These days, replying to online reviews is just table stakes. To get ahead of the competition on online reputation, hoteliers have to leverage their feedback data in strategic ways. Here are five ways that Revinate customers have used their feedback data to beat their competitors on TripAdvisor.
1. Informed investment strategy
Las Suites is a 91-room hotel located in the heart of Polanco, an upscale neighborhood in Mexico City. The area is peppered with embassies, art galleries, and transnational corporations. To break out in a competitive market, Las Suites has to get strategic with its budget. Using sentiment analysis technology, the Las Suites team can easily spot trends in their feedback data and understand guest preferences in both online reviews and guest satisfaction surveys. As a result, Las Suites is able to make smart use of its budget with the improvements that that have the greatest impact on guest satisfaction.
For example, Revenue Manager Marco Gonzalez says that Las Suites’ feedback data showed they had an issue with traffic noise. “We invested in soundproof windows that block 85% of all sound,” says Gonzalez. “Since replacing the windows, we have received no more complaints about traffic noise and our ratings have improved,” he says.
In just six months, Las Suites’ average review score increased from 3.7 to 4.5, and it moved from #134 to #51 on the TripAdvisor Popularity Index.
2. Smart operations
Amora Hotels is an independently owned hotel group based in Thailand. The flagship property, Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney, boasts 415 rooms, a world-class spa, conference and meeting space and the presidential suites necessary to service VIP guests.
The Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney is another hotel that has used sentiment analysis technology to its benefit. For example, Abhishek Sinha, Front Office Manager of the hotel, discovered that guests were dissatisfied with the check-in process. “We didn’t realize before that guests thought the check-in process was too slow. but after seeing the data I worked with the front desk to make our operational procedures more efficient,” he says. Now, the hotel gets positive remarks about speed of check-in. But, this wasn’t the only way data intelligence contributed to the success of the Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney…
3. Marketing intelligence
In addition to the operational benefits it has received from analyzing its feedback data, the Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney has also enjoyed the benefits of analyzing social media data alongside reputation data. Sinha says, “I wasn’t getting this with the traditional GSS provider we used, and I’ve never heard of this functionality in my fifteen years in hospitality. We can put in keywords for our area, and get all social media mentions pulled up, allowing us to target promotions based on what people are looking for,” Sinha says.
By making strategic changes to their operations and marketing efforts based on trends in the data, the Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney moved from #56 on the TripAdvisor Popularity Index to #35 in just three months.
4. The numbers game
Of course, a hotel’s ranking on the TripAdvisor Popularity Index isn’t just about its average review score. The volume of reviews a hotel receives also plays a role. One way to improve in this area is to use a review-style post-stay surveys solution that is integrated with TripAdvisor. This integration allows hotels to automatically submit survey responses to be published on TripAdvisor as reviews.
For example, The Hotel. Brussels, known for its impressive city views and sophisticated design, has consistently attracted travelers interested in an affordably priced, four-star hotel option in Brussels’ fashionable city center. With a TripAdvisor integrated post-stay surveys solution, the hotel received 41% more positive reviews in 2013.
By submitting post-stay surveys to be published on TripAdvisor, The Hotel. Brussels moved from #80 in January 2013 to #22 in December 2013. Today, the hotel is at #6 on the TripAdvisor Popularity Index.
5. Comp set intelligence
Finally, analyzing online review data isn’t just about self improvement. Using review data to improve on TripAdvisor is also about learning what a hotel is doing better or worse than its competitors, then adjusting accordingly to position the hotel as the best option of its class in its geographical region.
For example, 21c Museum Hotels is an innovative union of boutique hotel, cultural center, and contemporary art museum. Each of its three properties features uniquely branded chef-driven restaurants and world-class contemporary art. Last year, the team at 21c Museum Hotels realized that they could be conducting better analysis of their review data, including sentiment analysis of competitor review data. “Understanding our comp set is very useful,” says Jane Ferebee-Grady, Executive Assistant in Corporate Operations. “We can access all comp set data, see our ranking within the comp set, and easily see our strengths and vulnerabilities. By reading what people are saying about the competition, we can make smart choices about where we need to invest time and resources so we can continue to outperform.”
As a result of using this data to its advantage, the hotel is outperforming the competition in every category—RevPAR, ADR, occupancy, and average review rating. From the data, it is also clear to 21c Museum Hotels that they’re pulling away from the competition.
From July 2013 to July 2014, 21c Museum Hotels saw a 16% increase in RevPAR while its comp set only improved by about 7%.
Guest data is critical
For hotels to improve guest satisfaction, and therefore improve on the TripAdvisor Popularity Index, they need to leverage their data. Once they have ways to see trends and use that data to their advantage, hoteliers can begin to optimize every aspect of their hotel’s operations.