The importance of reviews: How to naturally encourage your guests to leave one

By Eric Wright

Guests reviews about your unique accommodation are absolutely crucial in encouraging more intrepid travelers to choose your retreat as their next vacation getaway. Reviews give potential guests an honest insight into what to expect when they arrive, and they give your accommodation a more personal, individual character—creating a real bond between guests, hosts, and the property itself. They also offer a precious way to receive invaluable feedback that will help future guests have that once in a lifetime experience they have been dreaming of.

With these handy tips on how to naturally encourage your guests to leave a review, you'll be receiving better reviews—and more of them!—in no time.

1. Leave a welcome gift and basic necessities

The phrase, "A little goes a long way," couldn't be truer when it comes to providing some simple, affordable items for your guests upon arrival. Nobody likes to arrive at a secluded getaway in the forest only to have to head back out on those winding country roads to stock up on basic items, like salt, pepper, and oil for the kitchen. A few cold beers on the table, a modest bottle of wine, or a small platter of local food will make a world of difference when it comes to guests leaving a glowing report about their vacation rental.

2. Have a chat as guests check in

Our stellar hosts typically handle the check-in of their newly arrived glampers themselves, and this is the ideal time to both thank guests for choosing your accommodation, while also kindly asking them to leave a review at the end of their stay with both highlights and any potential improvements you could make. Guests always want to know about the best things on offer in the area, too, and with your keen local knowledge, you can help point them in the right direction to make their stay an unforgettable one.

3. Leave a thank you note

Right before your guests check out, leave them a personalized thank you note. Cute, affordable stationary and cards are readily available at stores like Target and Walgreen's, and it won't take more then a minute or two to leave a quick, yet heartfelt, message to thank them for choosing your rental. If they do end up leaving you a winning review online, be sure to respond to their comments expressing your gratitude and welcoming them back for their next vacation!

4. Make sure your accommodation is spotless

A high level of cleanliness is at the top of almost every guest's list when it comes to things that help them view an accommodation favorably and want to leave a glowing review. Guests look for everything to be spick and span throughout the entire rental, but pay extra special attention to the bathroom, as well as smaller details, like the bed linens and the first glass or mug a guest will grab to pour themselves a glass of water or a cup of coffee. If everything is sparkling, your guests are definitely going to want to rave about it afterwards.

5. Get to know your guests

Whether your guests are planning an outdoorsy vacation filled with activities and adventures or celebrating a special occasion, like an engagement or birthday, you'll want to find out right from the start so you can make their stay even more special. Ask your guests what else you can provide, no matter how small it may seem, as we all know it's the little things that often make the biggest difference.


Have you seen the rest of our GH Tips blog series? Check out the rest of our advice on how to create the best listing, accommodation, and experience possible for your guests!

How to take photos of your accommodation and its surroundings

By Eric Wright

We all know the phrase, "A picture is worth a thousand words," and this couldn't be more true when it comes to the images on your listing. The photos are the first thing a potential guest will see and are absolutely vital to ensure you achieve as many confirmed bookings as possible.

We've compiled some simple, yet effective, ways on how to take photos of your accommodation and its surroundings to get your property more exposure.

1. Call attention to unique features.

Whether your property has a spacious deck with mountain views or a pristine pool the whole family will love, your guests will want to know about it instantly. So if your unique accommodation has an awe-inspiring view, a majestic fireplace, or even friendly goats roaming the yard, make sure you set it apart from the rest with quality images. You'll be getting more bookings in a flash!

2. Brighten up the interior

Bright interior shots of your property can do wonders in terms of getting bookings, and if your property has stylish decor and a beautiful living room, you need to bring them to light. Try taking your photos during a sunny day—open the windows and doors, flood your property with natural light, and even turn on the lights. This simple piece of advice will give your guests a glowing perspective of your retreat, because after all, nobody wants to be stuck in a darkroom on vacation.

3. Make sure you have exterior images

If you don't have quality images of your accommodation's exterior, this can have a negative influence on receiving booking requests, as most guests want a general overview of the getaway they're booking. If your property is a picturesque tree house in the forest or a cabin backed by snow-capped mountains, you really need that exterior image to show it off. Try to take photos on a bright and sunny day or during golden hour, i.e., the first or last hour of sunlight of the day. Go ahead, get out there, and give it a shot!

