Note: This article was published in Tnooz and can be found here.
Like millions of others, I traveled to see my family for the holidays. While on the road, I ended up staying in a hotel in St Louis for a few days. The hotel was beautiful; the lobby was nicely decorated for Christmas, the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful, the room was bright, clean and big.
However, upon my departure, I gave the hotel a mediocre review.
Why? I had to pay $22 per day for internet service. Having to pay for internet is a pet peeve of mine. And, as it turns out, it bugs lots of travelers around the world.
TrustYou, working in conjunction with Donna Quadri-Felitti PhD, from New York University‘s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, just released its first annual global reports, based on an analysis of over 14 million reviews written in 2013 to identify key trends in user reviews.
The reports span North America, Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). The consensus from the data: in most destinations, travelers were smiling about service, but irate over internet in 2013. The findings from these reports provide direction for hotels and destinations alike. Co-author, Quadri-Felitti, who as an associate professor at NYU specializing in hotel and tourism marketing, asserts that “the sentiment analysis within these reports shows in which areas destinations shine as well as highlights areas to improve in 2014.” Check out the full trio of reports here, or read on for more highlights.
Worldwide, TrustScores, volume of reviews are on the rise
As travelers turn increasingly to reviews to help with their hotel booking decisions, hotel management is under constant pressure to focus on and improve review scores of their hotel portfolios. In 2013, hoteliers rose to the pressure, with the majority of regions/countries and major markets posting an increase in scores. The US (+2.4%), Spain (+2.1%), the U.K. (+2.0%) and Australia and New Zealand (+1.3%) registered the biggest percentage gains. The major markets with the highest scores in these reports were: Bali (95.1) in APAC, Prague (93.8) in EMEA and New York (89.8) in North America.
The volume of reviews has grown by double-digit percentages in APAC, EMEA and North America, with most major review platforms seeing gains, showing the continued importance of reviews on the travel industry.
Five-star reviews drop in major markets across the globe
Despite an increase in TrustScores and volume of reviews in 2013, nearly all major markets in APAC, EMEA and North America have seen a decline in the percentage of five-star reviews. The decline seen in major markets may be a result of increased consumer trust in reviews; they may adjust their expectations as a result of hotel reviews, creating greater demands on hotel management to exceed expectations. That said, outside of major markets, there have been increases in the percentage of five-star reviews, particularly in APAC, which posted regional increases in five-star reviews. Northeast Asia registered the largest year-over year gains (+25.5%).
Service shines while satisfaction with hotel internet/wifi continued its downward spiral
Travelers’ appear to be more satisfied with the service they receive at hotels, with TrustYou Service Scores increasing in most regions compared to a year ago.
These gains may have been a key factor in growing TrustScores. Even with an increase in Service Scores, travelers became increasingly unsatisfied with hotel internet/wifi availability. Internet Scores dropped by up to double-digit percentages in all countries/regions in this report.
Internet service is something that nearly all destinations need to address as the global and constant connectivity of travelers is ever growing.
TrustYou aggregates millions of online reviews, social mentions and other user generated content and boils this data into usable, actionable insights that allow hotels, restaurants, destinations and intermediaries to improve their services and positively influence travelers’ decisions.