In my last article, we explored the basics of how hotel investment analysts are using review analytics as part of their due diligence process. Yet as helpful as that is, review analytics also allow us to zoom out and provide macro-level insights from the perspective of real hotel guests – your future customers.
Online review analytics can show the following at the neighborhood, city, or destination level:
- Market supply of existing hotels
- Overall guest satisfaction levels (the Global Review IndexTM)
- What’s hot and what’s not among these hotels
- The review sites and distribution channels popular in that area
- Demographics of the guests for these hotels
And then, you can compare neighborhoods with other neighborhoods, cities with other cities in each of these areas.
This insight provides a way to enhance your due diligence and planning processes by tapping into guest feedback to help identify concepts and operating practices that are succeeding in the market. Let’s look at a few use cases here….
Use case: Learn more about current market supply
There are a number of helpful services that exist to list hotel supply by category in each market.
Review analytics add another layer of insight to this, providing an ability to see which of these hotel concepts are hits and which are flops at a property, neighborhood, or city level. Having the consumer’s perspective on market supply provides a unique edge. Guest experience factors are the #1 criteria travelers evaluate when choosing hotels, and examining the details of what people chose to comment on during their stay can yield valuable insight.
Use case: Explore the possibility of adding new amenities
Want to build a ____ and not sure if it’s viable? First, see if any other local hotel offers what you are planning to introduce. What feedback are they getting? How do their guests like it?
Then, look at hotels that offer this in other neighborhoods or cities. How does having _____ affect their guest experience and what feedback are they getting?
After reviewing this feedback, does the data suggest that adding this feature or amenity might lift guest satisfaction, attract more bookings and help drive revenue?
I was working on a development project recently where we were exploring the possibility of adding a rooftop bar. This wasn’t common in the location we were examining, but a quick review of similar hotels in similar neighborhoods in similar cities gave us a good idea of how this addition could affect different aspects of the guest stay.
Use case: Benchmark against market-level performance
Reputation is revenue at the hotel level – people use online review ratings to choose between hotels – which is why it’s crucial to understand the broader market context. Knowing where a hotel’s Global Review IndexTM is positioned versus other options in its neighborhood or city provides a clearer picture of its situation – and earnings potential.
When analyzing investment or development opportunities across cities, it’s also helpful to view guest feedback data in parallel with economic data and development pipeline information. As I write this article the hotel industry is returning record financial performance – and while to some extent “a rising tide floats all boats” – you need to know what you’re up against and how you will differentiate that hotel whether the market is rising or falling.
How will you use guest feedback data to identify market opportunities?
Each owner, developer and investor uses different criteria in their opportunity selection process. But whether you’re exploring projects at the neighborhood or national level, looking at the market from the perspective of your future customers is a critical step in any analysis.
Go into your next transaction or development deal with your eyes wide open. With the nearly-instantaneous insight that can be gathered from online review meta-data, there’s no excuse not to have the edge in your next project.
As online review data increases exponentially in macro-level competitive analysis, so does the need for a solution that quickly synthesizes the information you need to know.