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Cultivating Delight: Ten Tips for Creating Surveys for Vacation Rentals

Posted by Claiborne Yarbrough on Jul 3, 2014 11:25:00 AM

We’ve all been asked to complete a survey when we’ve purchased something online, dined out or stayed at a hotel. I just received a very prompt survey from my stay last week in Anaheim. Since I received outstanding service from the hotel, I was happy to take a few minutes to reply.

Surveys are one of the best ways that you can continuously evaluate your company and build your brand as a vacation rental management or property management company. Most importantly, it is part of how you create a cycle of delighting your customers.

Here are ten considerations that you should take into account when you are thinking about creating a customer survey:

1)      Make it relevant.

Ask questions that are important to your customers. Think of surveys that have prompted you to respond to them. You answered because there is something that you want to share with the company. Take the time to think about the phrasing of your questions to engage your customers immediately.

2)      Surveys are a brand touch point.

As with any time you touch your customer, the survey is another opportunity to present your brand. If your brand is trusted, then the responses will be more meaningful.

3)      Keep it simple.

A good rule of thumb when you are creating a survey is to limit the number of questions that you ask to ten. Also, try to limit text box response. If done properly, the questions will give you three to four areas of focus.

4)      Tie response to internal goals.

Surveys are a great tool to give direction for the internal goals of your company. If you are focused on providing outstanding customer service with a rewards program for your employees, then ask the customer to name the employee who provided outstanding service (see the example on the right).  Employee buy in on the importance of thevacation-rental-management-survey survey will also feed into your customer response rate.

5)      Timing is important.

In the vacation rental industry, a customer satisfaction survey is usually sent out after a guest stays with you. The timing should work to enforce the internal goals as mentioned in the point above. Consider this though. Some vacation rental companies are taking the opportunity to survey their guests mid- week. You have a captive audience, checking their emails on their cell phone. More importantly, if there is a problem, you have the opportunity to address it while the guest is onsite. This is a huge opportunityto build customer loyalty and to build the narrative around your brand.

6)      Make it responsive.

The example suggests this point. More and more people are going to respond using their cell phones. Make sure that whatever survey tool you use has responsive design so that the surveys are presented in a usable format.

7)      Have an objective.

Tell your customer what you are trying to achieve. Let them know that you are asking these questions because you are trying to effect positive change in the organization. Make sure to have a short statement to this effect at the top of the survey.

8)      Stay away from anonymous.

To the point above, include a statement that says “we like honest feedback from our customers”. There is a differing opinions about anonymous or not, but for vacation rental business I strongly encourage you to make them let you know their name so that you can incent or reward them in your further communications. Their response should be included as part of the customer record in your backend database.

9)      Consider rewarding those who respond.

Most people like to get something for their effort. Maybe, offer them a discount for a future reservation or a free bike rental, or a free mid-week clean.

10)   Add in other opportunities for continued branding.

Provide a link in the survey asking folks to rate you on Yelp or Trip Advisor or other ranking portals. Ask them to Like your Facebook page to get updates and specialized offers. Keep the narrative between you and them going.

These are some suggestions for vacation rental management companies for customersurveys based on my experience and research.  I would love to hear from you if you have other suggestions about how you make survey work in your business. You may reach me at

Barefoot has developed a survey tool that is inside of the Agent system. If you’d like information about this tool, please contact or

Tags: rental marketing, Property manager marketing