How to Convert Casual Hotel Visitors to Social Advocates
By Joe Stanton Co-Founder and CEO, Elevate Research | March 29, 2015
Do you think that social media marketing and digital review sites are things that your hotel can afford to ignore?
Consider a recent report titled "The Impact of Social Media on Lodging Performance. " The research, conducted by Chris Anderson of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration shows that:
- The number of guests consulting hotel room reviews at TripAdvisor before booking has steadily increased over time, as has the number of reviews they read before making their selections.
- If a hotel increases its review scores by one point on a five-point scale (for example, moving from an average 3.5 score to a 4.5), it can increase prices by 11.2% without losing occupancy or market share.
- A 1% improvement in a hotel's online reputation score leads to a 0.89% increase in average daily rate (ADR) price, an occupancy increase of 0.54% and an increase in RevPAR of 1.42%.
That's pretty powerful stuff, right? It's clear that every hotel stands to benefit from an improved presence on sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook, and Google+. But knowing how better digital reviews will help you is one thing – acquiring them is another thing entirely.
There is a certain segment of your customer base that's naturally predisposed to share their opinions in these online forums. These guests take pride in offering the digital public at large their insight on everything from the restaurants they frequent to the car washes they visit on occasion. While the tips below will help ensure their reviews are positive ones, what about the much larger part of your guest population? What about the casual visitors for whom leaving digital reviews isn't standard practice?
Research compiled by SmartGuests suggests that only 48% of guests write and publish hotel reviews. That means that more than half of all visitors represent the kinds of casual guests that can be converted into social advocates for your business – if you know how to appeal to their unique sensibilities and compel them to action.
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