About our Reviews
One day, in a brief moment of brilliance, it occurred to me that this blog format would be a perfect place to organize and ‘store’ our reviews. We are constantly hearing back from our guests for various reasons, and most of them are very positive communications where they simply want to express their appreciation for the guest experience they have just enjoyed. I have been collecting these messages for years, from a variety of sources; online listing sites, our guest exit surveys, and emails that guests send me… sometimes we’re in Florida ourselves and find a nice note left in the home.
Of course, I have been saving these to post on a new version of our web site, but that has been taking forever to complete as life and other more urgent matters have gotten in the way of that huge project.
Shortly after starting the blog portion of our site, it dawned on me that the blog format lent itself perfectly to gathering and storing all of these reviews and testimonials in one place, where they can be archived, searched and viewed by myself and others, including future guests.
So, one day, I began the task of gathering all of them to place into this blog. Unfortunately, there may be a couple of errors in the records, as they now go back over six years, but I have tried very hard to catch and correct any.
In an odd place, I have a message from a guest, and I have absolutely no idea who it came from! That is noted in the review.
Besides guest comments, each review also contains the following:
- Stars This is the rating (usually out of five) that the guest gave us if they posted the review online somewhere. Not all reviews were posted online. They may have just come from guest comments, or an email sent to us, in which case, there is no star rating.
- Property This should be obvious, but it helps to be able to search the records in case the categories or tags aren’t correct. BOV = Breezy Oak Villa – Our first, and our baby. POV = Pleasant Oak Villa – Our second, and our favorite, but only because we stay their ourselves the most. (We hope to have a third someday, and maybe more?)
- Stayed This is actually the arrival date.
- Submitted This is the date (or my best guess) when we received the comments.
- Posted To Wherever the review first appeared online – could be a site, may be this blog. By Sometimes the guest will go online to a site and post a review. We LOVE it when that happens. Sometimes they won’t and we have to, so if I shared the guest’s comments then it says Owner.
- Guest The guest’s first name and last initial. We want to protect our guest’s privacy so last names are not included.
- Home Location At the same time, we want you to understand that our reviews are real, provided by real live guests, so to help establish that, and in case anyone cares, the guest’s home location is given.
- Reservation ID Each reservation we confirm is assigned a number. Each review results from an actual reservation, so to help keep it straight for us, and to help you understand these are all real, the reservation ID is shown.
- Recommended for: If this appears, it is a section from a listing site’s review format, and copied here for your reference.
Some of the reviews on here contain photos, which have been emailed to me by guests. We LOVE it when guests share photos and videos with us! (We now have an easy way for guests to make their own videos at the villa, and hope that some will use the opportunity to have some fun with this soon!) It gives us great joy to see guests enjoying the villas, after all, that is why we got into this business. We wanted to share with others the magic that we experienced when we first stayed in a Forida villa in 2003. If photos appear by a review, they have been submitted by a guest, and we have their permission to share them here.
Do we ever get negative reviews? That depends upon what you define as ‘negative’. We will, on the rare occasion, get a guest complaint about something. Often these comments don’t constitute a review, it is just something they want us to be aware of, because all of our guests understand pretty quickly that we are really concerned about them having the best stay possible. Quite often, the complaint isn’t about something necessarily wrong, but rather something that didn’t meet their expectations. Managing guest expectations is one of the trickiest things about operating a vacation rental, or any business for that matter. Sometimes guests expect a vacation rental to be more like a hotel than it is possible for it to be, sometimes they have different understandings of what other guests do, and rely too heavily on what other guests say, setting themselves up for a surprise.
You will spot a few negative comments sprinkled through these reviews, but thankfully you have to look really hard to find them. When you do, you will see my response to them. This is not to rebuke the guest, it is to inform and provide a perspective or information that may have been missing, so that future guests have a better understanding of the comments, and what to expect when they arrive. I have had a number of people email me and say something like “I love what you said and how you responded to that (unfavorable) review!” I’m honestly surprised at how much this has happened. It appears that sometimes when a guest complains, future guests often take it with a grain of salt anyway, if the rest of the reviews give them confidence that the vacation rental is a place they want to stay, and the owner is someone they want to do business with.
At this point, I’ve lost track of how many reviews we have collected, but as I write this, it is somewhere over 100 in total. Take a look through these and learn what others think about their experience with us and at our properties. Hopefully you see things you like, and you too will be writing a great review about us or our properties soon!