SPAIN’S hoteliers have been under pressure to please this summer, as online reviews have become more powerful than ever.
Online ratings website TripAdvisor is now the most influential travel website in the world and hoteliers have discovered that guest reviews can mean make or break for their businesses.
The consumer-led reviews website is now the go-to site for those planning a holiday.
Hotel Molino del Santo has recently been voted the second-best hotel in the whole of Spain.
Andy Chapell, manager of the hotel, told the Olive Press: “We think TripAdvisor is great. It is very helpful to have so much positive feedback that new clients feel they can trust – and even the occasional less-than-complimentary comments are useful to help identify problems.”
But there is a dark side to TripAdvisor’s new-found influence.
“There are a few cases of over-demanding guests,” said Javier Carazo, of the NH chain, which has 400 hotels around the world and thousands of comments on TripAdvisor.
These include guests threatening to post a damning review on the website if their requests for free upgrades and wifi are not met.
“In these kinds of cases we have to be aware, and not give in to a specific threat.”
Francesc Holgado, director of the Mercer Hotel in Barcelona – ranked the best in the city – receives 60,000 hits a month on TripAdvisor page.
“To be among the top-ranked hotels gives us a visibility we could never have hoped for otherwise, particularly in the international market,” he said.
He added that with the constant need to respond to customer queries and make changes based on feedback, being a hotelier is ‘more demanding than ever’.
TripAdvisor receives around 100 customer reviews and comments every minute. According to TripAdvisor’s Spanish spokesperson Blanca Zayas, a prospective guest will read between 12 and 15 comments about a hotel before deciding whether to make a booking.
“Hotels cannot ignore customers’ opinions on the internet any more than the receptionist can turn their back on a guest who makes a complaint,” she added.