Part One of Two: Hotel revenue management, meet reputation management

NB: This is a guest article by Daniel Edward Craig, a former general manager turned hotel consultant specializing in social media strategy and reputation management.

In this first part, we will look at the concept of the guest satisfaction index: the next big measure of hotel performance.

Traditionally, hotels have made pricing decisions based on a combination of demand forecasts, supply, operating costs, competitor activity, and gut feel.

Market performance is measured in terms of indexes of occupancy, rate, and revPAR from data provided by companies like PKF Consulting and STR Global.

In terms of guest satisfaction, however, hotels have known little about how they fare against competitors.

Social media has changed that by bringing reviews and feedback into the open, enabling an important new measure of market performance: the Guest Satisfaction Index (GSI).

Why important? Increasingly, travel shoppers are bypassing traditional sources of information and advice and turning to other travelers on review sites and in social networks.

Corin Burr, director of Bamboo Revenue in London, says:

“Online reputation management is becoming hugely important to hotels because reviews have a direct correlation with demand, the holy grail of revenue management.”

But how easy is it to rank guest satisfaction among hotels?

With over 45 million reviews to draw from, TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index probably provides the most comprehensive ranking system.

The index is derived from a proprietary algorithm that takes into account the quantity, quality, and timeliness of reviews, among other factors.

Hoteliers can drill down further in the Owners’ Center, where they can compare performance to competitors and the destination as a whole via the Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI), a Market Metrix 0-to-100 scoring system derived from seven key review components.

Recently, online travel agencies beefed up efforts to amass reviews, likely motivated by SEO benefit and conversion rates. A 2010 PhoCusWright survey found that OTA shoppers who visited hotel review pages were twice as likely to book.

But so far OTA reviews hardly represent the wisdom of the crowds. In recent searches of London hotels by guest rating on Expedia and Hotels.com, none of the top ten hotels listed had more than a handful of reviews.

The number one hotel on Hotels.com had just one review—in a foreign language. A similar search on Orbitz produced no more than five reviews of each of the top ten hotels, some of them several years old.

Only Booking.com offered anything resembling a representative sample, with between 68 and 824 reviews of the top ten hotels ranked by review score.

Of course, the priority of OTAs is to sell rooms, not to rank hotels. Yet on TravelPost, which doesn’t sell rooms, a search of London hotels sorted by User Rating produced three reviews or less of each of the top ten hotels.

The number one hotel had only one review—from 2004. Google Places, which also doesn’t sell rooms, lists up to thousands of reviews per property aggregated from a variety of sites.

That positions it nicely to offer the ultimate ranking of guest satisfaction, but at present it doesn’t offer the option to sort hotels by review score.

To make sense of reviews, hotels are turning to reputation monitoring tools like Revinate and Synthesio that aggregate, organize, and score review data from across the web. The information has typically not been made available to travelers, although that’s beginning to change.

Barcelona-based ReviewPro offers a Quality Seal for hotels to post to their website that displays the Global Review IndexTM (GRI), a 0-to-100 score derived from a proprietary algorithm that aggregates reviews from more than 60 travel review sites in eight languages.

Munich-based TrustYou Analytics offers a similar seal. But few hotels display these seals – unlike TripAdvisor badges, which are becoming ubiquitous, at least among properties with rankings to brag about.

Recently, ReviewPro published a list of “Top 10 Hotels in Berlin According to Online Guest Satisfaction” ranked by the GRI.

CEO R J Friedlander says:

“For the first time the hotel sector has an independent online reputation benchmark that takes into account reviews from reviews sites and online travel agencies from around the world.”

The company intends to roll out rankings for other cities in the coming months.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based Revinate is about to introduce an internal measure for hotel clients called the Guest Satisfaction Comp Index (GSCI).

“The GSCI is straightforward and doesn’t use any algorithm or black box analytics,” explains Michelle Wohl, VP of marketing and client services.

“We take a property’s average rating across the leading review sites and OTAs and compare it to its competitive set to provide a score. It allows hotels to see how they are doing against their comp set in terms of guest satisfaction.”

Revinate’s index will be particularly helpful to hoteliers because it’s measured in the same format as occupancy, rate, and revPAR indexes, with a score of 100 being fair market share.

The availability of such data paves the way for hoteliers to use reputation metrics to guide revenue decisions, a topic I’ll explore further in my next post.

NB: This is a guest article by Daniel Edward Craig, a former general manager turned hotel consultant specializing in social media strategy and reputation management.

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Viewpoints

About the Writer :: Viewpoints

A founding principle of tnooz was a diversity of viewpoints from across the spectrum. Viewpoints are articles by guest contributors from around the travel and hospitality industries. The views expressed are those of the author. and do not necessarily reflect those of the author's employer, or tnooz and its partners.

 

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  1. Best of Tnooz This Week - Google joins travel tech, Facebook kills, Expedia splits | Tnooz

    […] Part One of Two: Hotel revenue management, meet reputation management […]

     
  2. Part Two of Two: Hotel revenue management, meet reputation management | Tnooz

    […] In my last post, I discussed how social media has enabled a new measure of hotel performance: the Guest Satisfaction Index (GSI). […]

     
  3. Jost

    Hi Daniel,

    this is Ben (CEO of TrustYou).

    It’s great to see that reputation management in the hotel industry gets more and more traction.

    If I may correct one thing about TrustYou:
    The quality seals and scores are not used by a few but currently by +500.000 uniques/month calling our seals, our review summaries and our score overviews. That ranges from single properties to whole chains (e.g. Best Western) to travel websites (e.g. Opodo, Holidaycheck,etc.) and to CRS providers (like Trust International or Micros Fidelio).

    Our Widget API combined with +2000 hotels using TrustYou Analytics and large players (also from outside travel) using our Semantic API is our infrastructure approach to tackle the information chaos out there.

    Cheers,

    Ben

     
  4. Steve endacott

    We aggregate reviews from the internet and integrated them into our http://www.holidaynights.co.uk site and allowed customers to search price review score and price at the same time.
    Doubled conversion over night….so clearly VERY powerful and what the customer wants.

     
  5. The Damage TripAdvisor Can Do | 7 Reputation Hawk

    […] and to word-of-mouth campaigns, but too often they ignore online reputation management. They do so at their own risk. With over 45 million reviews to draw from, TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index probably provides the […]

     
  6. Ashley Baxter

    Sadly a lot of hotel don’t care about their reputation or how they treat their customers. I recently stayed at an Extended Stay hotel, they made someone else keys to my room, and I was robbed. The hotel responded by shutting down the front desk and not bothering to call the cops. I made a video about it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGnS9nQKtcE

    Hotels should realize that customers have a stronger voice than they realize. My video may not have a ton of views, but non of my friends/family/or anyone in my immediate circle will ever stay at their hotels again.

     
 
 

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