4. Focus on horizontal photos

On Glamping Hub, both in the search results and on the individual pages, we use a landscape, or horizontal, format for all images. Even if you don't have any landscape photos for your portfolio yet, a medium- to high-quality smartphone will be able to take some crisp and clear horizontal images that will make your unique rental pop. With just the click of a button, your properties potential will develop instantly!

5. Take a variety of pictures

You'll want to make sure that all of the amenities your guests are going to have are perfectly clear from the get-go. Showing off an extensive set of images for your accommodation is a great way to capture the moment for all those potential new glampers. Including a mix of exterior and interior photos, as well as of the surrounding views and neighborhood, is an easy and helpful way to allow your guests to truly understand what it will be like to vacation at your property.

6. Set the scene

Here's where all of you aspiring interior designers can get creative. Imagine you're about to have an open house—get rid of any unnecessary clutter, arrange some flowers, and make sure those surfaces are spick and span. Stylish, clean, and tidy spaces are more inviting to guests, but the main objective is an accurate portrayal of the way the accommodation will look when your eager glampers arrive. This straightforward tip is a sure fire way to get your property snapped up in seconds!

7. Use the best camera you have

Higher resolution images are a fantastic way to leave your accommodation looking picture perfect, so utilizing the most powerful camera you have is key. On Glamping Hub, the aspect ratio for horizontal images is 3:2, and the ideal photo dimensions are 1440 pixels in width by 960 pixels in height. Most smartphones now can take high-quality images, but don't be afraid to release that inner photographer should you have a digital, reflex, or compact camera lying around the house.


For more exclusive tips for our hosts, check out the GH Tips tag here on the blog!

How to prep your accommodation for summer guests

By Eric Wright

Summer is that time of year that most of us are eager to head out into the great outdoors, enjoy the sunshine, and make more long-lasting memories with friends and family. Whether it be a day of lazing around at the beach sipping a cold brewski, an epic mountain hike with majestic summit vistas, or exploring vast lakes by kayak, it's vital that we, as well as our guests, have an idyllic spot to retreat to.

With these handy tips on how to prepare your accommodation for summer, you can brighten up your guests' glamping getaway, making it as comfortable and unforgettable as possible.

1. Maintain the pool

Chilling out poolside is the epitome of summer for many of us, so making sure your pool is in tip-top condition is an absolute must when summer is approaching. Important processes in keeping your water pristine include regularly checking the pool's pH balance, cleaning out the skimmer baskets, checking the water level and chlorinator, and cleaning pool filters. Blow your competition out of the water by having your pool in perfect condition, just asking to be dived into!

2. Set up outdoor furniture

Decking out your accommodation with comfy outdoor furniture is the perfect way to allow your glampers to really make the most of all the outdoor spaces in your unique getaway. Be sure to place well-maintained tables and chairs in spots with the best views, as well as provide equipment, such as barbecues for them to cook up some tasty treats out in nature. Bring a vacation of pure bliss to the table this summer and kit out your decks and outdoor spaces with the highest quality furniture!

3. Offer summer sports equipment

If your getaway sits by a peaceful body of water that already attracts thousands of tourists each year, offer your guests the chance to get out on the water by providing a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard. Most glampers are looking to explore the area where they stay, so what could be better than throwing on a life jacket and taking some water sports equipment out for a spin? With many affordable options on the market, this may be a purchase that keeps your guests coming back year after year. Splash out this summer, and the guests will be streaming in!

4. Put in mosquito nets

The sound of a pesky mosquito flying around your ear when you're trying to get a good night's sleep can be a real buzzkill when it comes to guests leaving a positive review of your accommodation. For that reason, it's imperative that your mosquito nets are well-maintained and free of any rips or tears from the previous year. Checking your nets and regularly buying new ones when necessary will ensure your guests are not bitten and sleep soundly.

6. Supply cold drinks and snacks

Arriving at a seemingly perfect romantic getaway with your significant other after a long drive can be slightly ruined if you have to head out right away for some essential supplies, such as cold drinks and snacks. A delicious local beverage and a few tasty treats laid out for your guests upon arrival may only cost you a few bucks, but it will mean the world to your guests. Make sure you're unique retreat is well-stocked this summer to avoid your next glampers wine-ing as soon as they get there!

