Are reviews beneficial to the hotel industry?

TripAdvisor is one of the key influencers affecting customers’ choices on where to stay on their getaway.

As we all know it’s a good idea to investigate where you’ll be staying and see what previous customers think about the establishment. TripAdvisor offers guests the opportunity to look at surrounding restaurants, cafes, attractions, bars, etc. while also checking out the word on the street.

TripAdvisor recently conducted a survey, talking to customers about what influences their choices when booking.

This was the result.

  • 86% of their users said that TripAdvisor increases their confidence in purchasing decisions.
  • 81% frequently read reviews before booking a hotel.
  • 78% of users focus on the most recent reviews when they check TripAdvisor.

From this, we can see that customers clearly find comfort in hearing from previous residents, giving them an idea of what to expect upon arrival.

The top reason given by 87% of users is that they want to share good experiences with fellow travelers; this is further supported by the fact that the average worldwide rating on TripAdvisor in 2018 was 4.22 out of 5.

There is no such thing as bad PR. Granted, negative reviews can seriously harm a hotel’s standing and reputation. On the other hand, they may boost a hotel’s popularity, as was the case with the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. The hotel has a horrifying past filled with gore and ghostly tales.  Some people make very questionable travel plans! A season of “American Horror Story” was centered there because of the truly grotesque events that have occurred there over the years. The common theme I saw when reading through several Yelp reviews was that people were visiting was mainly due to their macabre fascination for things that had happened there. One Yelper commented, “Honestly, we stayed in the hotel not in spite of current events, but because of it. It has a long history of violent crime, suicide, and now a strange water tank death, so we thought it maybe a little bit of an adventure.” From this, we can see that even if you have severely bad publicity there will always be some sort of allure and curiosity!

This is an extreme example and I think most hoteliers would not want to be in the macabre league! However, just because you have a good reputation and positive reviews doesn’t guarantee that you’ll stand out from competition. Hotels need to differentiate themselves and offer a premium selection of amenities and services to do this.

It appears you can best capitalize on your USPs by creating a compelling narrative. Why do I say that? According to customer psychology, increasing a person’s likelihood to buy from you by creating an emotional connection of some sort will pay dividends.

Richa Goswami, Head of Digital at Johnson & Johnson APAC said “People don’t buy the products you create, they buy the stories you tell. And the stories that you tell come alive in the way you do the creative”. This demonstrates how you can make the buyer’s journey more engaging and memorable by creating a story. One of the best examples I could give of this is Levi Roots. When he appeared on Dragons’ Den, his pitch started off great with the jingle we came to know and love but went disastrous after many calculations went horribly wrong. Eventually, he secured a deal because Peter Jones took a chance on the company because he liked Levi and his story. The product outperformed the projections, selling 40,000–50,000 bottles per week. The brand is now valued at £32.7 million. He’s now employing someone to count the money too!

In conclusion what we can see is that TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google and reviews are vital to the hotel trade as this affects customers’ choices on where they stay and boosts the overall rating of the hotel. However, they are not the be-all-end-all of people’s choices as good comes from the bad which in the hotel industry sparks curiosity for possible guests. This does not necessarily mean standards should slip and hotels should give the best service possible to their guests by providing them with first class comfort and peace of mind throughout their stay.

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