The Travelers Have Spoken: Capturing and Leaning into Guest Review Sentiment

By Melissa Maher Senior Vice President - Global Partner Group, Expedia, Inc | December 16, 2018

There's no denying the power of the hotel review:

"Will NEVER ever stay at this place again. The rooms are dirty, never cleaned or vacuumed under bed, stains on linens, just icky."

"The staff was excellent, and the rooms were very clean. The only complaint I had was the elevator was slow."

"We were able to check in early which was extremely helpful. They stored our luggage before the rooms were available, so we didn't have to drag them around town. Excellent, clean, comfortable rooms."

"We checked into a dirty room. We stayed 3 days and did not get any housekeeping services even though we specifically asked for service after the second day."

Beyond recommendations from family and friends, online reviews, such as those above, help travelers research, and ultimately select, a place to stay. Within seconds, a review can either help convince a traveler to choose your property or lead them elsewhere, such as your competitor across the street. Research from Statistic Brain shows that most travelers (81 percent) find user reviews important and nearly half (49 percent) of travelers won't book a hotel without a review.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.