There is no denying the fact that hotel reviews play a crucial role in the upkeep of a business and its overall performance. It turns out that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a hotel. And 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. While getting the reviews is a prerequisite, it is equally important for the hotels or any other business, to that matter of fact, to regulate their reviews and strive continuously to getting more and more of them. In short, fresh reviews matter.
A review (no matter, positive) written 2 years back about your hotel can sometimes be of no use in influencing your customer’s decision to book with you. On the other hand, a very recent and stellar review on your business and service can leave an indelible mark on the visitors who are frantically searching for the options online to book a mindblowing experience. Studies have shown that reviews older than three months aren’t relevant to 85 percent of consumers.
These are the few areas which are crucial in proving the point that fresh reviews matter a great deal for a hotel:
Travelers do not really care what staying at your hotel was like 3 years ago. All they want to know is what they can expect if they book their stay with you tomorrow. It helps them know the current state of affairs with you and how you have been improvising on various aspects (service, amenities, cleanliness, etc). On the other hand, as a hotelier, you can see this as an opportunity for a fresh start. If the older reviews had been flooded with complaints against staff service or demands for an upgrade, fresh reviews can help uproot that dreary image by focusing on more positive aspects, if at all an improvement has been made by you in that particular sector.
While 76% of the reviews provide valuable insights, say on a platform like TripAdvisor, statistics say that a user will read at least 6-12 reviews before choosing a hotel. If these reviews aren’t fresh and are from years ago, this is where your chances of getting picked by a travel shopper drop down tremendously. Again, recent reviews show that you are still getting visited and reviewed by other users and will at least lure a visitor to try it out once with you to know what experience is in store for them. Hence it does increase your chances of getting picked by a user.
Fresh reviews do not only provide a fresh perspective to the user booking with you. It also works in your interest by allowing you to know what your guests are expecting of you. For instance, if your recent reviews express dissatisfaction over the sparse or limited variety of breakfast, it gives you an idea about the current state of this aspect and leads you to devise a plan or strategy for improving the selection or at least, get started with a discussion on the same with your team. Improvisation is what you get from recent reviews. It also allows you to resist the urge to start with a clean state and instead work proactively on managing your existing reputation.
Again, the recent reviews can help in understanding what’s going on. For instance, recent reviews about new renovation or the latest breakfast spread can get you a fresh perspective on how the guests are liking/disliking it.
What is better than having a fresh, keyword-rich review content received from your users? Such reviews have the power to enhance your ranking and SEO efforts. On top of that, if they are recent, it can work wonders for your hotel business.
While it optimizes your ranking in the search results, fresh reviews help build customer confidence. More reviews means increased customer trust. So it doesn’t matter who pens them down, more reviews means greater visibility.
In terms of discoverability, if there is an abundant and continuous flow of reviews, it increases your chances of being seen when the potential customers search for hotels in the area. In a way, more and fresh reviews are responsible to a great extent in improving your ranking, which is again what TripAdvisor recommends through its Popularity Ranking Index(quality, quantity and recency).
Again, it is commonly understood that businesses with the most reviews and highest average ratings are going to get more traffic both digitally and physically than those with very few reviews, as Reviews = Visibility.
Keeping this in mind, it is important to ensure that there is a constant review generation. “77 percent of customers now say that reviews more than 90 days old are irrelevant, so you’ve got to focus on keeping things fresh at all times.” Just like TripAdvisor, Google’s algorithm recognizes business with a “high review velocity.” This means, if your business has more and recent reviews, you will be ranked more prominently in the search results which again connotes to the discoverability factor discussed above.
“77 percent of customers now say that reviews more than 90 days old are irrelevant, so you’ve got to focus on keeping things fresh at all times.”
To illustrate this fact further, we bring you the instances of hotel reviews from the leading platforms like TripAdvisor and Google which receive a great amount of reviews on a daily basis. Listed below are a few examples (screenshots) to show how your potential customers are researching and seeing your business in order to make booking decisions.
To begin with TripAdvisor, its Popularity Ranking Algorithm is based on three factors:
This means, that besides the quality and quantity, TripAdvisor favors recent reviews over old and outdated ones. In other words, you require a consistent flow of new reviews to upkeep your performance.
Here are a few screenshots which show how a hotel with a bubble rating of 5.0 on TripAdvisor continues the streak of recent reviews to upkeep their performance in order to help potential customers. Again, for a user this is an example showing how they can know about the recency of a particular review online to shape their overall judgement before making the decision to book a particular property for their stay:
TripAdvisor Fresh Reviews (1)
TripAdvisor Fresh Reviews (2)
TripAdvisor Fresh Reviews (3)
Here are a few screenshots showing the most recent reviews of a property on Google:
Google Fresh Reviews (1)
Google Fresh Reviews (2)
Google Fresh Reviews (3)
Reviews have the power to gain customer trust and recent reviews can help achieve that goal by indicating the level of transparency in the service provided by you. It’s a continuous endeavor towards acing your guest experience game and making sure that you do not lag behind when it comes to wooing your guests with the best. The perks of recent reviews are many: high ranking on search engines, increased optimization, increased number of visitors on sites and more bookings and on TripAdvisor: a high popularity ranking and even the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Thus the importance of fresh reviews for a hotel is something that the hoteliers seriously need to understand.
A good review management solution can help you keep a track of recent reviews and the implementation of it can also help to increase its number. Again, what’s more, is that with such a solution you can manage reviews from across the various platforms on a single dashboard.