Let's face it: first impressions count. And when it comes to finding a hotel, review sites can have a massive impact on whether a prospective customer decides to book with you or not. Despite this, many hoteliers don't have time to manage the comments that are left on these review websites. Statistics suggest that only 56% of hotels respond to TripAdvisor reviews – despite this being one of the world's most visited travel sites. Whether the review is good, bad, or indifferent, responding to them can have a whole host of benefits.
Although some reviews might seem harmful to a hotel's reputation or unjust and unfair, they can still be beneficial to the property. Hoteliers should see negative reviews as conversation starter and an attempt to identify services or areas of the hotel that needs to be improved. Whether the review mentions customer service, lack of amenities, value, or cleanliness, independent hotels can capitalize on this valuable feedback by taking steps to address the guest's issues. The same can be said for the positive reviews. These reviews often highlight the best parts of a hotel and should be used as the focus for future advertising or marketing efforts. If guests are enjoying the pool, be sure to have professional photos of the area on every marketing and sales channel possible.
Then there are the financial benefits that can come with replying to guest reviews. Research suggests a 24% increase in booking inquiries for hotels that actively respond to these reviews. The more guest reviews that are left about a hotel (whether good or bad) encourages other guests to join in the conversation and leave a review. Provided the hotel is paying attention and addressing guest concerns, overall reviews scores will rise.
What's more, 76% of travelers are willing to pay more for a hotel with better reviews.
As the hospitality industry becomes increasingly more competitive, the relationship with each guest is crucial. Online reviews are a powerful tool that can help any hotel if they are taking the time to use them properly.