Build Customer Trust with Online Reviews

In Hotel Management by Ashley Harbin

Positive reviews are good for business. Here’s how to attract new customers, build immediate trust, and improve booking rates with your online reviews.

A recent study from TripAdvisor reveals online reviews continue to influence booking decisions. The global study polled over 23,000 TripAdvisor users across 12 markets on the use of online reviews and their importance when booking hotels, restaurants, and experiences.

More than 85 percent of participants indicated that the reviews they read on TripAdvisor accurately reflect their own experience, with 86 percent agreeing that TripAdvisor makes them feel more confident in their booking decisions. Travelers trust real perspectives from real people, so online reviews remain a go-to source when it comes to accommodation bookings. In fact, 81 percent of participants always or frequently read reviews before booking a place to stay.

Online reviews can also significantly impact your hotel’s booking rates and bottom line. Nearly 79 percent of TripAdvisor users are more likely to book a hotel with a higher rating when choosing between two similar properties, while over 50 percent agree that they would never book a hotel that had no reviews. Build customer trust and increase your bookings with our tips for online reviews.

Update Your Hotel Profiles

Start by claiming your business on all major review websites like Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. Then, make sure your profile is updated with the correct information including your business name, address, phone number, and hours. Consistently generating online reviews on all of these platforms makes it more likely for your hotel to show in search results.

Also, make sure to include social media in your hotel’s reputation management strategy. Social media profiles are a great way to build brand awareness and customer trust. You can even collect reviews on your Facebook page, so it is important to have a solid social media presence to represent your brand.

Be Consistent

When researching for trips, respondents indicate that the most important thing they look for is recent content. They want to know what they are reading is a fresh perspective from a fellow traveler, with 78 percent focusing on the most recent reviews. By responding to your online reviews regularly, your content will constantly be up-to-date and readily available for potential customers.

In addition, about 55 percent read multiple reviews across several pages to get an overall sense of other opinions. TripAdvisor users read an average of nine reviews before making a booking decision. We recommend maintaining a consistent weekly process to ensure all online reviews are responded to in a timely manner.

Don’t Ignore Negative Online Reviews

Not responding to negative reviews may give customers the wrong impression, impacting your brand’s credibility and reputation. Taking the time to respond to all reviews (good or bad) will show that you care about your customers and what they have to say. We recommend using negative reviews and constructive feedback as an opportunity to solve common problems and improve your customer experience. Responding to negative reviews can even boost customer trust and brand loyalty. Remember to be kind, understanding, and apologetic. Your customers will likely appreciate your transparency and honesty.

Create Compelling Customer Experiences

Review websites are not just for people to report their poor service or accommodations. In fact, the average worldwide rating on TripAdvisor in 2018 was 4.22 out of five. Customers simply want to tell their stories. When asked about their motivations for writing online reviews on TripAdvisor, the top reason given by 87 percent of people is that they want to share good experiences with fellow travelers. Leverage your reviews to expand on your customer service, create positive experiences, and build trustworthy relationships. We also recommend sharing positive customer reviews and testimonials on your website and social media to increase direct bookings.

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