For travellers, reputation is (almost) everything when it comes time to book accommodations, based on February 2015 research by Ipsos MORI for TripAdvisor,reports eMarketer.com
While price ranked as the most important factor in accommodation booking decisions, cited by 96% of travellers worldwide, accommodation ratings on review sites and online reviews and posts on TripAdvisor came in second and third, at 88% and 86%, respectively. Appearance mattered too, as photos and videos posted online were important to 85% of respondents.
In all, 36% of US internet users read online consumer reviews before booking a hotel accommodation or room to rent, according to November 2014 research by YouGov.
Optimism about business profitability had risen among travel accommodation owners studied worldwide by TripAdvisor between 2013 and 2015. And due to the importance of online ratings and reviews, those in this group were most likely to invest those extra dollars in online reputation management. Three-quarters noted that online traveler reviews were very important to the future of their business, and nearly the same percentage said this about online reputation management overall.
Hotels were also focused on improving their reputation among travellers staying with them, as 80% of respondents said that increasing repeat business was very important to their future.
Excellent service and experiences are critical to accomplishing this, and well-trained employees play a key role here. Nearly half of respondents intended to invest in staff training this year, and 71% said ongoing training of staff to exceed service expectations was very important. Many were also planning to give their hotels a facelift by investing in renovations—small and large—as well as various technologies.