Hotels Taking Online Guest Reviews Seriously

ATLANTA, September 29, 2008 – As travelers pack in those last minute summer trips, a poll released today by Atlanta-based pest control company Orkin, Inc. reveals that the hospitality industry is taking guest-authored online hotel reviews seriously.

A combined 77 percent of surveyed hotel owners, operators, and sales and marketing staff believe travelers take guest-authored reviews on travel-related Web sites very seriously or seriously – 33 percent and 44 percent, respectively. In turn, more than half of survey respondents say they take online guest-authored reviews of their own hotels very seriously.

“With people traveling less and less because of rising fuel prices, hotels are in competition for guests more than ever,” says Orkin technical Director Frank Meek, B.C.E. “A bad online review can mean the difference between a guest booking with you or a competitor.”

Hotels are taking action and checking online reviews on a regular basis – 36 percent of respondents check online guest reviews weekly and 28 percent check daily. Of the 145 respondents, 68 percent say their establishment received a negative guest-authored online review in the past six months. In addition, 65 percent say they have a policy in place regarding responses to negative online reviews posted by guests.

“Everything from bad service to a pest sighting can be reported online,” says Meek. “Hotels have responded by monitoring online reviews regularly and responding to issues quickly.”

The Competitive Edge

A little more than half of those surveyed said they monitor online reviews about their competitors. More than three-quarters of respondents thought “planted” positive and negative online reviews – those written by hospitality employees posing as “guests” in their own hotels or those of competitors – were a serious industry problem.

To help hoteliers respond to – and avoid – reviews about pest-related issues, Orkin has launched FiveStarList.com. The site houses resources such as “8 Places to Check Out Before Pests Check In” – a free educational checklist designed to help hotel staff identify and prevent pests in key problem areas. Available in English, Spanish and Russian, the checklist offers tips to discourage insects and rodents from becoming uninvited guests.

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