In 2013, hoteliers enjoyed better review scores and improvements in service and management response rates, despite declining internet satisfaction, according to the latest findings that compare user-generated hotel reviews for 2013 with the year prior.
TrustYou, working in conjunction with Donna Quadri-Felitti, Ph.D., at New York University, Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, has developed its first global reports identifying key trends in travelers' reviews and hotel satisfaction across North America, Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Based on a sample of more than 14 million reviews from across 250-plus sources, the data and insights are segmented by each region, by select countries/sub-regions and include major markets within each region. Review scores are based on TrustScore, TrustYou's aggregate score out of 100, pulling from all reviews written worldwide.
Quadri-Felitti, an associate professor at NYU specializing in hotel and tourism marketing, asserts that, "The sentiment analysis within these reports shows in which areas destinations shine as well as highlights areas to improve in 2014."
Volume of reviews are on the rise
As travelers turn increasingly to reviews to help with their hotel booking decisions, hotel management is under constant pressure to focus on and improve review scores of their hotel portfolios.
In 2013, hoteliers rose to the pressure, with the majority of regions/countries and major markets posting an increase in scores. The US (+2.4%), Spain (+2.1%), the U.K. (+2.0%) and Australia and New Zealand (+1.3%) registered the biggest percentage gains. The major markets with the highest scores in these reports were: Bali (95.1) in APAC, Prague (93.8) in EMEA and New York (89.8) in North America.
The volume of reviews has grown by double-digit percentages in APAC, EMEA and North America, with most major review platforms seeing gains, showing the continued importance of reviews on the travel industry.
Five-star reviews drop in major markets across the globe
Despite an increase in TrustScores and volume of reviews in 2013, nearly all major markets in APAC, EMEA and North America have seen a decline in the percentage of five-star reviews. The decline seen in major markets may be a result of increased consumer trust in reviews; they may adjust their expectations as a result of hotel reviews, creating greater demands on hotel management to exceed expectations.
That said, outside of major markets, there have been increases in the percentage of five-star reviews, particularly in APAC, which posted regional increases in five-star reviews. Northeast Asia registered the largest year-over year gains (+25.5%).
Service shines while satisfaction with hotel internet/WiFi continues downward spiral
Travelers' appear to be more satisfied with the service they receive at hotels, with TrustYou Service Scores increasing in most regions compared to a year ago. These gains may have been a key factor in growing TrustScores.
Even with an increase in Service Scores, travelers became increasingly unsatisfied with hotel Internet/WiFi availability. Internet Scores dropped by up to double-digit percentages in all countries/regions in this report. Internet service is something that nearly all destinations need to address as the global and constant connectivity of travelers is ever growing.
The full reports, including additional data and insights are available for free download here.