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We draw inspiration from the world around us and we want to share our knowledge with you. Tap into our latest thinking on the issues that matter most in hospitality today and find out what trends are going to shape our industry in the future.

Guest experience, online reviews and hotel revenue: the link
16 April 2014, by Samantha Noll in Reputation
Guest experience, online reviews and hotel revenue: the link

With the changing competitive landscape for hotels brought about growing internet exposure allowing travellers to be better informed, it is crucial for hotels to raise their bar of service quality to compete effectively. Because of sites such as Tripadvisor and Travelocity, hotels have to compete more than only on rates and facilities but on the actual guest experience which guests can share through reviews. Imagine, the cost of a negative incident nowadays has grown immensely since the past, where complaints were dealt with on a smaller scale. Now, any single negative experience reviewed online reaches millions of people and can ruin your brand image and deter business.

It has been proven in a study by Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in 2012 that there is a direct link between a hotel’s online reputation score and its Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR): a 1% improvement in a hotel’s online reputation score leads to an increase in RevPAR by 1.42%! It is important that hoteliers begin to acknowledge the impacts that something as simple as online reviews can have on the financial performance of the company.

Considering this, it is interesting for hoteliers to see which aspects of a guest’s hotel experience actually play the biggest role when reviews are shared. When looking into a study carried out by The Hague Hotel School in conjunction with Diversey, it was found that cleanliness and hygiene of hotel rooms are the most critical aspects guests consider in creating their impression of the hotel and writing negative reviews; almost 70% of guests perceived hygiene to be the deal-breaker in recommending a property to friends and family.

What does all of this tell us? In summary, two things:

  1. Negative reviews directly link to your hotel’s financial performance

  2. Hotel guests are most inclined to post negative reviews and share their experience upon experiencing sub-standard cleanliness in their rooms

This means that a guest experiencing poor hotel hygiene easily results in a negative review which can ultimately impact your hotel revenue.

How can hoteliers approach this matter? Of course it is possible to manage your online reputation by reacting appropriately to negative reviews, which can improve your hotel image and increase reassurance among travellers. However, this is only a reactive approach – It is too late to change what has already been shared with millions of viewers.

A proactive approach to ensure that sub-standard service is not delivered to avoid negative reviews in the first place is also possible, but it takes a greater effort! Training is the start of every employee’s journey; successfully carrying it out can greatly determine how your employees deliver that desired guest experience. You can take a look here at how we approach this.

Keeping in mind that the core business of the hotel industry is to provide proper and clean accommodation, in line with the fact that guests believe room cleanliness is the most important factor in forming their perceptions, it is essential that hoteliers keep up a high performance quality in the housekeeping department; effective training is a way to do this. Surprisingly enough, this department is often given less attention than it deserves. With the growing impact online reviews have on hotel business, good performance in this area should remain a top priority!

What are your thoughts on the impacts of online reviews on the success of a hotel business? How would you evaluate the reactive and proactive approach to dealing with the situation?

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