Travelers will smile about service, but are irate over internet

Like millions of others, I traveled to see my family for the holidays. While on the road, I ended up staying in a hotel in St Louis for a few days.

NB: This article is written by Margaret Ady, marketing director at TrustYou.

The hotel was beautiful; the lobby was nicely decorated for Christmas, the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful, the room was bright, clean and big.

However, upon my departure, I gave the hotel a mediocre review.

Why? I had to pay $22 per day for internet service. Having to pay for internet is a pet peeve of mine. And, as it turns out, it bugs lots of travelers around the world.

TrustYou, working in conjunction with Donna Quadri-Felitti PhD, from New York University‘s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, just released its first annual global reports, based on an analysis of over 14 million reviews written in 2013 to identify key trends in user reviews.

The reports span North America, Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The consensus from the data: in most destinations, travelers were smiling about service, but irate over internet in 2013.

The findings from these reports provide direction for hotels and destinations alike. Co-author, Quadri-Felitti, who as 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.”

Check out the full trio of reports here, or read on for more highlights.

Worldwide, TrustScores, 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.

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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.

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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 continued its 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.

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Please download the full reports for free here.

NB: This article is written by Margaret Ady, marketing director at TrustYou. It appears here as part of Tnooz’s sponsored content initiative.

TrustYou aggregates millions of online reviews, social mentions and other user generated content and boils this data into usable, actionable insights that allow hotels, restaurants, destinations and intermediaries to improve their services and positively influence travelers’ decisions.

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NB2: Happy hotel image via Shutterstock.

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Margaret Ady

About the Writer :: Margaret Ady

Margaret Ady serves as vice president of marketing at TrustYou, a big data and online reputation management company specializing in the hospitality industry.

She graduated from the University of Southern California with degrees in Economics and Psychology, and where she was awarded the Annenberg Communications Pathway Grant for her research in new technology and its impact on healthcare decision-making.

Previously, Margaret served in leadership positions at The Walt Disney Company and The Oprah Winfrey Network and has provided research, branding and consulting services to 20th Television (Fox), Nielsen and many other companies in FMCG/Entertainment/IT industries.



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  1. Todd

    Cannot sell movies on the TV giving away internet. We get around the technology fee problem by delivering a 100% unplugged experience. Enjoy your stay with technology at bay.

  2. aghadden

    This should be easier to understand than it appear to be. hoteliers have approached this from the ‘captive audience’ standpoint. The problem is the audience is not nearly as captive as hoped. Travelers can, and will, change their minds very quickly if they feel cheated. charging for a simple convenience that most people understand is incrementally very low cost leaves one to feel cheated or thought of as stupid. No amount of front desk courtesy and professionalism can overcome an underlying sentiment of ‘we’re cheating you’, or ‘we think your stupid’. Soon enough mobile will completely abolish the needs for in-room wifi like cell phones did to in-room phones. How much customer loyalty will have been squandered trying to make a quick buck?

    • Margaret Ady

      I agree and believe this is likely a reason for the decline in Internet Scores that we have seen recently. Most consumers do not comprehend why every Starbucks or McDonald’s in the US offers free Wi-Fi, but it costs them over $13 per day when staying in a US hotel with an average room rate of over $112.00 as projected by Smith Travel Research for 2013. It is not surprising that a traveler may feel cheated or simply just confused.

      Taking into account the confusion about Internet, these reports are meant to help highlight which areas are working and which may need some improvements so that destinations can be proactive in making those necessary improvements and better align marketing initiatives to fit with consumer expectations.

      • Martin Rusteberg

        Whilst I understand the consumer confusion over internet pricing in hotels, there should be some form of education provided in both industry and consumer articles as to the complexity of running a reliable WiFi network throughout a building compared to an open-plan (or nearly) facility like a Starbucks or McDonalds. The latter will require one router with no comprehensive setup or customer support provided as they will only stay for minutes or hours, the former requires, depending on the building structure tens or hundreds of routers, ongoing maintenance and customer support.

        If a property decides to provide free basic WiFi, customers will complain that they can only open FB but not watch the videos that come up in the stream – which I am sure all of us will also have experienced at an F&B outlet with complimentary WiFi but didn’t bother to complain about.

        There are solutions like e.g. that make the setup pretty straight-forward and affordable for a property, so hopefully hoteliers will understand that there are rather simple solutions that will work nearly out of the box allowing for a freemium approach.


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