Almost two thirds (61%) of European hoteliers within the Choice brand spend up to three hours a week dealing with online reviews of their properties.
Individual market analysis reveals that Italy has the highest number of hotelier respondents (76%) who regularly monitor what people are saying about their hotels on online sites, followed by the UK (70%).
German hoteliers post news and information less regularly than others (29%) and half (50%) of French hoteliers spend less than half an hour a week reading and responding to online reviews.
6% of UK hoteliers in the group say they dedicate a whole afternoon each week in order to respond.
To streamline the process for responding to online travel reviews, Choice Hotels International is giving hotel franchises and their general managers access to a special review monitoring platform.
This scans many blogs and social networking sites for mentions of Choice brand hotels. There are almost 500 properties in Europe.
The information is captured and delivered to the hotelier’s desktop along with the guest satisfaction feedback gathered by the company enabling them to not only read all feedback in one place but to respond through the same application.
When asked for a survey by Choice about plans to market their hotels through social networking sites, 58% of respondents confirmed that they have created a profile of their hotel on social networking sites compared to 47% of respondents in 2011.
43% regularly post news and information on these sites, an increase on the 2011 findings where a third reported doing so.
Choice Hotels Europe chief executive for the UK Duncan Berry said that hoteliers spend a lot of their week responding to customer feedback.
“While this is a key part of their role, we are delighted to offer them a quicker and smoother process that will free them up to step up marketing activities which is their number one business goal for 2013.”
Other findings of the European Hotelier Pulse-Check revealed that when looking to finance their growth plans and expand their hotel operations, despite bank lending being hard to access in the current economic environment, a bank loan is still the first port of call for 63% of hoteliers. 19% would prefer to approach private investors and another 10% would turn to fellow shareholders.
Berry said: “It’s encouraging to hear that banks continue to support the franchise business model when they consider their lending criteria.
“When asking for funding to invest in their properties, it’s critical that hotel owners can demonstrate to the banks increased room revenue contribution and market share. Operating under a Choice brand can help hotel owners and operators to demonstrate success in this regard.”