Did you know that boosting your review volume can translate to significant business results?
When your guest writes a review, there is immense value.
- 50% of travelers have written an online review in the past 12 months (Phocuswright 2016 Traveler Technology Survey)
- 41% of US travelers are unlikely to book a hotel that has no reviews (Phocuswright Leisure Travel Study, Oct 2015)
The more reviews you have, the more content you can offer to your potential guests to help influence their booking your hotel.
One way hotels are boosting their review volume is with post-stay surveys. Some third-party survey providers like Revinate have partnerships with important review channels like TripAdvisor and Google that are designed to improve review volume on these sites. How it works: At the end of a traditional post-stay survey, a guest is given the option to submit a review to TripAdvisor or Google, depending on which channel the hotel prefers.
So what can happen when you give your review volume a bump? It depends on the channel, and your objectives for your properties, so let’s break it down:
Google is THE place that travelers start their research. 58% of leisure travelers and 68% of business travelers always start their travel booking and shopping with search. (Google/Ipsos Media CT, 2015 Traveler’s Road to Decision)
Google research indicates that the hotel booking path is not purely linear; future guests could be dreaming about their next trip while still booking their most immediate trip. In Google's study, “How Micro-Moments are Reshaping the Travel Customer Journey,” Google suggests that it’s up to you as a hotel marketer to be present, relevant, and useful where your customers are looking for you. As a hotelier, you need to look at what traveler needs you are solving for, what his or her current situation is when seeking information, and how your brand can help.
Since future guests are definitely starting their search on Google, how do reviews help you here? Most travelers start their hotel search by typing “hotels in…” What they get is a mix of paid and organic results.
The search pictured here (inset) shows a hotel search unit displaying organic search results. Google uses an algorithm to determine the most relevant results for any given search, but three of the major factors are relevance, distance, and prominence. Prominence is a measure of how well known a business is. Review count and score are factors that contribute to local search ranking. More reviews and higher review scores will probably improve a local ranking, increasing your chances that someone visits your website to book.
One of Revinate’s customers is a real-life example of this in action. Cove Haven decided to use Revinate to increase their hotels’ volume of reviews because they had a much lower volume of reviews on Google than they had on other channels. For all three of their hotels, Cove Haven has seen a large improvement in review volume, with almost 80% of their reviews now coming from Revinate.
There is no doubt TripAdvisor is an influential channel. 77% of hotel guests reference TripAdvisor before selecting a hotel. 80% read between 6-12 reviews before booking. (Phocuswright TripAdvisor study 2014) Based on Revinate’s database of over 200 million reviews, TripAdvisor accounts for a quarter of all reviews.
When it comes to the TripAdvisor Popularity Ranking, there are three main principles to remember: quality, quantity, and recency of reviews. Essentially, more reviews are better than fewer reviews, positive reviews are better than negative reviews, and recent reviews are better than older or staler content. TripAdvisor looks at the consistency of all of these factors over time for the most accurate representation. So, when it comes to soliciting reviews via post-stay surveys, it can have an effect on all three of these factors.
Revinate also did a study with Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration that looked at the impact of collecting TripAdvisor reviews via Revinate Surveys. They found that hotels had an average 300% increase in TripAdvisor review volume and a 10% improvement in TripAdvisor Popularity Index ranking. Aside from the official study, we have seen some hotels have some pretty dramatic increases. (For instance, The Dictionary Hostel in London moved up 200 places after starting with Revinate Surveys.) Lastly, on average, the Occupancy index for the hotels involved also increased by 1%.
Review Volume is the Simple Solution
Hotels need to have a strong presence on the sites where guests are making bookings decisions, and they need to work actively to improve their visibility on these sites. For example, if you already rank highly on TripAdvisor, consider publishing your post-stay surveys to Google. You're missing out on potential revenue by not boosting the volume of reviews on Google or TripAdvisor. Please reach out to further discuss Revinate Surveys and your channel strategy.
About the AuthorMore Content by Daisy Tran