Study: 77% of Travelers More Likely to Book When Business Owners Respond to Reviews

NEEDHAM, MA—Customers are more likely to book after seeing owners respond to online reviews, according to new research released from Ipsos MORI in partnership with TripAdvisor.

Personalization is Key

The research comes from an Ipsos MORI survey, which polled more than 23,000 travelers and diners worldwide. The results showed that 63% of respondents said they would be more likely to book a hotel or restaurant if the owner responded to the majority of reviews. When a property owner leaves personalized responses to reviews, more than three-quarters (77%) of TripAdvisor travelers said they are more likely to book as a result. Even among respondents who said that they tend to focus less on online reviews, more than half were still likely to book if the owner has responded to reviews.

More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents agreed that they find it helpful when they can see the context to negative reviews and apologies to guests from management.

“These survey results clearly show the importance of managing online reviews,” said Fabrizio Orlando, senior manager, industry relations, TripAdvisor. “If an owner responds to a review, whether that review is positive or negative, it makes a real difference to a traveler’s perception of a property, and can have huge effects on increased room bookings and table reservations.”

Giving Owners the Last Word

The management response feature on TripAdvisor is available for free to any business owner who has claimed their listing. Only one review can be written per experience and owners write just one management response per review. Therefore, management responses leave a lasting impression and can have a significant influence on potential guests. So, it’s important that owners choose their words carefully.

TripAdvisor’s top tips when it comes to responding to reviews are simple:

  • Introduce yourself and write your response as though you’re providing an introduction to your business; potential guests will also be reading.
  • When responding to a negative review, share the rest of the story and provide context on what was happening behind the scenes or what was unique about that specific situation.
  • Amplify the benefits of the positive reviews. This shows you’re committed to using feedback to make ongoing improvements and that good experiences are no accident.

Politeness Costs Nothing

Another pattern throughout the survey results showed that polite and respectful responses to reviews were most valued among travelers. The vast majority (89%) of users said a thoughtful response to a negative review improved their impression of a business, and 90% of respondents said that seeing polite and respectful responses to reviews makes them believe the owner truly cares. As a result, these users said they felt more confident in their decisions and could plan better trips.

“These findings show why it continues to be so important for hotel and restaurant owners to claim their TripAdvisor listing,” continued Orlando. “It’s only once they’ve claimed their page that they’re able to respond to their reviews and attract more potential guests.”

The survey surveyed 23,292 TripAdvisor users across 12 markets (Australia, China, France, German-speaking, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States) between May and June 2019. The survey targeted users who had visited the site in the last 12 months. The sample is made up of TripAdvisor users who had opted into a survey panel and were invited to participate in the research via an email link directing them to an online survey platform. Ipsos MORI were involved in questionnaire design and data analysis. Results are weighted to represent the residency profile of TripAdvisor users across participating markets.