News for the Hospitality Executive
User-generated Reviews Are Exploding!
It Used to Be That an Unhappy
Hotel Guest Would Tell 3 Others, Now They
Tell 3 million (With Less Effort)
|Author: Jonathan Barsky, Lenny Nash, June 2009
The role of user-generated reviews is exploding. TripAdvisor™ attracts
nearly 30 million monthly visitors and 88% of these visitors are influenced
by content they read. Word-of-mouth adds a layer of credibility and is
more effective than other more formal forms of promotion.
Market Metrix research has demonstrated that beyond the additional revenue that repeat customers provide, their word-of-mouth communications translate into significant profits for the hotel. In one example the positive word-of-mouth from a happy customer was worth $1,559 in profit for an upscale hotel. This additional revenue highlights the growing value of customers both while they are on property, and after they check out.
Who reads hotel reviews?
According to the latest Market Metrix Hospitality Index™ results, one
in five hotel customers read a review about a property before booking that
hotel. Luxury guests (25%) and Timeshare guests (23%) were more likely
to read a review before purchase, perhaps due to the variability among
these properties. Casino guests were least likely (14%) to read reviews,
which may be due to the high rate of repeat guests in this segment.
Did you write a “customer review” based on your stay?
On average, 9% of all guests wrote reviews about their hotel stay. Although these persons reported twice as many problems, they were more satisfied (+4) with their stay and much more likely to recommend the hotel (+10%) compared to persons who did not post a review of their stay. This is consistent with TripAdvisor’s claim that more than 80% of their user reviews are positive.
More Timeshare guests wrote about their hotel experience (15%) while
guests of Midscale w/o F&B hotels were least likely to write reviews
(7%). Among luxury hotels, more Waldorf Astoria guests wrote reviews
about their stay (18%) compared to guests of other luxury brands (11%).
Waldorf Astoria also scored highest in guest loyalty for the same period
indicating a logical connection between happy guests and more (positive)
Hoteliers need to engage every guest on their experience before they speak to the world. Beyond providing great service, hotels need to listen better. And even more importantly, respond to guest feedback instantly.
Consider asking the guest about his experience even before he leaves the property. If, even after you have engaged a guest with negative feedback, he posts negative feedback on a site, respond appropriately either on the blog or site if its conventions permit. If responding on the site is not an option, respond politely to the guest directly and attempt to resolve his problem or provide an appropriate compensation or promise for future visit.
In service recovery, you shift the cost from constantly courting new
customers to cutting customer defection. A company's effort to ensure that
its customers are satisfied over the long term is rewarded by an increase
in profit through repeat business, referral sales, decreased customer maintenance
costs, and reduced exposure to price competition.
As published in: Hotel & Motel Management
Jonathan Barsky and Lenny Nash are principles with Market Metrix LLC (MarketMetrix.com), a firm that provides multi-channel survey, analysis and service improvement tools and benchmarking data for the hospitality industry. For more information, call (800) 239-7515.
|Also See:||From Millions of Reviews and Opinions TripAdvisor Furnishes Funniest Traveler Comments of 2007 / December 2007|
|Best Practices on Monitoring Hotel Review Sites; An Action Plan for Monitoring and Responding to Internet Chatter about Your Hotel / Max Starkov and Mariana Mechoso / August 2008|