In Newsletter #4: How to rank higher on TripAdvisor; The Age of Tech Disappointment; Mobile use by hotel staff helps efficiency.
Why it matters: It’s tough not to include a tactical guide to increasing your rank on TripAdvisor as our first highlight.
Okay, a quick recap: TripAdvisor has the largest user ecosystem in the entire travel space with 375M unique monthly users, over 250M reviews and an average of 160 contributions per minute.
Why does this matter? Well, word of mouth (which includes review sites) is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all our purchasing decisions (2010 McKinsey Study) and most importantly, 50% of all travel bookers visited TripAdvisor specifically at some point in their search (ComScore 2015).
Still not convinced TripAdvisor holds weight? A study by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research found that for every percentage point a hotel improves its online reputation, its “RevPAR” (revenue per available room) goes up by 1.4%; for every point its reputation improves on a five-point scale, a hotel can raise prices by 11% without seeing bookings fall off. These are big numbers! And here is a guide to how to engage better on this hotel booking dynamo.
However, if the sceptic in you wants to point out that TripAdvisor published this themselves, look no further than their 2013 Phocuswright study, which showed 87% of users agree management response to a bad review improves their impression of the hotel.
Now we are no fools. Surely everyone who has a role in a hotel’s eCommerce has read this report. But if we were reading this and it was our hotel, we would sure make double sure the simple steps to a better engagement strategy had been taken yesterday.
Why it matters: We absolutely love this quote. This article isn’t on the hotel industry per se, but pertains well to the challenges of integrating technology into an established industry like hospitality.
This article on the “Age of Tech Disappointment” is about the ever-increasing expectations of today’s consumers. No longer is it satisfactory to produce a product without fault. The rapid pace of innovation and the seamless ability to interact with it has led hotel guests to continually demand more. You feel it as hoteliers trying to keep up with your guests, while the outside forces try to provide them services. We feel it as vendors who produce a beautiful product feature only to be asked about the next three frontiers we could help our hotels cross. Yes it’s exhausting, but it’s very real so let’s embrace the entrepreneurialism and keep pushing full steam ahead (and just a few months ago you were still debating free WiFi…! )
Why it matters: Of course it does. Radios are very effective means of communication. but mobile enables so much more context. A radio is an open channel, everyone on that channel has to receive that message even though it is rarely for them. We remember travelling to Europe and hearing the taxis’ radios all ride long. It was so disruptive to the beautiful European scenery outside. Now imagine how your staff feel. With a mobile solution you can not only send direct messages to the person who is going to do the job (think Uber driver getting the pickup location) but also track that the job was asked for in the first place and even how long it took to complete.
So, what is stopping you from using mobile technology for your staff? Not price. The average price of a smartphone (or iPod) being used by our hotels is a one-time $180 fee all-in (they use the WiFi). The average price of a radio is $700. So, with mobile, you are able to save money while upgrading your operations. Yes, this article only talked about mobile check-in, and that is a another debate, but let this theme take you further; Like walking into an Apple store. What is beautiful about the experience is that the staff member who greets you can singlehandedly show you what you want, charge you on a mobile device, bag and tag you and you leave extremely happy (and with much less disposable income). Hotels can achieve this too. We actually had the pleasure of presenting on Staff Mobility at HITEC this year. Let us know if you want a deeper walkthrough.