Intent Versus Action on TripAdvisor

Yesterday TripAdvisor announced the results of its first annual survey of more than 1,000 U.S. accommodation owners – hoteliers, B&B owners and innkeepers. The survey revealed their plans to attract travelers in 2011 and increase repeat customers.

The results are a little (ok… a lot) hard to believe. When it comes to responding to online reviews in 2011, 99% of respondents say they will do it.

  • 72 percent will respond to both positive and negative reviews.
  • 14 percent will respond only to negative reviews.
  • 13 percent will respond only to positive reviews.
  • One percent have no plans to respond to reviews.

We all know that intent and action are two different things, but if 99% of hotels actually do respond to reviews we will be thrilled. We love to see hoteliers embracing the important opportunity to interact with their guests. Unfortunately, I find it hard to believe that 99% of hoteliers will actually respond to reviews this year.

Revinate’s clients are the most socially engaged brands, management companies and hotels in the world. Only 37% of the hotels we track, which includes our clients and their comp sets, responded to at least one TripAdvisor review in the last quarter of 2010. The numbers are significantly lower for the other review sites that allow management responses.

  • Expedia – 4%
  • Hotels.com – 2%

Our clients that are not yet responding to reviews are actively monitoring reviews, analyzing the data and tracking the competition. When asked informally why they aren’t responding to reviews, the most popular answers are because they lack the resources to really embrace a reviews program or because responding publicly to reviews is against brand guidelines. It will be interesting to see if these obstacles go away this year.

While we would love to see all hotels responding to feedback, I don’t think we will reach 99% this year. However, I hope that this TripAdvisor survey will help convince the other review sites that don’t currently allow management responses to change their policies.

And of course, if you’re not yet a Revinate client and want to see how easy we make management responses, please contact us for a demo.

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