7. Provide outdoor games

Whether it's a family get-together or an annual camping getaway with friends, outdoor games are the perfect way to hit a home run with your glampers. Games like Jenga, darts, ring toss, bocce ball, and even the odd soccer ball and football are a cheap way to ensure that your guests get a real kick out of your property. Don't drop the ball and make sure your getaway is a frontrunner in your area this summer.

8. Update your listings with upcoming events

Maybe your property is near an upcoming music, arts, film, or even beer festival? If so, it will be music to your guests' ears, while also enticing them to make that all important booking. Sites like Eventbrite offer a user-friendly way to find out what's happening in your region this summer (and year-round!). Blow your own trumpet, and hit the right note with your glampers by keeping your listing, as well as your guests, up-to-date about all the events happening near you.


For more GH Tips, created just for our hosts, stay on the blog, grab a notebook, and keep track of all of our top tidbits for your accommodation!

Host tips: Pet-proofing your vacation rental

By Arran Wallace

More than 60% of American households own a pet; pet-friendly cafes and workplaces are becoming more and more popular; and in 2018, 4,416 dogs stayed at one of our accommodations with their owners! And when guests with pets want to head on vacation, organizing a caretaker for them can be both stressful and expensive, meaning more and more travelers are considering taking their four-legged friends with them on trips.

As a host, you can stay ahead of the curve and ensure that your vacation rental will appeal to this new generation of animal-loving travelers, in addition to getting as many bookings as possible. We understand, however, that animals can be—as anyone who has had a pet can tell you—well, messy.

Things like your rental's floors and furniture are understandable primary concerns, so it's important to know how to pet-proof your accommodation. It will not only save you time and money, but will also make your rental a clean and welcoming place for every guest, regardless of how many legs they may have.

Getting rid of pet odors

Walking into a house to be greeted by the smell of a wet dog is unpleasant—and not the first thing you want your guests to experience in your rental. Air fresheners and scented candles may smell great, but they are only masking the smell and can be toxic to many animals, as well as humans with respiratory problems. If you must use them, try to use them only between bookings, and if available, beeswax candles are a much healthier and safer option than regular scented candles.

The best way to avoid smells is with regular cleaning and washing. Enzyme cleaners are particularly good for areas that you suspect might have seen an accident, as they break down the proteins found in animal feces and vomit. Powdered cleaners are good for spot-cleaning stains; simply shake it onto the affected area, let it sit for 30 seconds, scrub, and rinse. Always make sure to read the instructions before using any cleaning product. For everything else, a good vacuum cleaner, broom, and mop are going to be your new best friends.

A great air purifier option is the Levoit Compact.

Air purifiers, especially those with HEPA filters, are great at removing pet smells from your rental, as they remove the particles from the air that cause odors. They also get rid of hairs and allergens, so people with allergies will be unaffected by past guests' pets. These devices can be pricey, but they are worth it in the long run.

Quick tip: We fully understand that this may sound like a lot of work and money, but people traveling with pets are more likely to be willing to pay large cleaning fees, so you can afford a good deep clean more frequently.

Furniture and floors

Carpets can become reservoirs of dust, hair, skin, and other tiny particles—and that's before throwing a hairy animal into the mix! Consider hardwood floors made from oak, cherry, maple, hickory, walnut, mahogany, or bamboo. They're much easier to clean; won't trap all that hair; look modern and stylish; and may add to your rental's resale value, should you decide to sell. Laminate floors are also a less expensive option, although they don't compare aesthetically to real wood.

This Lisann Sofa Throw is great way to protect your furniture.

Rugs in the right location can really bring a room together, as well as provide a soft surface for tired feet. If you do decide to include them in your rental, make sure you choose ones with bright colors and patterns, as they are much better at dissimulating any pet mishaps. This rule applies to covers and throws, too, which are a great way to protect your sofa and armchairs, as they act as barrier between an animal and the furniture (should you allow animals to be on the furniture, of course), and they can be removed and washed easily.

