Why You Need to Pay Attention to Google Reviews
November 13, 2019 | 455 Views
At its core, hospitality is about creating experiences for people. We strive to put smiles on people’s faces and help make memories. It’s one of the fundamentals of serving people. An integral part of this process is an organization’s ability to understand their guests’ needs and deliver experiences that meet and exceed expectations.
Industry-wide, we have added a lot of complexity to how we deliver experiences, adding numerous differentiated offerings and brands to serve an evolving marketplace. There are more culinary, lodging, and travel options than ever before, each created with its own unique value proposition to serve specific segments. Each is looking to carve out their niche.
With so much variety available to guests, learning and adapting to feedback is now more crucial than ever. Social media reviews offer a tremendous opportunity for organizations to gauge what’s working and what’s not. Sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp! have become almost synonymous with social media to hospitality professionals.
However, there has been a quiet sea change in guest reviews hospitality professionals need to know about. Google stealthily entered the customer-generated review space and has quickly become one of, if not the most, dominant player(s) now. The graph below shows a comparison of reviews generated for hotels globally for Google and TripAdvisor since 2016. In 2016 Google generated just over three million hotel reviews globally. They are on pace to exceed 20 million in 2019. Over the same time period, TripAdvisor has gone from 12 million global hotel reviews to now just over six million.
TOTAL HOTEL REVIEWS GLOBALLY 2019 (1/1/19 – 9/30/19)
Google made significant changes to their Android mobile operating system that are driving a large portion of the increase. Geo-fencing enhancements now allow Google high precision in determining what businesses people visit. When Android users have notifications turned on, Google now pings them asking them to review the business. They have very quietly changed how people are leaving feedback.
There are some key differences between TripAdvisor and Google reviews. Since most Google users are already logged into their phones or browsers, they don’t need to log into an account to leave reviews like they do for TripAdvisor. Google doesn’t have a minimum character requirement for reviews like TripAdvisor does. In fact, reviewers don’t have to add comments if they only wish to leave a score.
Interestingly, since a Google review is part of their eco-system, it can impact organic search results. Likewise, responses from businesses can also have an impact in the results. Therefore, a good strategy for hospitality businesses is to pay attention and respond to Google reviews. Consider that there are important benefits this engagement can have for a business:
- Managers can learn from guests in their own words what they are enjoying about the experiences and what pain points (if any) they have.
- Organic search results can be affected pushing the business higher in online listings, driving more business.
- Most competitors are not paying close attention to Google reviews, so engagement in this area can drive a competitive advantage.
- By posting responses, online businesses demonstrate their care and concern to potential future guests who are mostly likely looking to make a purchase decision.
For some additional information, including tips on how to craft responses to positive and negative reviews, check out the link below to my recent article in the Hospitality Training Magazine, https://hospitalitytrainingmagazine.com/2019/04/leading-your-social-engagement-plan/
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Nice update Colby.
Great CX information and trend data.