Michelle de Haaff

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A commissioned survey of more than 2,100 travelers conducted by Forrester on behalf of TripAdvisor confirmed what most travelers already know: that travelers find user-generated reviews important when making booking decisions. Let’s face it, most of us won’t stay at an unknown hotel without checking an online review or asking a friend.  Our normal behavior is to type our destination into a review site, scan the 4+-star options in our price range, then, within that subset, check for properties with the right amenities and most positive opinion.
Something else the Forester study revealed, which may be a bit less obvious, is that the presence and tone of management responses significantly impact travelers’ impressions of lodging businesses and directly impact their booking decisions.  The math behind review site postings is also influential: to get a coveted first page search result on a review site, hotels need lots of reviews.
So how do hotels optimize their review site presence, which can make the difference between average and great bookings?  They not only need lots of reviews, they need lots of positive ones. They also need to manage their reviews —apologizing to disgruntled guests (and explaining how they’re rectifying problems) and thanking guests who post something nice.
Today, Medallia announced a partnership with TripAdvisor, which will drive these three attributes that are key to review site performance: increased reviews, more positive reviews, and better management of reviews.  Here’s how:
Increased reviews: with the TripAdvisor/Medallia relationship, which extends Medallia’s Social Media product, participating hotels can invite respondents, whether positive or negative, to automatically post their survey responses as reviews on TripAdvisor with a single click.   Since hotels, on average, receive more survey responses than review site posts, channeling survey takers to review sites will help generate the volume of posts hotels need to rise to the top of review site searches.
More positive reviews: website reviews often capture “outlier” responses: those of raving fans and those of the most dissatisfied guests.  Surveys capture a wider swath of the guests, with more balanced opinions. On average, survey responses are more positive than website reviews, so by prompting all survey takers, including the negative ones, to post publicly still boosts ratings.
Better management of reviews: Properties availing themselves of the TripAdvisor/Medallia relationship will receive automatic alerts when reviews about them are posted on TripAdvisor. Property teams can then respond rapidly and easily to travelers and close the loop, which not only boosts property performance (because property teams are able to head off problems quickly) but also demonstrates the sort management engagement, presence, and tone that prospective guests look for when choosing a property.
Learn more about this relationship that helps companies systematically get on top of the valuable feedback customers give about them on TripAdvisor and other review sites. You could increase your bookings too.

Photo credit: gnuckx