Guest Review Awards are a sign that guests can expect great experiences. But what do they mean for the properties?
Heart Milan Apartments has 26 apartments in four buildings dotted across the centre of the city, all of which have been awarded Guest Review Awards for a second consecutive year. ‘We are absolutely sure it brings more bookings. That’s why we care so much about the reviews,’ says guest relations manager Laura Gucciardo.
‘When people are choosing a place, they always read reviews. I know that personally, if I read something I don’t like, I don’t go to that place. So reviews are very important.’
For most award winners, the business impact is a common theme. Thomas Kohli is general manager at the 18-room Eco Boutique Hotel Vista Las Islas Reserva Natural in Costa Rica. ‘Having a Guest Review Award gives us as a hotel a head start. It definitely helped us to generate more bookings,’ he says. ‘As this award is based on guest reviews it stands for honesty and real quality. Potential guests trust in what it stands for.’
Jacolete Odendaal, marketing manager of the 24-room Desert Quiver Camp in Namibia, is equally certain that the awards mean, ‘more bookings and people looking at the property,’ but the benefits of honest reviews go beyond bookings: they can help every property to improve.
‘Listen to your guests – you don’t always notice where you can improve your property yourself, but the guests do. If their suggestions are doable and viable, implement them,’ she says.
Heart Milan Apartments’ Laura is also keen to encourage more reviews. Each guest gets a personal assistant to take care of them, from the first confirmation email a few hours after booking to advice on where to go once they arrive.
‘The assistant helps the guest if they need anything, and at the end they just ask the guest to leave a review, because we want to improve. We also leave a copy of the award certificate inside the apartment, with a message that says, “Please leave a review when you leave.”’
Jacolet, Thomas and Laura all had similar advice for those whothat hope to claim Guest Review Awards of their own: that the key to success is caring passionately about the small things.
‘The details are the most important,’ says Laura. ‘We want to give the clients a real Italian experience.’ At Heart Milan Apartments, that extends to local coffee and biscuits and even a handmade scent for the apartments.
‘I think the best tip you can give is to make everything with your heart, and do the best to make guests feel at home,’ Laura says.
The rewards will eventually take care of themselves, according to Eco Boutique Hotel Vista Las Islas Reserva Natural’s Thomas. ‘We work passionately to give our guests a wonderful holiday experience. If they are back home with their memories, and using that precious time to leave us a good review, we as a host have totally achieved our goal.’
- Having a Guest Review Award encourages more bookings.
- Many Guest Review Award properties ask guests to write reviews.
- Great guest experiences can’t be faked – you have to care passionately about creating them.