The Guest Feedback Cycle: Influencing the Traveler at Every Stage of Their Journey
I’ll start this post with a bold statement: the traveler experience begins and ends with guest feedback. Now, let me back [it] up. It is fair to say that the traveler journey consists of three main stages: booking the hotel, the onsite experience, and delivering post-stay commentary. When guest feedback is leveraged by a hotel in the right way, it impacts the traveler at every stage of this experience and creates a cycle of booking one customer in order to deliver another.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the main stages of the traveler journey to see how guest feedback has influence.
Stage 1: Booking
A traveler’s first impression of a hotel begins before they even arrive. Research shows that 95% of travelers read reviews before making a booking decision. Therefore, hotels who showcase reviews and ratings put themselves in a better position to book business.
If you look at the rise in popularity of online booking engines like KAYAK, Hotels.com, and Tripadvisor, it is apparent that guest reviews have made a significant impact on today’s traveler. Travelers use these sites to get access to a vast collection of reviews from their peers. The traveler’s search, shop, and buy experience is seamless as they are provided with all the information they need to make an informed decision.
Hotel ratings and structured review data are key points of information to include on hotel’s online profiles and websites. They work to encourage travelers to take a closer look at the hotel and make a booking.
Stage 2: Onsite Experience
The onsite experience plays a vital role in developing a traveler’s own feedback. Savvy travelers expect to have frictionless ways to communicate with a hotel - in person, via phone, via chat - all of which provide the hotel with the opportunity to provide service levels that can encourage positive guest reviews.
For example, TrustYou’s newest guest messaging service, Checkmate, allows hotels to communicate with guests as easily as possible. Through text, email, and Facebook messaging, hotels can drive engagement and be informed about their guests’ onsite experiences.
This real-time communication can prevent negative reviews before they even happen by allowing hotels to address an issue or resolve a complaint quickly. Hotels can be even more active players in impacting their online reputation using this communication method.
Stage 3: Post-Stay Feedback
Guest loyalty begins by providing a superior product. When a guest has a positive experience at a hotel, it becomes their chance to submit feedback. As discussed before, guests share feedback through various channels - guest surveys, online travel sites, and social media. However, 50% of feedback is collected by the hotel’s own guest survey. This should be great news for hotels as research shows solicited guest reviews provide, on average, a 8% higher overall rating, which can significantly impact on the hotel’s overall score.
Powerful analysis of this data transforms guest reviews into actionable insights for the hotel. Hotels can monitor how they perform in over 100+ areas of service, and even see how their hotel stacks up against the competition. In an instant, the hotel can see on what levels of service they need to improve and invest in the right areas of operation.
The combination of collecting and analyzing guest feedback offers a powerful opportunity for a hotel to influence future booking decisions. 76% of travelers are willing to spend more money on a hotel with a higher rating. Therefore, receiving this feedback and marketing it to the world is a key strategy hotels should utilize to increase future bookings and drive ADR.
The influence of guest feedback on the traveler experience makes a complete cycle by first influencing a booking and then creating the post-stay feedback that will impact future bookings. When this information is paired with a powerful guest feedback platform, hotels can experience real, tangible results.
In the hotel industry, guest feedback plays a vital role across many levels, whether at property or above. It’s used to improve product and then market that product.
Guest feedback is the foundation for every hotel’s technology stack and should be leveraged throughout the search, shop, buy experience.