How to Extract the Right Insights From Your Hotel Reviews
By Jeff Catlin Co-Founder & CEO, Lexalytics, Inc | December 10, 2017
All the great societies of the world were made possible by a simple yet game-changing evolutionary leap: complex communication. From the first moment early humans grouped together, it was their ability to communicate and innovate that took us from the caves into gleaming towers of steel and glass that tickle the clouds. So, it's not just business that runs on communication, everything does.
The early days of the travel and leisure industry are more recent but nonetheless important. In days gone by the idea of traveling cross-country or across a continent was a life-and-death proposition. Through innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit, the travel and leisure industry has become the ambassadors of business across the globe. Yet, when your customers can be literally anyone in the world, how can anyone be expected to effectively understand what they are they are saying?
Social Media, a quantum leap in human connectivity and communication, has been fully accepted within the travel and leisure industry. Virtually all of the major hotel chains have active social media engagement programs designed to enhance the image or their brands and sniff out minor issues before they become major ones.
We've discussed how this works in previous articles so we won't rehash any of that here. Instead, let's take a more detailed look at how social engagement should differ for the various brands within a hotel chain. Specifically, we're going to examine how sentiment is not a universal measure, and that it's not only correct, but appropriate that sentiment for high end hotel chains will have a much larger variance (more really positive and really negative comments).
When looking at review content or tweets about your hotel chain it's normal to think that all tweets are created equal, but sadly that's not the case. It's pretty obvious and accepted that certain authors or publications carry a lot more weight with users than others. If a respected travel writer pens a strongly negative piece about a new hotel in South Beach it would almost certainly set off alarm bells at the property, but if my son wrote a blog post with the same sentiment on the same property, it might be read, but it wouldn't carry even remotely the same weight.
That some people have more clout than others has been a truism in marketing for generations, so let's remove the authors from the discussion and assume (incorrectly) that all tweets are created equal. In this utopian world we'd like to believe that the sentiment of a tweet or customer review can be scored on an equal scale regardless of the property being reviewed, but our research has shown that customer expectations play a huge role in people's sentiment about a property. Let's say our sentiment technology is capable of reading reviews and scoring it on a 1 to 10 scale, where 10 is great.