Reviews Revealed: Guest Comments Can Make or Break Your Listing

In this age of information sharing, reviews are no longer in the hands of a few select professionals. Anyone can connect with a worldwide audience about an experience at a restaurant, store, or vacation rental.

Guests base their reviews on a variety of factors – including location, furnishings, cleanliness, necessities, and amenities. Most importantly, the overall experience during their stay will direct the tone of the feedback.

Most people leave reviews with a genuine desire to be helpful and point out potential issues that weren’t made clear in the property’s description. Some complaints are minor or irrelevant – the guest who was upset by the lone jellybean tucked in the couch cushions or the one who lamented to customer service that he couldn’t find his pants. But surprisingly, most actual negative issues in reviews are from entirely manageable issues that homeowners can easily navigate.

“Our most successful hosts are transparent, compassionate, and truly care about the guest experience,” said Devin Finlay, TurnKey’s Director of Guest Experience. “When the basics such as cleanliness and guest convenience get overlooked, it can have disastrous results. Conversely, a few extra steps toward delighting guests can have a terrific impact.”

Here are the extra steps TurnKey takes to delight our guests during their stays:


Location and Accessibility

If a rental is in walking distance to shopping, popular attractions, restaurants, and cultural centers, reviewers will rave about the location. If there are unfavorable aspects of your home’s location – say it’s in a rowdy neighborhood or a long drive to the closest grocery store, you’ll want to note these things clearly up front in the home’s description to avoid surprising your guest when they check in. Same if there are a lot of stairs or other potential accessibility issues. The last thing you want is a tired traveler who can’t make it to or through the front door.

Pro tip: Play up the property’s strengths, be accurate in your descriptions and photos, and be truthful about its limitations. Try to put yourself in the mindset of someone who may be in a wheelchair or walker, carless, traveling with children, or who is completely unfamiliar with your location.



Guests will rave about comfortable beds and cozy hangouts, fireplaces, and the home’s general décor. But if there’s essential functionality missing – for example, no proper place to eat, no nightstands, or a lack of curtains, the reviews reflect that too and could turn off guests who want to settle in for more than one day.

Pro tip: Spend a few days in the home – or ask friends to make a trial run—and stock up on what you’re missing, fix anything that needs maintenance, and think hard about what will truly provide comfort and convenience for anyone staying in your home.



Garage door openers, TV remotes, Wi-Fi, and other gadgets can make life much easier for your guest—or so much more frustrating when they don’t work. Guests will absolutely let it be known when the internet is on the fritz, whether the hot tub is more of a cold one, or if operating the microwave feels like it requires a computer science degree.

Pro tip: Leave clear and highly-detailed instructions and passcodes for any electronics and access devices to the property, and make sure the guest has everything they need to know in a paper or electronic document they can access before they arrive and during their stay.


Cleanliness and Maintenance

People don’t always comment when a home is clean and in good working order because that’s what they expect, but they sure let it be known when they notice an odd smell, dirty towels, run-down carpeting, or a broken air conditioner. And even though you may not be able to control if the odd spider saunters through the door, pest control is critical—rodents, roaches, and bedbugs are health hazards and massive turnoffs. A proper cleaning crew that can turn over the home perfectly and flag any maintenance issues is worth every penny you’ll spend.

Pro tip: Regularly maintain all of the home’s systems, smoke alarms, appliances, and anything that needs a battery or a bulb (and provide extra, just in case). Get confirmation the home has been cleaned after every stay, and do your own spot checks.


Necessities and Amenities

There are the essentials you need to have in a vacation rental – think toilet paper (spring for the good stuff), linens, and cooking supplies. Guests become frustrated when they arrive after a long day of travel and don’t have a towel to use to shower or don’t have sheets for their bed.

But there’s also a long list of “nice to haves” on site that have the potential to up the charm factor dramatically. These can include:

  • Beverages such as water, coffee, and wine
  • Snacks, fruit, and chocolate—local favorites are a plus
  • Guide books, menus, transportation information, and anything else that helps guests navigate the area
  • Hair dryers and toiletries
  • Bicycles, games, sports equipment, sleds, or pool toys
  • Cribs, high chairs, and other equipment for families with small children
  • A personalized welcome on a chalkboard or in a note

Pro tip: Small investments can pay off big by saving your guests time and money. Having staples on hand such as olive oil or salt and pepper can be a game-changer during someone’s stay.

Finally, the most important rule of being a host is to pay attention to the things that make a house feel like a home. Your kindness will create a memorable experience—and a better rating.

TurnKey can help you give your guests what they want and need. Learn more about partnering with us here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Is Vacation Rental Income Loss Tax Deductible?

3 Min Read April 7, 2021

5 Questions with TurnKey Experts: International Women’s Day

11 Min Read March 8, 2021

Vacation Rental Taxes: Getting The Most From Your Return With IRS Publication 527

3 Min Read February 26, 2021
TurnKey Blog