With the increasing prominence of online holiday and travel search/booking engines and the rising power of the customer review across all industries, just how important are reviews and how can proprietors respond to them?
Our hospitality finance team of experts at Stewart Hindley and Partners take a look at the current trends and have put together their thoughts, to help proprietors get into the heads of their potential customers.
- With so many hotels to choose from, trying to make a decision about where to stay can be daunting for people. Hotel reviews are therefore a valuable way to determine if a particular hotel is a good option and should not be under estimated.
- The hotel’s rating score – astute customers will look at the rating score and sort their options to show them the highest ones at the top. A higher score means past hotel guests generally liked the hotel and enjoyed their stay with few, if any, problems. If you limit yourself to these hotels, you have a better chance of enjoying your stay as well.
- But a few extreme reviews may not be as significant as people think. The number of reviews of the hotel on the booking site will be listed and it stands to reason that a hotel’s overview will be more accurate, the higher number of reviews it has.
- Remember, what might be essential for one guest is completely different from that of another. Your potential guests will almost certainly look at both the positive and the negative things people comment on in their reviews, and look for things that might bother them.
- People are now getting used to ignoring those that protest too much. If 30 people are raving about the hotel and one person says it was horrible for whatever reason, it was probably just a fluke. For genuinely good establishments, these days, one negative review is likely to be outweighed by a sea of positive reviews.
The common sense conclusion is for 21st century hoteliers to be mindful, but not dictated to, by their reviews. It is worth monitoring them and responding in just a few cases – where relevant and in brief – to overly negative comments. This is perhaps particularly the case, when it was perhaps a genuine issue for the customer, that has since been rectified your end.
That being said, it is definitely worth promoting and encouraging customers to leave feedback, but there is a fine balance between encouragement and overplaying your hand.
Once guests have researched their shortlists they will more than likely visit your hotel website for further information which is why it’s also worth investing in a professional website and keeping it up to date.
If you are looking to invest in upgrading your facilities in response to reviews, or need to boost your marketing spend, you may need hospitality finance to fund your initiatives. Contact our friendly team of specialist advisors now for advice and information on the latest hotel finance and other hospitality finance packages available today.