If there’s one subject that divides hoteliers, it’s TripAdvisor — don’t worry, though, that’s not what this column is about. Well, not mainly.
Instead, I want to talk a little about the second most divisive subject: OTAs, or rather, Expedia. A while ago, Expedia introduced “Real-time Feedback” — you’ll find it under the “Property Information” tab in your extranet. Click on Real-time Feedback and you’ll see… Live feedback from your guests. What’s so special about this? Expedia’s initiative is an industry-first and makes guest feedback more useful and valuable. It’s also trendsetting and others will follow suit. It’s not new, having first been introduced in 2015, but it rolled out in stages and reached our shores not long ago.
Reviews on Expedia, as compared to TripAdvisor, always had the advantage of coming from guests who actually stayed in your hotel. Expedia, unlike TripAdvisor, actually knows when a guest is in your hotel. Most users don’t only use the OTA’s website, but also the corresponding mobile app — something Expedia actively encourages by giving mobile users extra loyalty points and special discounts.
The app makes it easy for Expedia to know where you are and send you reminders (by email or push notification) that fit your circumstances. Say a traveller from the UK just arrived in Dubai. Expedia most likely knows what flight he or she arrived on and what hotel he or she is staying in. Data tells the OTA how long it should take the guest from the airport to the hotel and, voila, a friendly reminder just around the time the guests check-in to rate the check-in service.
For hoteliers, this is excellent news, albeit it, only if they keep an eye on the Expedia Real-time Feedback notifications (hint: you can specify as many email addresses as you want in the feature’s settings). Suddenly, you know if you’ve got a problem at hand or if you’re looking at another happy guest. And it doesn’t stop there.