Monday 31 March 2014

What to expect when you join - Hotels

It's way and above the question we are asked the most, and every year the answer gets better (and more precise). So here's 2014's version (if you want to know more detail on any of the points below, follow the links)...

  • Your TripAdvisor ranking will go up - the average for hotels joining last year was by 16%. If you currently rank 300 (out of 1072) in London, by the end of your first year of membership you will be looking to rank at 250 or higher 

  • Your score will improve - by an average of 0.4. For example, if your hotel is currently scoring 7.9, by the end of year 1 with Dialogue you will be aiming to score 8.3 or higher
  • You will get far fewer negatives posted to TripAdvisor - an average of 77% less. Let's put this in stark relief - if you had 10 'poor' or 'terrible' reviews on TripAdvisor in the last 12 months you should expect less than 3 in the coming 12 months (Dialogue will also make a significant dent in your 'average' reviews as well).
  • You will get more positives posted to TripAdvisor - at least 25% more; one client has achieved 37%! And that, combined with the reduction in negatives will make a huge impact on your ranking which will, in turn, feed through into bookings
  • You will be able increase guest retention - up to one in five of the reviews posted will contain an issue where the guest might reasonably not be expected to return - until you adopted Dialogue. You will be able to respond to these in private and reassure the guest sufficiently to a) prevent them publishing a negative review and b) retain their custom
  • Dialogue works better than the alternatives - some hotels use in-house CRM to address the issue of reviews and some link to external review sites. However well these are currently working, Dialogue will achieve better results

So much for hard statistics, what about anecdotal reports from clients? These include...

  • Reducing OTA commissions - having independently verified reviews showing next to your booking engine enhances the chances that your potential guests will book direct in a way that showing in-house generated reviews or an external feed can never do
  • Being put in a much stronger position when (re)negotiating contracts. Looking better than your competitors always helps here; also: first impressions count, and not having a 1 Star review on page one of TripAdvisor makes a difference too
  • Your potential guests will welcome Dialogue - for its independence and for the fact that the reviews are more representative

How does your hotel score?

Here's how we analyse our potential clients' review management. No-one has ever scored more than 8 out of 10 (more often well-managed hotels score between 3-5), so there's massive potential for HelpHound and Dialogue to improve your performance.  

And for those of you who struggle to respond to reviews...

There's Feedback Manager. And thanks to Cornell University's School of Hospitality and their research we now know that responding to reviews generates more (and better) reviews for our clients in the future.

Monday 24 March 2014

Dialogue - by numbers [Hotels]

We know you love statistics - so here's a round-up of interesting numbers...

  • 16% - the average rise in TripAdvisor ranking in your first 12 months of membership
  • 4.6 out of 5 - the average score awarded to our clients by their guests
  • 77% - the amount by which you can expect negative comments to TripAdvisor to reduce
  • 12% - the amount by which you can expect positive (4 and 5 star) reviews to TripAdvisor to increase
  • 14% - the amount by which you can expect bounce (potential guests coming to your home page and leaving without exploring your website further) to reduce
  • 2.7 - the number of extra 4 star or 5 star reviews Dialogue will get posted to TripAdvisor per 100 rooms/month
  • 3.6 - the number of guests per 100 rooms/month who will post a negative review (privately) into Dialogue and change their minds about returning when they read your response

Monday 10 March 2014

Reviews - great in theory, powerful in reality

We spend a lot of our time discussing the whys and wherefores of reviews and review management with our clients; so much so that sometimes even we risk losing touch with the power of the real thing, and the profound effect that reviews have on us all - as potential customers...

We all know that great reviews drive business, but only when we see them does their impact really hit home. The reviews that follow are real examples (and just two of many thousands), both posted in the last week; read them and then ask yourself "Would I use this business?"

A hotel client: 

An estate agent client:

Would you book a room in this hotel? would you invite this agent to value your home for sale?

Saturday 8 March 2014

The most accurate impression - Dialogue or TripAdvisor?

In our opinion there has not yet been enough focus in the press on whether or not review sites give an accurate impression of a business.

Above you will see the ratings for a hotel: first from Dialogue and second from TripAdvisor. So let's look at the differences:

First: the method of harvest. We invite all their guests to post a review; TripAdvisor relies on guests volunteering to post a review. This results in three major statistical impacts:
  1. Dialogue ensures a much more representative sample of the hotel's guests actually write a review. In this case 1664 reviews through Dialogue as opposed to 810 on TripAdvisor: double the number of guest opinions
  2. Guests often use TripAdvisor to complain without understanding the background to their complaint; Dialogue allowed this hotel to respond* to 202 reviews which contained some form of criticism before then inviting the guest to post their final review
  3. Dissatisfied guests are much more likely to post (to TripAdvisor), out of all proportion to the reality of a stay at any given hotel - by a factor of around 15:1. This leads to an inbuilt bias on TripAdvisor which is reflected in the average scores of any hotel
This resulted in the following breakdown of the 1462* final reviews:
      • Excellent      783   
      • Very Good    614
      • Average        61
      • Poor              4
      • Terrible          0
*All reviews are first read by a HelpHound moderator; those that require input from the hotel are placed in 'Resolution' where the hotel and their guest can discuss whatever point has been raised. at the conclusion of this process HelpHound invites the guest to post their final review.

The conclusion we invite you to draw from this is that Dialogue presents a fairer and more accurate view of the hotel: according to TripAdvisor over 10% of their guests are unhappy (posting a poor/terrible review) - that's one in ten and is demonstrably misleading. With Dialogue every guest is asked their opinion, and any guest who is unhappy enough to want their opinion published has their opinion published. Dialogue enables a well-run and managed hotel to look just that. Dialogue is fair to both hotel and guest alike.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

It only takes a single bad review...

Some of you will have read this - it ran in most national papers this week. Behind all the 'Basil Fawlty' journalese is an important point - that negative reviews harm your business:

'She said she has lost £2,000 in cancelled bookings since the scathing Michael W review - which she calls "The Valentine's Day Massacre".' 

Here's a link to their TripAdvisor listing.