Online reviews more important to travellers than hotel’s star category, research finds

Generic Resort HMMERecent studies reveal that millenial travellers are now giving more weight to user-generated content online (such as reviews) than to a property’s star rating when choosing a hotel online.

Studies show that the reason behind this for most travellers is the fact that the star ratings do not reflect their personal travel experience, or the service they have received.

According to RJ Friedlander, founder and CEO of Review Pro, a company which provides reputation management tools, “Online reviews and other types of user-generated content are influencing consumers and business travellers much more than the traditional classification systems.”

He said: “Most travellers don’t focus on star ratings or other industry classifications when searching for a hotel but rather evaluate their options based on the following:

  • Location (city/destination/area)
  • Type of trip (business, leisure, etc)
  • Specific criteria (free wifi, buffet, parking, etc.)
  • Price/best value based on above criteria
  •  Online reviews/reputation (overall & related to specific criteria)”

As such, hotels are now increasingly being encouraged to market their properties in ways which are more likely to attract these millenial travellers. Above all, the level and standard of customer service the staff provides to guests prove the capability of a hotel. Going the extra mile to provide a service to guests speaks lengths about the management of a hotel and will be reflected in online reviews. Small touches such as offering free, fast-speed wi-fi throughout the hotel are now being seen to make a big impact.

More than anything, it has become clear that the way to be recognised as the best hotel online is not by the star category you sell your hotel at but by the type of service you provide to your guests.

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