Madrid: ShortTermRentalz spoke to Christophe Salmon, the co-founder of recently-launched all-in-one review aggregator of short-term rentals, Revyoos, to discuss the company’s launch, the gap it will fill in the rental space and its plans for the years ahead, as it prepares for the VrTech Awards this weekend.
- Hi Christophe. Please introduce yourself, Revyoos and the role it will play in the growth of the short-term rental industry.
In 2005, I started out in the short-term rental industry as a property owner, progressing to being a property manager after leaving a career in digital marketing in a multinational company. Having decided to pursue my passion full time, I founded Costa CarpeDiem, a company managing 40+ properties on the Costa Blanca in Spain.
In 2020, I co-founded Revyoos with Angel Arcos, a friend and ex colleague. Angel has a profound knowledge of the tech world and is a veteran entrepreneur, with more than five tech start-up experiences under his belt. The team was joined by our digital advisor Pedro Diaz, who brings more than 25 years’ experience in digital transformation.
Revyoos exists to help property managers and owners gather in one unique digital platform all their reviews spread across various channels. They can use them as social proof on their own website through a simple widget. It’s an easy-to-use solution that will improve their trust, SEO and increase conversion rates.
- What was your inspiration for launching Revyoos in the first place? And how have your launch and rollout plans been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic this year?
Revyoos initially came from my need, as a property manager, to get the most out of my reviews and to have more control over my business. We all talk about ‘our’ reviews until we discover that reviews published on some OTAs are not really ours. I, personally, had a difficult experience when I created my PM company in 2016 and switched to a professional account and lost all my past reviews from an OTA because they were not able to migrate them to my new account.
After that, I looked for solutions for review aggregation [something which is commonplace in other industries such as the hotels], but there was no platform 100 per cent specialised in short-term rentals at that time.
Covid-19 mainly only affected our commercial launch – we were initially going to charge from 1 July but as a small contribution to the industry, we launched Revyoos for free for the first three months as a beta test. We actually see Covid as a great opportunity at a time when most property managers and hosts want to have more control over their business.
- Why should property owners and managers be using Revyoos as an essential tool for their business operations?
It is no secret that reviews can have a strong positive impact on the bottom line of businesses. However, the potential to get the most out of them is incredibly huge and Revyoos is the only platform able to help property managers to increase these key factors:
- Trust through the widget on their own website: 89 per cent of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations [Bright Local]
- SEO showing their star rating in Google: the CTR increase can be up to 35 per cent [CXL]
- Conversion: reviews can increase conversion by up to 270 per cent [Spiegel Research Center]
In terms of business operations, the dashboard allows you to internally filter, search and analyse bad reviews detecting patterns that can be improved upon. The general review score can be used as a KPI to track how PMs are performing at a global level and evolves over time.
Revyoos also keeps a back-up copy of every single past review so whatever happens with the reviews on any OTA, they will always remain on the dashboard.
- Could you explain what the difference is between your expandable floating review widgets and embedded review widgets and what their purpose is?
The floating review widget appears on top of the website and has more visibility as you see it from the very moment you click on the page. It is possible to expand it and get all the content of the reviews.
The embed review widget appears inside the website as part of the content, this is the version that includes Rich Snippets, which allows you to show the review stars on Google.
- What sort of challenges have you encountered in aggregating genuine customer reviews at a time when neutral trust and credibility is paramount for travellers’ peace of mind?
We have been asked by several of our users about the possibility to moderate reviews or being able to only display five-star reviews. This is something we absolutely do not allow as we can only build trust and credibility by offering 100 per cent transparency.
As a PM or host, we are generally obsessed by getting only five-star reviews, but reality and stats show how a few bad reviews do nothing but rather give more credibility to the vast majority of good reviews.
Revyoos offers full transparency in terms of where the reviews come from with a link to the original listing site. Property managers and owners can also decide for each source if they will display in their widget the full content of every review or only the star rating and number of reviews, according to their preferences or the terms and conditions of each OTA.
Instead of the review widget with sources detailed one-by-one, they can also display the ‘Revyoos Rating Score’ that shows the aggregated average review rating and number of reviews [not its content]. These are only from trustworthy sources where we can make sure the guest stayed at the property like Airbnb, Booking and Vrbo, and not other sources such as Facebook, uploaded reviews or direct reviews.
We have a commitment with PMs and owners, and also with guests, in terms of genuine review aggregation. This rating score is a guarantee for all that the review rating displayed only comes from trustworthy sources.
- Given your experience in property management, how do you believe managers and owners can find new ways to entice consumers and enhance trust when demand drops outside of the peak holiday season?
This will depend a lot on the kind of properties, if we are talking about urban, seaside, countryside etc. In my PM business, we have many retired couples coming to the Costa Blanca for several months out of peak season and we have made an SEO optimised landing page focused on that target. Between search engine optimisation and Revyoos Rich Snippet, which permits PMs to show the star ratings on Google and increase the CTR, we have succeeded in reaching the top result related to winter rentals in my area. This would be one interesting tip to explore for any PM analysing the potential targets in their area in low season.
It is almost impossible to compete with OTAs and listing sites to be in the first results on generic searches as ‘your destination + villa / apartment’, but it is perfectly possible to work the long tail SEO and get more direct traffic. We have also succeeded in reaching the first results with searches related to pet friendly, family friendly and luxury rentals. The combination of showing the review stars on Google to get more traffic and the review widget to increase trust and confidence once on your website is definitely an amazing tool to get more bookings.
- Revyoos was recently announced as a finalist for the prestigious VrTech Awards and was present at the recent Book Direct Show – what was your reaction to these sets of news?
We couldn’t be more delighted and honoured to be part of VrTech and being in the final is just so amazing and a good proof of concept.
When Damian [Sheridan] asked me to be part of the Book Direct Show, it was great news. We were very excited to be included in the show and bring our knowledge to this wonderful event.
- What do you see for the future of Revyoos and how you intend to grow the platform?
Our two main objectives at the moment are, on one side, to go on developing new features bringing even more value to our customers. We will add new sources to automatically collect more genuine reviews from trustable sources and also work on the dashboard so PMs can take more business information from their reviews.
The other main objective is to partner with PMS and other tech companies. At Revyoos, we definitely think that partnerships are the best way to bring more value to the short-term rental ecosystem.
With those two objectives in mind, we will bring neutral trust and credibility to short-term rental professionals by aggregating genuine customer reviews from all the different distribution channels and platforms.
Salmon is CEO and co-founder of Revyoos, and has in-depth experience of the short-term rental industry. In 2005, he started out as a property owner and progressed to being a property manager after leaving a career in digital marketing working for a multinational company. Having decided to pursue his passion full time, he founded Costa CarpeDiem, a company managing 40+ properties on the Costa Blanca in Spain. He co-founded Revyoos, the only all-in-one review aggregator platform for short-term rentals, in 2020 after identifying a gap in the market.