While review scores aren’t make-or-break, they are the second most important variable for travellers when deciding where to book, following price. Hotels go out of their way to give great service, making sure guests have a memorable stay, but even that doesn’t guarantee a good review.
In the digital age, it’s important for hotels to look appealing online. That means maintaining good review scores. Consumer research from the University of Heilbronn shows that 54 percent of guests have written and submitted at least one review in the last 12 months, 95 percent of which are positive.
But what can hotels do to ensure that guests that loved their stay remember to leave a review when they leave?
At Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, the team took an unsubtle approach, leaving a business card of the table with the TripAdvisor logo, asking:
“How was your stay? It’s been great having you stay. Let everyone know how it was – post a review on TripAdvisor.com.”
The same consumer research report showed guests are almost four times as likely to leave a review when requested to by the hotel. This worked for Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, which despite only being a mid-range hotel, manages to hold a 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor.
“One of the easiest ways to begin collecting more feedback is by requesting it directly from guests,” said Nicholas Scott John, marketing manager, TrustYou.
“Furthermore, there is a significantly higher average review score when guests were asked to submit a review. The amount of five-star reviews increases by 16 percent.”
While the tactic is effective, you don’t have to be as upfront. Visual reminders could be placed behind the front desk, so it’s the last thing guests see and think of when they leave.
Though getting and directing guests to leave reviews on third-party websites is beneficial, adding a review widget on the hotel’s website itself makes it even simpler for guests as they don’t even have to go anywhere extra to leave a review. TripAdvisor, for instance, offers widgets to help collect and display reviews on your website.
Be careful not to encourage guests too much though.
“Incentives, like offering vouchers or upgrades in exchange for writing a review, actually violate TripAdvisor rules because special treatment or discounts can hinder the validity and accuracy of a guest’s reviews. Incented reviews are removed so they don’t influence your TripAdvisor ranking, and other penalties against your property and ranking could be imposed,” said TripAdvisor Insights.
It’s not just TripAdvisor, Yelp, Trivago, Booking.com that you need to worry about. Research from Travel Trippers shows 81 percent of travellers use Google first when looking for a hotel. The reliance on Google makes it essential to be present, noticeable and accurate on the platform. Ensure all your hotel’s details are up to date and accurately listed on Google, as this could be the only research a guest does about the property. The last thing you want is for guests to book in to a room thinking they are getting amenities or facilities that are no longer available and leaving greatly disappointed.
Giving great service, making it easy to leave a review, being upfront about all facilities and amenities in the hotel, and asking for a review won’t guarantee five-star reviews across the board – some guests just can’t be pleased. However, taking those steps will get visitors leaving reviews in the first place. Even if the reviews aren’t delivering flying colours, feedback can only help.