These Travelers Read More Reviews on Hotels’ Websites. 10 Facts About How Different Generations Interact with Guest Reviews
Different generations interact with guest reviews differently. TrustYou’s latest consumer research reveals how hotels and destinations can adapt their offering for younger and older travelers.
Technology has changed the way we book travel. We have endless resources to research destinations, check out photos of the places we hope to visit, and many channels to read actual guest reviews.
Read our general findings on what travelers pay attention to when reading and writing reviews here.
#1 The most avid readers and review writers are…
Millennials and Gen Zs! Compared to Baby Boomers and Gen Xs, they read and write more reviews. Travelers aged 18-39 are more inclined to leave a review if their experience was positive. However, there are no significant generational differences in giving feedback after experiencing issues. Both age groups have similar behaviors regarding negative experiences.
84% of younger travelers frequently read reviews before booking, compared to 67% of older travelers.
66% of Millennials and Gen Zs are writing online reviews. Only 45% of Baby Boomers and Gen Xs leave feedback after a stay.
37% of Millennials and Gen Zs always leave a review if their experience was positive, compared to 24% of Baby Boomers and Gen Xs. There are no significant generational differences in writing reviews after experiencing an issue.
#2 Hotel’s website is #1 for reading reviews for…
Baby Boomers and Gen Xs! They prefer to go straight to the source when scanning feedback. Millennials and Gen Zs are not so far from them, and the percentage of those who read reviews on the hotel’s website is very close to the 40-65 age group. Interestingly, this is not their first go-to source for consulting online evaluations. The favorite channel for the Millennials and Gen Zs (18-39) is Google. Other booking platforms, such as Booking.com, Expedia, and Hotels.com, are more popular among younger travelers.
#3 The go-to places for leaving reviews
Our recent study shows similar reading and writing behaviors for both generation groups. Travelers aged 18-39 are more likely to leave a review on a booking platform or search engine, with Google being their top preference. A hotel’s own survey is the channel that shares similar usage across both age groups. However, compared to other channels, it seems to be the most preferred by older travelers.
#4 What channels do you use to send your surveys?
Different age groups prefer to receive surveys differently. This will likely affect how many responses you get. If you have the option to customize your channel, make sure you send surveys to older travelers via email. Your younger guests are more likely to leave feedback if they receive the survey via a text message.
83% of travelers aged 40-65 leave a review if the hotel sends them a survey via email, compared to 49% of their younger counterparts.
33% of the younger generation prefers to receive the survey via text message, compared to 12% of the older generation.
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#5 When negative equals genuine
When reading reviews, older generations are more prone to assess the authenticity of a review if it tackles positive and negative experiences. While this is also important for the younger generations, they are more open to purely positive reviews.
68% of older travelers believe the review is trustworthy if it approaches positive and negative experiences, compared to 57% of Millennials and Gen Zs.
25% of Millennials and Gen Zs believe a review is authentic if it is exclusively positive, compared to only 12% of Baby Boomers and Gen Xs.
That’s why displaying a mix of positive and negative reviews on your website will help you depict a more authentic and genuine image of the experience you offer.
#6 Three criteria to assess a genuine review
Text length, attached images, and previous reviews are what younger travelers pay more attention to when determining whether a review is fake or not.
49% of younger travelers believe that images are an important factor in assessing trustworthiness, compared to 38% of older travelers.
24% of Millennials and Gen Zs believe word count makes a review genuine, compared to 12% of Baby Boomers and Gen Xs.
Previous evaluations submitted for other properties and services are also a way to determine whether a review is fake. 31% of younger travelers look at this factor when reading feedback, compared to 21% of older travelers.
#7 Cleanliness is at the top of everyone’s mind, but especially for…
Baby Boomers and Gen Xs.
Cleanliness is crucial for all ages but particularly essential for travelers between 40-65. This age group also pays more attention to location and safety when reading reviews.
#8 Fix your Wi-Fi connection now! Millennials and Gen Zs can’t live without it.
Who are we kidding here? Wi-Fi is not only vital for younger people. As digitally-native generations, a reliable internet connection is more important. Whether traveling solo, with friends, or with family, they pay special attention to F&B services and experience. Family-friendly options and access to a pool are other factors that weigh more heavily for these two age groups.
#9 Your guests are picky but some more than others.
Younger generations expect hotels to react immediately to negative feedback. Almost half of the travelers from this age group expect a reply within 1-2 days after the feedback is submitted. Also, more than 5 out of 10 of the younger guests say their dissatisfaction won’t change even if the hotel addresses their issue by following up with a response.
48% of Millenials and Gen Zs believe that a hotel should reply to a negative review the same day the evaluation was submitted, compared to 36% of Baby Boomers and Gen Xs.
55% of younger generations say the hotel response doesn’t change their dissatisfaction, compared to 32% of their older counterparts.
Capturing issues on-property can help you reduce negative feedback and solve problems immediately. Regardless of the age group, be proactive, send live surveys to get a pulse check, and prioritize responses to negative feedback.
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#10 A clean room or a negative review
We already saw that older travelers pay more attention to cleanliness during the booking process. They are also more likely to leave a negative review because of cleanliness. Keep an extra eye on how clean your common and private areas are to avoid getting negative reviews, especially from those guests over 40.
40% of Baby Boomers and Gen Xs stated they would leave a negative review to report low cleanliness standards, compared to 27% of Millenials and Gen Zs.
Chroma Hospitality Improves Its Cleanliness Score
Chroma Hospitality joined TrustYou in 2019 with one goal - to increase guest satisfaction. To do this, they started to track four main KPIs crucial for their guest experience, respond to reviews, and improve based on the feedback they received from the guests.
Older and younger travelers may have different preferences and ways of reading and writing reviews. Regardless of age, your guests will always long to be happy and truly enjoy their stay. Manage your reviews actively, listen to your guests’ needs, and show that you really care about them.
*The Survey was applied via an online access panel to US Residents in September 2022. 800 travelers who regularly booked hotels participated in the survey. 45% were between 18-39 years old, and 55% were between 40-65 years old.