How to make user generated reviews more useful

How to make user generated reviews more useful

The benefit of reviews from a user perspective is to verify the listing information by someone who actually stayed there and add any additional information to make it easier for the next user to make a decision.

  • Can I trust this hotel to be as described? Do I get what I pay for?

  • Is there anything I should take into consideration before booking?

  • Is there anything I should know to make my stay more enjoyable or easier if I go ahead and book this place?

From a sales perspective, reviews can be a tool to convince a customer to make the booking. Hence there may be a benefit to highlighting all the positive comments and avoid showing the negative experiences people may have had. However, I’m sure the booking platforms are also taking into account the cost of customer support handling customers with unmet expectations so I hope this is not happing as much.

Bur they keyword here is expectations.
The recipe to a happy customer is to at the minimum meet expectations, but preferably exceed expectations.
So it should be important for booking sites to make sure users are getting at least accurate descriptions of the standard and facilities at the property, and let the hotel do the job of exceeding expectations with their hospitality and service.

So how can hotel booking sites make sure listings are as accurate as possible?

  • Ask users to verify information while they’re staying at the property

    • Prompt users with questions like “How good is the wifi?”. In my experience, most hotels say they offer (free) wifi, but in many cases it never actually works.

      • The type of questions to be verified could be picked from previous reviews. If wifi has been mentioned to be lacking, then prompt new guests to verify to increase the data points for a specific subject.

  • Let guests review their specific room

    • A hotel experience can be very different based on which room you get. Some rooms are in a renovated wing, some aren’t. Some are facing the street, some are facing the dumpster alley, some are right above a night club and some are in a secluded area by the beach. If you get a shitty room, it doesn’t really matter how nice all the other ones are.

  • Let people review the amenities they care about,.

    • I’s certain to be other people caring about the same things and they’d want to know the opinion from someone else who cares.

      • Bed bugs and hygiene

      • WiFi quality for work, online streaming or just checking email…

      • Dietary options

      • Safety concerns

      • Design

      • Fitness options

  • Let guests upload their own photos

    • The more structured data the better. What room number? What restaurant?

    • These photos should be monitored by booking platform staff and if good, added to an album of user generated photos for others to see.

  • Let guests add practical information

    • How did the guest get there? Was it hard to find?

    • What’s the cost of taxi from the airport? Is ride-sharing an option?

    • Can you walk to the beach?

    • Does the hotel offer tours? How was the experience?

    • What’s good at the restaurant?

  • Warnings to future guests

    • Shady activity

      • Do they push over-priced tours? Call over-priced taxis? Any staff members acting questionable?

    • Ongoing construction?

    • Room requests

      • “The beach is full of garbage, no point paying extra for the sea facing rooms.”

      • Noise level from street

      • “Be mindful there’s no elevator and 6 floors of rooms! Ask for lower level if you have a lot of luggage.”

Update listings for future guests

Customers don’t read reviews because it’s fun, it’s only to gather enough data to make a decision and if you have to read a ton of reviews for each option it becomes tiresome.

  • If new information as been verified, it should be added to the listing so the next customer don’t have to scroll through amounts of reviews to find out.

  • User generated information should be made searchable or sortable so prospective guests can find the listings that fit their needs. Like safety concerns, wifi quality, cleanliness, gym equipment etc.