We live in the age of the customer, and the sooner we embrace this fact the higher our chances of succeeding. In this age, customer feedback is one of the most important (if not THE most!) factors that can fuel your business. While this is true to all industries, it is more relevant to the hospitality industry. And no, we don’t expect you to take our word for it. Several studies conducted across the world vouch for the fact that hotel guest reviews are paramount to your business.
Here’s why you should improve your hotel review
Consider this stat, for example from a study conducted by Cornell University in the year 2012.
“A one-point increase in a hotel’s average user rating on a 5-point scale (eg, 3.8 to 4.8) makes potential customers 13.5% more likely to book that hotel.” (Source)
If this stat took you by surprise, the same study also suggests that if a hotel increases its review scores by 1 point on a 5-point scale, the hotel can increase its price by 11.2 and still maintain the same occupancy!
I take it that this has established the backdrop for the rest of the read. Now, this brings us to the question “How to encourage guest reviews?”. While there are many ways to prompt guests to give you feedback, the bottom line is that unless you put in a 100% into building an impeccable guest experience, you really cannot expect miracles to happen!
So, before you even start implementing these 5 ways to encourage hotel guest reviews, you need to make sure that they are happy with your services and offerings. Give them more than what they expect, and you are sure to please them.
How to get more reviews for your hotel
While creativity is the key to inspiring hotel reviews, here are some not-so-obvious but sure shot ways to encourage guests to give you feedback on their experience with your hotel.
1. Make the most of Review Widgets
Most review sites these days allow you to add a widget to your hotel website. Why does this help? Because the only other place the prospective guests are likely to visit, apart from review sites, is your website. Adding a review widget, like TripAdvisor’s, to your website opens a two-way connectivity between review sites and your website. Every time a guest leaves a review on your website, it reflects on TripAdvisor and vice versa.
This addition helps you club reviews left on your website and those on the review sites. The more online reviews you have, the more credibility you build and the more your chances of online bookings. Here’s a stat that will prove this statement:
53% of TripAdvisor users say they will not book a hotel if it has zero reviews. (Source)
2. Be present on the platform most-suited for your guest
Diversify the touchpoints on which you reach out to your guests for feedback. But be smart in doing so, because you don’t want to inundate them with feedback requests on all channels. Survey fatigue is a real thing and it can cost you dearly too! The clever way to approach this would be to get to know your guest better to know which platform they are most active on, or most comfortable with and then send them a feedback request. You can improve hotel reviews by sending guests feedback forms via emails, SMSs, or calling them shortly after their stay with you. You could also have guest books at your front desk and nudge guests to put in a good word or two. Having comment cards inside the hotel rooms can also help.
This is interesting: 71% of consumers will leave a review for a business, if asked. (Source)
Of course, these are ways to prompt them to leave a review, but in cases where customers have voluntarily left you a review, be sure to respond to them and thank them. Nobody wants to leave a review if they feel like it won’t be looked into!
3. Promote a culture of guest-centricity within your team
Sincere and genuine service is key to building a guest experience that will flatter your guests. Bring in people onboard and build a team of staff that are in tune with this philosophy. The hospitality industry is synonymous with service and this should really be the differentiator. Promote a guest-centric culture within your hotel, no matter how big or small. Be it housekeeping staff, restaurant staff, front desk staff or even you, for that matter- following a consistent culture across all departments will impress guests because it is so rare!
It’s simple, really. When you make your guests feel like you value them and their journey with you, there is no way they will not reciprocate the same emotion. Be it word-of-mouth marketing, or a nice online review about how lovely their experience was at your property, your guests will share their experience with others.
Look at this: 70% of guests would be prompted to leave a positive review if hotel staff were friendly and helpful. (Source)
4. Deliver on what you promise, but exceed guest expectations
The easiest way to get your hotel review management in a soup is to bite off more than you can chew. Simply put, always under promise and over deliver, not the other way around. Make sure the messaging on your website, the images you use to publicize your property online, your Hotel’s profile on OTAs, and your general brand messaging is modest. Don’t give in to exaggeration or try overselling your property. The effect you should ideally have on your guests is for them to be pleasantly surprised by your property and not be disappointed horribly!
It may seem like a non-issue but think about it from the guests’ perspective! Nobody likes to be cheated or played with. They like to get exactly what they pay for and if they’ve been promised ‘x’, it is but natural for anyone to expect no less than ‘x’. This is why we say this is the easiest way to ruin your online reviews. An irate guest can cost you dearly.
Don’t believe us? Check it out:
89% of people say that reviews influence their purchasing decision. Adding to that, 70% of consumers trust the opinion of unknown users. (Source)
5. Do something special that will blow their minds
A mind-blowing guest experience is half the job done, if you are constantly wondering “how to get guest reviews for your hotel”. There is no other way around it, fortunately. And the better you get to know your guests the more the opportunities for you in store to explore. Pamper your return guests with unexpected gestures give them an add-on when they least expect it, send in a snail mail for their birthday and tell them you’d love to host them again by throwing in a voucher they can redeem the next time they stay with you, do something special occasionally, so they are constantly assured that you value them.
Guest reviews will come flooding in when you focus more on making the customer feel like the proverbial king!
We can prove to you that this is important. consider this:
“70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they are treated” (Source)
While there are other ways and hacks to increase your guest reviews, but these that we’ve discussed here are the ones that can truly bring about a transformation in the way your guests perceive you. Why treat the symptoms when you can get to the root of it and cure the illness, don’t you agree?
At Hotelogix, we thoroughly understand how much hoteliers stand to gain by working on their hotel review management.
Before we call it a day, I’d like to leave you with this stat, which I think, will make your day!
Our customers have witnessed a 300% increase in guest reviews since implementing Hotelogix.
This article was originally published in HospitalityNet