The Big R’s: Recent, Relevant, Reviews, To Win Sales On Booking Platforms

By: Laura Badiu for Trust You

When promoting hotels and accommodations on booking platforms, self-advertising can only go so far. Especially in the current pandemic context, users require reassurance from fellow travelers in order to be able to make an informed and safe booking decision. This is why reviews have a significant impact on the final verdict. However, reviews submitted before the crisis have a tendency to lose their relevance and impact quite fast and what was deemed as important by travelers just a few months ago might not be equally important in the present. Traveling in the current scene means shifting the focus towards key features and topics that are essential now, like health, safety, and cleanliness. It is actually predicted that factors that were, until recently, top of mind – like price – are now making room for the previously mentioned categories.

Proving Darwin right once more, for OTAs, TMCs, booking engines, and other third-party booking channels, the key to surviving the pandemic months lies in the ability to adjust and adapt fast and without much friction.

Booking platforms are now dealing with the same challenge: encouraging bookings in a new and unprecedented context. Due to the rising concerns that travelers have when making a booking, the data that supports their decision is now shifting its structure and content. Let’s have a closer look at the top priorities that travelers have in the current pandemic context, in terms of consuming guest reviews before making an informed and safe decision. In a nutshell, we can summarize it to the three R’s: Recent, Relevant, Reviews.

Recent Reviews: feedback is always great to have and the more of it, the better. However, just like the travelers’ needs and expectations have changed significantly in the last few months, so have the hotel offerings. What might have been a strong trait pre-crisis, like a hotel’s spa facilities, can now be almost completely outdated or irrelevant; the spa might not open for guests anymore and travelers won’t find a review that praises that particular facility as useful for their case. Travelers are now looking for reviews that are recent, which can give an insight into what is happening right now. They want to know what kind of measures are taken by the hotel, how stringent are the management and hotel staff when it comes to the sanitization rules, or if the hotel is at full capacity.

Relevant Reviews: even recent feedback can lack certain key points that travelers might be on the lookout for. The majority of current travelers have the same natural concern for their health and safety. As a result, they are focusing their search on hotels with great sanitation and cleanliness standards, that are able to put their concerns at rest and enable a safe and healthy stay. This is why recent reviews that are able to paint a picture regarding these key focus points are undoubtedly the ones that should be promoted first on any type of booking platform.

While it is becoming more challenging to facilitate the perfect match between travelers and hotels, we at TrustYou have developed new ways of leveraging guest reviews on booking websites in a way that caters to the current needs and priorities: health, cleanliness, and safety.

We have recently announced the integration of the new Public Health semantic categories in our tool’s Analytics dashboard. The exclusive data delivered through the Public Health review categories enables hoteliers to oversee and manage the guest feedback that refers to the relevant measures taken by hotels in regards to the COVID-19 situation. The feedback is therefore broken down in a granular and targeted way, in order to pinpoint exactly what the pandemic travelers need from their hotel stay.

Review Data for the New Normal

New product developments now provide feedback verified by guests for our trusted data partners, including OTAs, TMCs, and third-party booking platforms. With TrustYou’s reliable content, these booking platforms can now leverage each hotel’s most recent and relevant reviews in order to guide the booking journey of each traveler. By enabling travelers to consume important information in a quick, effective, visual way, the chances of generating a booking are automatically higher.

The ‘Relevant Now’ data is unique on the market and TrustYou provides the only feedback management solution that integrates guest review data on health and safety. Because the need for reassurance – beyond a hotel’s self-promoting means – is higher than ever before, we saw the need for exposing what hotel guests are reporting in regards to safety, health, and cleanliness. And while hotels communicate the measures they are taking through cleanliness certificates or information on their webpage/booking platforms, this data needs to be paired with open and impartial guest feedback in order for travelers to actually put their trust in it.

The image presented below breaks down the visual review information that booking platforms can benefit from by using TrustYou’s ‘Relevant Now’ data. Once integrated, the data provides vital details regarding key categories, as seen through the lens of previous guests. What it’s important to note here is that all the scores depicted in the visual are based on review data that only goes back six months, in order to preserve the accuracy and relevance of guest feedback. The data partners that leverage the recent review data can pick and choose the exact categories they want to be displayed on the hotel listing page, according to what they deem as most important for their users.