TripAdvisor’s newly released research undertaken by Phocuswright surveyed global users of the travel site resulting in one key point – reviews matter.
• 96% of TripAdvisor users consider reading reviews important when planning trips and booking hotels.
• 83% of TripAdvisor users will “usually” or “always” reference reviews before deciding to book a hotel.
These new figures, which support findings from numerous previous studies on traveler behavior, show that reviews clearly influence travelers’ booking decisions and as such continue to be of the upmost importance for hotels. With online reviews having such a strong influence on both the consumer and the hotel, it reinforces the value of successful online reputation management for hotels, as well as the resulting positive impact on revenue.
Online review volume counts
A hotel’s ranking on review sites and OTAs can depend on a multitude of factors, including guest satisfaction score, volume of reviews and recency. This latest piece of research reinforces the importance of review volume:
• More than half of TripAdvisor users will not book a property that doesn’t have any reviews.
• The majority of TripAdvisor users (79%) will read at least 6-12 TripAdvisor reviews before choosing a hotel.
Hotels today have a lot to gain from boosting review volume and so should put processes and training in place to proactively encourage guests to leave a review. If a guest is happy at check out, politely ask them to write a review of their experience or if a guest is engaging with you on social media after a stay, take this opportunity to direct them to review sites.
Another highly effective way of driving higher review volume is through using guest satisfaction surveys. Our Guest Survey Solution (GSS) allows hotels to generate more online reviews by providing links to review sites within the survey, encouraging guests to submit their feedback online. As partners of TripAdvisor, we offer the TripAdvisor Review Collection Programme for hotels who wish to drive more reviews and fresh content to this channel.
Responding to reviews is crucial
The TripAdvisor study also highlights the importance of a hotel’s response to a review.
• 85% of users agree that a thoughtful response to a bad review will improve their impression of the hotel — an increase of more than 50% since 2013.
• 4 out of 5 TripAdvisor users believe that hotels that respond to reviews care more about their guests.
This backs up findings from ReviewPro’s 2015 Top Luxury & Brand Report showing the impact of management response rate on online reputation. The analysis revealed that there is a link between a hotel’s Global Review Index™(GRI) and its Management Response Rate (i.e. the percentage of all online reviews that a hotel publishes a response to).
Within the total sample of 2,330 hotels, the Top 25 Individual Luxury Hotels responded to an average of 56% of reviews online and had an average GRI™ of 97.4%. The 25 Individual Luxury Hotels with the lowest level of guest satisfaction responded on average to only 17% of reviews online and had an average GRI™ of 66.8%.
Both studies clearly show that it is essential for hoteliers to respond to reviews, in particular a negative review, in the correct way in order to maintain a good relationship with guests and encourage future bookings whilst avoiding losing out on new business.