In the travel world, online reviews and rates are known to have a significant impact on a traveler’s decision to book a particular hotel. This is an undeniable fact, but how much do we, as hoteliers, know about reviews and its effects on your hotel’s conversion rate and direct bookings? TrustYou conducted a recent study that revealed the number of hotel reviews and pricing directly correlated with a traveler’s decision to book. The findings specifically revealed that when travelers compare hotels with the same rates, travelers were nearly four times more likely to book the hotel with higher reviews. Also, 76% of respondents stated that they would be willing to pay more for a hotel with a higher average review rating. We can conclude from these results that reviews are the deciding factor and highly influential when it comes to choosing a hotel despite the price. Keep in mind, however, that guests regard the number of reviews just as important as the overall rating. Although positive reviews are important, the number of reviews must also be taken into consideration. That said, hoteliers need to build their hotel’s credibility and reputation by encouraging guests to leave reviews.
To increase the probability that a guest will leave a review, make the review process effortless, convenient, and accessible for them. By doing so, guests will be more likely to oblige and write a review. The only tactic many hotels use to encourage reviews is by sending out follow-up post-stay emails to former guests after 1-2 days upon check-out. But how effective is this tactic for your hotel? We can assume that for many hotels, it is not very effective at all in getting guests to write a review. Guests will often ignore these emails, send them directly to their spam folder or trash. With that said, hoteliers need to implement a more creative and proactive strategy that would make guests want to leave a review and share their experiences. Without further ado, here are a few creative ways to encourage guest to leave reviews on TripAdvisor, or/and Yelp:
Make iPad Accessible during Check-out
Upon departure, make it convenient for guests to leave a review. Be top of mind when a guest is leaving your hotel by making an iPad accessible at the front desk. This can provide a quick and easy way for a guest to add their review. Offer the guest an option to leave a review on whichever channel they prefer, whether it be TripAdvisor or Google+. Hotels should strategically place these iPads, where the guest will be checking out at the front desk. Remind guests to sign in and leave a review before departing and let them know you appreciate their time and feedback.
Give the Option to Leave Reviews using the TV
With more hotels giving guests the option to check-out from their rooms using the television, allow this to be an opportunity to ask the guest to leave a review tactfully. Having the guest leave a review before confirming check-out will increase the likelihood of him or her writing a review.
Create Custom WiFi Homepage
Another opportunity to ask a guest to leave a review is by creating a custom WiFi homepage that would allow guests to sign in to Gmail before accessing the WiFi page. Build a custom homepage from your complimentary hotel WiFi that directs users to post a review on popular review sites like TripAdvisor.
Give Complimentary Postcard/Souvenir
It’s not enough to give guests a business card; instead, why not leave your guests with a personal touch by offering a complimentary postcard that would act as a memorable souvenir. Along with this postcard, kindly ask the guest to leave a review. To make it simple for the guest to leave a review, provide a QR code directly on the postcard that would lead users to any of the three review sites they prefer. Unlike a boring business card, a postcard would provide a personalized message with a beautiful picture of the property that a guest may want to put in his or her scrapbook. Every time a guest sees this, it will remind him or her of the wonderful experience they had at your property.
Last but not least, make it apparent that you appreciate your guests for taking the time to write a review. To show your appreciation, hotels could offer a giveaway for all those who have left a review. For example, have a raffle or drawing where you select one reviewer to get a free or discounted stay at your hotel. Rewarding those guests who have left a review will encourage not only returning guests to leave a review but also future guests.
These are just a few unconventional yet creative ways to grow your reputation and boost your hotel’s credibility on major travel review sites. Remember, guests are your most influential marketers, so be sure to use these tips to ask your guests to review their stay.