With over $76.5 billion worth of bookings in 2021 alone and a reported 61% increase in revenue, there's no denying that Booking.com is one of the most important booking sites in the hospitality industry. Due to its continuous growth, it's only imperative for a property manager to ensure that your company's Booking profile gets a high ranking on the platform. How to do it? By getting more reviews.
The benefits of asking your guests for reviews on Booking.com
Your credibility and visibility among online booking websites are significantly affected by guest reviews. In Booking.com, optimizing guest reviews is the easiest and fastest way to boost visibility to relevant searches.
Booking.com sorts search results based on what is most relevant to each guest's preference. This includes past search behavior, specific market dynamics, and the property's overall performance. While it's impossible to influence the past search behavior of the guest and configure specific market dynamics to increase your visibility, there are various ways to improve your property's overall performance to increase your ranking on relevant searches.
To ensure that your properties maintain an overall competitive performance in reference to Booking.com's search algorithm, you can optimize your listings through the following factors:
- Flexible policies
- External prices
- Property Page Score
- Guest Reviews
Among the page elements mentioned, the Property Page Score and Guest Reviews are considered to be the most important factors considered by guests when booking their accommodations. In our article about the importance of responding to online reviews, we've learned that 98% of customers read online reviews, and 97% admit that online reviews actually influence their purchase decisions–making guest reviews the best way to attract potential guests.
Furthermore, increased Booking.com visibility is almost synonymous with increased conversion rates. Recent surveys suggest that 87% of travelers rated Booking.com's mobile app as the number one travel app. This means millions of people prioritize Booking.com's properties when traveling. Furthermore, the website's presence on third-party travel platforms like TripAdvisor and search engines like Google also doesn't fall short, with over 285 million online traffic in the last quarter of 2022 alone.
Because of Booking.com's online traffic and undeniable popularity among consumers, it's safe to say that acing Booking.com's search rankings can help you reach millions of customers. Achieving strong online credibility and visibility in the website by collecting guest reviews can help you significantly increase your revenue across various sales channels.
How guests post reviews on Booking.com
Before collecting Booking.com reviews, it's important to understand how your guests leave reviews on your property.
Guests receive automated emails and in-app notifications
Booking.com automatically sends a private review link to guests upon completing their stay. This link would be sent as an automated email or through an in-app message on Booking.com mobile app.
Rate your stay
Guests would be prompted to leave an overall rating on their stay using a numeric scale of 1-10 in which 1 translates as "Very Poor," 3-5 is "Poor," 5-7 is "Passable, 7-9 is "Good," and 9+ is "Superb." This rating process determines your overall review score also known as the Property Page Score.
Individual rating per category
In addition to an overall rating, guests can rate individual categories: staff, facilities, cleanliness, comfort, value, and location. Unlike the numeric scale on the overall rating, guests would use a visual scale in rating the said categories.
To provide a better context for potential guests, Booking.com asks reviewers to specify their booking into other categories–kind of stay: leisure, business, others, and accommodation size: couple, family, solo traveler, or group of friends. These categories allow potential guests to filter through reviews according to their target accommodation.
Leave a personalized guest review
Upon rating each category, guests would be prompted to leave a positive and negative feedback based on their experience. Each posted review would also reflect your accommodation details: room type, length of stay, booking request type, and type of accommodation.
Once the review is posted, Booking.com further categorizes each guest review based on the amenities described to help potential guests read quality reviews related to their target accommodation. These additional filters range from breakfast, location, room view, check-in procedure, and other amenities.
To know more about how to optimize each category of your proper listing for better search visibility, read our complete Booking.com profile guide here.
How does Booking com calculate reviews?
Guests are allowed to rate each listing with a score between 1 to 10. Booking.com calculates the overall score by getting the average score from the reviews, which means they add up all the review scores and divide it by the number of reviews received.
How do I get more booking reviews?
As mentioned earlier, Booking.com automatically sends guests their private review links. While you can’t send your own review link, unlike Google and TripAdvisor, there are various ways how you can remind and encourage your guests to review your property.
Identify your guests who booked via Booking.com and advise your front desk staff to ask for reviews upon checkout. Some guests may ask how they could do it, so your staff should be familiar with the Booking.com review process. Having samples and visual aids to accommodate their inquiries could also help you gather more reviews.
Request in a "Welcome pack"
A "Welcome Pack" is a brochure or a booklet containing details about your property, including room features, facilities, house rules, room service options, in-house restaurant menu, and other amenities. It may also contain recommendations of tourist attractions, local restaurants, and other exciting places around your property.
Your Welcome Pack is one of your most powerful marketing tools, as it is a chance to upsell products and services to your guests. Most importantly, it's an excellent way to remind guests to leave a review on your Booking.com profile.
You can place a generic "Leave a Review" note on your Welcome Pack and include logos of Booking.com, Agoda, Expedia, and other booking platforms you use to collect reviews. It's also best to include other online review websites, such as Google and Tripadvisor, for walk-in guests. This way, you can also use your Welcome Pack to collect reviews from other booking platforms besides Booking.com.
Send a follow-up message after checkout
While Booking.com automatically sends a review request to your guests upon the completion of your stay, it wouldn't hurt to send a customized follow-up message.
Your company-generated follow-up message may contain another reminder to leave a review and a call to action to revisit your property. You can also use this follow-up message to gather more customer insights by asking guests to answer surveys or even leave reviews on other online review websites.
