How Do Online Reviews Impact Hotel Guest Decisions?

July 3, 2024

In the hotel industry, online reviews hold significant power. They influence the decisions of potential guests and can make or break a hotel's success. Understanding the impact of online reviews on guest decisions is crucial for hotel managers and owners.

The Power of Online Reviews

Online reviews are a modern-day word of mouth. Potential guests often look to these reviews to gauge the quality and reliability of a hotel. According to BrightLocal, 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, including hotels. This statistic shows just how influential reviews can be in the decision-making process.

Building Trust Through Reviews

Trust is essential in the hospitality industry. Guests need to feel confident that they will have a pleasant stay. Positive reviews build this trust. When potential guests see numerous positive reviews, they are more likely to book a room. These reviews act as endorsements from previous guests, assuring new customers that the hotel is a good choice.

The Impact of Negative Reviews

Negative reviews can deter potential guests. A few bad reviews might be overlooked if the overall rating is high, but consistent negative feedback can significantly harm a hotel's reputation. Guests are wary of hotels with poor reviews because they don't want to risk a bad experience. Addressing negative reviews promptly and professionally is essential in reputation management for hotels.

Decision-Making Process

Online reviews play a crucial role in the guest decision-making process. Before booking, potential guests typically search for reviews to see what others have experienced. They look for trends in the feedback, such as cleanliness, customer service, and amenities. Positive reviews in these areas can persuade them to book, while negative reviews might lead them to look elsewhere.

The Role of Review Sites

Popular review sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google Reviews are often the first stop for potential guests. These platforms compile reviews and ratings, making it easy for users to compare different hotels. Hotels with higher ratings and more positive reviews stand out, increasing their chances of being chosen.

The Influence of Star Ratings

Star ratings are a quick way for potential guests to assess a hotel. A higher star rating generally indicates better quality and service. According to a study by TrustYou, hotels with star ratings of four or above are more likely to be booked. Guests trust these ratings to reflect the overall guest experience.

Detailed Feedback Matters

Guests don't just look at star ratings; they read the reviews for detailed feedback. They want to know about the specific experiences of other guests. Detailed reviews that mention positive aspects such as comfortable beds, friendly staff, and great locations are particularly persuasive. On the other hand, detailed complaints about issues like poor cleanliness or rude staff can be a major turn-off.

Case Study: The Impact of Positive Reviews

Consider a hotel with numerous positive reviews highlighting excellent customer service, clean rooms, and a great location. Potential guests reading these reviews are more likely to feel confident in booking a stay. Over time, this hotel sees an increase in bookings and positive word of mouth, leading to sustained success.

Actionable Steps for Managing Online Reviews

Encourage Positive Reviews

Ask satisfied guests to leave reviews. Make it easy for them by providing links to review sites. This can increase the number of positive reviews and improve your hotel's overall rating.

Respond to Reviews

Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative. Thank guests for their feedback and address any concerns raised in negative reviews. This shows that you value guest feedback and are committed to improving their experience.

Monitor Review Sites

Regularly monitor review sites to stay updated on what guests are saying about your hotel. This allows you to address any issues promptly and make necessary improvements.

Use Feedback to Improve

Use the feedback from reviews to identify areas for improvement. If multiple reviews mention the same issue, take action to resolve it. This proactive approach can enhance guest satisfaction and lead to more positive reviews.

Highlight Positive Reviews

Highlight positive reviews on your website and social media. This can reassure potential guests and reinforce your hotel's positive reputation.

Long-Term Benefits

Investing time and effort into managing online reviews can yield long-term benefits. A strong online reputation can lead to increased bookings, higher revenue, and greater guest loyalty. Over time, these benefits can help your hotel stand out in a competitive market and achieve sustained success.


Online reviews significantly impact hotel guest decisions. Positive reviews build trust and attract new guests, while negative reviews can deter potential customers. Managing online reviews effectively is crucial for maintaining a strong reputation. By encouraging positive reviews, responding to feedback, and using reviews to improve services, hotels can enhance their reputation and ensure long-term success. Investing in reputation management for hotels is not just about protecting your brand; it’s about creating a foundation for lasting guest satisfaction and a thriving business.


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