As the famous saying goes, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”.
This is especially true when it comes to hotels competing for business.
As you may already know, the impact of TripAdvisor has on influencing booking decisions.
According to TripAdvisor, 83% of travelers rely on bubble ratings when choosing a hotel. Additionally, 88% of travelers filter out hotels with an average star rating below three.
While it’s important to get feedback directly from your guests on their experience with your hotel, but it may not give you a bigger picture on how you compare to your competitors. By looking at your competitor reviews, you may gain insights to guest preferences, what they like and don’t like, as well as other valuable information you may not get from your guests directly.
Additionally, you can see what types of new amenities and services your competitors are offering and see how it can be applied to your own hotel.
Here are 3 ways you can learn from competitor TripAdvisor reviews.
1) The Good
First things first, create a list of your top 5 to 10 nearest competitor hotels.
Second, go to TripAdvisor.com and search for those competitors one by one.
Here is the cool part, instead of having to read each individual review, TripAdvisor allows you to search reviews by keyword. If you want to see what makes your competitor’s guests happy, search for positive words like “good, great, beautiful, best, awesome, or unique” to see what stands out to guests.
Alternatively, you can click on a popular keyword which is listed below the search field.
For example, simply by looking at this hotel’s TripAdvisor page, you can see what popular terms guests are mentioning. This is valuable competitive information you cannot get from other sources unless you actually stayed at the hotel.
From a simple glance, you can see that guests are mentioning some of the products the hotel uses which they loved like “Aveda products” or “Keurig Coffee Maker”. This can help your purchasing team understand what guests like in terms of certain bath product brands or the convenience of a Keurig coffee maker rather than making it themselves.
2) The Bad
To truly understand how guests feel about their stay, you also need to know what they don’t like about your competitors so you can avoid the same mistakes. There are a couple of ways to do this.
The first way is to search for negative terms like “bad, poor, terrible…”. By searching for these terms, you can uncover what guests hate the most. Or you can filter the review results to look at the “poor” or “terrible” reviews specifically and uncover any trends.
For example, a search for “poor” within the reviews uncovered a major issue that most hotels have, a bad internet connection. As you know, the need for guests to have fast internet is essential for the things they need to do like checking work emails or streaming their favorite Netflix show. When hotels fail to provide the basic necessities for guests, they probably won’t come back and even go as far as mentioning it in a review. Is it time to check your hotel’s WIFI connection?
3) The Innovations
In order to stay competitive, hotels need to innovate and bring excitement and buzz around their use of technology to elevate the guest experience. If you are thinking about adding new technology but not sure which is the right one to pursue, searching within reviews can allow you to see if guests are requesting a certain technology or raving about in their review.
For example, if you have been thinking about adding a texting service to improve communication with guests during their stay, you can search for keywords like “text” or “texting” to see what guests say about it in their reviews. You can also search for things like “Alexa”, or “kiosk” to see what guests are saying about those technologies or any other ones you're interested in adding. Having this type of validation help you be more confident in taking the next step in exploring that solution as well as understanding how your competitors are using it.
Other Ways to Track Your Competition
Looking at TripAdvisor is only one way for hotels to keep an eye on the competition. There are many other strategies you can deploy like:
Following them on social media to see what’s being promoted
Subscribing to their emails and get an idea of the types of marketing messages they use
Setup Google alerts by brand name to see when they are mentioned in the news
Reading their blog and other content to learn what topics and new innovations are coming up
Purchase an STR report to help you compare key metrics again main competitors
Stay a night at competitor hotels to get a true sense of the experience they provide vs. yours
These are just a few ideas on how you can better track your competition and create a brand-differentiated experience. Let me know in the comments how you track your competition.
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