Remember back when you could only find hotel reviews in fat little guide books that taught you the secrets of traveling abroad? Now our travel guides are, well, us. We write the reviews on everything from meals to movies to hotel accommodations. Thank you, Internet.
But do people actually read our purple prose reviews of the bedbugs at that Chelsea boutique hotel? Do they actually heed our 5-point scales of endorsement? Well, as a matter of fact, they do. And that can affect everything from your pricing to your occupancy rates according to a study conducted by Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research.
The study examines recent data from Travelocity, ReviewPro, STR, comScore and TripAdvisor. Their analysis revealed the following:
1. More and more people are consulting online reviews before they book.
According to TripAdvisor, the percentage of those consulting customer-generated reviews has steadily climbed over the years. There has also been an uptick in the number of reviews that the average consumer consults before booking their stay.
2. The better your hotel review, the bigger your asking price.
This makes sense, right? According to data from Travelocity, a hotel can increase their room rate by 11.2 percent for every point their rating increases without jeopardizing their occupancy or market share.
3. Occupancy rates are higher if the hotel is rated higher.
When comparing ReviewPro’s Global Review Index with STR’s revenue data, Cornell found that a 1 percent improvement of a hotel’s online reputation leads to an occupancy increase up to .54 percent and a 1.42 percent increase in revenue per room.
What can an hotelier conclude from this study? Bottom line, the closer you track your online reviews, the better you can calculate your hotel’s current market value. Make sure you are getting the best rate for your available inventory. Online reviews can also serve as accurate predictors or inventory shortages and surpluses. Also track the reviews to see if a property is overdue for an upgrade or if there are issues in your property’s management.