How many of us have reached for our smartphone or tablet after choosing a location to look up online reviews for hotels in the area? Travellers check review sites to get a broader perspective of your hotel; and they not only read them in ever increasing numbers (research suggests the average person reads about seven reviews before making a decision) but they trust them; a study by Search Engine Land found that 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Not only that but 81% of travelers find online reviews important for a hotel and 49% will not make a reservation for a hotel that has zero reviews. So, what hotel guests say (or don’t say!) about your property in the form of text, photos or videos influences the minds of the potential guests.
Every month, 456 million people – about one in every 16 people on earth – visit some tentacle of TripAdvisor.com to plan or assess a trip and at present, more than 200 new posts are uploaded to TripAdvisor every minute. Research firm Oxford Economics found that TripAdvisor’s reviews and scores influenced around $546 billion of travel spending during 2017 – now that’s quite a bit of influence.
On the flip side, positive reviews can transform an establishment’s fortunes. Consumers tend to shortlist hotels with better ratings and researchers studying Yelp, one of TripAdvisor’s main competitors, found that even a one-star increase meant a 5-9% increase in revenue. In short, opinions of previous guests influence the minds of the reader and bad reviews are definitely bad for business. A hotel’s online reputation holds value for travelers and your rating will dictate the kind of revenue that can subsequently flow in for your hotel.
Initially they hotel chain in Spain, was loosing near about 30 reservations against every bad review because they were not giving enough weightage to their customer service. Later hotel chain, made the decision to utilize guest feedback to improve guest experiences, increase the number of returning visitors, and boost the number of direct bookings. In late 2013, they partnered with the world’s enterprise feedback platform, and the results have been nothing short of remarkable.
To start, some of their properties, increased revenue up to 200% with increased reputation scores and visibility. To achieve this success, the hotels integrated guest feedback into every stage of the guest journey with the ultimate goal to increase bookings on scale.
First, in order to attract more traveler attention during the search-shop-buy process, they sought to respond to more online reviews – both negative and positive. With the implementation of online reputation management features, they were able to increase their response rate from 28% to 95%. Thoughtful response management has proven to be a successful tactic to increasing bookings and hotel revenue.
To continue to increase their online reputation, Petit Palace Hoteles also started soliciting feedback from hotel guests via a guest satisfaction survey. Within two years of changing their strategy to give emphasis on hotel surveys abd reviews, it became the hotel group’s most important feedback source, accounting for 44% of all reviews. And with an average score of 4-7% higher than other online review sources, the increase of solicited reviews also impacted the overall ratings for the hotels.
In fact, the impact of the solicited reviews even went a few steps further. With the option for guests to post their survey response directly to Google as a new hotel review, they added over 1,800 new reviews to their hotels’ Google profiles. This enhanced review content helps increase visibility to travelers searching for accommodations and leads to higher click through rates on the hotels’ websites.
Additionally, the insights gathered in the collected reviews was equally helpful in understanding customers needs and thus for in improving the on-site guest experience.They implemented a “Reputation Culture” and the criteria for investments came directly from the voice of the customer.
With the use of AI and semantic analysis, the hotel group identified common customer complaints and made hotel improvements as a direct impact of the guest feedback. For example, the hotel chain is now renovating the hotels’ digital solutions including brand new Smart TVs, premium TV contents, and state-of-the-art Wifi systems, which were previously some of their more poorly valued hotel features.
By leveraging guest feedback during each stage of the guest journey, Hotel chain has created an effective strategy for improving the guest experience and driving direct bookings. As discussed in previous blog posts in this series, these methods can be applied by hotels seeking to lessen their dependency on OTAs.