Reopening your hotel’s doors in 2021 can feel like a full-on rebranding: Old strategies, offerings, and successes are no longer accurate enough for the pandemic traveler - they need to know exactly what they’re in for right now.
This is why guest feedback, and more specifically, recent and relevant guest reviews have the power to help you restart your hotel business, as they provide an accurate depiction of your hotel’s current state, offerings, and reputation.
As the goal to gain back guests is any hotelier’s priority, it’s crucial to understand how reviews can influence the booking decision of today’s travelers and what are the best ways to leverage them to your advantage.
The Rising Importance of Guest Reviews
So exactly how much do travelers rely on online reviews when making a booking decision? And why should you prioritize feedback in your reopening strategy? Well, we gathered a few recent statistics from Status Labs that you might find enlightening. Did you know that:
- 87% of consumers read reviews online for local businesses in 2020? This was a 6% increase from 2019 and a 20% increase from 2010.
- 79% of online users report trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family?
- 94% of consumers report that positive reviews make them more likely to use a business?
You see, the importance of guest feedback is on the rise. Especially during this past year, when so many things have changed overnight, travelers need to know what their hotel of choice will offer and there’s no better way to get a clear insight than by reading reviews left by fellow travelers. Remember that self-advertising can only go so far - further reassurance is always needed, especially during uncertain times..
The New Face of Guest Feedback
Feedback in itself has changed and shifted significantly in the past year. Travelers are now paying more attention to key factors that might not have been a priority in the pre-pandemic. Cleanliness, safety, contactless means of communication - these are crucial traits that guests emphasize in their reviews. In fact, recent reports by AHLA show that cleanliness is now the top priority for travelers when booking a hotel, a significant switch from previous times when price was top of mind.
Considering these rather drastic shifts and turns that the industry is currently experiencing, it’s only natural that guest feedback is given a new face as well. It is safe to assume that reviews will now be more frequent, more detailed, and more critical, especially when it comes to key features and categories, such as cleanliness or safety.
Guests are bound to focus on what matters most to them during these times and they will emphasize that in their online reviews. Those reviews will influence the booking decision of future travelers and so a circle is created, which starts and ends with guest feedback and has the power to restart your hotel business.
The Best Ways to Leverage Online Reviews
Some things, like the pandemic or the personal way in which travelers perceive certain things, are ultimately out of your control. What you can control and leverage, though, is the way in which you manage and promote your business, based on guest reviews.
In order to give your hotel a fair chance to restart and succeed, you need to have a solid strategy in terms of feedback. Given how important it is nowadays for pandemic travelers and how much of an influence it can have on the ultimate booking decision, it’s crucial to oversee, manage, act upon, and promote guest reviews.
First and foremost, make sure that you thoroughly analyze all the feedback you receive online, from all the various different sources, in order to get a clear and detailed overview of your current reputation. Try to be as granular as possible when breaking down feedback and focus especially on the categories that are most relevant now, in order to understand how to improve.
Don’t forget to encourage feedback and thank your guests when they take the time to submit their impressions. Keeping the lines of communication open during the entire guest journey and letting guests know that they can reach out at any time, that their feedback is important, will leave the right impression and even help solve issues on the spot.
Last but not least, promote your positive reputation! Make sure to use all the available scores, awards, widgets that can boost your business online and ensure travelers that yours is the right place for them to trust.
With a complex guest experience platform like the one we perfected at TrustYou, you can do all of the above and more, from one single place! Feel free to get in touch with our team of experts for a free consultation or if you have any questions! We are here to help you restart your hotel business in the healthiest way possible.