Eliminate Costly Negative Guest Reviews with this $5 Investment
By Properly / Oct 2, 2018
As property managers and hosts, you’re always looking for ways to keep your costs low.
But some amenities simply aren’t worth the cost to cut.
Guests expect certain amenities to be available in their accommodation, and often don’t even think to pick up these items at the grocery store when they’re stocking up for dinner. When they arrive and find that basic amenities aren’t available and they have to return to the store … they’re more than a little put out.
It doesn’t matter if the property was spotless, the location sublime, and the beds a dream to sleep on. Leaving out these amenities inevitably leads to poor guest reviews.
And those bad guest reviews come with a cost: negative reviews can cost you bookings.
The average vacation rental earns $217/night, so the cost of losing a single 3-night booking is $651. Is the cost of providing certain essential amenities really worth the negative reviews that could cost you over six hundred dollars?
Let’s check out the $5 investment in your properties that could eliminate a huge swath of the causes of negative complaints.
Provide More Than the Bare Minimum of T.P.
We recently heard from a guest who arrived for a magnificent ski vacation with 9 of his closest friends. They were only going to be there for the weekend, and they all drove in after work on Friday, which meant they arrived at 8 pm ravenous and ready to kick their feet up by the fire.
Most of the guests used the bathroom when they arrived after their long drive, and a few hours later, after dinner and drinks, one of the guests came out of the bathroom holding the now-empty toilet paper roll. “Guys? I think that was the only toilet paper in the house.”
A quick search revealed this was true. There was one single roll of toilet paper in a house with beds for 10 people.
It was, by then, 10 pm at night, and the grocery stores were closed. The friends drove around for an hour before finding a gas station that could sell them two rolls of individually-wrapped toilet paper to get them through the night, at an exorbitant price.
Those guests, to put it lightly, did not leave a good review.
This story isn’t uncommon. A surprising number of property managers are frugal about the stock of toilet paper, even though the cost savings are minimal compared to the catastrophic effect of a 1-star review on a vacation rental’s earning power.
The average person uses 57 sheets of toilet paper a day, and goes through about one roll of toilet paper a week. Stock one roll per person per week in your rental, and you should have happy guests who don’t need to resort to highly-priced gas station t.p. when they should be sleeping soundly in your vacation rental.
2 more rolls of toilet paper (on average – some stays have fewer guests, some more) at $0.75/roll is $1.50 to eliminate this complaint.
Give Your Guests An Effortless Bathing Experience
Some of your guests will bring their own soap and shampoo. Others won’t, expecting it to be provided for them in any accommodation.
One thing’s for sure, though: if they don’t have shampoo when they arrive and want a shower, they’re going to leave you a bad review.
Homeshares often provide a large bottle of shampoo and conditioner that each guest can use, but this isn’t an ideal solution for a professional vacation rental. It doesn’t look professional, and some guests feel it’s unsanitary.
Individually-sized toiletries are a great solution to this problem, but again, cost is a factor. Many property managers and owners do not feel that it’s worth while to invest in individually-sized toiletries.
But how much do those toiletries really cost?
Bathroom toiletries can be had very cheaply if you buy in bulk: here’s one website for bulk supplies that offers shampoo, conditioner, and body gel. They cost $71.50 for a case of 500 of each type, which is $0.86/stay if you provide two sets per stay.
If you manage more than 10 properties, buying in bulk is an easy decision. You can use up those toiletries in the space of a single year’s worth of bookings, and never hear a single guest complaint about the lack of bathroom amenities.
Buying a smaller array of sets is more costly, but not by much. Here’s a set of 200 bottles of shampoo on Amazon for about 20 cents a bottle, for example. Wherever you are in the world, you should be able to supply basic bath amenities for under $1.25 per stay.
Help Your Guests Keep the Kitchen Clean
A surprisingly common complaint on guest reviews is that the kitchen didn’t provide dish soap, sponges, or paper towels.
Why not? Some property managers think this is an unnecessary expense that guests will handle for themselves if they need it.
This is particularly true of the property has a dishwasher. Hosts think the guests will simply use the dishwasher, and won’t need to wash dishes by hand.
There are several problems with that approach. The first is that not all dishes can go into the dishwasher – you don’t want guests putting the non-stick pans in the dishwasher simply because they have no other means of cleaning them!
The second problem is that guests don’t want to wait 45 minutes for the dishwasher to run every time they need a clean fork. It’s a frustration and an annoyance, and will almost certainly lead to a bad review.
Thankfully, the cost to provide kitchen dish-cleaning supplies is minimal:
- Dish soap: $0.13/fluid oz, approximately 3 oz used per stay
- Sponge: $0.41/sponge, one sponge per stay
- Paper towels: $0.26/100 sheets, approximately 100 sheets per stay
Total cost per average stay: $1.06 for dish-cleaning supplies.
Naturally, you should provide dishwasher detergent too. Guests will be deeply annoyed if they have to pay for using the dishwasher that was advertised as an amenity. Throw in a few dishwasher pods at $0.16 apiece and your total cost is still about a buck-fifty.
There’s another reason to make it easy for your guests to clean their own dishes: if they don’t, your cleaner will have to.
Your cleaner might need an extra half-hour to tackle a mound of dirty dishes. If you pay your cleaner $30/hour, that’s a cost of $15 per stay. It’s clearly worth while to make sure your guests have the means to clean up after themselves.
Have a Washing Machine? Provide Liquid Detergent
Finally, let’s have a look at the laundry room. Not all vacation rentals have a laundry room, but those that do often don’t stock detergent.
Guests frequently search specifically for vacation rentals that have washing machines, particularly if they’re going to be traveling with babies or small children. They need to be able to throw a load in at the end of a long day of spills and vacation foodstuffs.
Discovering they’ll have to leave the house again to buy detergent is upsetting, but there’s a bigger reason why this amenity is important: you can’t really buy a small container of laundry detergent.
Guests will wind up shelling out money for a bottle of detergent that they’ll only use a fraction of during the course of their stay in your rental. Add in the inconvenience of yet another unanticipated shopping run, and that resentment can lead directly to a bad review.
Property managers have said that while most guests are reasonable, there are some who see a box of laundry pods as an invitation to stock up for their own laundry room at home.
Which is why liquid laundry detergent is a great offer. It’s easy to buy in large containers so your guests can use what they need, and it’s inexpensive: just about 10 cents a load.
If an average guest runs three loads of laundry, you just spent 30 cents to avoid a bad review.
Add It Up
Nickel-and-diming your guests over amenities that make their lives easier simply isn’t worth the cost to your vacation rental’s reviews. Add up everything we spent to provide these basic amenities, and you’ll find it’s just under $5.
Toilet paper: $1.50
Bathroom amenities: $1.25
Dish cleaning supplies: $1.54
Laundry detergent: $0.30
That gives you a little wiggle room for pricing variations in your area, but we’re confident you could beat our numbers with a little research. Even if you come in at our $5 benchmark, though, you’re paying $5/stay for an average of 30 bookings per property.
That’s a $150 annual investment to avoid that negative review that could cost you at least one $651 booking, if not more. Well worth it!
The complaints we’ve listed above include a large percentage of those found in bad reviews, but the number one complaint guests give about vacation rentals is always cleanliness. Check out how Properly can help you ensure the perfect clean every time.