A cover or throw, however, will not protect your furniture from sharp teeth or claws, and exposed seams and legs are especially at risk. Prevention is key, and by that, we mean remove furniture that you don't want to be put at potential risk. If your rental is furnished with expensive sofas or family heirlooms, consider moving them to your own home or storing them away and replacing them with cheaper alternatives.

This Raliegh Dream Convertible from Target is a great option.

In an ideal world, your rental will be safe from teeth and claws, but accidents do and will happen, so if a puppy is going to chew the chair leg, you'd rather it was a mass-produced and easily replaceable-chair. It is the same principle with curtains—one of the most attractive items to young cats and dogs. Save yourself the hassle and expense of replacing those lovely drapes by using a cheaper and more readily-available option.

Making certain areas off-limits

Unfortunately, a Corgi isn't included with this Carlson Pet Gate from Petco.com.

Making your rental pet-friendly doesn't have to mean that guests' animals have full domain over your accommodation. You can specify that only certain areas of the house are open to pets and reduce the spread of hair and paw prints. When guests check-in, you can explain this to them, as well as strictly enforce the rule by installing a couple of strategically-located safety gates, if you so desire.

In a Double Door Pet Crate from Petvalu.com, this Golden Retriever won't be chewing anyone's slippers. Remember to close the doors, though!

If you're not happy with the visual impact of gates, you can install a door closer, which automatically closes doors after you. Another alternative is providing an animal crate, which will give guests the option to leave their pet unattended overnight and for small periods of time during the day while ensuring they cannot escape and wreak havoc on your rental.

Storage units and loose cables

The image above is a few of my books after my own dog had gotten to them. Luckily, I had already read them! That day, I learned a valuable lesson: never store anything within reach of prying paws. Keep books and treasured photos on shelves around eye level, and make sure there are no "stepping stones" nearby that adventurous animals can use to climb up.

With storage units and cupboards that are closer to ground level, consider installing child-proof (and therefore, pet-proof!) locks and catches, so that only your human guests can open them. Loose cables often prove too tantalizing for many animals, so try tying them together and fix them to the wall. Not only will they be a less appealing distraction for animals, but it will also make your rental a lot tidier and easier to clean, saving you time in the long run.

Garden

Human guests love a nice garden, but animal guests love them even more! It's easy, though, for animals to escape from an unsecured garden, so make sure your garden is completely enclosed—with appropriately-sized fencing or walls running around the whole perimeter. Make sure there is nothing that determined animals can use to help them make their escape. If you are concerned about curious creatures making holes in your garden patch, burying chicken wire, flat rocks, and citrus peel is a good way to deter digging doggies.

This Pet Bathing Sprayer Grooming Glove by Innovations Plus is great for cleaning up a dirty dog.

For smaller animals, an uncovered pool can be a risk. An unattended animal may jump or fall in and be unable to get out again. A pool cover will prevent this from happening, as well as keeping out other undesirables, like leaves and insects, when not in use. Another cool feature to have is a garden hose; guests can use it to hose down particularly muddy dogs after rainy hikes in the woods, therefore avoiding all that dirt being brought in (it’s also a good idea to leave a towel out for drying down that wet dog).

Toys and rules

Click on the image above for a list of great dog toys and here for a list of great cat toys!

Keeping a selection of good pet toys at your rental is a sure way to keep animals occupied and distracted. After playtime, they'll be too tired to even think about scratching the furniture! Keep them in area where you are most worried about damage, and leave a couple of tennis balls in the garden, too, for a cheap and easy way to entertain and tire out energetic dogs.

A couple of strategically-placed Post-It notes will help remind guests to not let the dog go upstairs.

Remember, it is standard practice for any rental owner to provide some ground rules for guests, so don't be afraid to add a few more that are pet-specific. As mentioned above, you might want to make some parts of the rental off-limits to animals, which is a reasonable request that most pet owners will understand.

It's also a good idea to leave your rules written and displayed in an obvious place, like the front door or kitchen wall, as a gentle reminder. We also recommend putting the details of the nearest vet and animal emergency center somewhere in the accommodation; it's a thoughtful touch that will be greatly appreciated, no matter whether they are needed or not.


