5 Ways to Leverage the Hidden Benefits of Online Reviews
10 years ago, consumers were not flocking to review sites before booking hotels, but now it’s a given that travel shoppers conduct their fair share of hotel research on review sites before booking. In fact, the average hotel in 2004 had around 10 reviews, while in 2013 it was estimated that the average hotel had 465 reviews, an astounding increase of 4,550%.
It’s no surprise that consumers are influenced by online reviews, as 81% of travelers find user reviews important. So how can hotels leverage the power of online reviews?
Of course, the first step is providing great service and a memorable experience for your guests, but beyond that, hoteliers can also learn from online reviews – learn about what guests like and don’t like and perhaps even things about your property that you don’t even know!
Maybe your guests are talking about the nice chef from Barbados who made some authentic cuisine for them, or the receptionist who helped them with their lost luggage. Guests are sharing tidbits of your hotel story without you even knowing it – and it’s time for hoteliers to benefit from them.
1. Listen Closely
In online reviews, guests tend to highlight certain aspects of your hotel that they loved. It could be your food, bartender, staff, or even your pool/beachfront. Whatever it might be, it’s worth taking note of what guests are talking about and including that in your hotel story that you share online – on your website and social media pages.
2. The Hidden Story Within Reviews
Use hotel reviews to your advantage by extracting the rich stories within them. Guests will often write lengthy reviews describing all their likes and dislikes of your hotel, and it’s important to read them closely to discover stories being told by guests.
If you’re ever struggling to come up with new content for your hotel, just take a gander of some of your reviews and take note of what guests are talking about. For example: noticing that a lot of people are talking about your awesome omelet bar, a great idea would be to feature some photos on your website and social pages! Are guests thanking your animation staff for keeping the party going all day? Take some pictures or video of them in action and share it online!
Using the tidbits from online reviews in your hotel story also helps make your story more authentic – since you’re showcasing features you already know guests love.
3. An Avalanche of Content
Looking for great content to feature on your website? Look no further than your hotel reviews! By using these reviews on your website, you will keep travel shoppers engaged and keep them clicking on your pages, and hopefully straight to your booking engine.
citizenM does a great job of featuring reviews and insights on their homepage!
Considering shoppers are going to check out reviews anyways before booking, why not provide them directly on your own hotel website with a feed of your TripAdvisor reviews? Yes, this may cause negative reviews (if you have them) to show up as well but transparency is important to any travel shopper.
The DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Lancaster accurately showcase their reviews on their website and allow their guests to post their thoughts.
4. Make the Most of the Worst Reviews
Your hotel’s reviews provide more than just stars and text, they provide insights from your guests of where you can improve and where you can shine, listen to them and absorb what they have to say. Instead of ignoring or discrediting a negative review, think of it like constructive criticism. Imagine if your guests’ reviews keep saying things like your pool should be open longer, or that your breakfast is served too early. It’s important to take note of their comments and try to adapt to their suggestions if it’s feasible.
Remember, these reviews are here to help you improve! Then once you do, highlight that in your hotel story – perhaps a new image on your homepage that says, “You asked, we answered. Breakfast is now open until noon.”
5. Respond to Reviews
Hotel reviews mean a lot more than meets the eye, so here are some tips to prevent you from making the same tragic mistake as this hotel.
Remember to thank guests who leave positive reviews. Their kind words are important to your hotel’s image on review websites, as they display that your hotel is worth staying at. Thanking them for their kind words about your hotel’s experience will not only reflect well upon your hotel, but it will also make guests feel welcome at your hotel and pleased with your service even after the trip!
Don’t forget to respond to reviews on multiple channels. Even though TripAdvisor is the most actively used review website, it’s important to look at other channels that your hotel has reviews featured on such as your Facebook page, booking.com reviews, and expedia.ca reviews.