Why are professional host reviews worse than smaller host reviews?

Large & professional host reviews worse than smaller hosts: why do ratings increase as host size decreases. Most importantly – how do property managers improve? We examine the data to show you:

The obvious answer is that hosts not dividing their attentions across multiple properties perfect their product, process and service better. However, particularly for those professional hosts managing multiple units, high ratings are crucial for client acquisition and retention, not to mention revenue. What’s more, they should be achievable – here’s the why and the how

The larger the host the worse the reviews

So what does the actual data tell us? Well, the chart below illustrates the average review score and count of different host sizes.

As we can see, there is a very strong positive correlation between decreasing host size and increasing rating and reviews. Behemoth owners of >1000 properties buck the rating trend at 4.66/5, but still average lower than owners with <100 listings.

This is very compelling evidence that guests prefer stays with smaller hosts.

Why review count & score are important, particularly for professionals

The data doesn’t lie; listings with a 4.6 rating or higher achieved 5% higher occupancy on average than those with lower. Furthermore, in the US for example, those with 1-5 reviews averaged 57% occupancy, while occupancy of those listings with 21 or more reviews far exceeded, averaging 71%.

Simply put, more and better reviews increase occupancy and allow you to increase ADR, and therefore grow revenue. Revenue is the name of the game for professionals hosts, and occupancy is of particular importance for those managing on behalf of owners.

Why are large or professional host reviews worse than smaller hosts?

Here we have some word analysis of US vacation rental reviews using Graphext, our no-code data analytics friends.

First up we have the frequency of key words in reviews for single property hosts and multi-property hosts.
The indication is that the word ‘homely‘ occurs much more often when smaller hosts are reviewed. Similarly, ‘clean‘ and ‘host‘ are more common mentions for small hosts. Logically the frequency of ‘staff‘ is greater for multi-host reviews.

Secondly, below, we break that insight down into positive and negative reviews to analyse the sentiment. We can see for example, that cleanliness is indeed a much more significant positive point for smaller hosts, while ‘dirty‘ is a more common negative mention for larger hosts.

The word ‘host‘ is also more of a positive driver for smaller hosts than ‘host’ or ‘staff‘ for ratings of multiple property owners. Ultimately, the inference is that hosts of 1 property leave a stronger, generally positive impression, with properties more homely and clean than their professional counterparts.

Finally, frequency of adjectives in reviews for single property hosts and multi-property hosts underlines these findings. The chart demonstrates that superlative adjectives tend to be applied to single host stays more often.

So larger or professional hosts have work to do in terms of bringing overall guest experience up to the same level of small hosts. We’ve highlighted some of the problem areas, but how can these improvements be made?

How large or professional hosts should improve their reviews

There are different parts of the hosting process and operations that can be examined in order to improve ratings and reviews.
Let’s break it down:

Before arrival

It all begins with your property and listing preparation.

  • Which amenities are sought after and are you providing them?
  • Do your listing and price paint the stay in a good but fair light?

Think about the demographic you’re aiming for and try to cater to them – board games and blankets? Work station and lightning fast wifi? Beach toys and extra towels? Whatever your vacation rental, you can make it more homely and ease and complete your guests’ experience.

After that, it’s all about communication. Provide accurate, specific and proactive but concise information. Most critically, respond quickly and helpfully – try to be flexible!

At check-in

People booking an airbnb came to stay in a home like a local – or they’d be in a hotel! You might be professional but that’s no excuse for not knowing your property or locality, or training or even hiring someone who does. Provide some kind of guide to the home with local tips, plus easy communication options.

Personal touches such as a welcome gift & check-in create a lasting impression and elevate a stay to those superlatives.

During the stay

Once your guest has checked in – if you’re preparing right – the hard work is done. Set things up to guarantee prompt resolutions to any issues that might arise; communications, maintenance and cleaning operations. Make sure to check in with your guests even if no questions are asked.

After the stay

Here comes the boring but crucial bit: if you review your guest, request a review from them and send a reminder (especially to very happy guests), you will see your review count soar. Furthermore, if you actually act on constructive feedback and reply to reviews as such, your occupancy should benefit. Further analysis of your reviews can also help to highlight the pain points in your operation and make timely, effective changes.

So, there are many places to start, but as the data demonstrates, it mostly comes down to proactive communication and personal, homely touches. Professional management is growing, and therefore so is competition. Data can help you to identify specific strategies in your market and within your portfolio to set yourself apart. Learn more about review analysis with our Smart Rental PRO data dashboard, plus its other powers in maximizing pricing, occupancy and revenue here:

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