6 Ways to Get the Vacation Rental Ratings and Referrals You Want

vacation rental referrals

Vacations are tranquil, serene occasions to create space in our lives to unwind, even if for just a short time. Most vacation guests are seeking an opportunity to relax and expect an optimum experience. As a vacation rental owner, you’re looking for those optimum experiences to be reflected in your ratings and subsequent referrals.

Achieving this can be a mixed bag of several things: providing top-notch amenities, anticipating questions and needs, offering special promotions, and outright asking guests to provide feedback on their stays – just to name a few.  

To ensure your renters are satisfied, you need to be intuitively aware, exceedingly helpful, and abundantly pleasant. Here are 6 ways to get the ratings you’re hoping for.

1. Provide amenities.

Leaving one’s home for a vacation should be seamless. The more you can provide in your vacation rental for your guests to make them enjoy their break, the happier they’ll be. Moreover, the higher your ratings will be and the higher the chances they’ll recommend your rental to friends and family. It’s a domino effect.

To achieve all this, start with the basics. Think of things you forget when going on vacation. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, and mini bottles of shampoo are all often forgotten and easily provided. Consider leaving small bottles of lotion and lip balm that might not be “typical” toiletry amenities. To add a really special touch, throw in a complimentary bottle of wine or other booking gift. It’s all about attention to detail. These are the things that will be remembered.

2. Be helpful and anticipate needs that may arise.

The last thing anyone wants to feel while on vacation is stress. Breaks are intended to be the opposite. Despite this, unexpected events or challenges can still arise.

Most people research the things they want to see or do before leaving for their destination and choose where they will stay accordingly. But no matter how meticulous of a planner someone is, there will always be holes. This is where you, the “host with the most,” comes in.

Your vacation rental is “in the heart” of somewhere. Maybe you’re located in a great neighborhood, near a fabulous eatery, or minutes away from a beach with incredible views. It’s your job to sell the area to your guests and, essentially, be an on-demand concierge. Consider grouping all the things near you – restaurants, convenience stores for picking up quick things, gas stations, shopping areas, etc. – and create guides to leave in your vacation rental. If you’re willing, make it clear to your guests that you’re there to help.

Consider making yourself available to chat with your guests in person, on the phone, or via email about any questions they may have. To get great ratings and referrals, you have to stand out. By staying ahead of your guests’ expectations, you’ll be so helpful that it’s remarkable.

3. Create a comfortable stay.

Reflect back to the last great vacation you had. What made it exceptional? One of the top 5 things you’d probably remark on is comfort. The place where you stayed most likely had a lot of appeal to it and made you feel at ease. It was likely clean, had inviting colors, the decor was spot-on and stylish, and everything was easily accessible.

These things are important. Without comfort, you have nothing.

4. Offer promotions and discounts.

Believe it or not, offering special promotions or discounts won’t cause you to lose money and can be a surefire way to get the ratings and referrals you want for your vacation rental. The key is to provide special pricing or discounts with a specific reason in mind, not just to attract more guests.

Offer a discount for longer stays, such as bookings lasting a week or more. This way, it offers an incentive for having a longer-than-average vacation and improves your occupancy rate in the process.

5. Make local connections.

Yes, your vacation rental is listed online and future guests may find your listing by doing an online search. But in order to maximize the potential for earning great ratings (and hence, referrals), you’ll have to think outside the box.

Think local and think offline. Are there any community organizations nearby? Perhaps there are annual meetings or events in your area. Members of these organizations may need somewhere to stay. Reach out to them and share information about your vacation rental as a cheaper, out-of-the-box alternative to a hotel.

What about attractions in close proximity to your vacation rental? This ties in with offering exclusive promotions and discounts. Think about companies offering local attractions and try to work out special bargains for your guests. It’s a win-win. Your renters get great deals and you get a living, breathing relationship with other business owners who can refer you as an awesome place to stay.

6. Ask your guests for referrals directly.

Because you’re a stellar host – you provided a clean, welcoming, comfortable space for your guests and you’ve been able to anticipate their needs during their stay – going a step further and asking for their feedback should be a breeze.

Before your guests get ready to leave, ask them to share some thoughts about their time at your vacation rental. If they were happy with their experience, ask them to tell their friends about your rental property, too. Word of mouth is power. if someone has a positive experience, they’re more likely to tell others about it.


There’s no doubt about it: high ratings and word-of-mouth referrals are both great ways to keep your vacation rental occupied every month. Implementing a few extra touches can go a long way. With these 6 tips, you’ll be getting consistent, great ratings and have a high referral rate in no time!


Need to make sure your rental is in tip-top shape? Want one less thing to think about in preparation for your next guests? Contact us today to learn more about how we can get your vacation rental spic and span.

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