Who Owns Guest Feedback?
It wasn’t very long after reviews became the ultimate influence in decision-making for shoppers of products or services that it became a part of our Hospitality industry.
Even though TripAdvisor was one of the first to hone in on this (early 2000s), it still took a while for it to catch on with Hotels -- but now it’s on steroids. So much so that 80% of Business Travelers (per recent Think with Google study) are influenced by online reviews. It’s no wonder that Expedia, Booking, Hotels.com and others jumped on the bandwagon in early 2012 to include traveler experience reviews on their own websites.
This did not go unnoticed by brands like Marriott, IHG, Hilton, Choice, etc. as they were seeing their online bookings shift from their brand websites to the third-party hotel room booking engines.
So, what did this mean for our Industry, what could the Brands do to keep their customers and hold on to these bookings? They have been grappling with these questions for years now. They have tried several avenues such as including TripAdvisor review rankings on their Brand websites or incorporating their own “Brand Reviews” on their websites to combat the third-party online reviews.
We were curious about the performance of Brand Reviews & Surveys compared to third-party booking website reviews, so we looked at our 2017 data for our Responding Service partner hotels. Here is what we found out:
- When looking at OTAs & Third-Party reviews vs. Brand Reviews/Surveys, the Third-Party booking engine reviews are still holding the flag at 69.6%.
- When looking at Brand Reviews vs. Brand GS/GSS Survey results, the GS/GSS feedback is still the King for our Industry at 83.6% vs. Brand Reviews which are at 16.4%.
Many thought (me included) that GS/GSS Surveys might fade away as OTA & Third-Party reviews became the primary way for hotels to gauge how they were performing through guest feedback. However, after a concerted push by the Brands to ask for guest feedback directly through Brand Reviews or GS/GSS surveys, we may be surprised to see a win in this ongoing battle of who owns customer feedback.
We will keep monitoring this trend – for now, it seems that the efforts of the Brands are starting to work.