10 Feature Updates to Make Running Review Campaigns Even Easier

This week we're rolling out several new features to the review manager to help streamline your workflows and make it easier to filter through large lists.  

  1. Simplified List Management 
  2. Improved UX
  3. New Workflows
  4. Enriched Exporting


1. Simplified List Management

1a. Clear out customers that you no longer want in the review manager

  • What is it? Ability to select customers and soft delete them from the review manager without losing their event history and timeline. You can also re-add them later and their old status and activity history will repopulate in the timeline
  • How does it help? Remove customers that you don't want to reach out to for reviews to clear out and organize your review manager as your customer list grows.


1b. Clean out your review manager to start fresh with a single click

  • What is it? As you run campaigns over time the review manager continues to build up more and more customers which can make it harder to manage over time.  Eventually, you may get to a point where you just want to start over and from scratch and that's where this nifty new 'start fresh' feature comes in.  Reach out to HTR at any time and we can do a soft reset of your review manager quickly and easily to help you start fresh with your campaigns.
  • How does it help? Reset your review manager to re-start your campaigns and outreach with a clean slate


1c. Streamlined clients tab, filter by status and archived is now unsubscribed (coming 10/13)

The archived tab used to be a place where you could send customers that you didn't want to send further communications to but it showed in the flow of the review manager which was a bit confusing because it meant a customer could have left a review, but they could also be in archived.  Instead, we have deprecated 'archived' and rolled out 'unsubscribed'.

  • What is it? Simplified view of the clients tab now with statuses
  • How does it help? Filter the clients tab by status to get a quick skimmable spreadsheet view of your customers and where they are in the review collection process and also be able to easily unsubscribe/re-subscribe


1d. New customer tags to create and manage segments (coming 10/20)

  • What is it? Create custom tags that you can use to create unique segments of customers in the review manager and filter the review manager by your custom tags.  Import your lists with tags to streamline your workflows and be able to create custom segments.
  • How does it help? Tags allow you to be able to create customer segments to slice and dice your list in any way that you'd like.  Add campaign tags, geographic tags, batch tags, start date tags, property type tags, language tags or anything else you can imagine.





2. Improved UX

2a. Pick up where you left off with ease

Previously when you selected a customer in the review manager the background would scroll to the top of the page making it difficult to find where you left off.  Now, when you select a customer the background customer tile has a selected state to bookmark where you are visually and the page remains static so you can more easily keep your place.  Improvements include: 

  • What is it? Bookmarked state for selected customers 
  • How does it help? Page no longer shifts when clicking into customer timeline detail view so you can more easily keep track while switching between customers


2b. Improved customer selection UX

  • What is it? Previously the bulk select/select all feature would 'select all' that were on the tab.  That meant if you had thousands of users that (1) there would be lag and (2) you couldn't easily move smaller groupings/segments between tabs.  The select all button has been updated to now only select the customers visible on the current page you are on
  • How does it help?  Eliminate lag, more precisely and easily move customers between tabs to simplify your workflows


3. New Workflows

3a. Filter the entire review manager by campaign

When you've run dozens of campaigns and have thousands of customers in the review manager it can get really overwhelming and difficult to figure out how to filter the data to make sense in a way that is actionable, not anymore.

  • What is it? Filter the entire review manager by campaign so you can
  • How does it help? See exactly how a campaign is performing (or performed) so you can take strategic actions to execute personalized followup by segment


3b. Ability to send customers follow-on campaigns (coming 10/20)

  • What is it? Previously, once you ran a campaign to customers there was no way to run another campaign to them.
  • How does it help? Now you can quickly and easily move customers who had been in an old campaign right into the campaign setup tab to be able to send them another campaign


3c. Re-trigger verification emails to customers (coming 10/20)

  • What is it? Manually re-trigger the verification link to be sent to customers with a 'pending' review that hasn't yet verified
  • How does it help? This is particularly helpful if you have a client who left a review but didn't click the verification link and they're saying they never received it. Now you can manually re-trigger it to be sent to them on the spot




4. Enriched Exporting

4a. Export customer statuses to leverage in your own tools

Previously the 'export suppression' list feature only exported (non-anonymous) customers that had left a review.  Now, this export includes all (non-anonymous) customers from all tabs of your review manager along with the tab they're in (aka their status) so you can import this data to your CRM or other external tools.

