Today TripAdvisor® announced the results of a new study which reveals the key factors that drive engagement1 from travellers researching places to stay on the website’s property pages. The study analysed data such as the number of reviews, management responses, photo and video content across a sample of hotel and B&B pages to reveal which factors most encourage travellers to look for more information about the property, through clicks on their TripAdvisor page or via booking inquiries.
Key amongst the findings: hotels providing a management response to reviews are 21 percent more likely to receive a booking inquiry via TripAdvisor than those who don’t respond to any reviews. And properties that respond to over 50 percent of their reviews increase their likelihood of receiving a booking enquiry by 24 percent (compared to properties that do not respond to reviews).
The factors that drive the most traveller engagement1 on hotel or B&B pages:
(ranked by level of impact on traveller engagement1)
1. Number of photos
2. Total number of reviews
3. Management responses in the past year
4. Number of reviews in the past year
Seeing is believing – the more photos, the better
Photos are essential, driving not only higher levels of engagement from travellers but also leading to more potential bookings. Just going from not showing any photos to having photos on hotel and B&B pages results in 138 percent more engagement from travellers. Engagement levels and booking enquiries demonstrate linear growth the more photos there are:
Increased traveller engagement levels:
Properties with at least one photo: 138 percent increase in engagement (compared to properties with no photos)
Properties with over 100 photos: 151 percent increase in engagement (compared to properties with no photos)
Properties with over 1000 photos: 203 percent increase in engagement (compared to properties with no photos)
Increased likelihood of booking enquiries:
Properties with at least one photo: 225 percent increase in likelihood of booking enquiry (compared to properties with no photos)
Properties with over 100 photos: 238 percent increase in likelihood of booking enquiry (compared to properties with no photos)
Both sides of the story – responding to reviews reaps rewards
Taking part in the conversation is equally beneficial: the more reviews the manager responds to, the higher the average review rating. The level of engagement from travellers also increases with the presence of management responses – hotels and B&Bs that have responded to at least one review already see 17 percent more engagement from travellers compared to those with no management responses. Properties that respond to reviews at least 13 percent of the time see a 21 percent boost in engagement compared to properties that do not respond at all. The increase in engagement trends upwards the more management responds.
Similarly, responding to reviews has a significant impact on overall ratings for hotels and B&Bs on TripAdvisor:
Average review rating vs. rate of response for recent reviews (hotels/B&Bs):
0% response rate = 3.81 average review rating
5%-40% response rate = 4.04 average review rating
40% - 65% = 4.05 average review rating
65%+ response rate = 4.15 average review rating
“Looking at the results of this study, a clear theme emerges: the more engaged the business owner, the more interested the traveller,” said Marc Charron, President, TripAdvisor for Business. “It’s no secret that travellers want to see pictures and read reviews of a property before making their booking decision. What’s really key is the upward trend in average review ratings, traveller engagement levels and booking enquiries on the site, the more frequently a hotel owner responds to reviews. Taking part in the conversation and demonstrating that the owner cares about feedback has a very real and measurable effect on converting a traveller from a casual browser into a potential guest.”
“As part of our internal culture, guest comments on TripAdvisor are a priority for us, this is why our hotel managers read and react on every single review posted regarding their hotels”, said Javier Carazo, Quality SVP for NH Hotel Group. “But we do not stop here, we try to respond to as many reviews as possible, giving our guests feedback on their comments, or just thanking them for their opinion. We are convinced that these actions have a very positive impact on our current and potential guests in terms of engagement and new bookings. They really like to see that we care about what they share with the TripAdvisor community”.
1For the purpose of this study, TripAdvisor analysed data for a sample of accommodation properties from the 25 most reviewed cities* on the site from 7 July to 7 August, 2014. The study reveals how review ratings change based on management response rates and the level of traveller engagement (defined as page views per session and booking enquiry clicks) relative to various content factors such as the number of reviews, photos, videos and rate of review responses from management.
*Cities included in study sample are: London, Rome, Paris, New York City, Las Vegas, Barcelona, Orlando, Milan, Florence, Bangkok, San Francisco, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid, Prague, Edinburgh, Venice, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Singapore, Dublin, Marrakech, New Orleans.