By Neil James
The Shiji ReviewPro Guest Experience Benchmark Report has become the industry standard in understanding how we as an industry are managing experience. If expectations are being exceeded, guests talk about it positively and inversely; if not, reviews show it. I’ve spent some time going through the latest report, and here are my thoughts on the subject.
The hospitality industry is witnessing a transformative era in how reviews and guest feedback shape its dynamics. The Report for Q3 2023 offers a comprehensive look into this evolution, revealing critical insights about the industry’s current state and future trajectory.
An Indicator of Recovery
The report highlights a noteworthy trend in review scores and volume. Globally, the Review Index (GRI) stands at 85.4%, marking a 1.2-point increase over the previous year. This uptick is encouraging, signalling a recovery in guest satisfaction. Notably, 3, 4 and 5-star rated hotels increased their GRI by a minimum of 1.4 points. Underscoring the resilience of the hospitality industry in maintaining guest satisfaction under challenging circumstances.
Simultaneously, the surge in global review volume, primarily led by the Asia Pacific region, indicates a rebound in travel and hotel usage post-pandemic. This increase is a double-edged sword: while it points to business recovery, it also amplifies the need for vigilant reputation management, as more reviews mean more opportunities for praise and criticism.
The data on review market share reveals a significant dominance by Booking.com and Google, collectively generating over 70% of reviews. It’s noteworthy that Booking.com, despite a slight decline in its market share since Q3 2022, holds a substantial 40.3% of global review volume. Google stands at 30.1%, cementing its influence in the travel review sector. The relatively smaller shares of Tripadvisor and Expedia, at 9.5% and 5.5%, respectively, highlight the competitive disparity in the market. This data underscores the influence both Booking.com and Google have in shaping consumer perceptions and choices in travel and hospitality.
The Diverse Landscape of Customer Feedback
The Source Indexes show Chinese OTAs Ctrip and Trip.com at the top, with review scores of 89.4% and 89.0%, suggesting a high level of customer satisfaction or possibly a different reviewing culture in the Chinese market. Google ranks third with an 86.1% score, indicating solid performance. In contrast, Booking.com landed at 82.4%, reflecting differences in customer expectations, service quality, or even the cultural characteristics of the users on these platforms. These figures offer perspectives on different user experiences on booking platforms, highlighting possible cultural and operational factors in customer feedback.
Positive Feedback Outweighs The Negative
The Semantic Analysis data shows a 74.3% positivity rate in review comments, underscoring the hotel industry’s ability to meet and exceed guest expectations, reflecting its adaptability and dedication to guest satisfaction. Notably, this positive trend also suggests that hotels listen to their guests and implement feedback effectively. The higher ratio of positive mentions on platforms like Ctrip, Trip.com, and HolidayCheck, compared to Booking.com, may indicate guest expectations across these platforms. This information could be helpful for hoteliers working to enhance their reputations and offer guests fulfilling experiences.
The Art of Engagement
Hotels are increasingly responsive to guest feedback, increasing their response to reviews, as seen by the rise in response rates to 62.5% for reviews in the latest quarter. This proactive approach clearly intends to celebrate successes, particularly the swift responses to positive feedback. However, given the wide scope of complaint topics included in the report, ranging from Health and Medical, Maintenance, Technology, Security, Bed Comfort and Room Amenities, not addressing negative reviews is a missed opportunity. Managing negative feedback promptly is critical for hotels to show their commitment to resolving issues and to turn dissatisfied guests into loyal advocates.
Benchmarks of Excellence
The City Data shows impressive GRIs of leading hotels in global cities, like the Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro and the Four Seasons Hotel New York, which set benchmarks for excellence. Including new cities like Singapore, Berlin, and Los Angeles in the city rankings brings fresh perspectives to the report. These results represent consistent quality, exceptional service, and understanding guest needs and expectations.
The Shiji-ReviewPro Guest Experience Benchmark Report for Q3 2023 offers a detailed look at the hospitality industry to understand guest sentiment across various regions and hotel categories.
Guest experience and reputation management are critical areas for continuous improvement in the hospitality industry. The data-driven insights about common areas of complaints and praise can guide hoteliers in making strategic decisions related to guest satisfaction. For instance, addressing negative mentions in key categories like room quality, technology, and value can substantially improve the guest experience and online reputation.
The information in the report underscores the importance of being agile and responsive to external factors such as economic conditions, technological advancements, and global events, which can impact guest expectations and perceptions.