Guest satisfaction rises but pubs can do more

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Get guests onside: responding to more reviews can turn neutral or negatives into positives (credit: Getty/Hispanolistic)
Get guests onside: responding to more reviews can turn neutral or negatives into positives (credit: Getty/Hispanolistic)

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Customer satisfaction is on the rise at hospitality sites but businesses could still do more when it comes to responding to online reviews, according to a Reputation study.

The Reputation Data Science team’s analysis of thousands of guest reviews on Google of more than 7,200 hospitality sites found customer sentiment in the UK is positive (81% expressing satisfaction) despite ongoing disruptions due to the pandemic, staff shortages and the cost-of-living crisis.

It also found positive and negative review sentiment is up, but neutral reviews are down, suggesting customers are both more critical and vocal online about the guest experience.

The survey claimed businesses are improving their responses to reviews, with only 12% of comments left with no response compared to 47% in 2021, however, 22% of negative reviews are not responded to, leaving room for improvement on efforts to turn unhappy customers into happy ones.

The study stated: “Considering 95% of unhappy people will return to a business if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently and that some consumers may even remove negative reviews once a matter is resolved, it certainly pays to monitor and manage negative online reviews.”

Three keys to happiness

There are three things guests care about more than all other factors. These are food, courtesy and the taste/temperature of their meal.

“Most negative reviews come from guests dissatisfied with the standards of cooking and food preparation,” the report stated. “Particularly where significant components of meals such as meat or chips were concerned.

“On the other hand, the positive sentiment came from guests who received ‘friendly’ and ‘efficient’ service from ‘helpful’ staff.”

The data found guests are incredibly sentimental about pubs and operators can leverage consumer attitudes towards pubs to drive guest advocacy.

In fact, social media analysis reveals Brits’ love of pubs is higher than ever and people are incredibly concerned about the survival of local pubs.

Deep fondness

The survey stated: “The pub is the cornerstone of British culture and the affection people have in the UK have towards their pubs is well known.

“Our analysis of social media confirms the British love of pubs but what’s more is that British people not only have a deep fondness of their ‘boozers’ but they are concerned about the survival of local pubs and the industry as a whole.”

Trending hashtags in social media studies around pubs included #longlivethelocal #notjustapub #saveourpubs.

Other findings include digital transformation is continuing within the pub and restaurant business, and hospitality consumers, despite having their purses squeezed, are still willing to splash out on dining and drinking experiences but their expectations are higher than ever.

The report added: “Clearly, hospitality operators and their staff are working tirelessly amid significant internal and external pressures to deliver a great experience for their guests. This is reflected in the high volumes of positive online review sentiment seen throughout 2022 so far.”

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