Online hotel reviews: the guests’ verdict

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The FINANCIAL — Online reviewers tend to rate eastern European hotels highly, but the city of Cape Town leads on overall online reputation, according to a new PwC report. Cleanliness and location are rated most highly everywhere, with five star hotels being more likely to respond to feedback than three and four star hotels.

These are some findings from PwC’s study Online reputations – why hotel reviews matter and how hotels respond.

In the city ranking, Cape Town takes the number one spot inGlobal Review Index (GRI), service, location and value. Johannesburg comes in third behind Vilnius, with Edinburgh and Lisbon the only two western European cities to make it onto the top 10 list in terms of the overall GRI.

Attacking negative reviews at the root of the problem

Some hoteliers see reviews, especially negative ones, as a nuisance and are still unsure as to how to use them to improve their business. Some still tend to dispute their validity as a source of reliable information about their hotel and go on the defensive about them.

“Today, hotel online reviews have become one of the primary information sources for guests during the buying process. But even if some may challenge their validity, this is what is written about a hotel in the public space,” explains PwC’s Nicolas Mayer, Swiss Hospitality & Leisure Industry leader

“Thus, hotels should pro-actively manage their online ratings, and embrace online reviews as an opportunity for constructive exchange with their guests. Hotels that not only monitor and respond to them, professionally, rapidly and honestly, and use them to improve their product where it is perceived negatively in reviews, will come out winners in the long run.”

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Beyond the individual properties, destination management organisations will also find them useful in understanding the success factors in destinations that visitors rate highly, and where there may be room for improvement in their own realm. Owners, investors and asset managers in turn will find online reviews an interesting addition in the overall assessment of their asset management companies’ performance in the market.


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