Hotels whose managers have replied to reviews on TripAdvisor have 21 per cent more chance of getting a booking enquiry through the site, according to its own research.
And they have a 24 per cent greater chance of seeing booking enquiries come in – compared to unresponsive properties – if they reply to more than half of reviews.
The data is part of a study looking at things that push engagement from people visiting TripAdvisor property listings.
The research used information relating to a range of accommodation in the 25 cities that had the highest number of reviews on its website between July 7th and August 7th, including London and Edinburgh, as well as other cities from around the world.
It looked at the way review ratings altered in relation to how often management responded, and also examined how engaged users were – that is, how many page views they made in each session, and their booking enquiry clicks – in relation to content.
It found the things that pushed user engagement for bed and breakfast and hotel pages the most were how many photos there were, how many reviews, the management replies during the last year and review numbers in the same timeframe.
The difference between not displaying photos and displaying at least one is 138 per cent extra engagement, according to the research. And as number of photos goes up, so does level of engagement and booking enquiries.
Meanwhile, average review rating goes up with number of manager replies to reviews. And accommodation that has replied to at least a single review sees engagement increase 17 per cent, against places where management has never replied.
That goes up to 21 per cent for properties replying to feedback 13 per cent of the time or more, with engagement going up the more replies are posted.
“Looking at the results of this study, a clear theme emerges: the more engaged the business owner, the more interested the traveller,” according to TripAdvisor for Business president, Marc Charron.
"It’s no secret that travellers want to see pictures and read reviews of a property before making their booking decision. What’s really key is the upward trend in average review ratings, traveller engagement levels and booking enquiries on the site, the more frequently a hotel owner responds to reviews," he added.
Being part of "the conversation" and showing an owner cares when it comes to feedback produces a measurable impact on traveller conversion from browser to possible guest, he added.
Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency to help source hospitality recruitment jobs.