Using Online Reviews For Your Static Caravan

Using online reviews for your static caravan effectively can give a huge boost to your bookings. As a static caravan owner, you will probably be aware of the role that online reviews now play and have undoubtedly used them when making purchases yourself.

Online, on Google, social media as well as specific review sites such as TripAdvisor, Feefo, Trustpilot, and Holidu, your guests’ verdicts on their stay in your static caravan are public, for all to see. People will almost always check online reviews if your initial advertisement for your static caravan looks promising. A good review can make their mind up for you. So too can a bad one. How you use this information, therefore, can be decisive.

Negative reviews online are often more interesting and have greater impact than positive reviews. On reading a negative review, the potential customer can just disregard your static caravan completely and move on to the next one – or they can be hooked into the conversation. For these reasons, we have included here some advice about how to handle bad reviews.

Finding your reviews online

In the modern online world, we can find pretty much all the things being said about us. With a few simple measures you can find what is being said about your static caravan and you’re your guests’ holiday experience. It is important to take notice of both good and bad reviews: The good as encouragement to keep doing what you do well and the bad as useful indicators of where you might improve your service (or at least your communication) for your guests. 

Search with Google

If you’ve given your static caravan a name, then this is an easy place to start, especially if it relates to its location. For example, ‘Seaton Seaview Static Caravan’ or ‘Dover Cliff Caravan’  will help to narrow a search, compared with a name like ‘Bay View’.

Adding the postcode to a Google search will also help you to find reviews about your static caravan. You could also find reviews of other static caravans on the same holiday park, which will provide valuable information. You can find out what other caravan owners do well, or do badly, which can give you a competitive edge.

Type in your static caravan’s name or the address (url) of your website if you have one in the Google search bar. Modify your search using the ‘tool’ button under the search bar. With this you can change the search parameters from ‘any time’ to ‘last week’ and so make sure you are right up to date with any feedback.

Searching on Twitter

The sheer volume of content on Twitter and the fact that people will not always use your Twitter ‘handle’ or hashtag can make retrospective searching for reviews on Twitter quite frustrating. If you want to monitor feedback on Twitter, then try to keep up to date with tweets as much as possible.

Another solution is to use a third-party app such as Hootsuite for Twitter. With this, you can add a tab/stream to the platform and set the search to the name of your static caravan. This will then feed any mentions automatically into your @mention tab on your twitter account.

Responding to good online reviews about your static caravan

Always acknowledge and thank those people who leave good reviews. It takes up their valuable time and effort to leave a review so don’t take them for granted. They will want to know that you’ve read the positive review that they have left.

You may also take that opportunity to advertise upcoming discounts or attractions to attract them back for another time. Repeat custom is the lifeblood of the holiday rental industry.

It is a good idea if you do have your own website or space on a lettings agency site, to include links to your good reviews and even highlight a couple of positive quotes from satisfied guests on your home page.  You can also thank people on your social media pages for their positive reviews.

Responding to negative reviews online

Hopefully your reviews will be good but with all the hard work in the world, an occasional complaint is probably inevitable. A general rule is that you should try to respond on the same day and preferably within an hour.

Make sure that when a complaint is resolved, the resolution is visible beneath the initial complaint. This can actually help with your marketing as we all know problems can occur with even the best place to stay. The knowledge that things can be resolved smoothly and to everyone’s satisfaction can, for the potential guest, be a point in your favour. It sometimes works better than no complaint at all.

If you do receive a negative review, take a step back and ask yourself:

  • Is it true?
  • Can you solve it?
  • Should you offer compensation?

Think about this before you engage with your guest. Knowing where you want to take the conversation will help you to avoid side issues and be drawn into unnecessary argument.

Ask your guest some questions

Even if you are absolutely sure you know what has transpired leading to the negative feedback, you should still come at it in a spirit of open enquiry, asking questions before making any points.

Rather than simply asserting the truth as you see it, as much as is possible, ask further, friendly questions so that you and your guests might arrive at the truth of the matter together. Be careful not to accuse and try to remain constructive. For example, start by asking: “How can we help?” 

Don’t be defensive. Criticism can sting, but try not to take it personally, even if some remarks do sound personal. Be cordial and unemotional but not uncaring. Never question anyone’s right to complain.

On the other hand, don’t panic and give away discounted holidays for every complaint you receive in trying to placate the customer. While this can help to smooth over trouble and compensate the truly deserving, using it too much can leave you open to cynical attempts to get a freebie or a discount. 

Make the initial response online, then take the conversation offline. Start by reassuring the guest that you take them very seriously and to publicly say that you are contacting them directly to discuss their issue and hopefully resolve it. They are then free to take this back out online if they wish, which you should welcome. Indeed, after the issue has been resolved, you should commit online to confirm this.  In fact, handling a complaint well can demonstrate your commitment to excellent customer service.

Rather than running away to hide, knowing how to respond to negative feedback can actually turn a problem into an opportunity. Even when the content of the complaint is true and the guest has genuinely been aggrieved, it is an opportunity to learn and make it better for future guests. You could indeed thank the complaining guest for their feedback, reassure them that you are going to resolve the issue for the future and so would love them to have a discounted stay to see this. Even your worst complaint, handled well, could transform into another booking.

Customer reviews, both positive and negative can provide you with valuable information. Even if you’ve been renting out your static caravan to guests for years, they still provide you with a fresh insight into the holiday service that you’re providing.

This is a marketing article from My Holiday Home Insurance, one of the UK’s leading providers of static caravan insurance and a successful track record of more than 16 years. If you would like to discuss your static caravan insurance needs,  call our Northampton office on 01604 267529.

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