The digital landscape has transformed how travelers select their accommodations, with online reviews being a pivotal tool. Navigating this space adeptly can give your profitability a substantial boost. Here, we delve into the ins and outs of leveraging reviews to your advantage.
NB: This is an article from Smartpricing
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Understanding the Guest’s Perspective on Reviews
Before diving deep, let’s try to understand how potential clients use reviews. If you equate reviews with star ratings, which predominantly signify the array of services rather than the quality, you might want to rethink. Star ratings serve as a foundation, while reviews offer a more detailed view:
- Numerical Insight: Many travelers use the rating or “points” system as an initial filter, weeding out places that fall below their expected score.
- Subjective Analysis: The content of the reviews is critical. If a guest spots recurring issues, it may deter them. Conversely, certain complaints might be deemed insignificant based on individual preferences.
Benefits of Smart Review Management
Here’s why mastering the art of review management is indispensable:
- Optimize Operational Efficiency: Feedback, even if it’s negative, provides a valuable lens into your service delivery. It might point out glitches in areas you assumed were flawless. This spotlight can be a catalyst for enhancement.
- Enhance Guest Relations: It’s a familiar problem among hoteliers – guests often hold back grievances during their stay but vent in online reviews. But even then, this channel, can be a conduit for reengaging, explaining hiccups, offering apologies, and even subtly promoting your establishment.
- Strategic Marketing via Reviews: Prospective guests pore over reviews before confirming bookings. Glowing reviews can underscore specific amenities or services, making your hotel more appealing. For instance, if someone lauds your efficient airport shuttle service, it’s an opportunity to accentuate this feature in your responses.
- Augmented Visibility = Increased Revenue: Reviews influence your visibility on Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). Firstly, many travelers filter choices based on ratings. So meeting a particular threshold boosts your visibility. Secondly, OTAs rank hotels based on a combination of review quality, quantity, and recency. Using TripAdvisor as an example, securing top ranks translates to higher visibility, resulting in increased bookings.
- High-Quality Reviews Justify Premium Pricing: Here’s an interesting correlation – better reviews can warrant higher prices. A Cornell University study underscored this: a 1 percent increase in one’s average ratings generates a 0.89 percent increase in the average price, while a one whole point increase on a scale of 1 to 5 on Travelocity (one of the OTAs used in the research) raises the average price by 11.2 percent.
Review Management: A Dual Approach
Review management is a blend of the right mindset and practical execution:
- Adopt the Right Review Perspective:
- Cherish Every Review: Every review, even the unflattering ones, offers value.
- Value Your Reviewer: Criticism is a gift. In pre-online review times, unsatisfied guests would leave, sharing their bad experiences only with close ones. You, on the other hand, would remain oblivious, inadvertently repeating the same mistakes. Reviews bring such issues to the forefront.
- OTAs Are Your Allies: They bolster your review-collection efforts, which in turn refines your service.
- Hands-on Review Enhancement Tactics:
- Encourage Reviews: Use diverse strategies, from post-stay emails, specialized software, QR-coded business cards, to simple verbal reminders. However, gauge the guest’s experience before prompting them to leave a review. If you know about issues during their stay, they might not be the right candidate to encourage.
- Engage with Reviews: A surprisingly overlooked step. Whether it’s praise or criticism, respond. Show you care and value feedback. Need guidance on crafting a response? Check our guide.
- Regularly Review the Reviews: Merely accumulating feedback won’t suffice. Dedicate time to dissect them, identify recurring issues, and find solutions. Regular team meetings can be instrumental in pinpointing areas of improvement.
In conclusion, in the ever-evolving hospitality domain, reviews are not merely feedback. They are powerful tools, influencing guest choices and enhancing service quality. Navigate them adeptly, and watch your profitability soar.