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Updates from Avondata and the hospitality technology sector

Earning your online stripes (and stars)

These days, when browsing the internet to book a hotel, order those new running trainers or find a better accountant, it’s hard to ignore the prevalence of online reviews in your search results.

Why is this? Does anybody actually take these reviews seriously?

In 2019, it’s fair to say that online reviews are taken very seriously and that huge proportions of us are now sharing their twopence worth at every available opportunity.

According to Social Media Today, 84% of people now trust online reviews as much as a recommendation from someone they know in real life and 90% of consumers read up to ten reviews of a business before they decide to trust them.

This explains the plethora of review sites that have popped up in recent years such as Yelp, Capterra and Trustpilot. Google now even ranks review sites at the top of its search results, so the online feedback for a company is actually listed before the company website itself.

So, are these little stars and online ratings really making a difference? The answer is yes, a million times yes.

Igniyte states that 68% of consumers will pay up to 15% more for the same product or service if they can read that they’ll have a better experience. And an increase of one star in a Yelp rating is equivalent to a 5-9% increase in revenue.

Unfortunately, the flip side also has an impact. One negative online post on the first page of the search results when looking up a product or service can cost that company 22% of business, according to the same source.

The good news is, if brands and companies recognise the power of their online reputation, it’s something that can be managed fairly easily and should be capitalised on.

Social Media Today explains how seven out of ten people will leave an online review if they’re asked – so, as a company, all you need to do is ask! The more positive reviews you can get from your happy customers, the better your online rankings will be and the more of this wonderful feedback will be read by your potential customers.
Take every available opportunity to request a review from your clientele. For our hotel customers, this could be as your guests are checking out on a tablet in reception, via a follow up email sent after their stay or using an incentive such as a discount on their next stay at your property.

And a negative review? Don’t worry, sometimes it happens. Just make sure it’s handled promptly, positively and efficiently – respond publicly as soon as possible, take the conversation to a private channel such as direct message, email or telephone, deal with the issue where relevant and, when resolved, ask the customer to leave another (hopefully more encouraging!) review.

So, don’t underestimate the power of those virtual thumbs up and make sure your guests are shouting about the wonderful stays they’ve enjoyed at your hotel!