Consumer power is increasing as digitisation is on the rise. Platforms with consumer reviews exert an influence on buying decisions. That applies to the travel industry too, as in the case of hotel reviews and bookings, for instance. 28 percent of the 2180 business travellers from 24 countries surveyed by AirPlus essentially choose their hotel based on guest reviews. A further 58 percent are guided in their choice of hotel by reviews at least some of the time.
Reviews have high degree of credibility
This trend is most marked in emerging markets. No less than 97 percent of Indian business travellers and 95 percent of Chinese business travellers select their hotel always or at least from time to time based on reviews. Many travellers regard reviews as having a high degree of credibility. 27 percent of those surveyed basically trust reviews, while 66 percent do so at least sometimes. However, the extent of that trust in reviews differs from country to country. While 57 percent of Indian business travellers always trust reviews, the figure for the Netherlands is only 10 percent.
It is time for companies to harness review platforms
Given 456 million visits a month to www.tripadvisor.com, the world’s most popular review platform, this issue can no longer be ignored by corporate travel managers. “Companies ought to share their business travel experiences and make reviews about hotel bookings, for instance, available to employees,” Yaël Klein, Marketing Director of AirPlus, advises. Reviews by a company’s own employees provide an excellent opportunity to back up internal travel perceptions. Employees trust reviews by colleagues and comply with corporate policy by booking hotels preferred by the company.
How about setting up a “smart link”?
“Why don’t you check whether the provider of your hotel booking tool offers review opportunities,” Klein advises travel managers. Should this not be the case, a corporate link to a public review platform could be set up. “Smart links to platforms that list suitable hotels for corporate travel have proven to be a success at our clients,” says Klein. “A feared migration has not occurred within the context of subsequent booking processes. Instead, employees obtain information from a very wide range of sources, but ultimately bookings are made in companies’ own systems.” The benefit of being linked in to platforms is a greater quantity of information, like hotels’ details about location, facilities and transport links, which are platform standards. And ultimately the reviews on the platforms enable bad hotels to be separated from good ones and be ruled out of consideration.
You can find a white paper on this topic to download at the AirPlus website: www.airplus.com