Managing online hospitality reviews could boost economy by £3.2bn in next decade

Managing online hospitality reviews could boost economy by £3.2bn in next decade

Managing online hospitality reviews could boost economy by £3.2bn in next decade

A recent study claims that online reviews properly managed by the hospitality industry could help boost the economy £3.2bn by 2026. The Barclays Feedback Economy report further revealed that engaging effectively with guest reviews on sites such as TripAdvisor can significantly boost trade, as well as repeat business, in pubs, restaurants and hotels.

Review sites have come under fire from the industry in the past due to concerns regarding false or unfair feedback and the potential damage it can do to businesses. However, almost 60% of respondents to the Barclays survey credited reviews for a rise in trade. Furthermore, 61% admitted that online reviews enabled them to pinpoint problem areas and improve upon their business.

Hospitality operators that have not yet developed a strategy for managing reviews may want to consider that a survey reported last year by found that 88% of respondents trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Additionally, the Barclays report found that nearly half (45%) of consumers are more likely to leave a review today than they were 18 months ago.

Review sites are gaining in popularity, particularly amongst the key Millennial demographic. An article published last year by revealed that 54% of this target group consult online reviews before booking accommodation and that they are 'the fastest of any consumer group to vent their frustrations online'.

The Barclays report found that a number of hospitality businesses are already stepping up to tackle the issue of feedback. More than half of restaurants, pubs and hotels stated they were making use of TripAdvisor - this was thought to be the most relevant site. Additionally, over a quarter are investing in staff development to ensure proper training in feedback management, whilst 22% intend to dedicate a specific member of staff to respond to online reviews.

Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays, commented that "there is even more that the hospitality industry can do to capitalise on this opportunity... research shows that being more responsive to customer feedback could increase the value of the UK hospitality and leisure industry to the wider economy by more than £3bn over the next decade."

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