Close this search box.

Manage customer perception

Increasingly, travelers are reading hotel reviews before deciding where to spend their travel dollars. Research suggests that the average person reads about seven reviews before making a decision (T. Lappas, Stevens Institute of Technology) and 33% of travelers reported changing their hotel booking plans after reading online reviews (Phocuswright). Hotel operators cannot dismiss the potential impact these reviews can have on financial performance. Consumers tend to shortlist hotels with better ratings and researchers found that even a one-star increase resulted in a 5-9% increase in revenue (M. Luca, Harvard Business School).

With this in mind, I was trawling TripAdvisor reviews for a client in the Caribbean when I came across a 3-star review (out of a possible five stars) titled, “Best location, wish they maintained it well.” The reviewer went on to criticize the hotel’s “un-manicured” and “poorly maintained” grounds, implying that management was inept and neglectful.

It’s worth noting that in the property manager’s response to the above review, he shared, “The area is protected by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Department and the hotel is under tight control over its appearance. At this time of year, while trees and bushes may appear to be ‘un-manicured,’ we currently have migratory White-crowned Pigeons on the island and are prohibited from trimming the foliage until the migration period is complete later this summer as to prevent disturbing them.”

I wondered what the impact would have been on the guest’s perception had she, while staying at the hotel, been made aware of the White-crowned Pigeon’s migration and its effect on the hotel’s landscaping? Would that knowledge have influenced the title of the review? The critical tone of the review? The number of stars awarded?

Your business may never be affected by the migration patterns of a protected species, but there may be another dynamic contributing to customers’ negative perceptions. Offering customers “a peek behind the curtain” may reveal a valid explanation for situations that, on the surface, appear to be product or service quality oversights.

Possessing this unique knowledge may be the difference between a critical review from an uninformed guest that hurts your business and a positive review from an enlightened one that bolsters it.

New! Cascade the lessons from Delight Your Customers throughout your department, division, or entire organization. Order the Delight Your Customers Companion Guide by Steve Curtin and Brian O’Neill.
Don’t settle for ordinary. Choose extraordinary. (It’s always a choice.) Order Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Steve Curtin or purchase from select retailers, including Barnes & Noble.
The Revelation Conversation

The Revelation Conversation is Here!