How important are hotel reviews?

Holidaymakers have recently been exposed for holding hoteliers’ hostage with the threat of bad reviews. In a recent VoxPopMe survey, we have discovered why UK consumers find hotel reviews so potent, and whether the use of video reviews could bring a new lease of life to reviews – making them more honest and trustworthy.

It appears that holidaymakers know a hotel is under immense competition; between the price and quality of the hotels in huge tourist destinations there is not much differentiation. It comes down to the reviews of a hotel, a hotel review can dictate their success.

User-generated content is the most persuasive form, parallel to word of mouth marketing – a consumer is much more likely to trust a product or service recommended by a friend or family member. When it comes to recommendations, it is your reputation you are putting on the line. Therefore consumers will only be willing to recommend if they have confidence in the brand.

That’s what makes online reviews so effective; you would like to know what your desired destination is like through the eyes of the consumer. Instead of reading through a branded corporate website of the hotel, stating all their great points – reviews on the whole give you a rounded image of the hotel. Real people telling you how they really feel.

On a recent VoxPopMe study, we discovered that just over 84% of the panel have let a bad review stop them from booking a specific hotel; proving that reviews are sacred to the profitability of a hotel. 68.5% of the panel said that rating and reviews are one of the top two influencers in booking at hotel.  It seemed that not only did our panel like to read reviews; they also liked to leave reviews.

67.8% of the panel said that they had left a positive review in the past; compared to 40.7% that had left a negative review in the past.

Although, many recognised that reviews should be taken with ‘a pinch of salt’, you can’t help but wonder whether you will also get that worst case scenario. It’s extremely difficult to tell from a written review whether it is a genuine review or you have a keyboard warrior on your hands.

Not only being able to see the photos or read reviews, VoxPopMe technology could be used to share and see genuine video reviews; stopping the keyboard warriors by being able to see exactly who is giving the feedback – naturally and promoting honesty.

But why are reviews so important to our panel?

The ability to see the hotel through other guest’s eyes, someone who may be similar to you – in a similar position, of the same age, or with children – as they may have picked up on things that are irrelevant to you.

There is more trust in a review from a real person than a hotel brand, that unbiased and honest feedback on what they really thought. It’s like with anything, you are more likely to believe a friend or relatives opinion over a big corporation – customer testimonials are key.

This could easily be erased with the use of video. Video provides that raw and honest emotion you do not get from a written review, you are able to witness the actual person. You are able to read the person, are they someone who you would trust? Are they someone whose opinion you would normally consider?

The impact of video is massive; it simultaneously communicates your sight and hearing, triggering the part of your brain that deals with decision-making.

Surveying our panel, when it came to reading reviews, a number of the panel said they found review reading time consuming but necessary. There was a general theme that most the panel would disregard the best and worst rated reviews to see the average middle ground.

See some examples of hotel video reviews:

Short video reviews of up to 60 seconds put a face to review, making it much more personal. The ability to see a genuine person sat on the other side of the screen, someone that you can empathise with, that is unbiased to the hotel or their competitors.