How To Create an Engaging and Effective Guest Survey

November 24, 2020

Guest reviews and customer satisfaction surveys are a powerful tool in the vacation rental industry and provide property managers an opportunity to enhance the guest experience, strengthen the relationship, build loyalty with existing guests and attract new business.

As travel begins to recover, vacation rentals have claimed the #1 seat and the industry is more competitive than ever with travelers looking for a safe home away from home, flexible policies, and a trustworthy, reputable host. Guest reviews are a surefire way to increase your online presence, build your reputation and let travelers know that you’re more than a fly by night host looking to put bums in beds – you care about the entire guest experience.

We’ve taken a look at the power of guest reviews, how to ask for them, and how to use them as a valuable source for marketing your brand. The next step is to create a survey carefully designed to understand your guest, identify market trends, determine your priorities, and improve the guest experience.

How to Create an Engaging and Effective Guest Survey

While a guest review has several benefits, it is ultimately designed to connect with your guests and use their feedback to improve the guest experience. Be sure to mention this in your guest communication. Each question should have a purpose that gives you all you need to grow your business, on every level. A well-curated survey addresses the guest stay and experience, your performance as a property manager, and feedback on the quality and safety of your homes.

If your survey is a burden your response rate will be lower so keep it short, sweet, and user-friendly with less than 10 questions taking no more than a couple of minutes. Order your questions logically from the booking process to checkout. An engaging and effective survey has a balance of multiple-choice and open-ended questions in order to get the best data to understand your guest and improve your business.

Multiple-Choice Questions: Multiple-choice and rating scale questions are easier for the guest to complete and although they limit the amount of information your guest can give, it is a great way to collect clean data that is easy to analyze. It is here your guest can rate the pre-stay and check-in experience, value for money, location of the home, cleanliness of the home, amenities, trip extras, and overall guest satisfaction.

Open-Ended Questions: Many property managers steer clear of open-ended questions in fear of a negative comment, however, it is here that a wealth of valuable information, recommendations, and insights are found that can improve the guest experience. It is a more personal approach giving the guest an opportunity to voice their opinion and the property manager a chance to connect with the guest, bearing in mind each comment needs a response. Remember, if you receive a negative comment, stay calm, seize the moment, and turn it into a positive experience.

Examples of open-ended questions include: Do you have any suggestions to improve on this home? How could we improve your guest experience? Would you stay with us again? If not, why not? Would you refer us to a friend? If not, why not? What was the best part of your stay?

It’s a Call to Action

Guest feedback post-stay is essential but investing time and resources into guest surveys and reviews is pointless if you do not interpret the results, respond to the negatives, and take action to enhance the guest experience. The Coronavirus pandemic has triggered a huge shift in travel behaviors and confidence and with a surge in domestic travel, it is likely your guest profile is changing rapidly. Understanding your guests’ needs and having this valuable data at your fingertips is essential to ride the wave of success and stay afloat.

Whether you manage 100 homes and process your surveys and reviews through a property management software or are just starting out in your rental business using online survey programs such as SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, it’s time to leverage your business with an engaging and effective guest survey.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

J. R. R Tolkien