A commissioned survey of more than 2,100 travelers conducted by Forrester and PhoCusWright on behalf of TripAdvisor reveals some very compelling findings, chief among them that travelers find user-generated reviews important when making booking decisions, and also that the presence and tone of management responses have a significant impact on their impression of lodging businesses.
How important are traveler reviews?
According to the survey, 81% of travelers find user reviews important when determining which hotel to stay at during their trip.
53% of travelers say they will not book a hotel that doesn’t have any reviews.
For perspective, while a few said they weren’t swayed, either way, only 3% of travelers said they do not find user reviews important when determining which hotel to book. What’s even more compelling is that nearly half (49%) of travelers surveyed will not book a property unless it has reviews.
Why do travelers write reviews?
The number one reason travelers cite for writing a hotel review is to share information. According to the PhoCusWright survey, 74% of travelers say they write reviews because they want to share a good experience with others.
This is consistent with TripAdvisor’s own findings: the average rating on TripAdvisor is positive (four on a scale from one to five).
Should I post management responses?
The travelers surveyed by Forrester are very clear on this point, as 71% said that seeing a management response to reviews by an official hotel representative is important to them. 78% of travelers surveyed by PhoCusWright indicated that that seeing a management response makes them feel like the hotel cared more about their guests.
Still not convinced? 68% of travelers said that if they were considering two comparable properties, the presence of management responses on one would sway them in its favor.
Should I respond to both negative and positive reviews?
According to the survey, lodging businesses benefit from responding to both positive and negative reviews.
Of those surveyed, 79% of travelers said a good management response to a bad review reassures them, and 78% said a good management response to a good review makes them think highly of the hotel.
But, be mindful of your tone – 60% of travelers said an aggressive management response to a bad review makes the hotel look worse. These findings are compelling and good to keep in mind when monitoring traveler reviews and posting management responses.
The key takeaway from the survey is that if you’re not engaging with the online traveler community and effectively managing your online reputation, your competition might just be the one benefitting, especially if your competitor is posting thoughtful management responses and taking traveler feedback to heart.