Food & Drinks

Hotels now keen on customer feedback as today's traveller becomes pickier


Online reviews are an indispensable tool for attracting and retaining customers in the hotel industry. FILE PHOTO | POOL

Online reviews are an indispensable tool for attracting and retaining customers in the hotel industry with a recent survey showing ignoring them is a perilous choice for investors.

Today's traveller, BrightLocal survey shows, trusts online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Seventy percent of the respondents said they will leave one if they find negative feedback.

It's for this reason that hotels and restaurants are now more than ever keen on having their guests write feedback on online travel websites like Google, Trip Advisor, Facebook, and

Barnabas Wamoto Group General Manager at JW Marriott Masaai Mara and Crowne Plaza said the chain has been keeping watch on traveller reviews on Trip Advisor to improve its bottom line.

“Everybody now especially international travellers looks for feedback from the internet to know what services a hotel offers. They will go to Trip Advisor,, and Expedia to see how the hotel is rated and what the customers are saying about it. They always say that if you can’t measure it then you can’t improve it and that’s why it’s important for us to have the feedback from our guests to know what we are doing right or wrong,” he explains.

Facebook has been extremely busy expanding its presence in the travel space of late. For instance, it has launched its City Guides and “Places the Locals Go” as new features for their users to get recommendations on restaurants, hotels, tours and activities.

In addition, Facebook has branched out with dedicated tools for posting feedback and reviews.

This occurs when a guest takes a photo of a hotel and tags the location, the app usually asks whether you are recommending the place or not.

All the ratings are placed on the property and they are obviously one of the ways of getting reviews.

Guest Flip is another app that was created five years ago to assist hotels when it comes to guest reviews.

“It helps tourists to post their feedback online as well as plan and book the perfect trip. It’s not just enough to have everything the best but the service quality is also important apart from the location and all the amenities in it,” explains Seha Ishan business development manager of Guest Flip.

“If the reviews are good and the score points are high then definitely they will be booking the hotel. This directly affects the annual online sales revenue. To control the reviews is a very hard process and a lot of hotels are missing it,” Ishan adds.

Through the feedback, Wamoto and his team have been able to know what needs improvement in the hotel and also identify the latest trends in the industry.

“We not only rely on Trip Advisor and social media but also in our interactions with our clients. I need to know where my team is doing well and congratulate them. That’s why we normally encourage our guests to do so. It’s optional and never forced,” he adds.

While understanding the key role that social media plays in marketing, Andrew Kuria, GM Elewana Collection Loisaba Lodo Springs in Laikipia observes that there are other clientele who are extremely private and there ought to be other ways of engaging such clients.

“I realise that a significant number of our guest may not be proponents of social media and may not want to be part of such campaigns for their own reasons. There is that emerging clientele that don’t want to be in the social media limelight. I always ensure that we make a very good impression for anyone I pay a lot of attention to that and I take a lot of pride in taking them well and through that we build social capital with our guests,” he says.