Whether they love it or loathe it, your guests are talking about you, and it’s not behind your back.
Millions of people every year take to review and social media sites to compliment or complain about their travel experiences.
This is nothing new. Entire businesses are now built around these comments, many hotels have appointed social media managers to handle all such comments; online feedback is here to stay.
What are the most talked about tops and flops? A TrustYou study of more than one million comments worldwide gives the answers.
Top rants by hotel guests in 2012 (followed by the number of mentions)
1. Unprofessional/incompetent service (11785)
2. Small room (8669)
3. Expensive/overpriced (8390)
4. Tasteless, bad breakfast (8243)
5. Bad food (5956)
6. Dirty room (5439)
7. Unfriendly service (5123)
8. Bad bathroom (4600)
9. Bad service (4266)
10. Loud, noisy room (4123)
Top raves by hotel guests in 2012 (followed by the number of mentions)
1. Friendly, professional, efficient service (103440)
2. Great, well-situated location (98668)
3. Good room (40191)
4. Great food (42868)
5. Great breakfast (41356)
6. Clean room/hotel (27513)
7. Large room (23867)
8. Good, affordable price (23292)
9. Good bed (11369)
10. Nice view (9147)
What do these lists mean for hotels?
There are two pieces of good news that really stick out. Let’s start there.
Guests are quick to pay a compliment: The number of positive comments far outnumbers the negative.
Great service, for example, has nearly nine times the number of comments as unprofessional or incompetent service.
This is a general trend across hotel reviews—about 81% are positive.
Thus, for hoteliers, encouraging reviews is a must. More reviews mean more positive hotel scores, and therefore more appeal with travelers and more bookings.
Many compliments and complaints are one in the same: Service, food, breakfast, cleanliness (or lack thereof), room size and pricing appear on both lists, suggesting that improving these aspects of a hotel experience will drastically improve a guest’s opinion of his or her stay.
Using rants and raves to improve a guest’s stay and ultimately gain more business.
Win guests over with service
It is no surprise that service shows up on both lists. The biggest turnoff for guests is unsatisfactory service, appearing on the top rant list three times, in a variety of forms: unprofessional/incompetent service (number one spot), unfriendly service (seventh place), and bad service (ninth place).
Please guests by improving your service (common sense, right?). Invest in hiring the right people and training staff. Guests expect staff to be knowledgeable about the hotel and its offerings, about its clientele and their wants/needs and about the area surrounding the hotel. Friendliness and professionalism also goes without saying.
A good meal makes a difference
Breakfast specifically, and food, in general, is memorable and talked about. Appearing on both the rants and the raves list twice (even ahead of a good/comfortable bed), travelers love a good meal.
Guests want new culinary experiences, variety and fresh food when they travel. Impress guests on the culinary front and they are sure to talk.
Deliver on the room expectations you set
The room itself is mentioned three times in the rants list: small room (second place), dirty room (sixth), and loud, noisy room (number ten).
We won’t go in to too much detail on the latter two complaints – let it suffice to say that a hotel room (and the hotel in general) must be clean and should be quiet enough that a guest can get a good night of sleep.
Let’s address the room size. Guests don’t like to feel cramped, but hotels need to maximize their space.
What can be done? Aside from rebuilding all the rooms (not feasible, unless you are going through massive renovations), try reevaluating the room layout.
Is there a different way to arrange the furniture? Is there too much furniture? Is there a different color/paint scheme that would make the room appear bigger? Add mirrors? Channel your inner feng shui expert (or hire one) to take a look.
Internet – a non-issue?
While there is lots of talk surrounding hotel Internet (free vs. charging for it), that did not make the top 10 rant or rave. Is Internet no longer a big deal for guests?
Not exactly. Internet is still important, but paying for it might not be the “deal breaker” that it has often been singled out as.