Why Online Reviews Are Important for Hospitality Industry?

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The industry leaders believed that the global hotel industry would generate 550 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2016, and the trend is definitely looking healthy. The hotel industry considers several performance measures to know their standings, and these measures include the revenue per available room, the average daily rate, and the occupancy rate of a hotel. The Asia Pacific region had the highest occupancy rate (68.8%) in 2014.

It means that if you’re targeting Asian markets, you need to be on top of things. There is business available, but you need to maintain a sound marketing plan to generate new leads. For starters, make social media a part of your marketing plan.

However, you just cannot rely heavily on creating websites or maintaining a presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram – you need to tap into the vast resources of online review sites such as Urbanspoon and Yelp to gather reviews and increase visibility of your hospitality business.

Significance of Online Reviews for Hotels

All online buyers do it – they routinely sort through search results by customer reviews and star ratings before making a final buying decision. The things work in the similar fashion in the hospitality business. A recent survey shows that more than 61% of vacationers now trust online reviews – they even visit social media sites and check image-sharing platforms to make a conscious decision.

In another survey, 79% of the travelers said that a good management response to a bad review reassures them whereas, 78% of the travelers said that a good response to a good review makes them think highly positive of the hotel.

Yelp alone boasts more than 120 million unique visitors monthly and over 53 million reviews. In a Harvard business school study, it was discovered that a one-star rating increase on a review site like Yelp might translate into a sales increase of 5% or more.

Another important fact is that in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven culture, more than 43% of online buyers use their smartphones to make a price comparison and read customer reviews. The trend of using smartphone is only going to get strong over time.

Learn to Be On Top of Things

With so much happening on top review websites, it’s obvious to find it difficult to manage or even getting listed for the first time. Another problem is that you may even suffer from erroneous information or negative reviews provided by customers. These issues make review sites a double-edged sword – they can help your business discovered online, but they can even bring inaccurate criticism.

Interestingly, there are ways to encourage customers write reviews, but before you do anything, be sure to know “what not to do”.

  • Don’t compel your customers to leave a feedback – or simply, avoid actively pursuing testimonials. This makes would-be customers skeptical, and these self-selected reviews may end up creating bias in the listing.
  • Avoid solicited reviews. Many sophisticated sites like Yelp use computer algorithms to identify fake reviews, and savvy customers can notice anything fishy, which can have detrimental effects on your business.

Remember, no business is perfect – you just cannot satisfy every customer every time. Only let your customers know you’re on a review site, don’t be explicit about reviews. Let it work naturally.

Having said that, it doesn’t mean you should sit idle, and do nothing to encourage positive reviews. You have to create awareness about your business that will indirectly improve your review base. Here’s what you can try:

  • Maintain Active Presence on Review Sites: Set your accounts on various review sites, such as Yelp, BBB, City Search, Angie’s List, etc.
  • Create a Detailed Listing: Develop a complete and detail-loaded presence and select your descriptive categories carefully.
  • Go on Social Media: Be on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels and, without being pushy, encourage people to follow you on Yelp, TripAdvisor, or other review channels.
  • Use Emails Sensibly: Add a link to business listing on Yelp or other review sites in your email signature. Also, send post-stay emails to thank your guests and encourage them to follow you on peer review sites.
  • Do it at Checkouts: Be creative at checkouts and learn about what your guests feel about your service when their memories are still fresh. If you receive a ‘yes’, encourage them to write about you to help future travelers.
  • Make it Easy: Simplify the process of leaving a review or feedback.

What’s more, you need to follow up whenever you get a good or bad review. It is easy to respond to a good review, but you just cannot ignore a bad review. While answering a bad review, you’re not just talking to that individual reviewer – everyone on that page is your audience. You have to be sensible and address the situation in a thoughtful manner while explaining why yours is still a desirable business.

It is tough to handle everything when you accumulate more reviews, and it takes a degree of dexterity to answer bad reviews. It is therefore a good idea to work with a professional company like Reviewclarity.com, which knows how to present you on review sites and what to do to keep your listing fresh and authentic.

Tools that help get more business with more reviews

If you intend to do it yourself, here are some of the tools you can use.

Tools Importance Feature Traffic/ User views
Google Local Places Google Local Places is a service from Google that helps small businesses to make themselves visible and easily searchable on the internet. Google Place particularly targets Internet users searching Google for local servicesand products. 119.2 million visits/ month.
TripAdvisor Trip Advisor is the largest review site on the internet that accounts for more reviews than the next 10 review sites compiled with more than 50 million reviews. It helps improve your credibility by targeting travelers, and even lets you use keywords for better visibility, and rewards listings with badges like "Certificates of Excellence" and "Traveler's Choice". 260 million unique users/ month.
Yelp Yelp is one of the most popular online review website that helps people find great businesses. The people post good and bad reviews about the places they have been to. It offers a Business Owner Account that lets you connect with your reviewers, and you can start a conversation with anyone in Yelp community by using a free suite of tools. 139 million/ month.
Facebook Facebook is a casual Social Media Platform with maximum global userbase among all existing social networks that links various businesses together with the customers. Facebook lets the users know that how active you are on the social media and how well organized is your website. 164,588,185/ month.
BBB With a strong reputation as a highly professional and trustworthy incorporated organization, BBB listing can lend the credibility your new hospitality business needs. BBB places listings on Google for keyword researches directing traffic to Google landing web pages for sponsors. 7 million/ month.
CitySearch Citysearch helps the users to get information on reviews, recommendations and directions to best hotels, restaurants etc. It's more of a shortened version of Yelp, but offers the best recommendations regarding where to eat, shop, or sleep – it works great on smartphones. 1 million visits/ month.
Angie's List Angie's List is a service listing and review site that offers user-based rankings and reviews of service professionals in local areas in United States. The site showcases customer reviews and letter grades ("A" being the highest and "F" the lowest) for each professional on the list. Angie's List has a bounce rate of 46.70%

With an impact on over 90% of booking decisions, online reviews can make or break your hospitality business. A review can echo through cyberspace indefinitely, so you have to take measures to ensure you land in the good books of your customers. If it all seems a little too intimidating, let a professional help youengage with online traveler community by posting thoughtful management responses.

To make it easy for you we have develop reviewclarity.com software to take care of your reviews. Call us: (602) 647-9777

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