How to make hotel guest reviews work for your property

With so much property choice and information out there, today’s guests are more discerning than ever. Earning more guest reviews and managing your online reputation is essential to the health of your business. Learn how to make hotel guest reviews, positive and negative, work for your property.

Why are hotel guest reviews important?

Hotel guest reviews are a way in which former guests can leave ratings and feedback about their experiences at a property. Not only are hotel guest reviews a valuable guest relationship management tool, they are often curated and listed on websites that can act as marketing channels—where make-or-break booking decisions are made in a matter of seconds.

Why hotel guest reviews matter

When travelers are looking for somewhere to stay, it’s no secret that they shop around. Most will research on a range of different sites before they book, and hotel guest reviews play a big part in this planning phase. In fact, they can often be the deciding factor in a traveler’s final decision.

Positive guest reviews can help convince travelers to choose your property, while a negative guest review can send them clicking for another option — all in less than 30 seconds! That’s why effectively managing your online reputation is crucial to attracting new travelers and encouraging repeat visits.

A recent independent study shows that 83% of travelers “usually” or “always” refer to reviews before they decide to book. And if a property doesn’t have reviews, over 50% won’t book it. What’s more, recent research by Expedia Group has revealed that travelers are willing to pay more for hotels with higher guest ratings.

Additionally, the study found that 65% of travelers are more likely to book a property that responds to guest reviews versus the ones that don’t. Whether the guest’s feedback is good or bad, how you respond is critical. Providing a good response to a bad review not only helps repair the relationship with your guest, but also helps limit the impact it has on prospective travelers by showing you care about resolving problems.

All of this means that it’s in your hotel’s best interest to encourage your guests to leave online reviews. To help you manage your online reputation, earn more reviews, and respond to negative reviews, we’ve put together this short list of our best recommendations.

1. Encourage guests to leave reviews

You should make it as easy as you can for guests to review your property—and within meaningful timelines. The key is to give your guests several no-pressure opportunities at various points of their stay:

  • Place a placard on the desk in their room with a message like “Let us know how your stay is going” or “Tell us what you think – leave a review!” Add your property’s website URL and social media links, as well as links to hotel review websites.
  • Put a request for a review on any print materials you give your guests, such as your in-house guide to some local attractions.
  • Ask for a review on your Wi-Fi sign-in confirmation page.
  • Ask staff on the front desk to suggest that guests might like to leave a review. A good time is at check-in when pointing out the free Wi-Fi, or at check-out if guests say they’ve enjoyed their stay.
  • You can also offer keepsakes like postcards or branded goodies to departing guests, with a note attached politely asking for a review.
  • Add a request for reviews to your check-out confirmation email, or a follow up email 2-3 days later—make sure to include a clear link to make it easy.


2. Measure guest satisfaction with reviews

You’ve made all that effort to create a great guest experience. Now you need to know if it’s paying off in terms of guest satisfaction. How happy are your guests – both with their stay in general, and with specific areas such as ease of check-in, room comfort, breakfast choice, staff interaction and hotel amenities?

You can measure customer satisfaction in several different ways. For example, you can read and log your online reviews, send out a post-stay survey that’s quick and easy to complete, run a voice survey at the end of phone calls and monitor social media. You can also track the number of return visits and referrals you get – they’re a sure indication of satisfied guests.

Feedback you receive on various areas of your service can help you improve guest service for future visitors.

Use reviews to:

  • Understand how guests feel about their stay.
  • Highlight any common themes or issues (and make adjustments).
  • Get guest review notifications, so you can respond and thank them quickly.


3. Respond to guest reviews, good and bad

Responding to guest reviews shows that your hotel and its staff truly care about their guests—and that their opinions and suggestions for improvement matter. Responding to negative reviews is especially valuable if your reply sounds personal and genuine.

  • Address the guest by name, be personable and always thank the guest. Avoid giving a stock answer.
  • For a bad review, acknowledge any issues and show a sincere desire to put things right. Be empathetic, apologize and definitely don’t get defensive (Remember, you’re speaking to everyone who reads this review, including potential guests).
  • If it’s a positive review, show that you really appreciate it. Be friendly, humble and gracious
  • Try to respond in 24 hours (any longer may make it seem like you don’t care about the feedback or addressing an issue).


