Finding a Cure for the Summertime Tripadvisor Blues.

If you pay close attention the ebb-and-flow of rankings on TripAdvisor and other guest commentary sites, you may have noticed a phenomenon I like to call “summertime TripAdvisor blues.”

In addition to my role at Travel Outlook, I own a management company which manages the Old Santa Fe Inn, a boutique property near the historic Santa Fe Plaza. For the past fifteen years, our team has worked hard to keep Old Santa Fe Inn ranked in the top five in Santa Fe hotels in TripAdvisor. Like us, you may have noticed that in season – when rates are higher – overall TripAdvisor guest scores trend lower.

According to Dr. Jonathan Barsky of Market Metrix, “Rates always have an impact on customer satisfaction, and with strong RevPAR growth, we have seen slipping satisfaction scores in North America and Europe.” Global customer satisfaction with hospitality experiences typically decline during the fourth quarter of each year, according to data released by Market Metrix. Customer satisfaction scores declined in the Americas, and scores also declined in Europe. The reason: strengthening occupancy and higher prices during the third quarter, when travel tends to increase.

Can anything be done about this? We have found that a partial solution starts by understanding clearly that guests paying higher rates will be more demanding, and making sure that our front-line team understands this. Providing enhanced services and add-ons during the high rate periods are a must, as well as maintaining a very close track of guest requests and comments. A burned-out bulb might not be mentioned in an off season review, but in season that bulb might be the difference between a four star and a five star rating. Human nature: paying more, guests expect more.

Don’t forget to pass this message along to your Central Reservations Office, emphasizing how critical is it for everyone working for the property to recognize how this tendency will impact hotel ratings. During higher-rate periods, making sure that the reservations and front desk teams communicate clearly about any guest comments or complaints will pay handsome dividends.