Phase II: HT Score Poseidon Update is now live

Continued from Phase I: HT Score Poseidon Update

Phase II of the Poseidon Algorthim update is now live.  This means that the new rankings that were only vendor facing in the vendor dashboard in Phase I can now be viewed live on HTR throughout the entire site both the hotelier facing site as well as the vendor dashboard.

If you have any questions about the algorithm updates please refer to the scoring documentation or the Phase I announcement.  If you're looking for personalized tips to improve your reputation, rankings and visibility--check out the Report Card and Coaching Checklist in your vendor dashboard.



When does the 3rd and final phase of the update go live?

The final Phase III update (Client bias variable) will be rolled out with the introduction of the Client Bias ranking signal no later than 11/1.  Per the June 16th update:

Client Bias (aka. Share of Voice). Hotel Tech Report’s policy has historically been to accept reviews from multiple users at a single hotel due to the fact that every user has a unique opinion/viewpoint on software.  Having said that, collecting lots of reviews from only a handful of customers that aren't representative of your overall customer base indicates potential risk of bias.  


What is the client bias update?

We’ll use two hypothetical vendors to illustrate the importance of this algorithm patch: Vendor A and Vendor B. Vendor A has 30 reviews from 30 hotels, Vendor B has 30 reviews from 1 hotel client. 

In this example, you can see that while both vendors have the same # of reviews, this is not an apples-to-apples comparison when it comes to credibility and install base since Vendor A has 30 verified hotel clients and Vendor B has only 1. 

The Share of Voice variable will help identify potential client selection bias (aka. cherry picking) that can arise if a vendor is strategically only asking for feedback from a select number of clients versus reaching out to their full install base.


Who will be impacted by the client bias update?

Most companies will not be impacted by this update.  The only companies that will be impacted will be ones who have selectively sought to only seek feedback from lots of users at a small sample of client hotels.

*Note: You can still get a handful of reviews from a single property; however, if all of your reviews are coming from a small amount of properties the algorithm will identify this as potential cherry picking/gaming and your score will be impacted as a result

What can we do to maximize our score for the client bias update?

Just make sure you are reaching out organically for feedback to your client base instead of cherry picking select clients.  Also, take note that while you may certainly collect a handful of reviews from different users at a given hotel--if your strategy has been to try to game the system and collect tons of reviews from a single hotel (or small number of hotels) this will be identified by the algorithm update and your score will be impacted.  Hopefully it goes without saying but...make sure you're review collection is organic, representative and diverse and you are not trying to game the system by gathering lots of a reviews from only a few select clients.  

Phase I: HTScore Poseidon Update Rollout

Phase I of the HTScore Poseidon Algorithm update that was announced back in June is now live.  

Phase I of the rollout gives vendors a chance to see potential impact to their rankings and what they can do to improve before the site wide rollout to all users.  In Phase I vendors have the opportunity to see their new scores privately via their Reputation Report Card and Awards Live Leaderboard and get personalize tips to improve your score before the public rollout later this month (late August) via the Coaching Checklist in your vendor dashboard.

As a reminder, for the next few weeks during Phase I the updated rankings and scoring are only visible to vendors privately via the vendor dashboard and the awards leaderboard to make sure you have plenty of time to check your impact and take any necessary action (if needed) in advance of the update officially going live on the site.




FAQs

Will my ranking and scores be impacted?

While most companies' scores won't be heavily impacted, companies who don't have recent reviews of their products may experience significant drops in ranking and scores.  

How will I know if my HTScore or ranking will drop significantly due to the update?

Head to the Reputation Report Card in your vendor dashboard to check your HT Score and ranking relative to what you see on the front end (ie. your profiles or category pages) of HotelTechReport.com. 

