A staggering 97% of hotel guests have consulted guest reviews when looking to book a stay in a hotel or resort, according to a new report from Accor, a world leading hospitality group.

The report, based on research1 carried out amongst 5,000 travellers across five European countries who stayed in a hotel or resort during the last 12 months, reveals that almost four in ten (38%) guests do so every time they book a stay, and a further 38% do so most of the time.

According to the study, guest reviews and ratings are the second most important factor in the booking decision process, ranking just behind rooms and amenities, and surpassing criteria such as food and dining options, Wi-Fi/internet connection, and health and hygiene standards.

Respondents across all five countries like to check in depth when reading reviews. On average, guests read nine reviews (8.63) for each hotel or resort they’re looking to stay at, with those in Poland reading the most (10.58).

Cleanliness the most important factor

The information respondents are most interested in before booking a stay is how clean a hotel or resort is. When asked to identify three areas they would most want to read about, 52% stated that cleanliness was the most important factor, followed by value for money (27%), bedrooms (26%), location (21%) and staff friendliness (19%).

Reviews are more important for couples and families than solo travellers. Of those who read reviews, 85% of those looking to book a trip away with a partner believe customer reviews are important. Almost as many (82%) say reviews are important when booking a family holiday. Even when booking a solo trip, 66% said that reading reviews is a crucial part of the decision-making process, with 55% of business travellers in agreement.

A majority of those reading reviews (63%) try to take a balanced approach, being sure to acknowledge both positive and negative reviews, with respondents in the UK being most likely to do so.

More than two-thirds (67%) of people who read reviews will ignore those that are more than six months old, confirming the importance of recent reviews.

Poles the most prolific review writers

After staying at a hotel or resort, nearly six out of ten people (57%) say they write reviews themselves for at least half of their stays. 10% of those surveyed do so after every stay and another 30% do so most of the time. The report reveals that travellers from Poland are most likely to write reviews, with 95% having done so. They are followed by those from Spain (94%), Germany (85%), and France (84%), with UK guests (79%) being least likely to do so.

Members of travel loyalty programmes are most likely to round off their stay at a hotel or resort with a review, with 94% writing them against 79% of non-members.

According to the study, 71% of respondents appreciate hotels taking the time to respond to reviews, as it demonstrates that customer feedback is highly valued. This sentiment was strongest in Spain, with 78% of respondents agreeing, and lowest in the UK, with 59%. However, 12% expressed they were not in favour of hotels or resorts replying to customer reviews, stating that it can appear to be insincere or just a business requirement.

«Guest reviews are not just a reference point but a key decision-making tool for travellers, influencing buying decisions and perceptions of hotels, resorts and brands. Our guests pay close attention to each other, and hoteliers must pay close attention to them too as part of their marketing strategies. Reviews are people power in action and it is vital that those in the industry harness that power by taking them on board and continually improving – for the benefit of our own businesses as well as our guests», - Antoine Dubois, Senior Vice President, Sponsoring, Marketing, Loyalty & Guest Experience for Europe & North Africa

To read the full report, go to https://accoreuropeantrends.com/

Silvia de Candia