Incentivising Online Reviews For New Properties

Filed Under: Hotels
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I’ve written before about how I receive multiple emails every single day asking me to leave detailed reviews for everything I’ve purchased online, from hair product, to small electronics, to accommodation bookings.

While I agree it’s important to have honest, independent feedback from customers, for my accommodation bookings especially, 90% of the experiences are perfectly fine, without being amazing or terrible.

And some review processes are now so time-consuming that I don’t have the time, energy or interest to invest giving detailed feedback about forgettable accommodation experiences. Airbnb especially has now made their review process so time-consuming that I don’t leave reviews unless the experience was particularly good, or particularly bad.

Many of you commented on my last article about this and had a similar thought process.

I’m curious as to how many customers spend the time leaving these reviews, especially as most times when I’m asked to leave a review, there’s no reward for doing so, other than the company saying ‘this helps us with our product’ or ‘your last chance to tell us what you think!’

I know that companies like McDonald’s have what I think is a far more effective system, offering a small free item like a cheeseburger to those people who leave reviews online through their portal.

I would have thought customers would be far more motivated to leave reviews if there was a small reward for doing so.

I’ve written previously about the Rewards program, which I think provides excellent value for ‘free agent’ travelers who aren’t utilizing status benefits, and who aren’t loyal to one chain/group.

The basic reward is that you receive a ‘free night credit’ for each night you book through the platform. Once you have 10 free night credits you can redeem this for a free hotel night. The value of your free hotel night is the average of the cost of the 10 nights you booked to earn your free night.

So you’re getting 10% off each booking with almost no exceptions or conditions.

Really simple. emails me all. the. time. asking me to leave reviews — they’ve now started asking for two separate reviews — one for check-in, and one for the actual stay, which is quite frustrating.

But I received an email last night about a recent stay, which actually sparked my attention.

Don’t forget. Tell us about your stay and get a Bonus Night on your next booking

As you’re one of our few guests who have stayed at *****, you can make a real difference. Whether your stay was fantastic or there’s room for improvement, leave a review to help other travellers make the right choice.

Use this voucher to collect 1 extra Rewards night per stay. E.g., if you stay 2 nights, you’ll collect 2 nights and we’ll add another 1 night to your account – giving you a total of 3 nights for your stay.  Remember, collect 10 nights, get 1 reward night.

It appears that where a property is new(ish), or has only recently joined the platform and doesn’t have many customer reviews, is incentivizing people to leave reviews by giving them an extra night credit towards their ‘stay 10, get one night free.’

So if your average night stay is $100 per night, they’re basically offering you $10 to leave a review. That is a great deal. I’ve just completed the review for this property and it took less than five minutes.

Bottom line

It is risky booking a property with little to no reviews, but if you are considering doing so through the Rewards program, keep your eye out for a review email, as you may receive a great incentive for leaving one.

Have you ever received an incentive from for leaving an online review?

  1. One thing I’ll do is first open the property’s page on TripAdvisor, which will then have links to Booking, Agoda, etc. Usually Booking will have far more reviews, and if a property is cross listed on Agoda, you can see the reviews for both platforms plus easy translations into English. I’m trying to hit gold status for the non-refundable reservation refund benefit. Just don’t tell the competitors they helped me make a decision…

  2. I occasionally found charged more than competitors like agoda or Maybe that’s where 10% off came from??

  3. Are you sure about the way the promo works? I read it as merely accelerating the rebate, although the terms were unclear.

    Let’s say you have 8 nights stays in the “bank” with a spend of $800 and then you stay for a night at one of the properties where they are running the promo, for $100. I think the coupon merely gives you the extra night, not more $spend. So you would accelerate to 10 nights but have a coupon worth $90.

  4. @ NB – I know when have done bonus reward night promos in the past (I.e. stay 1 night earn 2 nights credit) the bonus night has been the value of the paid night it is linked to.

  5. I get these a lot from them. I get them for hotels that not many reviews have been done for. Since I stay a lot in out of the way places I get them frequently. Got one just yesterday.
    Here’s how it works: fill out the review then later they send a coupon code. Use that coupon on an upcoming reservation ( it’s time sensitive of only a couple months) and you get an extra award night for the next stay. Make sure use it for an expensive stay as they base the value of the extra night on that next stay (not the average of all stays and not for the stay they ask you to fill out the coupon).

  6. Hey Gold member here (since 2015),
    Definitely had this promotion before and have seen a review incentive like this too. I really like this as I don’t like to stay in big brand hotels and I get to try out independent chains or hotels. I would make the most of it as you can really benefit from it. Strictly speaking it’s not quite 10% as…
    1. You 10% of the hotel night minus taxes
    2. When you redeem even though you’re staying a night it doesn’t go towards your nights to become a gold member.

    Final thing to point out, Gold now does have it’s own perks with some hotels … These range from free breakfast, priority check in, 10-30% F&B, free room upgrades!

    I’m so happy with the service I get and as someone who stays in a lot of hotels 1* to 5* its perfect for me and treat me very well.

  7. Max,

    Same experience here, incl with Gold.

    I have no loyalty to hotel chains, they are mostly all the same. Location is more important to me, and price. So the loyalty scheme is perfect

  8. My husband and I are Airbnb hosts. I’ve noticed Airbnb is likely the platform with the highest percentage of guest reviews. In our case, over 80% of guests leave reviews. Why is this? As guests also receive a rating and review from the host, and they must leave a property review to see their guest rating and review (otherwise the guest must wait 13 days to see this review). This, in my opionion, highly incentivizes the guest to take action quickly (leave their property review), as psychologically the guest wants to see their review immediately. Very clever on Airbnb’s part.

  9. It’s not quite as it seems. The booking window is very small for stays so can be often hard to hit. It has been around for several years however and can be very useful.

  10. I got quite a few of them on a recent trip to Europe. Most of the hotels were independent hotels, but I did get one for a Relais and Chateaux property, too. I was excited because the prices were far better than the Hotel Tonight prices, so the extra stay credit was a nice bonus on top of the savings.

  11. You are right about review fatigue James. I used to try religiously to review hotels/restaurants on TA etc. but that’s largely a thing of the past now. I may now just say something simple like “very good in line with the other positives comments” etc. That said I put a positive comment on a FB or Insta page of a hotel which is part of a small Greek chain in September and had a positive response and a bottle of champagne left in my room. So that was worthwhile. I wouldn’t always expect that but you are right to raise the question of whether it is worth one’s time to leave an “average” review. Of course this means that what you ultimately end up with are fan reviews or highly critical reviews where there has often been a simple problem.

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