A recent study conducted by Chris Anderson, an associate professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, found that hotels using Revinate Surveys™ experienced outstanding performance gains. The study consisted of data from 80 hotels across five global hotel brands, with properties in the U.S., Europe, and Asia Pacific. The hotel brands were Danubius Hotels, GCH Hotel Group, IDM Hospitality, Landmark Hotels Group (Makena Beach Resort), and TFE Hotels.
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Revinate Surveys enable hotels to simultaneously collect private operational benchmark data and publish public guest feedback. Revinate is also a TripAdvisor Platinum Partner, recognized by TripAdvisor for best-in-class performance with respect to data integration, mobile-friendliness, and review conversion. The guest satisfaction surveys solution allows hotels to send a short-format survey with an optional TripAdvisor review portion to guests who have recently checked out. The optional review has the benefit of capturing guest feedback about things that the hotel didn’t think to ask in the standard survey. Revinate’s sentiment analysis tools can then mine the reviews to overcome some of the standard bias in surveys and offer a more complete picture of ways to boost guest satisfaction.
Hotels can opt to submit any reviews collected to TripAdvisor for moderation and publication. Additionally, because of Revinate’s Platinum partnership with TripAdvisor, Revinate Surveys clients benefit in several ways, including having an up-to-the-minute stream of the freshest, most accurate TripAdvisor review content delivered to a single dashboard where hotels can instantly see all of their feedback data in one place.
For each of the 80 hotels in the study, TripAdvisor review data was collected through Revinate, and hotel performance data was supplied by STR and Fairmas. In order to evaluate the impact of hotels encouraging customers to write TripAdvisor reviews via Revinate Surveys, the study compared the average performance of each hotel during two periods of time: the 12-month period before each hotel launched the solution and the 12 months following the launch.
The study found that hotels using Revinate Surveys realized impressive gains on TripAdvisor:
- 58 percent of properties increased their popularity ranking on TripAdvisor, while another 14 percent maintained their ranking
- The average increase in popularity ranking was 10 percent across all properties
- Additionally, 54 percent of the properties that did not increase their ranking still increased their rating scores relative to their competitive set
- Overall, properties experienced a 3X average increase in review volume
- Hotels that were behind their competitors in the number of reviews before launch had more than double the average number of reviews their competitors had after launch
- Average rating scores increased by 2 percent
- Properties saw a 3 percent average increase in positive reviews
There were also interesting results with regard to Occupancy, Average Daily Rate (ADR), and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR)
- Occupancy increased by 1 percent
- Hotels did not immediately see performance impacts, but they have opportunity to evaluate an increase in ADR in response to the increase in occupancy; as a result, they have further potential to see impact on RevPAR
Additionally, Revinate analyzed the average TripAdvisor popularity ranking improvement among all Revinate Surveys customers actively publishing to TripAdvisor. This analysis, across over more than 1,000 hotels, found that hotels whose rankings did improve saw an average 32 percent increase over the 12 months after launching Revinate Surveys. Over the 24 months after launch, these hotels experienced a 36 percent increase in rank on average.
What does this mean?
Hotels using Revinate Surveys to facilitate review collection dramatically increase the number of reviews they receive on TripAdvisor. Those reviews also have higher average ratings, including more positive reviews, than those posted without integration with Revinate Surveys.
Additionally, hotels in the study experienced a material occupancy increase as a result of their TripAdvisor improvements. As a result, they should now evaluate whether they have the opportunity to increase ADR, thereby driving RevPAR.
Zoltán Bogár, group director of revenue and distribution for Danubius Hotels, was at first skeptical of the claims that Revinate Surveys would increase review volume by so much. “I expected at most a 200 percent increase in review volume. But, I was happily surprised when we easily increased review volume by 400 percent shortly after we went live with a pilot hotel,” he says. “As a result of using Revinate Surveys, our pilot hotel saw astounding improvements in TripAdvisor popularity ranking, and we decided to expand the service to the rest of our properties.”
Bogár also says, regarding the study, “It’s nice to see that other hotels in other markets are seeing a lift in occupancy as well. It will be interesting to evaluate ADR and RevPAR moving forward, to see whether there are gains to be made there.”
Tammy Marshall, COO of TFE Hotels, noted the revenue improvements that its properties saw in TripAdvisor rankings since using Revinate Surveys to facilitate guest feedback. “In combination with striving to deliver an exceptional guest experience, Revinate Surveys has been game changing for TFE Hotels,” she says. “We’re so pleased with how much we’ve improved on TripAdvisor, not to mention the incremental revenue we’ve gained as a result of increased visibility on the world’s largest travel site.”
Benefits beyond ADR
In addition to volume and occupancy benefits, a TripAdvisor white paper found other important engagement and revenue-driving benefits among hotels encouraging guest feedback. Specifically, hotels using a review collection system like Revinate saw 40 percent more pageviews on their TripAdvisor page, a 25 percent increase in clicks to their websites from Business Listings links, and a 32 percent increase in CPC clicks from TripAdvisor metasearch, all driving significant marketing efficiency gains.
There are additional revenue opportunities for hotels using Revinate Surveys, as occupancy benefits can impact total revenue and profitability beyond RevPAR. Hotels should evaluate their ability to drive ancillary revenue on amenities and other offerings specific to each property.
They should also focus on building their database of guests as new customers come through the door. This way, hotels can build relationships with their guests to drive loyalty and repeat bookings.
A hotel with a robust guest database can send targeted promotions to guests who have previously stayed with the hotel, based on those guests’ past interactions and preferences. For example, a hotel could target past guests who have been identified as Promoters according to NPS score in a Revinate Survey with a special offer, to show appreciation to its most valuable customers. Essentially, the hotel could leverage its survey data to offer relevant content to happy guests, to encourage direct, repeat bookings and build deeper relationships.
Ultimately, the Cornell study reinforces that it’s important for hotels to ask for feedback from their guests, helping to activate their promoters. While the first-order requirement for success on TripAdvisor will always be to provide an outstanding guest experience, hotels that also encourage guests to submit TripAdvisor reviews via Revinate Surveys can achieve greater success in popularity ranking, leading to improved occupancy and potential for increased revenue performance.