Social Proofing - How Much Do Reviews Matter?
What is Social Proofing?
Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash Social Proofing is a phenomenon where people follow the actions of the masses. It is a concept we use unconsciously in our everyday lives. Take Singapore for example, the national sport of Singapore is queueing. Singaporeans love to queue (as a Singaporean myself, I can attest to that). We queue for everything and anything - sometimes we do not even know what we’re queuing for BUT we make sure to join the queue first before finding out the hype. This is a prime example of social proofing, the long queues are social clues of a particular benefit that is worth the wait even when the benefit remains unknown. Social proofing is also a method where people use it to help with decision making especially when they are uncertain about their choices. They turn to the general public for clues to help them with their next course of action. So what does this have to do with hotels?
For hotels, the best and most cost-effective way of social proofing is getting reviews from your guests. Using endorsements from influencers or celebrities to help promote your hotel is also a way of social proofing, however, reviews triumph everything else as it is arguably the most reliable way of social proofing. In this new age of technology where a keyword search can render thousands of results, consumers are spoilt for choices when it comes to choosing a hotel. To help themselves make a more informed choice on accommodation, a high percentage of consumers reveal that they rely on reviews.
Photo retrieved from STR
From this 2019 STR survey, ranking 3rd place at 38%, consumers indicated that Positive Reviews play a significant role in helping them choose their next accommodation when booking online. Nowhere in this survey can you find any indication that the respondents chose a particular hotel because their favourite celebrities endorsed it. Still not convinced?
According to research done by Qubit, social proof can lead to an increase of 2.3% in Revenue Per Visitor (RPV). At a glance, 2.3% may seem insignificant, but when you plug this data into your hotel’s annual revenue numbers, it can translate into rather significant revenue for your hotel.
How to Gather Positive Reviews?
Now for the most important question, “How can I help my hotel gather more positive reviews?” Getting positive reviews from guests usually happens in an organic manner. By making sure guests are kept satisfied throughout their stay, hotels are more likely to obtain a positive review when the guest checks out. However, not all satisfied guests would take the time out to write reviews after their stay. Even for those who did leave a review, some of these reviews may not be of high-calibre at all. In fact, it may even look patronising which defeats the purpose of writing a review entirely!
Getting reviews can come in a less organic manner as well - during check-out, hotel staff can also ask guests if they had enjoyed their stay and encourage guests to leave a good review if they did. The problem with this method is that it may come off as somewhat pushy and desperate, even though the decision to write a review lies entirely on the guests.
Mitigation & Conflict Resolution
Positive reviews are important but negative reviews are the dealbreakers. Negative reviews are not entirely bad - they provide a window of opportunity for hoteliers to step in and turn things around. For example, when hoteliers find out that their guests were unhappy with the service in one of their restaurants, they can offer them a meal on the house in their other restaurant to make up for it.
What's most important, however, is the exact moment when a hotel receives a negative review. If the guest is still with the hotel, there is a chance for conflict resolution. However, if the guest had already checked out and left a scathing review online, the chances of the guest returning are zero and there is absolutely no way for the hotel to take action but to express their sincerest apologies on the review platform.
Positive or Negative - Reviews Matter
To sum it all up, whether a review is positive or negative, they do matter. Good reviews can influence consumers' decision-making and bring in profit for hotels. Bad reviews are a little more tricky but it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise if actioned on properly.
Click the link here to find out more about gathering positive reviews!