Friday, July 18, 2014

Handling Online Hotel Reviews

In these days of social media connectivity, the online hotel review can be a blessing and a curse for hoteliers. The hotel review, once limited to word of mouth or the province of travel guidebook authors, is now available to anyone. Technology and social media have combined to give the online hotel review the highly influential place it now holds. In their 2013 TripBarometer Study, the hotel review website TripAdviser reports that the hotel booking decisions of 93 percent of travelers are influenced by these reviews.

Online reviews by hotel guests are not going away and hotels need to learn to effectively monitor them and properly respond to each one, particularly the unfavorable reviews. One aspect of negative reviews that should be encouraging for hoteliers is that research from Cornell University has shown reviews have a tendency to be more adverse in the beginning. Then as more reviews come in over time, the overall assessment of the hotel improves with a noticeably lower percentage of negative reviews as the guest evaluations become more numerous.



However favorable or critical the appraisals are of any given hotel in these online reviews, the stakes are high. Travel review sites garner hundreds of millions of visitors each month and wield much clout with travelers. This is because guest reviews have become the single most important influencing factor in determining the outcomes of the public’s hotel booking decisions and travel choices. According to TripAdvisor, the average potential guest will have evaluated seven hotels before making their final choice. Therefore, it is essential for hotels to be a part of all conversations taking place everyday regarding their properties. This can only be effectively accomplished by hotel properties establishing and maintaining a robust online presence across all relevant channels.

This endeavor is entirely necessary due to the nature of social media, blogs, and hotel review sites. Any review, comment, or post has the potential to go viral if it strikes a chord with the online community and is shared by the masses. The potential power for irreparable harm to the reputation of any hotel, from just one negative guest review, should never be underestimated.

Fortunately it is not as negative and daunting as it may seem. The viral nature of these hotel reviews does much to further the positive reputation of hotel properties and offers valuable promotion to hoteliers outside the realm of traditional advertising. Additionally, hoteliers can gather beneficial customer feedback from the honest reviews.

Posted via OnFast -

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