Consumer reliance on online reviews for the hospitality sector has steadily increased as a survey by location marketing firm Uberall has found that 79% of consumers who have checked online reviews have done so for hotels and 77% for restaurants.
The survey of 2,111 UK consumers found that online customer reviews for hotels and restaurants are more influential than information on the business’ own website, with roughly five times as many people trusting hotel and restaurant customer reviews over the business’ website (77% vs. 15% and 72% vs. 15%, respectively).
Businesses sometimes avoid engaging with reviews altogether for fear of negative responses, but only 15% of consumers would never consider using a business that had negative reviews. The vast majority of consumers aren’t dissuaded by negative reviews, and even if a business had a number of negative online reviews, four out of 10 people would still use the business if it had replied appropriately to the negative reviews, such as by apologising or offering a discount.
Acknowledging positive reviews and providing meaningful responses to negative reviews can enhance reputation and turn around harmful publicity by showing new customers that the business is responsive and customer-centric.
Some 76% of UK consumers have checked online reviews on TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook or Yelp or other online review websites, but in terms of popularity, TripAdvisor comes first. Some 68% have checked online reviews on TripAdvisor, compared to Google (27%), Facebook (18%) and Yelp (4%).
Daniel Mathew, vice president UK, Uberall, said: “Consumers are relying on reviews more and more when making purchasing decisions, but they’re not just looking for top star ratings or glowing reviews, they’re also evaluating the business based on its online responsiveness.
“With consumers engaging with companies on a vast array of review platforms, it’s vital for companies to have a unified and proactive voice in these conversations, especially when they’re managing the online presence of a great number of store locations.”