How Guest Reviews Impacted Hotel Performance in 2022

TrustYou looked at the global and regional top and bottom categories that impacted hotels’ performance the most in 2022. Discover key findings from 128 million guest reviews.

The power of guest reviews goes beyond improving your online reputation. By turning feedback into valuable data, you can better understand what your guests like and dislike about your property and make adjustments where necessary. Ultimately, this will lead to higher ratings, more guests willing to book with you, and more revenue.  

Here’s where Impact Scores can help you drive performance. Impact Scores leverage all review data for hotels, and fill in the gaps between what people say and how that impacts the scores they leave. With the help of semantic analysis, we extract all relevant data from all reviews. This way, we can estimate the impact that, for example, room maintenance had on a performance score in a particular time span. These scores reflect different semantic categories (Service, WiFi, Parking, Location, etc.)

Impact Scores are split into negative and positive impact. For each category, we show how many points you can lose or gain from your performance score.

Each year, we look at the global and regional top and bottom three Impact Scores influencing hotels’ performance. Here are our key findings: 

Global Impacts: Service Drives Performance, Price is a Major Concern

2022 Global Impact Scores
Top and Bottom Three Categories Most Likely to Impact the Performance score of a Hotel
Positive Influence Impacts: Service +6.33, Hotel +5.1, Location +2.84
Negative Influence Impacts: Price -2.63, WiFi -2.67, Room -1.92
Based on 128.1 Million Global Reviews
Source: TrustYou Data
TrustYou’s 2022 Top and Bottom Global Impact Scores Influencing the Performance Score of a Hotel

The top and bottom three global impact scores give a general overview of what hotels must focus on to drive their performance. Service, Hotel, and Location were the categories that positively influenced hotel performance. On the other hand, Price, WiFi, and Room were negative impacts, decreasing performance. 

What Made a Difference: A Closer Look at Subcategories

We looked deeper into some subcategories for these impacts to give you an even clearer image of the data. There are two levels of data we extract from reviews. The first level – main categories – are broader topics for a general overview. The second level – subcategories – gives closer insight into what you need to act on. 

For example, a hotel may notice that the Booking Process, a subcategory for Service, drives their performance while Reception – another subcategory –  might be the main performance driver for another hotel. Having a clear understanding of subcategories is essential for setting up a dedicated action plan and monitoring the results. 

Here are some interesting findings: 

#1 Service: Friendly Staff & Management = Happy Guests

Two subcategories that drove performance were Service Friendliness and Management. When guests stay at a hotel, they expect to feel welcomed and cared for. Service friendliness plays a significant role in creating that experience. Focus on delivering a great customer experience for your guests and training your staff to shine through their attitude and behavior. Setting an example for your teams will raise the standards and prove to your guests that you ultimately care about offering high-quality services. 

#2 Hotel: The Rise of the Boutique Hotel

In 2022, guests appreciated the unique, designer style of Boutique Hotels. Whether you fit into this category or not, one key lesson is finding a defining style for your hotel that instantly immerses guests into your story. Designing a unique space is an effective way to be remembered, and may bring you higher scores. 

Travel Recvoery at a Glance

A Quick Glance at Travel Recovery

All you need to know about how hospitality recovery – in one page. Access our exclusive regional and global infographics summarizing review volume, categories impacting performance, and review sources.

#3 Location: Top Attractions & Excursions Driving Positive Reviews 

Sightseeing & Excursions were among the top influential subcategories across all quarters. List local attractions and tourist spots near your hotel to attract more guests, and to ensure you get more positive feedback. Having recommendations about the latest events, tourist tours, hop-on hop-off buses, and more can bring you closer to getting higher scores.

#4 WiFi: Primary Need in the Maslow Pyramid

With more digital nomads hitting the road and the rise of bleisure travel, WiFi earned its place in the travelers’ survival kit.  Guests who experience poor WiFi connection are more likely to leave negative reviews, which can harm a hotel’s reputation and reduce future bookings. In a competitive hotel industry, a reliable WiFi connection is a differentiator and essential criteria for travelers looking for accommodations. 

#5 Room: Keep It Clean to Avoid Negative Reviews

Cleanliness is still top of mind. Previous TrustYou research shows that this topic is relevant from pre-stay to post-stay – with most travelers looking for information about cleanliness starting in the booking process.

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Cleanliness – By Far the Most Relevant Information for Travelers 

87% of travelers consider cleanliness the most important topic when reading reviews. 

Subcategories evolving around cleanliness greatly impacted hotels’ performance in 2022.  Room Maintenance drove lower scores across all quarters, with impacts varying between -7 and -15 throughout the year. Room & Bathroom Cleanliness were also likely to affect a hotel’s performance negatively.  

Your reputation is directly linked to the quality of the rooms and the property’s overall maintenance. A hotel that consistently maintains its rooms and ensures they are clean will likely have a better reputation, leading to more positive reviews, increased occupancy, and return rates.

Keeping Up with the Ever-Changing Guest Expectations

Jurys Inn started to use TrustYou at a very challenging time for the industry. During COVID-19, the platform allowed them to monitor their guests’ needs, identify new trends, and keep up with the evolving expectations around cleanliness.

Client Success Story Alex Hannon Jurys Inn

#6 Food & WiFi Prices

Price was a major pain point in 2022 for guests and hoteliers. Inflation hit everyone hard, and both the industry and travelers searched for ways to adapt and cope with the pressure of increasing costs. In 2023, travelers will continue to plan based on the best price available. More than 6 out of 10 travelers hope to reduce their budget through tips & tricks, deals, and thorough planning. 53% consider traveling off-season to reduce costs.

