In the digital age, online reviews have become a fundamental element in the decision-making process of consumers, especially in the tourism and hospitality sector. This phenomenon, known as "online word of mouth", has a significant impact on bookings and the reputation of hospitality establishments.
Online reviews are not a recent phenomenon. Their roots go back to the 1700s, during the Enlightenment period, when literacy and the free circulation of information and ideas gave birth to public opinion. Today, thanks to the web and social media, reviews are accessible to everyone and influence every aspect of our lives.
The weight of online reviews on hospitality establishments is enormous. With the increase in competition in the tourism sector, potential customers increasingly rely on reviews to select the most suitable structure for their needs. Positive reviews can increase the reputation of a hotel and attract new customers, while negative reviews can have a negative impact on the business.
Statistics show that 97% of consumers read online reviews before making a booking. Furthermore, 81% of opinions are positive and 68% of guests prefer structures that respond to reviews. These data highlight the importance of actively managing online reviews as part of a hospitality establishment's marketing strategy.
The psychology of reviews plays an important role in this process. People tend to trust those they perceive as similar to them, accepting their advice and taking into account their judgments. Online reviews, written by ordinary people rather than advertisers, are perceived as more sincere and reliable.
To effectively manage online reviews, hospitality establishments must follow some best practices. It is important to respond to all reviews, both positive and negative, in a professional and timely manner. Furthermore, it is essential to invite customers to leave a review after their stay, to increase the visibility of the structure and improve its online reputation.
In conclusion, online reviews are a powerful marketing tool that can significantly influence bookings in a hospitality establishment. Ignoring their weight could be a costly mistake, while managing them effectively can lead to an increase in bookings and a better online reputation.