How to Extract the Right Insights From Your Hotel Reviews

By Jeff Catlin Co-Founder and 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.

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Coming up in July 2018...

Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.