By RJ Friedlander, CEO of ReviewPro As a hotelier, you work hard to juggle multiple departments and concerns at any given moment. From reservations to check-ins, housekeeping, revenue management and the well being of guests, you are under a lot of pressure to ensure your property is performing at peak service levels. Maintaining a consistent focus on smooth hotel operations makes it even more difficult to identify where you fall short in pleasing guests. Herein lies the power of Guest Intelligence. The 2015 TripBarometer report, which was released two weeks ago by TripAdvisor, showed that “60% of hotels are planning on increasing their spend on ORM this year, compared to the previous 12 months[i]”. So if your property isn’t actively monitoring your online reputation and leveraging the Guest Intelligence that is available to you to make crucial operational and service improvements, your property could lose bookings to the hotels that are. What is Guest Intelligence? Guest Intelligence is the in-depth analysis of online reviews and guest satisfaction survey data - which includes both during- and post-stay surveys, to provide detailed insight into what guests like and dislike about their stay, and determine how your hotel can improve the guest experience. By collecting and analyzing guest feedback, you no longer have to guess which actions will improve a future guest’s stay. From a single, easy-to-use dashboard, check exactly which areas/departments of your property are performing well and which need improvement. From there, you can identify what operational and service changes are necessary and implement them in order to increase guest s atisfaction. Why Are Online Reviews Important for a Hotel? - “89% of global travelers consider onli ne reviews important to booking.”[ii] - “53% of travelers won’t book a hotel without reviews.”[iii] - “78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, whereas only 14% trust advertisement(s).” [iv] - “When researching places to stay on TripAdvisor, 80% of respondents [to a 2014 TripAdvisor survey] read at least 6 to 12 reviews before making their decision, and they're most interested in recent reviews that will give them the freshest feedback.[v]” - The Global Review IndexTM (GRI – ReviewPro’s exclusive online reputation score, which is used by thousands of hotels worldwide as the benchmark for reputation management) requires a minimum of 25 guest reviews to rank a hotel’s overall reputation and competitive position. How Does Guest Intelligence Help a Hotel to Improve their Online Reputation? With increased guest satisfaction (due to the operational/service changes that you have implemented based on the Guest Intelligence data), your hotel will receive fewer negative reviews – and in many cases, an increase in positive reviews. As the num ber of positive reviews increases, your property’s online reputation will also improve – a factor that can have a significant impact on your property’s overall revenue. According to a 2012 Cornell University study (using ReviewPro’s data), a one-point increase in a property’s GRI can lead to a possible: - 0.89% increase in price (ADR). - 0.54% increase in occupancy. - 1.42% increase in RevPAR. The Days Of Ignoring Guest Reviews are Over “Given equal pricing, guests are 3.9 times more likely to choose the hotel with the higher reviews,[vi]” making it a highly valuable practice to proactively monitor and manage guest reviews. Beyond collecting and analyzing Guest Intelligence for actionable insights and using feedback to make necessary operational changes, we suggest that you make it a priority to respond to guest reviews. Did you know that “87% of survey participants agreed that an appropriate management response to a bad review improved their impression of the hotel[vii]”? That means that you have the ability to almost completely neutralize the impact of a negative review if handled correctly. Ideally, you should respond to all reviews, but if time and resources don’t permit, you should (at least) respond to any negative reviews, as well as those that asked a question, require a direct response or clarification. Hotels Must Invest in Online Reputation Management More now than ever, all hotels must integrate an online reputation management strategy into their revenue management and operational plans for 2015 and beyond. By doing so, you will have an effective way to proactively increase your property’s online review volume and freshness, bookings and drive revenue. Find out more about revenue strategy and online reputation management for hoteliers in ReviewPro’s exclusive webinar Related Link: ReviewPro