For the tens of thousands of hoteliers who use Revinate Reputation, sentiment analysis is crucial for helping them understand which services and amenities are most important to their guests. In doing research for this article, we looked at more than 200 topics extracted from more than 58 million reviews in 2016 and 2017 to understand the top five globally trending topics.
Trending in the number one spot is lobby condition, with a 70% increase in reviews from 2016. Lobbies provide guests with their first impression of the hotel and a welcoming, well-kept lobby goes a long way towards making guests feel they are staying somewhere special. In addition to keeping the lobby clean and well-maintained, guests today expect a social space where they can meet with others, get work done, and access free wi-fi.
Expectation is the second highest trending topic, with a 66% increase in reviews from 2016. While taste is subjective, one way you can help ensure positive comments is to set the right expectations before a guest even sets foot on the property. Bad reviews are often the result of guests expecting one thing and getting another. For example, ensure your website correctly represents the actual on-property experience. If you use your best photos (and you likely will), make sure your rooms and amenities reflect the reality.
Restaurant atmosphere is important to hotel guests and is the third most trending topic. Skift recently covered this topic and explained how hotel restaurants used to be an afterthought, but today are critical to the success of a hotel. In the article, Alex Taylor, senior vice president of restaurants and bars at Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants says, “For hotel restaurants to be fresh and well received, they need to be concepted and treated as a unique business entity separate but compatible with the hotel.” Leading hotels today are turning their restaurants into their own destinations, with celebrity chefs and great, unique food.
Related to restaurants, guests care about what they put in their bodies, making health the fourth trending topic. Whereas vacations used to be about letting go of diets, today many hotels cater to guests who watch what they eat. In fact, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt, Sandals, and Omni have all been called out by Hipmunk as hotel brands that cater to gluten-free guests. If you don’t offer vegan, vegetarian, low-fat, paleo and gluten-free options, you might hear about it in the reviews.
Rounding out our top five list of trending topics in guest reviews is room condition. Guests don’t want to be reminded of all those who stayed before them. Travelers are quick to mention stains, wear and tear, and damage to furniture when encountered. To keep guests happy, and writing great reviews, keeps your rooms in pristine condition.
As you can imagine, there are regional and category differences when it comes to these topics:
- In Asia, public decor and design saw a 150% increase year-on-year. Likewise, gift and snack shops saw a 97% increase in mentions.
- Restaurant atmosphere, particularly in North America and the Middle East, received more negative reviews in 2017 than 2016.
Lastly, it appears that economy hotel guests have more to say in their reviews than luxury hotel guests. Economy hotels are seeing a higher surge in topics mentioned than any other hotel category. Topics like minibar, public decor, and bell staff helpfulness are all trending with over 100% increases
Our methodology for determining trending topics is to evaluate which topics saw at least a 50% increase in total review mentions from 2016 to 2017, excluding the topics with net review counts below 10,000 per year. A topic’s magnitude is measured as a combination of the increase in mentions and sentiment basis point change (1 basis point = 1/100th of a percent).