TripAdvisor Data: Not Just for Guests Anymore

By Gary Isenberg President, LWHA Asset & Property Management Services | April 16, 2017

By now, nearly every type of traveler prepping for a journey scans TripAdvisor for reviews of hotels in their destination city prior to securing a reservation. By perusing prior guest comments, consumers receive unfiltered and unbiased perceptions of specific properties. Travelers want to know before they book for instance if: Are the rooms clean? Is the service top-notch? Most importantly, does a hotel deliver value for the price?

If a property delivers a positive guest experience, it enhances the persuasiveness to attract future guests. If it falters deficits are proclaimed loudly on TripAdvisor and/or other social media channels. In the age of TripAdvisor, hoteliers, who in effect manage daily leasing of guestrooms with dynamic and forever changing pricing, confront risk to their bookings pace.

For all the angst TripAdvisor sometimes causes hotel managers trying to attract reservations, the data found in those guest comments provide a treasure trove of information increasingly utilized not only by potential guests, but by lenders, investors, buyers, marketing executives and even vendors as well.

Guests Data Are no Longer Private

Prior to TripAdvisor and the advent of social media, guest comments or surveys were typically kept private and only seen by hotel and brand managers. Even today, cards are still placed in hotel rooms with a list of multiple-choice questions for guests to check off. These questionnaires ask for a ranking in several areas, such as staff conduct, food services or overall cleanliness. Or after a hotel stay, the franchise company or a private consumer research company such as J.D. Power sends guests a survey in the mail.

Let’s be honest about those printed guest surveys. The questions are crafted by hotel managers aiming for a particular response. Rarely do guests write down detailed comments in the three to four lines allotted on such questionnaires. It is great if the scores are high, but is that truly what the guest perceived? Guests could also make their remarks directly to the front desk. But for the most part, whatever those surveys yielded — good or bad — went no further than the hotel walls.

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Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.