TrustYou’s new quarterly report uncovers review trends encompassing scores, volume, management response rates, service, pricing & more
Fewer reviews, marginally higher scores and it is far more difficult to score five stars are the latest findings that compare user-generated hotel reviews over a year-long period. The team at 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 quarterly report identifying key trends in travelers’ reviews and hotel satisfaction. Based on a sample of more than 250,000 reviews of US-based hotels from across 250-plus sources, the data and insights are segmented by region and major markets versus secondary ones. 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 marketing, asserts that “Data, big or not, are only meaningful when managers find actionable insights from the patterns. Working with TrustYou's talented team, this thought leadership series was developed to provide those insights."
Some of the highlights in TrustYou’s findings, which are compared to third quarter of last year, include:
Travelers Writing Less
Travelers have written 9% fewer reviews compared this same time last year. Consumer review fatigue may be setting in, which underscores the importance of each review and management’s thoughtful response to them.
Travelers Are Being (Somewhat) Kinder with Feedback
Guests are being a bit kinder with feedback with a reported 2% increase in overall review scores. The competitive intensity of major hotel markets puts pressure on management to constantly monitor and improve, which ultimately shows through in user-generated feedback. The US markets with the highest TrustScore go to New York (90.50), Orlando (88.98) and Chicago (88.12). The markets with the most improved TrustScores were Tampa-St.Petersburg (+3.6%), New Orleans (+3.2%), and Philadelphia (+2.6%). Good news for besieged Detroit, Michigan with an improved TrustScore for its hotels of 2.5%.
Hoteliers Are Saying “We Hear You”
Management response rates have increased by double-digit percentages, sending travelers a clear sign that they are being heard. In particular hoteliers in the Midwest, led by hotel managers in Chicago and Minneapolis, increased the volume of management responses by over 15 percentage points. This may be one reason TrustScores have improved in the US: engaging guests directly helps build credibility and trust among travelers in the public review environment.
Five-Star Reviews Are Harder to Come By
Remember we said travelers are being somewhat kinder? Despite higher TrustScores, hotels are seeing double-digit declines in five-star reviews. Across all markets and regions, consumers are less likely to rate their hotel experiences as five-stars. Hoteliers have to work harder to exceed expectations, delight and surprise guests and to differentiate their product and service delivery on what are increasingly high traveler expectations.
Pricing is Not a Pain Point for Most
For most major markets, 14 of the 25, pricing is not a sore spot for consumers. Are hotels being priced fairly or are there revenue opportunities in many markets? We will continue to track this in future reports.
The full report, including additional data and insights is available for free download here.
About the author
Carla Caccavale, Brand Strategist for TrustYou and founder of Carla Caccavale PR, has a passion for the hospitality industry and a relentless pursuit of perfecting the guest experience through exceptional customer service. From award-winning PR campaigns to common-sense driven programs and an emphasis on intense attention to detail, Carla helps clients increase awareness while building brand advocates in a meaningful, measurable way. Her deep roots in the hospitality industry, from individual hotels to destinations, airlines, tour operators and websites give Carla a hands-on, comprehensive understanding of the travel world. Carla takes an integrated approach and considers all channels when looking to accomplish a brand's goals, including online reviews, social media, direct-to-consumer communication, on-property execution, and the marketing program as a whole. Carla has live, on-camera broadcast experience, having made appearances as a spokesperson on major national networks shows, such as TODAY (NBC), Good Morning America (ABC), The Early Show (CBS), American Morning (CNN), CNN Headline News and more. She has spoken on the topics of secrets to winning PR awards and creating superior PR campaigns. In addition to underscoring the importance of creativity, Carla puts an emphasis on implementing PR campaigns that drive revenue, awareness and visitors. Her byline has appeared in a variety of publications and she recently appeared on Travel Channel's "Hotel Impossible."