PwC has published a comprehensive research study on the state of hotel online reputation “Why hotel reviews matter and how hotels respond” and opportunities created with guest intelligence data for hotel owners, operators, and destination management organizations. The study evaluated more than 11,000 hotels in 48 cities across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa, using the Global Review IndexTM and other ReviewPro data points.
Cape Town hotels had the highest overall levels of guest satisfaction, followed by Vilnius, Lithuania and Johannesburg, South Africa.
Reviews: Driving the Purchase process
“Today, hotel online reviews have become one of the primary information sources for guests during the buying process,” explained PwC’s Nicolas Mayer, Swiss Hospitality & Leisure Industry leader. “Thus, hotels should pro-actively manage their online ratings, and embrace online reviews as an opportunity for constructive exchange with their guests.”
Review Responses: An Integrated Cycle
Public management responses to online reviews are an important part of reputation management for hotels, but only one part of the broader “Review Response Cycle” that PwC describes.
“A written response is good, but an internal review and a commitment to physical or service- related changes is what will keep you ahead of the game.
New Management Contract Criteria: Reputation Tests?
Hotel management contracts have historically included provisions that evaluate the stewardship of the operator of the owner’s asset. Perhaps it’s time to update that to reflect the changing hotel booking process. “It would be fair that a professional operator would back up his claim of being the ‘best fitting operator’ with a contractual commitment for his performance in that space as well — a ‘Reputation Test‘ of his ability to outperform the competitive set in those areas of online ratings that he could rightfully be expected to control and influence.”
Opportunities for Destination Management
The insights from this guest review data is also applicable to destination management organizations and tourism ministries. The opportunity is for them is to ensure their operators deliver on marketing promises.
According to the report, DMOs often take “…A coaching role, where they provide feedback to operators, share analytics with them, and then support them in improving their service to guests.” This support can take the form of “training, marketing support, research, and other support services that individual operators may not be able to afford for themselves.”
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