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BizReport : Social Marketing : April 22, 2016

A high response rate to reviews can harm hotels' revenues, ratings

If you are part of hotel management, new research suggests that it is wise to respond to online reviews but that it is best to limit responses or risk revenue and bookings.

by Helen Leggatt

You might think that a hotel that responds to all the reviews left for its property might be the best way forward and signal a responsive business that engages with its customers.

However, a new study from Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, "Hotel Performance Impact of Socially Engaging with Consumers", suggests that, while hotel revenues do rise as the number of management responses to online reviews increases, there's a tipping point after which a drop in revenue and even online reputation can occur.

According to the report, after a response rate of around 40% has been achieved, hotels may see a drop in revenues and a decrease in the hotel's online review scores and reputation. The research found that revenues are lower when managers respond to more than 85% of reviews than if they did not respond to any reviews at all.


"We see that hotel managers generally want to interact with guests who post reviews on line, but the question remains of exactly how to do that," says Chris K. Anderson, one of the study's authors and an associate professor at the school.

Anderson advises that hotel managers should focus on providing constructive responses to negative reviews, rather than simply acknowledging positive comments. Consumers are more appreciative of responses by hotel management to negative reviews. In fact, ratings for hotels where hotel managers had provided constructive responses to negative reviews improved substantially.

Tags: hotels, ratings, reviews, social, travel

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