Social influence has become an important component of the decision-making process for companies in nearly every industry. For organizations in the hospitality space – particularly hotels and resorts – guest reviews have the power to be both judge and jury. It’s in a hotel brand’s best interest to understand the power of social influence – particularly of guest reviews – and give them proper attention.
The convenience and immediacy of mobile devices in today’s digitally-driven society magnifies the power of guest reviews. Hotel guests now have the ability to pick up their phone on a whim and quickly write a review often read by thousands of potential guests.
Of course, the ability to create spontaneous reviews is only one of the many ways mobile devices are transforming the hotel industry. Guests are using smartphones to make their travel arrangements, interact with a brand, check-in & out, and enjoy the tremendous convenience and security of mobile keys, all from their handheld device.
The rules of guest engagement are evolving by the day. Hotel brands that refuse to embrace mobile as a crucial component of the guest experience could face a perilous future. Ignoring the impact that mobile can have on future reservations and guest satisfaction can have a long-lasting impact on hotel revenue and be very difficult to reverse.
The Power of Hotel Reviews
A potential guest’s decision-making can be validated or refined by online reviews. To put that into proper context, nearly half of all modern guests either always check online review sites or do so frequently before booking hotel reservations.
Likewise, 76% of travelers are willing to pay more for reservations if a particular brand has higher review scores than their competitors. This can have a tangible impact on a hotel’s bottom line, allowing a hotel to increase room rates by over 11% after experiencing a one-point rise in average review scores – on a five-point scale – without seeing a drop in occupancy. A handful of similar statistics further underscore the impact reviews have on the modern hotel industry:
- Nearly 90% of potential guests will eliminate all hotels with ratings below 3 out of 5 stars
- Roughly 80% of guests read between six and twelve reviews before booking
- 80% of travelers believe brands that actively respond to online reviews care more about their guests’ satisfaction
- 85% of guests agree a thoughtful response from a brand to a review ultimately improves their impression of the hotel
They say statistics don’t lie – and it’s clear in the statistics above that the role of mobile devices in the guest experience will only continue to increase going forward.
Mobile Devices Enabling Guests
Aside from the importance of hotel reviews fueled by the convenience of mobile technology, devices also affect brands in several other ways. Mobile technology has permanently transformed the way hotels connect with their guests, creating a constellation relationship of the devices themselves, apps, review and booking sites, and many social media channels. This open, ubiquitous communication between Brand and Guest impacts every step of the guest’s journey.
Mobile devices naturally lend themselves to travelers who strive for convenience and flexibility away from home. Travelers can search for a hotels that meet their requirements, book a reservation, check-in upon arrival, unlock the guest room door, and order various services, many times without needing front desk assistance along the way. This type of guest empowerment personalizes their stay and improves their travel experience – before, during, and after their stay – much due to the convenience and power of their mobile devices.
With 60% of all travel-related searches being conducted from mobile devices, it’s difficult to overstate their importance. In fact, mobile devices can now largely accomplish the combined responsibilities of traditional travel agents and hotel front desk staff – and at a guest’s own pace and convenience. It’s no wonder, then, that mobile devices have become an essential component of social influence and hotel reviews.
To that point, brands should leverage mobile technology to their advantage by encouraging guests to create online reviews in a few simple but impactful ways, both during their stay and afterwards:
- In post-stay email surveys, request reviews so guests can provide insightful feedback while already thinking about their guest experience
- Send a push notification from the hotel app requesting a review upon a guest’s mobile checkout
- Consider leaving brief but friendly notes on nightstands, dinner tables, and other areas with constant traffic to remind guests to provide online opinions and reviews
- Provide a tablet at the front desk for guests to use for posting reviews during check-out before leaving the property
- Distribute brief messages across popular social media channels to prompt quick feedback from guests
Mobile Devices Enable Hotels
Thankfully, when hotels implement effective strategies, they are just as empowered by mobile devices as their guests. With countless consumer segments and affinities, each expecting their own personalized hotel experience, understanding what is required to create those experiences can be a daunting task for even the savviest of hotel brands.
However, OpenKey’s own innovations in the space can help transform mobile technology from a hindrance to a strength by allowing hotels to gather useful data on hotel guests. This gives hotels the ability to customize offers and services down to the individual level and, thus, create the personalized journey many guests now expect.
By promoting mobile check-in and mobile key in pre-arrival emails, hotels can gather guest contact information through their app profile. The brand’s marketing team can then leverage both pre-visit and post-visit touches with guests, facilitating the omni-channel communication that hotels strive for.
With guests’ contact information, hotels can send a quick request for a review via email, SMS or push notification providing traveling guests a convenient way to complete a review on their phone
Mobile devices have become a permanent mainstay throughout most aspects of hospitality. Their inherent convenience and immediacy have amplified the power and pervasiveness of guest reviews that can directly impact a hotel’s success. With the help of OpenKey, hotels can use mobile technology to their advantage to personalize the guest experience, foster brand loyalty, and prompt the positive guest reviews that can propel their business well into the future.