The networking traveller: In mature markets, where the penetration of internet lifestyle has already reached the plus 70s, web reviews play an immensely high role.
In the old days, a tourist consulted the travel agency or read hotel reviews in the newspaper - today he clicks through hundreds of guest reviews in portals.
With more than 50 percent of all respondents in a recent survey of the German travel market, which was presented at the ITB 2013, the vast majority of tourists relying on such guest reviews. In most developed countries of the world, that may be similar.
For hoteliers the consequence can only mean: These reviews are the be-all and end-all - not only because of the social media effect: "Reviews are also good SEO for the hotel web site," says Benjamin Jost, CEO of the review-management provider "Trust You", world market leader in this field.
The travel industry has to cope with 50 million comments from various sources. How on earth manage this wealth of guest reviews? Torsten Sabel of the evaluation software provider customer Alliance, specialized in the hotel industry, on the ITB Berlin introduced several groundbreaking theories. Long ago: Hoteliers used to dislike customer's reviews, nowaday they should appreciate them. Extract of Sabels representation on ITB Berlin
According to his calculations, the sighting and manipulation of guest comments in a medium-sized hotel estimated no more than eight hours a week. Many hoteliers would like to save this extra work. But it is waiting for reward: 90 percent of people trust direct "Word of Mouth" recommendations by friends, but still 70 percent trust online recommendations and thus comments.
The work pays off so. Because what journalists and book authors often can only wish for, take customer reviews for granted: They are read! According to a recent analysis this goes to 87 percent of all comments. According to Google studies travellers share increasingly: more than 50% of the recreational and business travellers load up images to the internet after their trip, more than 50% like to consult comments, tips, and reports of other travellers on the Internet.
The success of positive comments, which clearly appear from the hotel on the website and search engines and portals, can be put even: according to a study of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration hotels can increase their room rates to 11.2%, without compromising the market share or load.
A case study: In a medium-sized city hotel in Central Europe 862 new comments led to a total of 132,328 page views (in a limited period of time). 1.014mal then clicked the button "Book Now".This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.
Roland Wildberg is Travel Writer and Correspondent based in Berlin, Germany. He started as an Editor for the National daily 'Die Welt' (tourism section), later on switched to a freelanced career and nowadays mainly publishes on the Web. Observing the hospitality industry always has fascinated him as it looks like the perfect combination of sleeping and writing – work-live-balance as its best.
Roland also heads the annual 4Hoteliers ITB Berlin news micro-site journalist and video/photo teams for the 5th consecutive years. (Advertisment)