Online Hotel Reviews & the Emotional Connection

I recently saw a quote float by on Facebook (which, of course, I can’t find anymore so forgive the paraphrase) about how we spend our entire youths dedicated to getting the righteous A, but as adults there aren’t any A’s. They never matter again. It got me thinking about how true this is, unless you’re a hotel.

Online hotel reviews are the grown up A’s, or F’s, such as the case may be. And the perfect hotel stay I was talking about in my last post is that all-too-rare A++, exceeds expectations, went-above-and-beyond. For most hotels, this won’t happen very often, but striving for it will undoubtedly reap some rewards (i.e., “I noticed the hotel is trying really hard, so I’m going to give it and extra half star even though there were some rough edges.” - I see this pretty regularly).

I recently had one of these stays, where my expectations were blown away. I was completely delighted, and it wasn’t inexpensive so my standards were pretty high. I’ve been pondering what about this stay really worked. The room was much bigger than I expected based on the photos. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that this property isn’t really portraying the true size of their rooms, but I got a lot more than I anticipated, nonetheless. The breakfast, which was included in the cost of the room, was an inventive, delicious treat each and everyone morning. I looked forward to hearing what would be served, and there were only two choices—it was that good. The in-room coffee was delicious. This never hurts anything. The pool was salt water. This is just a personal preference of mine. The staff was pleasant but not intrusive. Talking just as much as a guest cared to. The grounds were tended and beautiful.

Everything was well done, but I wouldn’t even say impeccable. It was just clear that someone cared. I felt easy and happy. I suspect this last one is really the bottom line. I’m reluctant to say this out loud because it’s so counterintuitive for a reputation management professional, but here goes: for the perfect stay, everything tiny thing doesn’t have to be exactly one-hundred percent impeccable if your guest feels good. I would guess that this includes feeling comfortable, at ease, full, and grounded.

We get trapped into thinking so much about firm and fluffy mattresses, the perfect bath amenities, and linen thread counts that sometimes we forget that a great hotel stay isn’t all about things… it’s about feelings. Don’t get me wrong, all the things matter. They help complete the picture, but step outside of those details for a minute and walk through how a guest feels when they’re on your property. Then consider how the details can help create more of the good feelings. A guest who leaves feeling good is you’re A++. It will show in your reviews.


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