Hospitality Today July-Aug 2016 - Page 11 | 11 Video: The Corinthia Hotel on the value of guest feedback UK consumers state that reading other people’s reviews plays an important role in helping them decide where to visit or stay. This rises to 70% amongst 25-34 year olds. Millennials are also significantly more likely to cite online customer reviews as being very important in determining which hospitality and leisure services to use. Close to a third (29%) of 18-24s and (27%) of 25-44s rated online reviews as one of the three most important factors influencing their decision on where to stay – alongside more traditional factors such as value for money and customer service, as opposed to 18% of the over 65s. In addition, nearly half (45%) of all British consumers are more likely to leave a review today than just 18 months ago, citing factors such as ease of access through smartphones (42%) or awareness of the importance of reviews (33%). This means that businesses need to put processes in place to avoid being left behind by customer expectations over time. Businesses see the value of feedback A majority (82%) of the hospitality industry say that feedback has been beneficial for their business and two thirds (68%) think it has been beneficial for the sector as a whole. Businesses also believe that feedback is leading to more trade - 57% are able to explicitly credit online customer feedback with increasing trade, reporting an average 12% improvement in customer numbers over the past 18 months. Businesses are deriving a range of benefits from online feedback such as more repeat business (63%) or the identification of issues within the business (61%). However, the majority (63%) of businesses are not currently managing feedback in the long term or maintaining records in a formal Customer Relationship Management system. Moreover, two thirds of the hospitality and leisure industry (66%) expect the importance of online feedback websites to increase over the next 18 months.