Each platform is different regarding their business model. Obviously, each of the sites need a way to generate an income which means there is a driving force behind the service provided. Some companies allow property owners to pay to advertise their rental. Others host other travel advertisements. Then there are those platforms that require a membership fee to use their service in general. Lastly, there are websites that charge a "service fee" when a vacation rental is booked. This charge is usually tacked on upon reservation.
The websites that charge the consumer extra cash will not receive as high of a score as those who do not require additional payment for their services. Advertisements and featured rental listings can be a bit annoying, but consumers seem to agree that they would prefer advertisements over dishing out extra money on their reservation.
Some of the information seen online can be quite misleading. For instance, a picture of a vacation home can be depicted one way, but in reality, look totally different. To keep customers from staying at a property that is not up to their expectations, user reviews help eliminate any possible problems.
Platforms that incorporate real and verified user reviews onto their platform for easy browsing will earn higher scores in this portion of the algorithm than those that do not include customer feedback. Below represents the importance of certain factors customers take into consideration when booking vacation rentals.
Services, tools, and widgets found on the website can help users as they make their travel arrangements. Making vacation plans can be stressful (and expensive) enough. That means that websites that make the process as easy and user-friendly as possible provide a better overall experience.
Specifically, this section rates a website based on a number of helpful factors. These features include: sorting tool, membership newsletter, rental guarantee, property types, and online management portals. The websites that offer all of these features will receive a maximum number of points for this section while those that do not have all of these site features will result in a lower score.
Travelers want to see the world. Those that want to rent a property as they do that want to be able to quickly find an available property in their desired destination. That means websites who provide vacation rental listings need to have connection and aggregated data in a number of countries and cities. The websites that have access to rental listings in more countries/cities will receive higher scores than those who do not have this reach. Some companies will show how many countries they operate in while other display the number of cities. Our experts list the cities when information regarding how many countries a site can be found in is not publicly available. There are also websites that do not provide any information regarding destinations. They will receive lowers scores.
It seems like there is an app for everything in today's world. It makes sense that travelers who are on the go, can also make plans on the go. That means having the ability to book and manage rental accommodations is relatively important to a providers' customers. Ideally, a website would provide a mobile app available for download on both iOS and Android devices. Some websites only have apps compatible with some smart phones, limiting a portion of their customer base. Then there are those that do not offer an app all together. Those companies will not receive any points for this section.
Booking a vacation rental can be a bit difficult. Each website is different in terms of how reservations can be/are made for each traveler. Customers, on the other hand, may have preferences for how they wish to book their upcoming vacation. As such, the vacation rental websites that offer more booking options will receive higher score than the companies that do not. Our experts looked at three booking options which include: online reservations, phone reservation, and reservations made through live chat.
13%Number of Listings
Having options when it comes to renting a vacation property is also beneficiary. If a website does not have enough properties to assist those looking to rent while on vacation or they do not have options that suit a traveler's needs, that will hinder their ability to service a large consumer base. Vacation rental sites that have more listings will receive higher scores than those that do not have as many to choose from.
6%Time In Business
The amount of time a company has been servicing customers is also valuable information. Generally, companies that have been in business for quite sometime have proven to demonstrate that they offer a quality service to their customers. That being said, companies who have been in business for ten or more years will receive full points in this portion of the scoring. The scoring is then teared from that benchmark.
This site is designed to let consumers share their experiences. Given our expertise in many industries and the knowledge that we have gained over the years, we know that some of the most important opinions come from real customers. That is why we have allocated so much of our overall rating to the voice of our validated customer reviews. The Consumer Reviews Score is broken down into three metrics:
- The Average User Score
- Total Number of Reviews
- Total Number of Reviews in the last 12 months
These 3 metrics not only help us understand what consumers are saying, they also help us gain an understanding of volume and recency. All of which are critical to understanding the value of a company in the eyes of the consumer.
Note: this is different from the user score that is displayed on each company profile. The "user score" that is publicly displayed is the average of all user scores published for a given profile.
User Review Moderation
In order to prevent fake and misleading user reviews, BestCompany.com has a review moderation team specifically assigned to moderating all user reviews for all companies listed on the site. This team follows a very specific and strict moderation process that has been designed by gathering learnings from mistakes other major review sites have made in the past.
This moderation process involves a “flag” system where a flag is assessed for each negative attribute associated with a user review. Too many flags result in a disapproval of a user review. Some of the things our moderation staff looks for and assigns potential flags to include:
- Email address verification of the user
- IP address duplication and region check
- User review semantic verification
- Is the user an employee of the organization?
- Is the user associated with a competitor of the organization?
- Foul language of any kind
- Relevance of the content pertaining to the company and the review
As you can probably tell, we take our user review moderation process very seriously. We believe accuracy and authenticity is critical when it comes to user reviews, and as a result we are constantly finding new ways to evolve our user moderation process to make it better. Please note that while we do our best to manually moderate each and every user review, mistakes can be made; however, our dedication to resolving errors in our process is what sets us apart from other review sites in the industry.
We look at the legal history and financial stability of each company. This metric takes into consideration any bankruptcies, class action lawsuits, government lawsuits, or government investigations a company has had in the last five years.