The Importance of Online Review Frequency

I wrote a post last week about the importance of ensuring that your hotel is receiving frequent reviews. In that post I explained that the TripAdvisor Popularity Index algorithm takes into account the amount of new reviews being generated, in addition to the score, so hotels that want to rank higher need to have recent, good reviews. I also explained the danger of having bad reviews fester on your hotel’s front page on OTAs or review sites for a long time, hurting your ability to convert lookers to bookers.

Since that posting, I received some solid data about how long reviews can sit on the front page. As you can see from the chart to the left, if you don’t have a lot of fresh content, you run the risk of very visibly showing visitors content that might be out of date or unflattering to your business for a very long time.

To see just how damaging a lack of new reviews can be, I found an example on TripAdvisor of a hotel with just seven reviews. Because there are so few reviews, all seven are displayed, even the ones from 2008 that describe the bed bug situation. These reviews continue to plague the hotel’s landing page and will clearly impact sales.

And don’t think that just because you have a few positive reviews you are safe. Another hotel I found on TripAdvisor has an average rating of 4 stars, but since there are only 3 reviews (2009, 2008 and 2006) the hotel is languishing on page 9 of San Francisco hotels at number 161 of 242 hotels.

A few months ago Daniel Edward Craig wrote a great post about how the HKHotels maintains its dominance on TripAdvisor. The article mentions the hotel chain’s emphasis on enhancing guest experience during the stay and how each guest is sent a thank you email with a request for a review following the stay.

Another great example of TripAdvisor success is our customer, Eventi, a brand new Kimpton hotel in New York that opened in mid May of 2010. Eventi was able to improve its TripAdvisor Popularity Ranking from 428 (since they had no reviews to start with) to 12 in just two months. This is a huge accomplishment.

I emailed the GM of Eventi, Thomas Mathes, this morning to congratulate him and ask if I could include his hotel as an example in my post and if he had any thoughts about the ranking. His response indicates the he not only places great importance on reviews, but he also uses the score to encourage employee to feel a sense of responsibility for the hotel’s success. Every time the hotel’s placement improves, he thanks each and every one of his employees. He mentioned that his team is ‘energized’ by the success. Mathes uses Revinate dashboards and reports to review feedback in his monthly GM Communication Meeting. He says, “The staff enjoys seeing the results in real time. We go through both positive and negative reviews so the team understands the importance of following guest feedback. In fact, my front office team sends emails every day to commend team members for their honorable mentions on TripAdvisor and other sites.”

With this focus and team spirit, I absolutely expect to see Eventi occupy the number one spot in short order.

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