7 years ago

What do customers write about most in hotel reviews?

NB: This is a guest post by Michelle Wohl, VP of marketing at Revinate, a technology company which analyses guest reviews, online reputation and social media marketing.

According to Orbitz, what people search for the most before booking a hotel is free parking, airport shuttles, swimming pool, pets welcome and spa/fitness center.

But what do people write about the most in their hotel reviews? Luckily, in my role at Revinate, I have access to millions of hotel reviews that span the leading review sites and OTAs.

review tickbox

I looked at the most mentioned words that appear in reviews in 2010 to see whether people write about the same things they search for when booking a hotel.

While all the Orbitz terms do come up in online reviews, only “pool” and “parking” make the top 10 list.

“Pets”, for example, which comes up high in the Orbitz study, rarely comes up in online reviews. In fact, “breakfast” comes up 25 times more often.

Here is the list of the 10 most-written-about services and amenities in hotel reviews:

revinate chart

There were some other interesting nuggets in the data that hoteliers will find interesting.

Nugget #1:

Think only angry people write reviews? Nope. In fact, positive words vastly outnumber negative words. The words “great” and “good” appear almost five times more often than the words “bad” or “terrible”. “Clean” appears more often than “dirty”.

Nugget #2:

Check-in seems to be a much more review-worthy topic than check-out. People write about the check-in process more than three times as often as check-out. Hotels have done a great job allowing guests a quick check out. Maybe it’s time to rethink the check-in process.

Nugget #3:

While online reviews and recommendations now drive more bookings than either location or price, the word, “location” is the 42nd most prolific word in reviews. (“The” gets the most mentions and the only nouns that get more mentions are “room” and “staff”.)

Nugget #4:

While both have become a necessary part of our day, the word “internet” is written about 20% more often than the word “coffee”.

Nugget #5:

Concierges don’t seem to be getting the recognition they deserve. In fact, “valet” gets mentioned 15% more often than “concierge”.

Nugget #6:

Think people care about their bedding components equally? Think again. “Pillow(s)” comes up four times more often than mattress. “Sheets” comes up half as often as “pillows”.

Hoteliers, if you’re not already reading your reviews closely to find out what people like and don’t like about your property, 2011 is the year to start.

Reviews are ripe with suggestions and ideas for improving your hotel operations, and the feedback is free and readily available.

NB: This is a guest post by Michelle Wohl, VP of marketing at Revinate, a technology company which analyses guest reviews, online reputation and social media marketing.

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A founding principle of tnooz was a diversity of viewpoints from across the spectrum. Viewpoints are articles by guest contributors from around the travel and hospitality industries.



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  1. ciriaca

    Never am I going to trust Trip Advisor again. My partner and me are both university educated professionals in our forties. In mid August we were staying at the Sunprime Coral beach hotel in Tenerife. We reckon that from the start the staff was quite stiff and unpleasant to us ( we were asked for a supplement on our arrival to have a decent room with view on the swimming pool, we declined and were
    given a room on a busy road where we could not sleep properly, something that other people were commenting too at the hotel ). Accommodation was expensive compared to the services given and we found it a little bit dirty to be honest. On the morning of 21st August I was having breakfast when a minor fight broke out between me and another female guest in which insults, coffee and two cups were thrown, nothing else. Just a petty thing that was over in 10 minutes. The girl and I didn’t even manage to touch each other and there were no injuries whatsoever. Nonetheless, for me and my partner, it was clear from the very beginning that the hotel manager did not have plans to sedate the thing, but on the contrary, he intended to made us lose the money put into the vacation by throwing us out. Despite the fact that I profusely apologised for my behaviour, he forced us to leave straight away. He made the thing escalate to big proportions with the purpose to evict us with no compensation. My partner who had booked the stay and hadn’t even witnessed the scene was thrown out with no reason. For us it was ok to leave but of course we asked for a refund. The hotel manager,said that he owed nothing to us and that he was “in a win situation” smiling all the way through this, as though he was happy that it had happened. It was clear to us that he was working to throw us out with no refund (we still had 4 nights to go out of 7). He fabricated stories and lies of me kicking his staff, something I wehemently deny (Luckily we are in contact with some Italians that videoed the scene and nothing of what he claims has ever happened. We are now waiting to have the video in our hands). The manager also had the police called at the hotel when the spat had been over for more than one hour. The police came into my hotel room, and they didn’t even know why, because everything was really calm. The police officer must have laughed the thing off and left straight away. This was probably done to humiliate us but it just cast a terrible light over that hotel manager. We could not believe that a petty thing like that was turning into a nightmare because of the manager’s false allegations and his clear intention to evict us from the hotel. In the meantime, the manager offered to dry clean my clothes because coffe had been spilled over me, so I handed him a bag full of my dirty garments to be returned later. Ass lontime Expedia customers, we contacted the tour operator in Italy which tried to talk the manager out of this, with no results. We then contacted our lawyer who suggested that we see the hotel regulations and not leave until a refund was given. Appallingly enough, the manager had no hotel rules to show us, refused to give us any money back and forced out of our hotel room!! AGAIN MY PARTNER TOOK NO PART IN THE SPAT WHATSOEVER AND NO ONE CARED TO ASSIST HIM. THIS IS DISGUSTING AND VILE. THE MANAGER SAID THAT OTHER SUCH THINGS HAD HAPPENDED IN THE RECENT PAST AT THE HOTEL, SOMETHING THAT HAD US VERY SUSPICIOS ABOUT HIS MORALE AND HIS WILL TO PREVENT THESE THINGS TO ESCALATE INTO HORRIBLE EXPERIENCES. WE ARE CONVINCED HE DID ALL HE COULD TO EXACERBATE THE EVENT. When we were asking for our money back we were laughed in our faces. I asked for my clothes back and the manager pretended he didn’t hear me. He had the police called again for no reason and we had to leave to avoid a further nightmare. We later reported to the police ourselves who agreed this thing was totally appalling and suggested to sue. When my boyfriend later went to the hotel to claim my clothes back we were given the bag still soaked in coffee, a Missoni top + scarf were missing and the rest of the stuff had stains all over. We could not believe what was happening to us for a minor row. We are appalled at how some individuals with such skills in customer care could be appointed as hotel managers and allow such things to ever happen. Luckily we then checked into a nearby hotel, a whole lot less expensive and so friendly to us that we could not believe how we had ended at the Sunprime in the first place. Our vacation in the end was lovely but we are seeking compensation. Our comments will go viral in any single forum in the internet in the next week. It will be our duty to tell our side of the story to the world. We wish to inform as many people we can included the press of the downright crazy things that can happen to you in this hotel. We will open a blog and will campaign until a refund is given to us.