If you haven't read it yet, be sure to check out our blog with our top tips for creating the ideal listing for your unique accommodation, too!

Host tips: How to make the perfect listing

By Eric Wright

A listing is so much more than a few words and a handful of photos. In order to create the perfect listing—and get your accommodation the attention it deserves and the bookings you want—we've gathered our insider knowledge to maximize your rental's potential and make it shine among its competitors. The following handy tips are an easy way to ensure your property will make it to the top of every Glamping Hub user's list.

1. Photos are everything

We've all heard the common phrase that "a picture is worth a thousand words," and this idiom couldn't be truer when it comes to giving your listing the best chance of getting attention from guests, and ultimately, bookings.

The image is the first thing that will draw a guest's eye, and for this reason, they need to be bright, clear, full of color, and capture the uniqueness of your accommodation. We realize that paying a professional photographer can be pricey, but don't underestimate the power of a smartphone or a point-and-shoot camera! You'd be amazed at the high quality, clean, and attractive images you can produce with the click of a button.

The best photos contain plenty of natural light (open those windows and doors!), have a wide angle that allow the guest to be able to imagine themselves at your rental, and, of course, have an outstanding exterior picture that sums up the property.

2. Catchy titles

In general, a listing with a clear and attractive title will gain a higher click-through rate from potential guests. It's a matter of succinctly summing up the property, while showing off your accommodation's best features. If you've got it, flaunt it! If you have a pristine pool with mountain views or a hot tub under the stars, we need to make sure potential guests know right off the bat.

3. Location, location, location

While guests looking for their next getaway will most likely have already searched for the city or area that they want to stay, using a popular tourist destination in the title and within the text can give that extra push to get more page views and bookings.

With hundreds of millions of visitors flocking to national parks in the U.S. each year, using these popular spots in the title is a great way to attract fellow nature lovers. Is your property within walking distance to a gorgeous beach or an epic peak in the mountains? We need to say so to ensure guests know the best attractions in the area right away.

4. Clear and up-to-date descriptions

Glamping Hub guests are usually outdoor explorers looking to take a unique vacation in a one-of-a-kind accommodation, and for that reason, having an appealing description of the property is a must. If your tree house has a deck high up in the branches with sprawling views of the mountains, guests need to be told! At the same time, over-exaggerating the quality can be counterproductive for a more rustic rental.

Ensuring the listing is up-to-date in terms of local attractions and events can also be key. If there's a new music festival in the area or an adventure center that has recently opened up, potential guests will thank you for letting them know about it.

5. Good reviews

One of the most important parts of a listing is the reviews from past guests. Looking at an accommodation with no reviews can make guests hesitant, so good reviews are a way that for them to connect to the property on a more personal level. Reviews allow guests to put more trust into the rental and significantly increase the likelihood of them booking.

For this reason, it's absolutely crucial for hosts to make sure guests have a memorable and comfortable stay to ensure those attractive reviews build up and further improve the quality of the listing.

6. Be a proactive host

For this last one, we're going to remove your accommodation from the equation and focus solely on you. Being a proactive host is equally as important as having quality photos and an accurate description on your listing.

The most basic first step is the importance of having your profile filled out correctly, in particular, your payout information. Without this, even interested guests won't be able to book your amazing accommodation.

Moreover, be sure that your calendars are synced and to review your rates regularly, so guests are always seeing the most accurate prices available. Our Support team is also ready to help with both of these tasks whenever you should need it!

Your interactions with guests are another critical component, and high responsiveness to guest inquiries and booking requests will not only boost your income, but ensure that guests leave you positive reviews.

P.S. Activate instant book

With the upcoming introduction of the new host dashboard on Glamping Hub, navigating your booking inquiries and requests will be way more user-friendly. What's more, this new dashboard will allow you to easily activate the instant book feature.

Why activate this, you ask? The ability to book an accommodation instantly has proven to be extremely attractive to today's travelers, completely eliminating the wait time between requesting to book and confirmation from the host. At the end of the day, this means more revenue for you and less hassle for both you and your guests.


If you're a Glamping Hub host—or looking to be—stay tuned for more amazing blog content written just for you. While you're here, don't forget to check out our incredible Hosts of the Month this month in Washington and Colorado, too!