To learn more about the importance of post stay surveys, click here.
Place visual reminders
Hotels and restaurants have long used tabletop decorations to upsell products and services. You can also utilize them to remind your guests to leave reviews on your online accounts.
Placing a small note card with a simple call-to-action can significantly increase your number of reviews. As much as possible, make it more engaging and affective. Instead of saying, "Leave us a review," you can also ask your guests to "Let us know how we did by leaving a review" or "Help us improve our services by leaving a review." Prompts like this will help you lead your guests to your booking and online review websites while boosting customer engagement.
Strategies to get more Booking.com reviews
Let's admit it–some guests need a little more nudging. Here are some ways how you can encourage your guests to leave a review on your Booking.com profile:
Offer discounts, freebies, and other promotional offers to reviewers
Online reviews are one of the most lucrative marketing assets for hotels. Recent surveys suggest that 70.9% of travelers say online reputation influences their choice of accommodation, and 81% say they always read reviews before booking a hotel. For this reason, it wouldn't hurt to allot a decent amount of resources to collect more Booking.com reviews.
Tell your guests that should they post a review, in return, they can get a discount on their next booking. This will not just give you the review that you need but will also encourage guests to return. You can also try offering complimentary food in your in-house restaurant or even create a raffle among the reviewers. Sky is the limit–the more creative your offer is, the more likely your guest will leave a positive review!
Offer rewards to your employees
The performance of your employees may also determine the number of reviews your property receives. For this reason, you can offer rewards to employees who can encourage more customers to leave reviews. However, in doing this, you should create an optimal tracking process. Try asking hoteliers to take note of the guests they serve. Once the guest's name is reflected in your Booking.com review profile, your employee will get his reward. The same goes for employees who would be mentioned on Booking.com reviews for excellent customer service.
You can try utilizing a point-system process, too. Just like with the discounts for the guests, the more creative and generous you are in compensating your employees, the better their performance will be.
Follow-up with guests
As mentioned a while ago, sending a customized follow-up email or sms from your private messaging CRM wouldn’t hurt. You can send your message at least 2 days after your guest’s booking completion to ensure that they’ve already received their private Booking link. Just remember to add value to each follow-up message, such as including discount promos and even newsletters, to avoid unsubscription from your mailing list.
Why respond to all Booking.com reviews
Collecting reviews shouldn't be the end of your optimization. What comes after you've received reviews is the crucial part of the process–responding to each review.
Recent studies suggest 77% of travelers are more likely to book when a property owner respond to reviews. Furthermore, 79% of travelers said personalized responses from owners make reviews more valuable to their decision-making.
Think of it this way: if the guest reviews boost your search rankings, your responses create customer impressions. Each reply is an opportunity to reinforce the positive notes on the guest review or mitigate the negative effects of bad feedback. Both scenarios will help you reach out to potential guests and make previous guests feel more valued.
Despite this, our research suggests that the average response rate of hotels towards online reviews is only 40%, with a staggering response time of approximately 6 minutes per review. In short, not all hotels have the pleasure of dedicating time, manpower, and resources to answering every reviews.
Responding to all Booking.com reviews with AI
Fortunately, hotels can capitalize on the development of Generative AI language tools in crafting a well-written reply to each review in a matter of seconds. These AI review reply tools are specifically designed to write fully optimized responses to online reviews based on industry best practices and SEO standards.
To learn more about Generative AI technologies for hotels, click here.
One of these tools is the MARA AI review reply generator. The tool extracts vital parts of a review to write personalized responses. This way, your hoteliers can refrain from using generic reply templates, which may further drive away potential guests. In addition, its interface is easy-to-use which allows any property manager to delegate the task to pretty much anyone from their team.
The MARA AI responses can shift a negative review into constructive feedback while emphasizing the hotel's strengths. In this reply, the tool empathetically apologized for the inconvenience the guest experienced, expressed gratitude towards the feedback, and ensured that changes were being made to prevent this situation from happening again.
MARA AI users have reported significant increases in response rates by saving a lot of time when responding to reviews. Furthermore, hotel owners commended the language used in each response for being engaging and human-like. To read more references from MARA AI users, click here.
Boost your Booking.com ranking by optimizing more guest reviews.
Booking.com remains to be one of the most important booking portals today. Luckily, you can boost your visibility and credibility on the website by gathering more guest reviews and responding to them accordingly. To make the most out of your guest reviews, register for a FREE MARA account today and start replying to your Booking.com reviews!
This article is one of the content pieces of our hero content “Booking.com Optimization: The Ultimate Guide for Hotel Managers".
Frequently Asked Questions:
To increase your performance score on Booking.com, you can offer various accommodation plans, provide flexible cancellation policies, and ensure the availability of your listings. Aside from this, it’s also essential to maintain at least a 7-point Review Score from your guests.
Yes. Booking.com remains to be one of the top online review websites for hotels. The website runs a reliable algorithm to ensure proper ranking of listings and observes strict review guidelines to maintain credibility among reviews.
Booking.com offers the Preferred Partner Program to businesses that want to appear higher in search results. To qualify for the program, your listings should maintain at least a 70% Overall Performance Score, a 7-point average in Review Score, and competitive listing prices.
Guests are not allowed to directly change their review score once published. They would need to call Booking.com and request a new review questionnaire.
Published Booking.com reviews are only visible for up to 36 months. After this, they will be automatically archived. The website also removes reviews that violate its review guidelines.