Some of the subcategories most likely to decrease the performance score were Food & Wi-Fi prices. For Food, implement strategies that could help reduce food costs, such as identifying high-margin dishes, optimizing the menu, and negotiating with your suppliers to maintain high-quality and customer satisfaction. 

WiFi Cost, which also reflects the parent category WiFi, was among the bottom scores across all quarters. If you are charging WiFi costs, be sure that you have a clear policy established and inform your guests during the booking process about it. 

Regional Impacts

#1 Focus on Service to Improve Hotel Performance in EMEA

EMEA Impact Scores follow similar patterns to the global ones. One of the bottom scores – Room – is now getting closer to becoming a positive impact, which shows hoteliers’ constant efforts to improve their service and operations.  

2022 EMEA Impact Scores
Top and Bottom Three Categories Most Likely to Impact the Performance score of a Hotel
Positive Influence Impacts: Service +7.98, Hotel +7.36, Location +3.01
Negative Influence Impacts: Price -2.39, WiFi -2.37, Room -0.06
Based on 78 Million Global Reviews
Source: TrustYou Data
TrustYou’s 2022 Top and Bottom EMEA Impact Scores Influencing the Performance Score of a Hotel

EMEA is also where Service & Hotel had the highest positive impact on a hotel’s performance across the regions analyzed.  

For Location, closeness to Restaurants & Bars in Q1 2022 and to Shopping Centers in Q4 2022 were among the top subcategories driving positive reviews. 

#2 Cleanliness Was Still a Top Priority for APAC Guests

2022 APAC Impact Scores
Top and Bottom Three Categories Most Likely to Impact the Performance score of a Hotel
Positive Influence Impacts: Service +3.41, Hotel +2.31, Wellness Area +1.67
Negative Influence Impacts: Room -4.54, WiFi -2.87, Price -2.47
Based on 18 Million Global Reviews
Source: TrustYou Data
TrustYou’s 2022 Top and Bottom APAC Impact Scores Influencing the Performance Score of a Hotel

Room is the leader of our negative impacts in APAC. Across all quarters, three subcategories were especially driving lower scores: Bathroom, Bathroom Cleanliness, and Room Maintenance. With COVID-19 still affecting travel in 2022 in APAC, cleanliness continues to be a major topic for guests in this region. 

In the top three Impact Scores, we see a unique category for the APAC region: Wellness Area. COVID-19 related restrictions continued to affect international travel in 2022. Therefore, APAC guests were searching for getaways closer to home to relax and recharge. A recent study from confirmed a COVID-19 fatigue in the region. Among the primary motivators for travel, the desire to “just get away” (46%), followed by “getaway to recharge mentally” (36%), are top priorities for APAC travelers.

#3 The Foodiest Guests are in the US

2022 The US Impact Scores
Top and Bottom Three Categories Most Likely to Impact the Performance Score of a Hotel
Positive Influence Impacts: Food +4.71, Location +4.52, Beach +4.14
Negative Influence Impacts: Room -8.73, Price -3.89, Hotel - -3.88
Based on 14.9 Million Global Reviews
Source: TrustYou Data
TrustYou’s 2022 Top and Bottom US Impact Scores Influencing the Performance Score of a Hotel

Say hello to the foodiest region of all – the US.  It is the only region from the ones analyzed where Food not only enters the top three, but is the leader of it. Looking to improve this category? First, revise the Menu and offer a variety of Snacks – these are among the subcategories that will bring you higher scores.

Throughout the year, US guests longed for sunny beaches and this category entered the top three in 2022. Reviewers were more inclined to leave higher scores if the hotel was near a Beach, and also paid particular attention to Beach Cleanliness.  

The US is where Location had the highest positive impact on a hotel’s performance. Proximity to popular tourist attractions, and access to guided tours or excursions, were a top priority for US guests. In Q3 2022, a seasonal subcategory emerged as a driver of performance – Distance to Beach.

How to Actually Use Impact Scores to Improve Performance and Generate More Revenue

Each guest review that you receive is a valuable piece of data. At TrustYou, we ensure that you get the most out of your reviews to improve your online reputation, day-to-day operations, and ultimately, make your guests happy. 

Using TrustYou Analytics, you can analyze areas that positively and negatively impact overall guest satisfaction through the Impact Score tile: 

Know The Areas Where You Perform Best And The Categories That Need Improvement With The Help Of Trustyou’s Impact Scores
Know the areas where you perform best and the categories that need improvement with the help of TrustYou’s Impact Scores.

In the screenshot above, you’ll see the three main categories that need to be improved: Bathroom, Room Maintenance, and Furniture. If you focus on improving these areas, your performance score will improve by 16.45, 14.25, or 10.45 points!

Read reviews related to a certain category to better understand the context of negative mentions:

You Can Also Read Reviews Associated With Each Category To Understand The Context Of Negative Mentions
You can also read reviews associated with each category to understand the context of negative mentions.

The Positive Impact section features areas where your guests already think you’re doing a great job. These can be used as unique selling points in your booking process to attract more guests.  

We recommend keeping an eye on your impact scores monthly. Set a clear action plan for each category, and monitor how these impacts evolve.

When managing guest reviews, don’t think only about improving your reputation. Extract relevant data to improve your performance. Keep getting better, and more bookings will come.  

*The requested 2022 top and bottom Impact Scores reflect the main semantic categories. 

** 2022 Impact Scores were requested at the beginning of 2023. Due to the dynamic nature of the database with reviews and hotels being updated, the numbers may vary if data were requested at an earlier or later stage.

***  Q1-Q4 2022 subcategories were requested separately at the beginning of 2023. For this article, we selected the most impactful subcategories from the top/bottom three.