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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