4. Try our template for responding to negative reviews

Let’s put the above into practice. Here is a template you can follow (but make it your own so you don’t sound impersonal when responding to negative reviews):

Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention, [customer name]. Please accept my sincere apology for [repeat the main issue from the review], I can understand your frustration. We pride ourselves in giving the best possible guest experience, and I’m sorry we fell short in this instance. My name is [name] and I am the [job title] at [hotel name] – please give me a call on [phone number] when you have a spare moment and I’ll try my best to make this situation right.

5. Try free guest review software

There are many types of online software that can help you collate, analyze and respond to reviews. Expedia Group’s guest review tools goes beyond that, allowing you see how your guests feel about your amenities compared with your competitors. It’s a useful way of finding out what they think of another property’s staff, pool or cleanliness.

You can also use our guest relations tools to:

  • Communicate with guests and ask for reviews during and after their stay.
  • Understand how guests feel about their stay.
  • Get guest review notifications, so you can respond and thank them fast.

With so much property choice and information out there, today’s guests are more discerning than ever. So, make them feel they’ve chosen somewhere special by giving them a stand-out guest experience. They’ll spread the word to other travelers – and they’ll want to come back soon.


FAQs

Check out this great overview video on how guest reviews work on the Expedia Group sites. Reviews will appear first on the booking website (e.g. Hotels.com or Expedia.com) and after 90 days they’ll display across all the sites in our marketplace.

Yes! Discover more about Guest Insights in this article. You’ll learn about identifying potential revenue growth opportunities from specific countries and how you can target travelers from that location with TravelAds or promotions. 

Absolutely. Tips for acknowledging guest concerns during their stay and for responding to poor reviews are both available. In-house Feedback is always private while post-stay reviews, once vetted, will be available to other travelers. Graciously acknowledging less than glowing feedback and perhaps sharing how you’ve remedied the issue will help you actively manage your online reputation.

 

We would love that.  Use these step-by-step instructions to download and use our Guest Review Widget on your site.

Our easy-to-use platform, Partner Central, will be the primary location for managing reservations, loading inventory, changing rates and keeping your listing up to date. Many partners opt to use a connectivity provider to link our systems and automatically perform daily tasks. They log in to Partner Central to leverage our more advanced tools including competitive set analysis, real-time market pricing and other marketing programs. If you have any problems, our local teams are ready to help.

Yes. Expedia Group partners have access to a suite of tools and data insights that help you develop and execute a profitable revenue management strategy. We're constantly innovating and publishing best-practice guidance to support your success.

An online travel agency (OTA) is a key part of your distribution strategy. If your goal is to reach more travelers and attract those who will be happiest at your property, an OTA can help.

At Expedia Group the breadth of our travel supply attracts travelers who are researching, planning and booking travel. They often plan far in advance, stay longer at your property and spend more. In addition to helping you fill your rooms, we provide tools and market insights to help you provide outstanding guest experiences and grow your business.

We are one of the world’s leading travel marketplaces, with an extensive brand portfolio that includes both globally recognized and locally relevant travel brands, including Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Travelocity and more. Learn more in our About Us section.

No. To keep your workload to a minimum, we automatically email the guest to confirm the reservation.

You can easily cancel a reservation on behalf of a guest in Partner Central. If a cancellation fee applies, you can charge the linked Expedia Virtual Card on the cancellation date.

Yes. The Messages tool in Partner Central allows communication with guests before they arrive and we're happy to include check-in instructions with your property listing. 

As an Expedia Group partner, you choose how you want to accept guest payments. Options include leveraging our secure payment processing to have travelers pay online when they book and charging an Expedia Group issued virtual credit card for payment at check-out. You can also have guests pay you directly at check-out and compensate Expedia Group.

To appeal to the broadest number of travelers, you can choose to offer both options and let the guests decide what's best for them.

It isn't a problem if your property doesn't accept credit cards. We'll make sure your listing communicates how you accept payment (cash, check, credit card, etc.) so travelers are prepared when they arrive. We'll confirm with you in a call to welcome you to the Expedia Group family.

In addition to providing an easy-to-use and secure experience for travelers to book your rooms, Expedia Group invests heavily in advertising, digital marketing and social media promotion to attract consumers from around the world to your market and individual property.

We are constantly mining our data for insights and emerging travel trends so we can both innovate and develop the best set of free and robust tools that enable you to grow your business. We also operate traveler and partner support centers to help solve the sticky logistical issues that inevitably arise when people set out to explore the world.