• Spare propane tank for a BBQ
And of course it should go without saying that in an emergency, guests should be able to contact somebody who can reassure them and get a repair call underway. In most cases people are quite accepting of a problem occurring – the angst can arise if they are not effectively and efficiently handled. In fact, in some cases a problem that is handled well and promptly can deliver a good review just because of that.