Management Replies, Part II: Why Hotels Must Respond to Guest Reviews
Last week, we looked at how many hotels respond to guest reviews online and gave some simple solutions to help the ones that aren’t responding get started. We explained that responding to guests was extremely important; it makes guests feel heard and it improves travelers’ perceptions of a hotel. We demonstrated that management replies impact purchasing decisions and increase customer loyalty. The bottom line is: It is crucial to respond.
This week, we are backing up our stance with proof. Did you know that hotels that respond to online guest reviews –regardless of if the reviews are positive or negative – average 6% higher review scores than hotels that don't?1
Better reviews equate to revenue: 6% higher review scores is significant and directly influences a hotel’s revenues. Higher-rated hotels enjoy more visibility on review sites and are more appealing to travelers, which ultimately leads to more bookings.
Why the higher scores among responsive hotels?
Happier guests, even before setting foot in the hotel
As travelers perform their pre-travel research, they enjoy seeing hotels whose management responds to its guests. A recent study from Forrester and TripAdvisor reveals that 71% of travelers think that management responses are important.2 In fact, seeing management responses is so important that it also has the ability to sway travelers’ booking decisions: 68% say they would choose a hotel with management responses over a comparable hotel without them.2
Management responses give travelers confidence that they are booking at a hotel that will take care of their needs. Even seeing responses to negative reviews written about a hotel makes 79% of travelers feel reassured.2
Guests who go in to the hotel feeling confident in their booking decision and assured that the hotel will take care of their needs are already starting at a higher satisfaction level. Think of management responses as the precursor to the crucial first 15 minutes of a guests’ stay. The hotel has already begun to win the guest over, long before their arrival.
Responses = More reviews
Hotels that respond to guests indirectly encourage other guests to write reviews following their stays. It shows that the hotel is truly listening to its guests’ feedback, which is the reason that travelers write reviews to begin with. As a result, hotels that respond to guests average 147% more reviews.1
More reviews help hotels in many ways; rankings and visibility improve on review sites and SEO is improved, driving more customers to a hotel’s own website. Scores also improve. This is because with each additional review, one negative score carries less and less weight. With an average of 147% more reviews, responsive hotels are bound to notice higher scores.
Where to go from here
For a boost in consumer confidence, higher scores, and more reviews, hotels must respond to their guests. Next up: tips on writing excellent responses.
1: TrustYou 2012 Custom Management Response Study
2: 2010 Q4 Forrester/TripAdvisor Custom Online Survey