Adding guest reviews to your hotel’s website has been shown to result in an increase in direct bookings. L2 found in 2014 that hotel brands that featured guest reviews on their websites sent 39% less traffic to unprofitable OTAs by enabling travelers to make purchase decisions without leaving the site.
But, reviews do more than just increase on-site conversions. They also increase qualified traffic and boost engagement on your site amongst guests and prospective guests. In fact, online reviews can be one of the best tools for your hotel’s social media team. In 2015, Yotpo Inc analyzed over 100,000 eCommerce stores to see what the could learn about stores who are using reviews in social marketing.
The results? All consumer-facing businesses, including hotels, need to be taking online reviews more seriously. Yotpo Inc found that reviews can be leveraged to improve existing marketing efforts while boosting on-site conversion, traffic, and engagement.
Why Online Reviews are Your Hotel’s Best social Marketing Tool
Too many hotels misunderstand how to harness the power of social. Changing algorithms and a reduction of organic reach has led many hoteliers to assume that social isn’t selling.
But, this isn’t true. Social does contribute to conversions, just maybe not in the way you think. In other words, it’s not always direct, but that doesn’t mean that social is ineffective.
Social media is your number one way to reach new potential customers, and it’s growing fast. SimilarWeb looked at the growth in social referrals to some of America’s to e-commerce sites between 2013 and 2014. In almost all cases, social referrals were growing faster than the sites’ overall traffic. This reflects a growing emphasis on social in e-commerce sites’ marketing strategies.
Adding reviews also helps multiply the power of word-of-mouth by adding social proof to your marketing efforts. Authentic and verified reviews shared on social significantly increase brand trust. And, considering that over half of Americans (51%) trust user generated content like online reviews more than other information on a company website, it’s pretty clear that putting online reviews directly in the consumer purchase path is a great way to improve conversions.
How Reviews Impact the Hotel Marketing Trifecta: Traffic, Engagement, and Conversions
Reviews absolutely dominate at social marketing because they increase every single point of the marketing trifecta: traffic, engagement, and conversions. How? Yotpo’s analysis found that on average, businesses see a 26% increase in traffic from Twitter and a 6% increase in traffic from Facebook after sharing reviews.
Reviews also increase the amount of time that visitors spend on your site. Yotpo found that sharing reviews on Twitter boosted time on site by 35%. Sharing reviews on Facebook boosted time on site by 9.9%.
Finally, while social media is notoriously more effective for building brand awareness rather than conversions, reviews can help make it more effective for driving sales.
According to a recent study on social by Shopify, the average conversion rate for Facebook is 1.85%, the average conversion rate for Twitter is 0.77%, and the average rate for LinkedIn is 0.47%.
But, Yotpo data scientists found that when reviews are shared to social, the conversion rate is an average of 40%
higher for Facebook, 8.4 times higher for Twitter and 5.3 times higher for LinkedIn.
The Takeaway for Hoteliers
Getting your guests to write and share reviews on sites like TripAdvisor is a critical tactic for hotel marketers. But, it’s also critical to leverage this valuable user generated content on your website and on social media, because the data shows that those who don’t take advantage of this are missing out on traffic, boosted engagement, AND sales. To get the most out of your online reviews, you should:
1. Share your best reviews on your hotel’s website to leverage social proof
2. Ask your customers to write and share reviews on sites like TripAdvisor
3. Use reviews in your hotel’s marketing on social and via email.
For example, according to Yotpo, Facebook ads with review content have: