In the „5 questions to…“ column, Hotelcore employees, customers, partners and industry experts answer questions in short interviews. With Katharina Sickora, Marketing Director at one of the wold’s biggest guest feedback platforms TrustYou, we had a chat about guest reviews.
How important are guest reviews on online platforms for hotels really these days?
Very important. We have conducted many studies and analyses on this topic and the number of reviews is constantly increasing. Of course, mobile phones contribute to this – nowadays you can easily rate your hotel and give feedback on the go. We have found that 95% of all travellers read reviews before booking a hotel. Therefore, hotels should not underestimate the influence of guest feedback, especially when it comes to marketing guest reviews and scores. After price, “review scores” are the most important decision variable for travellers to book or not book a particular accommodation.
Should hosts respond to reviews?
Absolutely, yes. We always recommend responding to reviews – both positive and negative. Hosts should bear in mind that their responses can have a major impact on the reputation of their establishment. The more professionally they deal with a review or complaint, the more the guest feels valued and taken seriously. In addition, the next traveller looking for accommodation can also see directly that the hosts in this establishment look after their guests and that the service is good.
Do guests still answer traditional guest questionnaires at all?
Yes, and in fact more than ever! The main reason for this is that almost every traveller carries a smartphone with them and can quickly answer the questionnaire they receive by email while on the move. We therefore recommend that hotels keep the questionnaire short, as this increases the likelihood of it being completed. We recently conducted a study where we looked at this very issue. One result was that guests are 3.6 times more likely to leave a review if they are asked to do so by the accommodation. The study is free of charge and can be downloaded from our website. The number of TrustYou surveys obtained from hotels also rose from 3.63 million in 2016 to 4.25 million in 2017 – and the trend is rising!
And how do hoteliers collect more online reviews?
Mainly with guest questionnaires. However, there is also the option of collecting guest reviews on site using iPads, for example. Due to the increasing use of messaging apps, we advise hoteliers to communicate with guests via their mobile phones before and during their stay. The hotelier can also send them a link to the questionnaire by message afterwards. It also helps if you get a little more creative, for example with vouchers for a free drink during the next stay or 10 % off the next booking. This gives the hotel a double advantage: higher chances of receiving reviews and the guest also has a good reason to book the hotel again.
Keyword: Online reputation management. What should hoteliers bear in mind in order to be successful?
Basically, it is important that it is done. Nowadays, there are so many reviews, opinions and social media posts scattered across the web that it is impossible for a hotelier to keep an eye on everything themselves. With targeted online reputation management, analysing and responding to reviews and marketing, the hotel can use these guest reviews to its advantage.
The most important thing is that the hotelier is always informed about new reviews and responds to them. The hotel should then analyse the collected feedback and make the investments and improvements that have the greatest impact on the online reputation and rating score. After all, this can be seen on many portals and influences the booking decisions of countless travellers. In any case, hoteliers should also integrate a widget with the rating score or the summaries of all reviews on their website, as this gives travellers all the information they need to book directly on the website. In this way, the hotelier also strengthens direct sales. TrustYou helps with all these tasks and enables hotels to manage their online reputation quickly and easily with the right tools.
Katharina Sickora in conversation with Sandra Schneider, Gastfreund GmbH
You can also read more about hotel reviews in our next article. Stay tuned!
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Bild: © TrustYou