Responding to Reviews Can Boost Conversion Rates

By R.J. Friedlander Founder & CEO, ReviewPro | June 17, 2018

Today, a large number of both leisure and business travelers share their hotel experiences across the social web in the form of online reviews. In fact, hundreds of millions of reviews are written and can be analyzed in 45 languages, over more than 175 Online Travel Agencies and review sites, from certain tools. These guest reviews play an important part in defining individual and brand level reputation. Even more importantly, reviews play an influential role in helping travelers to select which hotel they will ultimately book and also impact their willingness to pay more or less for a given hotel room. In spite of this influence, few hoteliers are have a well-defined review response strategy in place to make sure reviews are responded to in a timely and consistent fashion. Responding to reviews is something that many hoteliers find time consuming and complicated and as a result they neglect this important area. 

Why Respond To Reviews?

Online reviews offer a unique opportunity to close the distance between you and potential guests and showcase your brand to online travel shoppers. Responding shows that you are listening to your guests and that you that you care about their experience and satisfaction. In the case of a negative review, you have the opportunity to take responsibility for operational/service issues that have impacted the guests stay and this can change perceptions and reassure potential guests that it will not happen again. When responding to a negative review, you can also highlight other positive aspects of your property. Finally, by showing this type of appreciation you build brand loyalty and advocacy both on and offline.

According to a TripAdvisor study, responding to reviews goes much further than good manners, it actually increases bookings, and in turn boosts revenue.

  • 4 out of 5 TripAdvisor users believe that hotels that respond care more about their guests.
  • 65% of guests are more likely to book a hotel that responds to reviews vs. one that does not respond.
  • 85% of users agree that a thoughtful response to a bad review will improve their impression of the hotel.
  • Properties that respond to at least 50% of reviews increase likelihood of a booking enquiry by 24%.

Create a Winning Response Strategy

Creating a review response strategy that resonates with your brand and is implemented consistently is imperative. To create the strategy that best fits your property, you will have to consider various questions: how many and what types of reviews will you respond to, who will respond (hotel staff, corporate, or both), how quickly and what to say.

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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.