In our section “5 questions with”, employees of Guestfriend, customers, partners or industry experts give insights into their work and business. We chatted with Katharina Sickora, Marketing Director at TrustYou, the world’s largest guest feedback platform, about guest reviews.
How important are guest reviews on online hotel platforms these days?
Very important. We have conducted many studies and analyses on this topic and the number of ratings is constantly increasing. Mobile phones contribute to this trend — nowadays it is very easy to evaluate your hotel and give feedback while on the way. We found that 95% of all travellers read reviews before booking a hotel. Therefore, hotels should not underestimate the power of guest feedback, especially in the context of promoting guest reviews and grades. If the price matches, the “rating grades” are the most important decision variables for travellers to book a particular accommodation or not.
Should hosts respond to reviews?
Absolutely. We generally recommend reacting to ratings — positive and negative. Hosts should keep in mind that their answers can have a major impact on their reputation. The more professionally they deal with a rating or a complaint, the more the guest feels valued and taken seriously. Moreover, any other guest, who is looking for an accommodation, will immediately notice that this host is taking care of his guests and that the service is fine.
Do guests still answer traditional guest questionnaires?
Yes, and indeed more than ever! The main reason is that almost every traveller is carrying a smartphone at any time and is able to answer the questionnaire, he received by e-mail, quickly while on the move. We, therefore, recommend keeping the questionnaire short, as it increases the likelihood that it will be completed. We recently carried out a study in which we examined exactly this topic. It was found that guests were 3.6 times more likely to give a rating when requested by the accommodation. The study is free of charge and can be downloaded from our website. In addition, the number of TrustYou surveys collected from hotels rose from 3.63 million in 2016 to 4.25 million in 2017 — and the trend is rising!
But how do hoteliers collect more online ratings?
In fact, especially with guest questionnaires. However, there is also the possibility of collecting guest reviews on site, for example by using iPads. Due to the increasing use of messaging apps, we advise hoteliers to communicate with guests via their mobile phones before and during their stay. In this case, the hotelier can also send them the link to the questionnaire by message. In order to get even more feedback, it´s often helpful to motivate the guests with a special incentive: for example with vouchers for a free drink at the next stay or 10% on the next booking. Thus the hotel even benefits twice: higher chances of ratings and its guests have a good reason to book the hotel again.
Keyword: Online Reputation Management. Is there anything hoteliers should consider in order to be successful?
Basically, it´s very important that it is done. Nowadays there are so many ratings, opinions and social media posts spread around the web which makes it impossible for hoteliers to keep an eye on everything themselves. Through targeted online reputation management, the analysis and response to ratings as well as effective marketing, hotels can use these guest reviews to their own advantage.
But the most important thing is that hoteliers keep up to date about new evaluations and respond to them. Afterwards, they should analyze the collected feedback and identify the improvements and investments that have the greatest impact on their online reputation and rating. After all, these evaluations and grades can be seen on many portals and influence the booking decisions of countless travellers. In any case, hosts should also integrate a widget with the rating score or the summary of all ratings on their website, so that travellers have all the information directly on the hotel website. And as a result, hoteliers also strengthen direct sales. TrustYou helps with all these tasks and enables hotels to manage their online reputation quickly and easily with the appropriate tools.
Katharina Sickora in conversation with Sandra Schneider, Gastfreund GmbH
Read more about hotel reviews in our next article. Be curious!