Can marketing automation raise your online review scores?

I think you’d be hard pressed to find a hospitality brand that doesn’t want to see their online review score jump a notch or two. As such, it’s probably no surprise that many resorts and hotels (our clients included) are using things like review widgets integrated into guest surveys and automated guest service messaging in an attempt to drive satisfaction and higher review scores. But does it work? Here’s what we found.

The Goods
To find an answer we looked at 7 of our clients that have been using both automated lifecycle messaging (pre, during, post-stay, etc.) and review widget survey integration (review form appears on last page of feedback survey) during the last 18 months.

Before turning on their campaigns these brands averaged 195 reviews each. Here’s how the 1/2 step, rounded review scores (3.0, 3.5, 4.0, etc. – theses are used to visual display a company’s average rating) and actual, non-rounded scores changed over that period for each brand.

review-rating-change-18mos

All of the brands in this sample raised their non-rounded score by an average of 0.29 points which helped 4 of the 7 brands reach the next 1/2-point step for their score. On average, these brands climbed half of the available slots in their respective rankings (e.g., if ranking out of 10, a jump of at least 5 spots).

What This Means
There are a few important lessons from this data set. The first is that these efforts absolutely work. It helps guests have better experiences and more people end up posting reviews. But even more important to remember is that if you start with a significant number of reviews (like all of these brands) or a high score (like brands 1, 4, and 7) increasing your score takes time.

We could cherry pick a data point like Brand #2 that started with more than 50 reviews and still managed to raise their rounded rating from 3.0 to 4.0, but that’s the exception. Same goes for the brands that started with just a few reviews we didn’t include in our analysis. So, yes, it’s absolutely possible to increase your score with great communications and better integrations, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

Next Week, Another Insight
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