  2. Top Tnooz this Week - Coffee, ratings and abuse of power | Tnooz

    […] What do customers write about most in hotel reviews? […]

  3. Ben Alcock

    @Kevin I know…tongue firmly you know where.

    Just saying I think people make things better…not worse.

    But hey, maybe it’s where we’re headed.

    Loving TNooz BTW.

  4. Ben Alcock

    Travel Reviewers mostly write about staff, and service isn’t far behind in 3rd place.

    And the Norwegians go and open a hotel without any of either.


    Looking forward to reading those reviews.

    “Great location. Good bed (although it wasn’t made up when I returned from the pool) and a peerless parking experience. Better still, no annoying human interaction with staff. Recommended.”

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @ben – not sure why a human-free hotel for the guest would mean that the bed isn’t made up? but hey 🙂

  5. Michelle Wohl

    Hi Sebastian,
    Yes, looks like the article went out without the image. So sorry about that. I just posted it to my blog here: http://revinate.me/2rp

  6. @uktraveleditor

    Concierges don’t get written about because they are almost universally useless, even in the most luxurious five-star hotels (and I’ve stayed in too many to count). They point guests only to the most obvious tourist restaurants and/or the places anyone can find in a guidebook. Worse, some concierges don’t even bother to try to help if they don’t know something off the top of their head (such as – where’s an authentic, locally owned nearby deli, or where can I get a non-touristy Turkish bath (in Istanbul!).)

    It is rare I’ve found a concierge who knows his/her city beyond the obvious. I’ve been sent to tourist trap after tourist trap, despite emphasising that I want to go to ‘local restaurants that tourists don’t know about’ or ‘bars and shops you won’t find in guidebooks’. I can’t believe Chicago is having a Concierge Day. Either their concierges buck the trend of all the lame five-star concierges in London, New York, Paris, San Francisco and beyond, or else it’s a pointless marketing ploy.

    I suspect most guests have had my experience, which is why they don’t write about them. I’m amazed they still exist in many hotels, given the internet generation, and suspect their days are numbered unless they buck up their ideas.

    I have come across a handful of good concierges, but these are definitely the exception to the rule.

  7. Adam

    I’m kind of shocked that he mentions “the” is the most commonly used word. In natural language processing research, it is usually standard practice to remove words like the, if, that, a, etc. from rankings. So when he says that “location” is 42nd, how many “stop words” fall before it? Do we need more reasons to doubt blog mining research technologies?

  8. @silverfoxyboy

    It’s a little difficult to draw any useful conclusions as the words are not in context.

    I’d love to know what themes or patterns have emerged from your review of reviews?


  9. Sebastian

    hm, the list of the 10 most-written-about services is missing from the article…


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