Reviews and guest reviews, for convenience simply called reviews in this article, are an increasingly important part of the orientation and decision making process of hotel guests. This form of 'User Generated Content' tells the 'real' story. A hotel can give a first impression with beautiful photos and a fantastic description, but it is questionable how hotel guests experienced this hotel in real life.
With reviews from hotel guests, both hotel managers and (potential) guests can get information about the quality and service level. Review sites such as TripAdvisor, Zoover and HolidayCheck are therefore frequently visited. Online travel agencies (OTA's) such as Booking.com and Expedia also offer guest reviews/experiences to inform potential bookers and entice them to make a reservation. The mentioned websites can generate reservations, but a commission has to be paid by the hotel. Can reviews be placed on the hotel's website so that more direct (commission free) reservations can be made through the hotel's own website?
In this article I describe the different possibilities to integrate reviews into the hotel's own website.
The easiest way to load reviews of, for example, TripAdvisor or Zoover into the hotel site is via Widgets. With these widgets, an iFrame or code from this website is placed in the hotel's own website. This displays a summary of the reviews. However, the layout of these widgets can generally not be adapted properly to the style of the website. In addition, these parties are actively advertised in the form of a prominent placement of the logo (including link). A third disadvantage is that the widget is loaded from the server of the review site. This can slow down the loading time of the hotel website and this can have negative consequences for search engine optimization.
The mentioned disadvantages generally also apply when placing a 'badge' on one's own website.
There are several tools in the market that allow hotel managers to collect reviews from different sources. Examples of these Online Review Management tools are Revinate, Trustyou, Reviewpro and the Dutch Olery. Some of these tools make it possible to tick reviews that are placed on their own website. These reviews are then placed within the hotel's website via a widget or script. The big advantage of this is that the hotel itself can decide which reviews will appear on the website, although of course this can influence the credibility. Despite the fact that the style of the review widget can be easily adjusted, placing such a widget can have consequences for the loading time of the website.
As a specialist in the design and development of effective hotel sites, we have developed a custom module with which reviews can be obtained in two ways:
Parts of the review are 'Type of traveller', language and rating (in stars). The advantages of these custom modules include that the reviews are naturally reflected in the website, that the hotel itself has full control over the content (although this can also affect credibility) and that the module has no consequences on the loading time of the website.
Thomas Dieben | Becurious Digtial Marketing Strategies For Hotels