Recently, we published an article on the top five globally trending topics in online hotel reviews to help hoteliers understand which services and amenities mattered most to guests in 2017. In this article, we drill down on each topic’s sentiment (positive and negative) to provide hoteliers with some actionable advice for improving guest satisfaction.
When it comes to the lobby of the hotel, the average review score mentioning the word “lobby” declined slightly from 3.84 in 2016 to 3.80 in 2017, with the number of reviews mentioning “lobby” increasing. So while the hotel lobby is top of mind for guests writing reviews, sentiment around the lobby is declining.
There has been a lot of discussion over the last decade about the hotel lobby. Surveys have shown that millennials, in particular, are looking for more social spaces in hotels and prefer working in the lobby, surrounded by other people, than in the guest room. As a result, many hotels now offer free Wifi in public spaces and ensure that there are areas where guests can comfortably meet and work. In addition, some hotels are even choosing to add co-working spaces to lobbies where locals can rent a desk for a day and feel part of a community versus working from home.
Since the lobby represents the starting point for every hotel stay, ensure that your lobby is clean, inviting, and a place where people would want to sit down and relax. When it is, you can be sure that people will mention it favorably in reviews.
Although “expectation” is the second highest trending topic with a 66% increase in reviews from 2016, we cannot provide statistical evidence on positive or negative sentiment surrounding this topic as it is subjective. One way to help ensure positive feedback is to set the right expectations before guests even set foot on the property, for example, with your website photos and pre-arrival communications.
A bright spot in this analysis appears to be restaurant atmosphere. The average review score mentioning the word “restaurant” slightly increased from 4.10 in 2016 to 4.13 in 2017. When people talk about the atmosphere of hotel restaurants, the general attitude is very positive. However, one nuance is that “cramped” showed up a lot more in 2017 than in 2016, leading to the conclusion that people like their personal space.
Another detail worth mentioning is that guests were less satisfied with “breakfast” in 2017, with sentiment dropping from +32 to +17 basis points on this specific topic. Whether it’s included with the stay or as an add-on, hoteliers should pay attention to the quality of breakfast, especially if guests are paying a premium for it.
One of the most interesting trending topics to analyze is health. The average review score mentioning the word “nutrition” declined from 4.13 in 2016 to 3.98 in 2017. This means that nutrition is likely becoming more important to guests but it’s not necessarily being reflected by the options provided by hotels. Asia had the most positive change in sentiment around this topic (+6 basis points). In Asia, people are mostly commenting on more healthy options for breakfast, which shows that providing guests with a variety of healthy choices is a proven driver of positive sentiment.
Lastly, when it comes to room condition, the average hotel review score mentioning the word “room” declined from 3.71 in 2016 to 3.61 in 2017. In other words, room condition is a topic people care about greatly but also one that is negatively impacting their reviews overall.
Three regions saw positive changes in room condition mentions from 2016 to 2017, including Asia (+8 basis points from 40 to 48), Oceania (+7 from 3 to 11), and Africa (+3 from 20 to 23).
In conclusion, while these are five topics guests truly care about, topic sentiment appears to be declining, with the exception of restaurant atmosphere. Our recommendation is to benchmark the performance of your hotels in these areas to identify potential opportunities for improvement.
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