Recent research on reviews makes interesting reading and helps guide you on how to improve your ranking within TripAdvisor, Google and any other review sites.
Good reviews are important, we all know potential guests read and compare reviews before making a decision to book. Maintaining this good reputation has a significant bottom line impact.
Giving good service is always going to be the best way to get great reviews. As the host you’re the one in front of the guest and that makes all the difference … giving you a real advantage over corporate hotel chains. There are however a few tricks that can help bend the curve in your favour because having brilliant service on its own might not generate enough reviews. There may be some gentle prodding required to keep a fresh flow of reviews.
Let’s take a look at a few of the issues. Firstly, WHY you should have a good set of recent reviews, HOW to get them and finally a trick or two to encourage those that you know will REVIEW YOU WELL. We’ll also touch on the danger of putting review links on your website that take possible guests off to another website (where they’re encouraged to book an alternative!)
Why should you try to get a good set of recent reviews ?
1) Fresh reviews are the most important, about 40% of customers only look at reviews from the last few weeks (huge increase from only 18% in 2017). This has a positive impact on hosts that encourage guests to review because they tend to have a constant stream of recent reviews.
2) TripAdvisor gives higher weighting to the most recent reviews and lowers the importance of older legacy reviews. Favouring newer reviews makes sense because guests want the most up-to-date picture of their potential stay.
3) Getting lots of recent reviews acts as a kind of insurance policy against the (inevitable) odd bad one. If you are unlucky enough to get a poor review amongst all your brilliant ones, it’ll soon sink out of sight if you keep getting new reviews.
4) Properties with more recent reviews will rise-up the ranking compared to those with the same score but older reviews.
How do you encourage guests to post reviews?
A certain number of guest will be regular reviewers and won’t need any nudging, but the majority might need a little prod to post a review. There is no shame in asking for a review, every business needs to know how they’re performing – your guests understand this.
To encourage reviews you could print little business cards with your TripAdvisor link (and maybe an direct booking discount offer for next time they book). Alternatively, you could email or message them after their stay. A little bait sometimes helps so why not use a PromoCode to give them a special returning guest discount?
How do I filter out the best customers to ask for a review?
Your booking system may have its own automatic guest feedback built in? A very effective strategy is to use this initial feedback by thanking them for the great review and asking it to be placed on TripAdvisor. By doing this you are filtering out the best reviewers which will over time boost your review score.
Top Tip: Respond to your reviews on TripAdvisor, Google and others.
Did you know that 89% of guests read the responses to reviews? Replying shows you care and helps you understand precisely what made the difference in the eyes and words of your guests … marketing gold.
This is great news for independent properties because it’s usually the “hosts” that are the differentiator, it’s not the free wi-fi, parking or the marble lobby that get mentioned, it’s YOU the host that makes the stay truly memorable.
Top Tip: Use technology to free yourself to do the important things.
The best hosts use technology to the max – they let their booking engine do the bookings, process payments, update channels etc. investing the time saved delivering a unique memorable experience. This pays off with a great reputation, more bookings and higher prices.
Top Tip: Review widgets on your website can be tempting…. and costly!
We all want to show off our great review scores but please make sure your review widgets don’t lead guests to a page where they book another accommodation. So many properties just put the review link on their website, leading potential guests off to book with an OTA (at commissionable rates) or not at all. Check your website today, follow the links to see what your web visitors see and where they go, you might be shocked.
Direct booking review widgets are good and freetobook have just launched their new responsive and customisable review widget.
At freetobook we’re constantly working to free up your time so you can spend it giving guest an amazing experience. We automate payments, guest feedback, online bookings, sending messages, channel management… and so much more.
We’re family run and independent to the core, always searching for ways to support direct bookings.