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BizReport : Loyalty Marketing : September 03, 2012

Travel: Responding to customer reviews increases loyalty and bookings

Hotels are missing out on a valuable opportunity to create loyalty and interest when they fail to respond to reviews customers leave online, according to new research from online reputation experts TrustYou.

by Helen Leggatt

trust.pngNo sooner than they have unpacked their cases and picked up the pets, today's holidaymakers head for review sites to enlighten other travelers about the good, and the bad, of their trip.

However, hotel owners aren't playing ball. Rarely does a hotel owner bother to respond to feedback left on the likes of TripAdvisor and other travel review sites

According to Margaret Ady of TrustYou, just 32% of hotels respond to their guests' reviews, the remainder stays silent.

"This small percentage of responders is doing something right," writes Ady on the company's blog. "Responding to guests is one of the simplest ways to increase customer satisfaction and drive loyalty once a guest has left the hotel."

Furthermore, over two-thirds of travelers (68%) who research accommodation feel that their perception of accommodation is enhanced when management have responded and, as such, they would choose a hotel that had responded to reviews over one that had not. Even a hotel's response to negative reviews reassures 79% of travel researchers that the management will be responsive to their needs.

So what are the silent majority's excuses for their lack of response? TrustYou's research found that a lack of time, not agreeing with the customer's review and feeling awkward about leaving a management response are all reasons for their silence.

And finally, hotels looking to increase the number of reviews they receive can actually encourage more reviews by providing their feedback. TrustYou's research found that hotels that respond to guests' feedback also average 147% more reviews than their silent competitors.

"More reviews help hotels in many ways; rankings and visibility improve on review sites and SEO is improved, driving more customers to a hotel's own website. Scores also improve," says Ady. "This is because with each additional review, one negative score carries less and less weight."

Hotel owners should consider the use of online reputation management tools. Such tools can streamline response management by sending alerts when new reviews have been left and presenting all reviews on one platform rather than having to browse each review site separately.

Tags: customer feedback, hotel industry, loyalty marketing, online reviews, search marketing, social marketing, social media, travel market

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  • Rajiv Angural

    An interesting article indeed. I would just like to add that responding to customer reviews online is a good way to gain guest loyalty. However, responding and monitoring over review sites means action is very limited. Unhappy guests remain unhappy. Making sure guests don’t leave the hotel unhappy in the first place would be an ideal situation. Listening and acting to feedback on site and in real time is what is required. Myself being in the hotel industry recently came across this very interesting tool called Geteco that basically allows the guest to leave a comment (Speak into a phone or use in room phones) and for us to directly respond to that. It all goes into a database and we can analyze feedback given on site. Happier guests increase the likelihood of increased guest loyalty.

  • Sanjana Daas

    Hey Rajiv, i must say i found your comment quite interesting I agree with you in that listening and acting on site to our customers needs are exactly what businesses need. Too many bad reviews tend to be posted up on review sites and social media these days hence spoiling the reputation of many businesses. Also will like to add thanks for the recommendation of the Geteco tool. I just visited their website and it seems something that my management team can look into to enhance guest satisfaction for our business. Thanks again :)

  • Sandy

    An interesting article. Thanks



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