Customer reviews have become a currency for businesses. Not only do the vast majority of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, eating at a restaurant or booking a hotel, but they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The online review is invaluable, but why exactly?
Online reviews play a critical role in the ranking, rating and reputation of a business. Let’s break each topic down.
- Ranking – the order your business is perceived in relation to your competitors
- Rating – the value your business is awarded by customers
- Reputation – overall opinions about your business
Top 10 This… Number 1 That
Ranking is everywhere. In today’s competitive marketplace placing a focus on ranking is imperative for organizations. Many consumers look at the top 5 or 10 lists when deciding on a business, hotel or restaurant. According to Bizrate Insights, nearly a quarter of consumers always check online reviews before buying something. Furthermore, over 40% of respondents revealed that they often check reviews. Rankings allow consumers to compare which businesses are the most prestigious, highly valued and perceived. Though there is little to no difference between rankings, (for instance, different ranking hotels might provide the exact same offer, but the overall opinion decides which place they are awarded) a higher ranking adds a boost of bragging rights and contributes to a business’s competitive advantage.
Rating: An Internal Competition
Ratings, conversely, are an internal battle in which customers value and asses your business. It is entirely possible to have a low ranking with a perfect rating. Typically ratings are out of 5, 10 or 100. Hotels and restaurants are known for their 5-Star classification. Harvard Business School reveals, “a one-star increase can lead to as much as a 9% increase in a business’ revenue”. With this in mind, many hotels are optimizing their customer experience strategies to offer the best experience with the hopes of not only increasing their ‘star’ rating, but raising their overall rating on various social channels, such as Google, Yelp, Booking.com, TripAdvisor and more.
“You can’t buy a good reputation; you must earn it.” – Harvey Mackay
Reviews and what people say about your business on the Internet develop your reputation; word of mouth and customer engagement build it. Reputation is intangible and qualitative, it’s impossible to measure; however, it’s imperative for businesses to have a good one.
By effectively managing your reputation, you can increase revenues and improve business operations. The Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell divulges, “a 1-percent increase in a hotel’s online reputation score leads up to a 0.89-percent increase in price as measured by the hotel’s average daily rate (ADR). Similarly this 1-percent increase in reputation also leads to an occupancy increase of up to 0.54 percent. Finally, this 1-percent reputation improvement leads up to a 1.42-percent increase in revenue per available room”.
Reputation isn’t built overnight, it evolves over time. The greater the focus is on customer satisfaction, engagement and retention, the stronger and more highly perceived the reputation will be.
From Reputation to Appeal
Travel Appeal processes millions of data from different sources to provide businesses with an accurate system for the analysis of customer perception. Reputation is more than reviews, it’s knowing how to effectively communicate your offer to potential and existing customers. We have leading edge technology, which categorize what is most important to your business on a concise dashboard. Our technology deepens the relationship between customer experience and innovation as our insights and solutions improve business operations and customer sentiment.