With user-generated reviews becoming more and more important for hotel sales and marketing, ensuring that hotels have the ability to respond is key. To date, of the major review/OTA sites, Hotels.com, Expedia, and TripAdvisor have created processes for hotels to manage and contribute to their hotel profiles and reply to reviews. Over the last couple of years we have watched TripAdvisor make changes that provide hotels with more control over their content and reviews. In addition to the monetary benefits of working more closely with hotels (eg business listings) and the fact that review sites become more valuable to their target audience (travelers) when hoteliers participate, OTAs and review sites have realized that a tighter partnership with hotels and more transparency around the origination of content will help the entire ecosystem. We expect to see other sites following suit as the biggest often set the course for the others.
TripAdvisor offers hotels a myriad of tools for account management. At the most basic level, a hotel can update their information and pay for a business listing. A hotel can add their own photos, videos and articles to supplement the user generated content from site users. When it comes to reviews, a hotel can dispute and reply to reviews, monitor reviews, and encourage (but not bribe) guests to write reviews. If you’re wondering whether all the hub-bub around reviews is warranted, take a look at TripAdvisor’s Special Destination Update, an email that gets pushed to users based on location preferences.
Who wouldn’t want to be included in that email? It’s free marketing and all these hotels look like great places to stay based on the review snippets. They are the top ranked hotels per city.
To see all the reviews being generated across the Web you will need to use a social media monitoring solution such as Revinate. We love the direction that major review sites and online travel agencies are taking with respect to additional hotelier participation, and we hope the all major sites will follow their lead and allow hotel responses soon.