Two Ways to Save Time on Reviews Management

Tech to the rescue!

Two Ways to Save Time on Reviews Management

In a previous blog, Why Reviews Management Matters for Short-Term Rentals, we made the case that diligence is key when reading and responding to reviews, and that the time commitment is worth it.

But how much time is too much?

Some large TNS clients have dedicated staffers to manage reviews and/or social media. If you’re not in that boat, you probably spend at least a few hours each week logging into half a dozen platforms to read and respond to reviews. That’s on top of other guest communications that may or may not be automated, like replying to web inquiries or phone calls.

Many factors contribute to the time you must spend on reviews management, like the number of properties, how often they turn, and the socio-economic profile of your guests. Most of these factors are out of your control.

What you can control are the length of your responses and your workflow. Technology to the rescue!

AI: The Reviews Writer You Wish You Had

Everyone has an opinion about whether the advent of artificial intelligence is a good thing or not. No matter what you think about it, it’s here, and it’s already changing the world. If it can dramatically reduce the time you spend on reviews management, why not use it?

There are already paid services specifically for using AI to respond to reviews in the hospitality space. TrustYou’s ResponseAI does exactly that, and the company claims that their AI engine is sensitive to tone and voice, so you don’t have much to clean up. Expect more companies to pop up that focus on specific verticals like hospitality.

ChatGPT has emerged as one of the most popular and free AI text generators, though there are many more. We’ll cover its many useful hospitality applications in a future post. For now, you need to know that it can take much of the busy work out of replying to reviews or writing guest reviews. If you’ve never used it, it’s equal parts amazing and scary.

Let’s say you had a one-star Airbnb review that read:

Our experience at this property was a NIGHTMARE! The so-called “luxury trailside condo” was anything but. First, we couldn’t get the door code to work after a long day of travel. Once we did, we were hit with a wall of detergent smell like Pine-Sol. The supposedly well-stocked kitchen didn’t even have basic cooking spices and some of the cheapest utensils I’ve seen this side of a middle-school lunchroom. The WiFi went in and out, the hot tub reeked of chlorine, and the beds were uncomfortable. Would give zero stars if I could!

After opening ChatGPT, we entered the following prompt: “Write a response to the following review of a vacation rental,” then pasted in the aforementioned review. In less than ten seconds, it spat back this:

We appreciate you sharing your feedback about your recent stay at our vacation rental property. We sincerely apologize for the disappointing experience you had during your stay. Your concerns are important to us, and we take them seriously.

We deeply regret that you encountered difficulties with the door code upon arrival. We understand how frustrating that can be after a long day of travel, and we are actively working to improve our check-in process to prevent such issues in the future.

Regarding the strong detergent odor, we will ensure that our cleaning team uses a more guest-friendly product to maintain cleanliness without overwhelming scents. We aim to provide a comfortable and pleasant environment for our guests.

We are also taking your feedback about the kitchen inventory and utensils to heart. We will review and update the kitchen supplies to ensure they meet our guests’ expectations for a well-stocked kitchen.

The issues with WiFi connectivity, hot tub maintenance, and bedding comfort are noted, and we will investigate and address them promptly to enhance the overall guest experience.

We apologize that your stay did not meet your expectations, and we understand your reluctance to recommend our property. Please know that we are committed to making the necessary improvements to provide a more enjoyable stay for our future guests.

If you ever reconsider staying with us in the future, we would welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the improvements we’ve made based on your valuable feedback.

Thank you for your input, and we hope to have the chance to provide you with a more satisfying experience should you choose to stay with us again.

Warm regards,

[Your Name]
[Property Management or Owner]
[Contact Information]

How long would the same professional and specific reply have taken you to write? Fifteen minutes? ChatGPT did it in seconds. Amazing, right? Is it perfect? No. It could be shorter, and too many sentences start with “We.” But still, a bit of tightening, and it’s good to go.

If this seems too long, you can prompt ChatGPT to be brief. Adding “brief” before the word “response” in the original prompt yielded the following:

Dear [Guest’s Name],
We’re truly sorry to hear about the issues you encountered during your stay at our property. Your feedback is essential to us, and we take it seriously. We apologize for falling short of your expectations, and we are actively addressing the concerns you’ve raised to improve the overall guest experience.

Best regards,

[Your Name]
[Property Management or Owner]

You’ll notice that this particular reply is generic and curt. If you’re looking for a specific length, you can specify it in the prompt.

What AI can’t quite nail (yet) is tone, or the personality behind the text it generates. If you have a specific voice you like to use when responding to reviews, you’ll want to go through the generated text and sprinkle that in. In any event, you should ALWAYS read an AI-generated response before posting it. Some phrases tend to appear over and over, which make you sound like a bot. No bueno.

Even with the caveats, however, you can see how AI can save boatloads of time when responding to reviews.

But, to borrow a line from Yoda, there is another.

Reviews Management Is Coming to Distribution Engine!

TravelNet Solutions’ is always building more native functionality into our Track PMS platform. The more you can operate within a single platform, the less you need to log into other systems and the fewer vendor relationships you need.

Our recently launched Distribution Engine makes pushing out and editing listings on all your channels easy. Now, it will make reviews management easy, too.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could manage reviews across channels from one dashboard? That’s exactly what our Reviews Management feature does, and it’s coming very soon to Distribution Engine at no extra cost. We believe it will save our Distribution Engine customers oodles of time while helping improve their reviews-management game.

Key Aspects of Distribution Engine’s Reviews Management Tool

  • Filters and flags highlight reviews needing attention
  • Automated replies and ratings for host reviews
  • Save templates for guest responses
  • 100% host reviews + 100% guest review responses = better search ranking
  • Abilty to address low scores/reviews quickly and respond personally (role permissions available for those who are allowed to respond)
  • Monitoring of 14-day reply window due to alerts and filters in the dashboard

If you’re ready to dramatically improve and simplify your reviews management, contact us for a free demo today!