A recent TripAdvisor TripBarometer report re-highlights the importance of online reviews in the purchasing behaviours of online travellers: 93% of travellers worldwide say online reviews have an impact on their booking decisions.
Whilst TripAdvisor is probably the most widely recognised online reviews platform for accommodation, Google is rolling out a valuable tool for hoteliers, giving insight into your guest feedback.
Part of Google Places for Business, the new 'Reviews in Google Places' helps you learn what your customers are saying across the web, in one convenient location.
From here, you can easily respond to reviews left on Google+ and read reviews from other sites such as Booking.com, Agoda, Trivago etc.
Observe common themes in feedback and adjust your service offering. Seek further feedback from the guest on what they would like to see improve. You may want to request they email you this feedback so that further negative comments aren't posted publicly. Potential guests reading the reviews will appreciate that you've taken the time to address negative feedback and it may well help increase their confidence in your brand.
You can also see a summary of the total reviews received across the web, and the scores associated with these in ‘Review Analytics' tab. It's also possible to monitor this over time so you can track whether the changes you implement are positively affecting feedback.
Reviews in Google Places gives you the tools with which to evaluate guest reviews, reply to them directly (on Google+) and see the wider feedback you're received across the web. Using this tool to improve your service offering should result in happier guests in the future, and may very well help grow your online revenue.
Provided you have verified your business listing, Google will be updating your account in the coming weeks/months. Verify your listing at www.google.com/places.
About the author
Sam Weston is a Senior Account Manager at Occupancy Marketing, an internet marketing agency for the travel and tourism sector. The company's focus is on increasing all types of conversions from phone calls and wedding brochure requests, to all-important online hotel bookings.