Responding to Online Reviews: Speed or Quantity?
Today, most travelers read online hotel reviews before booking a property. Not only do they see the guest’s comment, but also the hotel’s response online (if the hotel actually takes time to respond). A TripAdvisor study revealed that 68% of customers will book a room at a property that responds to reviews over a hotel that does not. Responding to online reviews is a crucial yet often difficult task for hoteliers.
One challenge that many of our clients face today is setting objectives around responding to reviews. Hotels are frequently responding by the total amount of responses rather than the time taken to respond.
For example, if General Managers set objectives to respond to 100% of reviews, then sometimes responses are only published two or three months after the actual review has been written. This is often counter productive as resources are spent on responding to old reviews and the likelihood of these being read is low due to the age of the review.
Based on our experience, we recommend focusing on responding as quickly as possible to the most relevant reviews, rather than trying to respond to all reviews over a long period of time. An appropriate objective could be to respond to 40% of reviews but making sure they are responded to within 3-5 days. Responding to negative reviews tend to take priority over neutral or positive reviews as they often call for an apology or clarification.
As part of our enhanced Guest Intelligence Suite, we have a dedicated page for management response, allowing our users to access a dashboard where they can track the response ratio and average response time on an aggregated, global level by source and see how their response strategy compares to their competitors. This powerful feature allows users to identify areas for improvement in their management response strategy as well as the ability to set goals for the response ratio.
Whether it’s an online review, a guest survey or a comment at checkout, your hotel’s response can have a significant impact on guest perceptions, guest behavior and the overall success of your hotel.