Being in Holland for our annual Meet the Parents (and friends) Trip earlier this month we got a request to write a review about the hotel that we had been staying in. As we ask our guests to do the same it was time to return to favour to society and so I did. Being at it, the eternal question crept up again “what happens with these reviews”? What do hotels and restaurants do with them (how can we improve)? Or is it -just – useful for informing future potential guests?
Here at Cortijo El Guarda we try to learn from guest remarks, both on site or later through their reviews, sometimes easier than in other situations. Since I have been working in the Client Satisfaction Arena for quite some years the subject always has interested me. I learned that it only makes sense to ask guests for their input if you are willing to improve; otherwise they will just stop giving you feedback. But that’s – in first instance – all related to us business owners.
How about you, our guests? How trustworthy are reviews? I recently was contacted by a company that provides content and marketing services to hotels and restaurants across the globe. One of the services that they offer is “Tripadvisor and third party reviews”, so for USD 20 a property can get a review posted on Tripadvisor. Needless to these reviews are done by people that have never even visited the place. I have seen many complaints from property owners about bad reviews from people who never stayed, or even disgruntled neighbors and these can be almost impossible to remove. While this is due to a weakness in the Tripadvisor system, I don’t fault Tripadvisor for it.
How to recognise fake reviews? One thing I would be suspicious of when reading property reviews, would be a number of new good reviews, if the general history for the property has been neutral to negative. One thing I would especially recommend when looking for lodgings, and something I always do, is to look for reviews on booking sites as well. Reviews that are left on sites like Booking.com can only be left if the person actually booked through the site and stayed at the property. So these reviews combined with those you may find on sites like Trip Advisor should give you a fairly good idea of what an accommodation may really be like.
So back to us; what did we learned from you last year? This winter we put an extra window in a room that a few guests found a bit too darkish, an extra door to create a bit more silence in another room and installed a generator to deal with the occasional Spanish rural power breaks, we appreciate your feedback and keep on listening.