9 Ways Owners Can Get 5-Star Reviews on Airbnb, Vrbo, and More

The Evolve Team
The Evolve Team
June 30, 2022

One of the best ways to skyrocket your vacation rental’s success is to consistently get five-star reviews on Airbnb, Vrbo, and other popular booking sites

Five-star guest reviews help your home show up in more searches, increase bookings, and put more income in your pocket. In fact, our data shows owners can earn 70% more in their first 12 months when their first review is five stars rather than one. 

On the flip side, even the most successful vacation rentals can fall from the ranks quickly if bad reviews become reputation. On certain sites like Airbnb, homes with low ratings are deprioritized in search — and run the risk of being removed entirely.

The bottom line: reviews matter. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to creating stays worthy of five-star feedback.

In This Article: 

Set Honest Expectations 

Have a Guest-Ready Home

Make a Great First Impression

Offer Comfort

Communicate Quickly

Add Amenities Guests Love

Make Life Easy for All

Prepare for the Unexpected

Ask for Reviews

1. Set Honest Expectations

Inside a unique vacation rental with triangular windows and modern furniture with trees outside in the background

When guests arrive, they should see your property exactly as it was advertised online. Make sure your listing is always up to date with accurate amenities, professional photography that paints an honest picture, and clear policies.

 You set your guests up for a better experience — and yourself for better reviews — when you tell travelers what they can expect and you follow through.

2. Have a Guest-Ready Home

Interior shot of a beautiful and clean room with a blue rug, wooden walls and an open door showcasing a patio with chairs.

Your home will not get five-star reviews on Airbnb and other vacation rental sites if it’s not thoroughly cleaned and fully functional for every guest. Do your due diligence pre- and post-stay to make sure each space is spotless and guest-ready when travelers arrive.  

To keep cleaning and maintenance on track — and eliminate inconsistencies or accidental oversights — download our free vacation rental cleaning checklists for your cleaning partners.

From there, be sure to stock your inventory. Double-check that everything from lightbulbs and appliances to outdoor features is in working order, too. Our Reviews team says broken or missing items are frequently mentioned in negative reviews. 

3. Make a Great First Impression

Bottle of wine with glasses on a patio ledge overlooking a beautiful mountain forest

Start your guests off with an extraordinary experience right away, because the first thing they see is often the last thing they’ll remember.

Opt for keyless entry to make getting through the door hassle-free. Once inside, a personalized note or welcome gift can make tired travelers feel special and well cared for. And providing a welcome book helps excited explorers get acquainted with the property and local hotspots.

These thoughtful touches give guests the sense that they are top priority — and that’s an easy way to get five-star reviews.

4. Offer Comfort

Cute cabin in the woods with a welcome sign and flowers on the porch.

When furnishing your vacation rental, be mindful of varying tastes and preferences. Choose neutral pieces of furniture and art that create a cohesive and intentional design

Avoid decor that might make the space feel more like a second home (think family photos, used couches, or mismatched plates). You want it to feel fresh, warm, and inviting — not necessarily lived in — so that it’s eye-catching for all the right reasons.

5. Communicate Quickly

woman sitting on a couch sipping coffee and texting someone

Whether it’s an interested traveler wanting more info before booking or a current guest raising a question about the property, helpful, service-minded communication from you or a designated guest contact is key to great hospitality.

Routinely check your inbox and phone for new notifications, and consider developing a list of commonly asked questions to make quick responses easier to fire off efficiently.

Managing communications with a booked calendar requires constant attention, but it’s huge for guest satisfaction. That’s why Evolve offers 24/7 support directly to guests on behalf of our owners — so there’s always someone available to help.

6. Add Amenities Guests Love

Backyard with a large pool, beautiful foliage, a grill and patio furniture.

Must-haves for a vacation rental include appliances like a coffee maker and microwave, but you’ll get brownie points from guests for making bigger-ticket upgrades

Add an entertainment system or game room for next-level fun, or splurge on high-speed internet so guests can get online (whether for leisure or work). Consider a grill, fire pit, or hot tub for your outdoor living space, too. These are some of the amenities we see travelers look for the most, so it can be a great way to get five-star reviews and more bookings.

7. Make Life Easy for All

Golden retriever dog laying on a striped rug in front of a grey couch with colorful pillows. Plants, curtains, and workspace fill the background.

A ton of vacationers are eager to find a spot to bring their families — kids and furbabies included. To grab their bookings and more great reviews, make sure your home meets their needs. 

Supply family-friendly essentials like plastic utensils and high chairs so little ones can join for mealtimes. Add a few movies for kids to your media collection, and provide a pack-n-play or chest of toys. The less parents have to bring with them on vacation, the more likely they are to sing your praises online.

To get your home pet-ready, stock treats and toys for pups and felines, and leave (clean!) bowls out for food and water. You’ll also want to be clear about your cleaning and pet waste policies, making it easier to uphold five-star standards for every guest.

8. Be Prepared for the Unexpected

Close up of a man using a drill to tighten the screws on the bottom of a white chair with wooden legs

If you’ve completed routine cleaning and maintenance checks and kept the lines of communication open, it’s likely your guests will have the pleasant and drama-free experience they’re looking for. Still, sometimes the unexpected happens. A circuit breaker trips, or an overnight snowfall makes walkways icy and dangerous.

No matter the scenario, you should be prepared to handle anything. It’s incredibly important to designate an on-call contact who can arrive at your vacation rental within 30 minutes for emergencies. It’s also great to have a list of local service providers (like plumbers or HVAC experts) who can address sudden needs or guest requests that fall outside of standard maintenance.

Remember to remain patient, positive, and helpful when communicating with guests about unexpected issues. Being friendly and informative in how you respond to a problem is a great way to get five-star reviews from guests once it’s resolved.

9. Ask for Reviews

Modern guest bedroom with floor to ceiling windows showcasing an amazing view of a wooded forest.

Setting yourself up for stellar reviews is super important, but making sure great guest experiences go on-record is a step you never want to miss. 

Even the happiest travelers might not think to follow up and give you a five-star review on Airbnb, Vrbo, or other booking sites without some encouragement. 

A day or two after a guest’s departure, take the initiative to reach out, thank them again for their stay, and kindly request that they leave any helpful feedback. Make the process even easier by sending them a direct link to where they can leave their review (instead of expecting them to go looking for it). To help encourage mutual reputation-building, you can also take a few minutes to leave them a positive review.

Proactively asking for guest feedback is another time-consuming to-do, and that can add up when you’re already busy. That’s why Evolve takes care of post-stay follow-ups for all of our owners.

Get More Five-Star Reviews with Evolve

Great guest reviews are the backbone of a successful vacation rental, helping you earn more and meet your vacation rental goals.

To learn more about maximizing your passive income, download our guide: The 6 Biggest Secrets to Making Thousands More with Your Vacation Rental. Inside you’ll find the best ways to give your guests five-star hospitality — all while outperforming your competitors.

Get Our Guide to Earning Thousands More

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