Have you noticed a proliferation of these stickers appearing on motel, hotel and restaurant entrance doors? These businesses appreciate the value of being associated with a strong brand - A very successful "old-school" marketing move by TripAdvisor.
For accommodation providers, it would appear that investment in official star grading programs are becoming less relevant. By choice, the public are increasingly using guest reviews to make decisions and are more trusting of private companies like TripAvisor to codify accommodation options over government funded rating agencies that engage physical site inspections.
While accommodation providers are naturally suspicious and cautious about open guest feedback platforms, it has to be remembered that as a general trend across all reviews—about 81% are positive.
Successful businesses seem to be the ones that accept and encourage feedback. Negative reviews can be soul-destroying, however those businesses that can immediately fix the problem and respond online will be seen in the best light.
So what are guests ranting and raving about most often?
Online reputation company, TrustYou recently conducted a study of over one million guest comments over several platforms to find out to top rants and raves - It makes interesting reading:
Top rants by hotel guests in 2012 (followed by the number of mentions)
1. Unprofessional/incompetent service (11785)
2. Small room (8669)
3. Expensive/overpriced (8390)
4. Tasteless, bad breakfast (8243)
5. Bad food (5956)
6. Dirty room (5439)
7. Unfriendly service (5123)
8. Bad bathroom (4600)
9. Bad service (4266)
10. Loud, noisy room (4123)
Top raves by hotel guests in 2012 (followed by the number of mentions)
1. Friendly, professional, efficient service (103440)
2. Great, well-situated location (98668)
3. Good room (40191)
4. Great food (42868)
5. Great breakfast (41356)
6. Clean room/hotel (27513)
7. Large room (23867)
8. Good, affordable price (23292)
9. Good bed (11369)
10. Nice view (9147)
So, according to TrustYou, what do these lists mean for accommodation providers?
Raves outnumber the rants
The number of positive comments far outnumbers the negative. Great service, for example, has nearly nine times the number of comments than unprofessional or incompetent service. Across all reviews, we find this to be true. About 81% of the reviews we analyze are positive.
Win guests with service
Want to win over your guests? Improve your service. The biggest turnoff for guests was unsatisfactory service, appearing on the top rant list three times, in a variety of forms: unprofessional/incompetent service (number one spot), unfriendly service (seventh place), and bad service (ninth place).
A good meal makes a difference
Appearing on both the rants and the raves list twice, guests love a good meal. Breakfast, specifically, and food, in general, are memorable and talked about. Deliver on the culinary front and you are sure to impress guests.
Internet no longer an issue?
While there seems to be lots of talk surrounding hotel Internet (free vs. charging for it), that did not make the top 10 rant or rave. Is this no longer a big deal for guests? We wouldn’t go this far. Internet is still important, but paying for it might not be the “deal breaker” that it has often been singled out as.