A Clean Sweep: Cleanliness is Negatively Impacting Hotel Scores Across the Board

In my last post, we shared data from TrustYou’s database that indicated 1 in 4 guest reviews over the past 18 months mention “cleanliness” - a huge lift compared to other keywords related to public healthy & safety! Where we left off, we wanted to understand if the underlying guest sentiments were positive or negative. The spoiler alert is already in the title of the blog, so let’s go ahead and jump right into how we made these discoveries. 

First, we further analyzed the semantic data of over 50,000 hotels using TrustYou across the past couple of years. In this case, we focused on two relevant KPIs: the Sentiment Score and the Relative Mention Increase of these semantic categories.

Sentiment Scores reveal the percentage of positive or negative mentions against all mentions for a specific semantic category. It is a good indicator of the overall feeling of guests towards a specific topic and allows you to easily spot trends on these sentiments.

Relative Mention Increase shows the increase of mentions about a specific category in relation to all mentions across over 180 categories. We use this relative number to ensure that increases in review numbers (and thus mentions), which have happened in periods where hotels have reopened, are taken into account when calculating trends.

According to these KPIs, we see that this more recent topic of public health is perceived in general as positive by guests. Not only have the relative mentions increased by 1.5%, meaning that guests are mentioning more public health topics on their reviews, but also has the positive feeling towards this topic increased as seen by the increase in the Sentiment Score. It seems, as we’ve heard from our clients as well, that guests are indeed very thankful for the diligent measures hotels have implemented to ensure their safety.

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On the other hand, we see that the feelings towards cleanliness shows an overall negative trend. The relative mentions on cleanliness topics have increased drastically, as we also saw reflected on the keyword data from the previous slides. They went up by almost 9% in 2020 compared to 2019 and by over 6% in 2021 compared to 2020. However, the Sentiment Scores for semantic categories around cleanliness have actually decreased both in 2020 and in 2021. This means that guests are mentioning more cleanliness topics on their reviews and usually under a less favorable light than in previous years. This more critical feedback appears to point towards an increased sensitivity of guests towards cleanliness topics, probably caused by the increased awareness of hygiene concepts since the pandemic started.

To understand this trend further, let’s have a look into how cleanliness is impacting the Performance Scores of hotels, which reflect an average of a hotel’s online reputation. For this, the KPI of the Impact Scores, which is also available on your TrustYou Dashboards, was used. In a nutshell, this KPI shows the top 3 semantic categories (out of over 180 semantic categories) having a positive or negative impact on your performance score. A negative impact means that complaints on a specific sentiment category are actually reducing your performance score and thus, your online reputation.

This is where it gets interesting...

It appears that in the year 2020 alone, over 50% of hotels have experienced a negative impact on their yearly performance score due to room cleanliness complaints. If we consider that impact scores only gather your top 3 most impactful semantic categories (both positive and negative) and that there are over 180 semantic categories, this is an incredibly high number. At least half of the hotels using TrustYou could significantly improve their Performance Score if they enhanced their guest experience in terms of room cleanliness. Definitely an aspect to look into.

Therefore, it became clear to us that feedback around cleanliness, and especially around room cleanliness, has played a relevant role in online reputation in the past year and a half, and is likely to continue to do so.

We have seen that hotels have perceived a slight improvement in sentiments thanks to their quick response in implementing measures to ensure the guests’ health and safety. On the other hand, we have seen that cleanliness is perceived as a more sensitive topic for hotel guests and is thus negatively impacting Performance scores. So how have global Performance scores been affected during the pandemic? Are hotels using TrustYou performing better or worse than their competitors in these last couple of years?

Check out our next post for the answers! Or, catch a listen to The Power of TrustYou where all the answers are revealed.

Michael Steinberg

As a Team Lead for our Enterprise Services Team, Michael is responsible for setting objectives for team members and coaching our project management team to deliver service with excellence and provide high-value solutions to key clients. Previously, Michael worked in technical support, strategy development, and customer relations with diverse companies in his native country, Costa Rica.

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