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Hotel chain takes online reviews to heart

Hotel upgrades, suggested by guests, are driving higher sales at Red Roof Inn hotels.
(Red Roof Inn)

About three years ago, the economy hotel chain Red Roof Inn tested out a new in-room feature in its Columbus, Ohio, hotel.

In addition to installing outlets near the desks in the rooms, the hotel added several outlets on the nightstand so travelers could keep their portable devices charging near the bed.

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By monitoring comments on the travel review website TripAdvisor, the hotel chain found that the extra plugs were a big hit with travelers. It decided to install them throughout the chain.

“It’s a simple thing, but it’s extremely meaningful to the traveler,” hotel chain President Andy Alexander said.

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For the third year in a row, Red Roof Inn recently earned the highest customer satisfaction score among economy hotels in an analysis by MarketMetrix, a hotel market research company based in the Bay Area.

Alexander attributes his chain’s high score to its efforts to follow and respond to online reviews.

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It’s because of guest comments, he said, that Red Roof has tried improvements such as installing wood floors in the rooms and vessel sinks in the bathrooms.

What’s next? Alexander said the hotel chain offers free wireless Internet to all guests but might consider offering higher speed Wi-Fi to members of its loyalty program.

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“You can’t stand still,” he said.

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