Reviews + Rich Media = The Ideal Travel Shopping Experience
TripAdvisor is the world’s #1 travel website designed to help people plan travel, with over 34 million monthly visitors and 35 million total reviews. Undeniably important, reviews are just one factor in the travel shopper’s road to decision. Rich visual experiences are an increasingly important factor as well.
Reviews and Rich Visuals Impact Bookings
The benefits of online reviews and rich visuals are substantial and both have big impact on bookings and the overall guest experience. But many hoteliers still don’t use them to their advantage. They help:
- Validate a travel shopper’s expected experience
- Provide useful information that increases confidence
- Actively engage past and future guests
The combination of the two, all in one place, is the ultimate experience for travel shoppers.
Reviews and Rich Visuals Tell a Complete Story
Consistent with the findings in the Adobe Scene7 2010 Survey: Customer Experience in the New Decade study, the combination of user reviews and ratings and rich visual content is the most effective mix of features.
Interestingly, another study by Adobe entitled, Adobe Scene7 Viewer Study: What Shoppers Want, found that this combination is also the ideal experience for online consumers. “Combining robust imagery with customer reviews/comments has shown to be the ultimate, preferred experience.”2
VFM Leonardo’s Hotel E-Business Survey Report 2010 confirmed what has been discovered from supplemental research: travel shoppers want rich visual experiences and to hear your hotel’s story both from you and from other guests. In order to capitalize on this, the Four Points by Sheraton Bangor Airport has ensured that they have reviews and rich media readily available to online travel shoppers. On TripAdvisor, you will see that they offer video alongside traveler reviews and ratings.
Reviews are Gifts from Your Guests
Jean Francois Mourier, President and CEO of RevPAR Guru, states that hoteliers should treat guest reviews (negative and poisitive) as a “gift,” not a critique. What he means is, you should be thankful that your guests have taken the time to share such valuable information. Use reviews to learn about your guests, their experience at your hotel, what they like and dislike, why they chose your hotel and what they believe differentiates it from others.
Use Reviews to Shape Your Visual Story
In addition to responding to the reviews, you can also use it as a basis for your content creation, particularly video. For example, if many of your reviews say “great location,” “close to area attractions,” etc. You should emphasize that selling feature in a short video focused on your hotel’s prime location.
The power of reviews and visuals combined is something every hotelier should take advantage of. Your strategy for sites like TripAdvisor is more than staying on top of responding to guest reviews, it’s also about ensuring that you have visuals that present your hotel in the best possible light so travel shoppers can evaluate your property for themselves.