Probe and Vacasa have customer service issues ahead of public offerings

Negative chatter in user reviews about Sonder, the hotel and short-term rental industry, will impact its expected public market debut in 2021 through a merger of companies from special purpose acquisition?

We took a look at Trustpilot User review scores and review scores for Probe and Vacasa, the property management company which is also due to go public this year, to assess customer sentiment and the quality of the stay. Trustpilot, which collects user reviews in categories ranging from travel to insurance, is one of the few review sites covering travel to produce an overall score for the business and not just for individual hotels or resorts. short-term rentals, as Tripadvisor does.

Trustpilot user rating data for Sonder and Vacasa

Society Number of reviews Profile status Trustpilot Category Assessments Exam note
BeforeStay 247 Claims Vacation location Excellent 4.5
Vacasa 5.343 Claims Vacation location Great 4
Vrbo 11.3212 Claims Travel agency Mean 3.4
Probe 120 Unclaimed N / A Bad 1.5
Airbnb 8,119 Claims Vacation location Bad 1.4 27,607 Claims Travel aggregator Bad 1.4

In the graph, you can see that Trustpilot rated Sonder as ‘bad’ with only a score of 1.5 out of 5. The caveat is that there were only 120 user reviews of Sonder, and the company has not “claimed” its profile. Companies such as Vacasa, which generated an ‘excellent’ rating with a rating of 4, may have an advantage because when they claim their Trustpilot profiles, they can solicit customer reviews instead of attracting them organically, such as this was the case with Sonder. . Trust scores, spokesman Dave Robertson said, take into account the frequency of reviews, at the time of writing, and a bayesian mean.

Some 120 reviews for Sonder on Trustpilot – Vacasa attracted 5,343 reviews – are not enough to draw firm conclusions about guest sentiment, but there have been enough negative conversations about the quality of Sonder stays as the The Wall Street Journal noted, to take a closer look.

In a review on Trustpilot about a stay at Sonder in Dallas, the guest complained that he arrived to find the air conditioning not working, an unmade bed, and “some trash was still in the trash cans and towels were left everywhere in the bathroom “.

Another reviewer expressed his anger over a dirty room.

As with Tripadvisor, Trustpilot has little to do with determining whether the review writer has actually stayed at the property, but Robertson said the company has technical tools and back-end teams to make sure the review is the real deal.

We also randomly reviewed reviews of three Sonder properties on Tripadvisor that received ratings of 3.0, 4.0, and 4.5 out of 5. Review titles for the Sonder IV Palm Springs, California ranged from “Unclean.” , unfinished hotel, no staff “to” Perfect Getaway Place. “Sonder Chambers in New York had reviews praising it for” Friendly service and a great location, “as well as” Minimalist, convenient, affordable. “

On Airbnb, we randomly scanned reviews for three Sonder properties with ratings of 4.51, 4.8, and 4.93 that called a Sonder room at a boutique hotel in South Florida a “great place, very private and mellow ”, for example.

For his part, Sonder told Skift that “traveler reviews are important feedback tools for Sonder, and said that of the three online travel agencies that generate the majority of travel agency bookings online Sonder, the average rating on its ads is 4.36 out of 5..

Sonder said it prioritizes responding to negative reviews written about its largest online travel agency distributors and has teams “dedicated to taking action when necessary to remedy and resolve an issue. for our customers “.

Regarding its 1.5 Trustpilot rating, Sonder noted that it had only received 120 reviews “compared to over 73,000 at some of the major OTAs (online travel agencies),” adding that other hotel companies received similar ratings of 1.5. In the Trustpilot graph for this story, you can see that Airbnb and each scored 1.4 ratings while AvantStay and Vacasa scored 4.5 and 4.0 respectively.

In their potential PSPC debut, Vacasa is expected to have the biggest at a valuation of $ 4.5 billion while Sonder is aiming for $ 2.2 billion – but none of that is certain.

On Trustpilot, Vacasa received mixed reviews. A review of a property managed by Vacasa in Myrtle Beach, SC rated the property as beautiful but in need of extra loving care.

“We had to wash the pots before we could cook in them, the fridge was leaking water inside, the stove was outdated,” the guest wrote. “The place could have been cleaned more diligently, not a reflection on the owners but rather on the cleaning team.

Vacasa responded to this review by writing, “We have followed up with the warden at the local facility regarding your experience. We hope to have the opportunity to serve you better in the future!

A Trustpilot review of a Vacasa Oregon property complained about wi-fi, adding “Make sure you bring good pots if you plan on cooking.” Because god damn it, the options are not good. Vacasa replied that wi-fi was not present in the property, although it does have cable TV, and “we will check with the owner about any updates to new kitchen utensils”.

We randomly read reviews of Vacasa properties on Tripadvisor with ratings of 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0 out of 5. A recent review on Triopadvisor of The Patricia Grand, Oceana by Vacasa in Myrtle Beach, NC South, implored “this place needs a deep cleaning”.

We have seen reviews of three Vacasa properties on Airbnb ranging from 4.11 to 4.94 out of 5.

Allison Lowrie, Marketing Director of Vacasa, said that “Reviews are an important signal, and we take them seriously to identify ways to improve our business or to know when we are performing at desired levels.”

Asked whether user reviews influence investor decisions, Lowrie said, “We cannot talk about the specific motivations of investors, but since investors are also consumers, it would make sense that reviews could Present them with an important data point about how a company approaches its customers, product development and the overall brand.

Homeaway co-founder Carl Shepherd said investors consider the opinions of users of a business, but do so in a larger context that includes “the age of the business and the ‘other measures of customer engagement “.

Shepherd said: “But ultimately the reviews or lack of reviews will be secondary to more evidence-based signs of customer engagement – repeat visits and customer attrition will give an investor a lot. more information about the potential of the company than the number of reviews. ”

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