Lodging Interactive, a full-service digital marketing, social media engagement, and reputation management agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry shares its findings on guest reputation management during the COVID-19 pandemic and the results show negative guest reviews are on the rise.
“As leisure travelers kick off their summer vacations, we thought it would be useful for hotel operators to consider the guest review data we’re seeing come through our Commingle:Engage reputation management services,” said DJ Vallauri, Founder, President and CEO of Lodging Interactive. “We looked at 100 client properties, a subset of our hotel clients that were open in June and found some interesting information which doesn’t bode well for the hospitality industry.”
When comparing guest review sentiment from April, May and June 2020 to the previous three-month time period, the data shows an increase of 10.2% in negative guest reviews and 12.1% decline in positive guest reviews. While guest reviews that had a neutral sentiment also showed a 1.9% increase.
“While the data shows a steep decline in positive guest reviews, I’m not totally discouraged as most of the negative reviews are centered around areas hotel operators can easily improve upon,” added Mr. Vallauri. “Consumers are being messaged with the promise of a ‘sanitized and a clean stay’ and as a result, their expectations are increased.”
The data shows the majority of negative reviews were centered around cleanliness issues and relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following are the recurring themes of the negative guest reviews:
- Limited housekeeping services.
- Limited property facilities are open.
- Removal of coffee makers from rooms.
- Full resort fees being charged.
- Not enforcing social distancing for staff and guests.
- Misleading ‘full breakfast’ offering, when only ‘grab and go’ is offered.
- General cleanliness not up to ‘advertised standards’ in public areas and in guest room.
It is important to note that consumers are being increasingly vocal about hotels not meeting the “brand promise” of sanitization efforts. Hoteliers beware, there are ongoing efforts to discredit how properties are dealing with sanitization. A recent Inside Edition video shows three NYC hotels not changing sheets between room checkouts. “Content like this has the potential to effect the industry’s recovery in a negative way,” said Mr. Vallauri.