See how to check your score impact


If our products look like they will drop in score or rank after the update goes live, what can we do to mitigate this?

Not to worry, this is exactly why Phase I exists to give your team time to know what to expect and pre-empt any unexpected or undesired changes.  The first thing you'll want to do is review the Coaching Checklist in the Reputation Report card which is sorted by potential impact (most important at the top).  The main reason for companies dropping in score or rank with this update is due to inactivity and lack of recent reviews so this is an easy one to fix and HTR has several resources available to help Basic Members and Premium Members quickly and easily collect recent reviews.

When will the update officially go live to the rest of the site (Phase II)?

Phase II will go live towards the end of August providing vendors several weeks of additional prep time leading into the official rollout to check their impact and collect reviews to mitigate any potential drops in scores/ranking due to inactivity.

HT Score Poseidon Algorithm Update (Q3 '21)

Hotel Tech Report consistently improves the HT Score ranking algorithm to incorporate variables and mechanisms that set out to productize buyer research and decision making criteria considered by savvy hotel tech buyers during the research, vetting and due diligence process to help hoteliers make better decisions, faster.  Similar to Google's algorithm updates, HTR periodically rolls out updates to build upon and improve the scoring methodology over time.

The core purpose of this update is not to change the importance/weighting of the various quality signals in the scoring system, but instead to provide a more dynamic, consistent, and long-term scoring methodology that ensures an accurate, fair and current perspective of products in the market based on key buying decision criteria and real time data in the HTR platform.  

The Poseidon algorithm update is outlined below in addition to tips for companies to optimize their presence, rankings and visibility.  The Poseidon update will go into effect in mid-July '21 ensuring that all vendors have time to review the update and understand the potential implications that it might have on rankings.

 

All Reviews Are Not Created Equal...

Generally speaking, this group of updates takes into consideration something that has never been factored into the HT Score before which is that all reviews are not created equal.  Old reviews aren't as important as new reviews, shallow reviews aren't as meaningful as in-depth reviews, lots of reviews from a small subset of clients aren't as representative as a few reviews from a large subset of clients and collecting lots of reviews at once tends to increase bias relative to a more sustainable long term feedback collection strategy.  Below are additional details about the new criteria that will be factored into scoring in a dynamic way:

  • Decay factor on review volume. Previously review volume in the category minimum review threshold was based on all time reviews with no difference between the important of a review from years ago to a review left today about a users current product experience.  Now, the impact of reviews towards HTScore variables will evenly decay overtime over a 36-month period meaning that reviews older than 3-years will not be counted in terms of category average volumes.  As a result, recent reviews will carry more weight than old reviews since they are more reflective of the current product and customer experience.  This decay in weight will be gradual to avoid drastic and sudden changes.  
  • Review depth.  Companies that build outstanding products that customers love develop strong communities of passionate customer advocates and product mavens who have insightful feedback about the product and take the time to engage in ways to support the development, growth and success of companies they love.  Additionally, in-depth reviews provide more value to users by painting clear user scenarios, pros and cons to help buyers on HTR better understand the product offering available to make a more informed decision.  For these reasons, in-depth reviews will now be factored in as a weighting variable (relative to review depth from peers in the same category) and an indicator of customer engagement and likelihood to recommend.
  • Client bias (aka Share of Voice). Hotel Tech Report’s policy has historically been to accept reviews from multiple users at a single hotel due to the fact that every user has a unique opinion/viewpoint on software.  Having said that, collecting lots of reviews from only a handful of customers that aren't representative of your overall customer base indicates potential risk of bias.  Therefore, we will be implementing a maximum limit of  5 reviews/property that can be counted in scoring to eliminate potential bias from a small subset of customers that may not be representative of the overall client base.
  • Customer centric processes. Companies who create a sustainable process to regularly collect reviews organically and steadily overtime indicate that customer feedback is at the heart of their organizational processes.  As a result, companies who show stable review collection will be rewarded as a key indicator of organic review collection, strong internal feedback loops and customer centricity.


Static-->Dynamic Quality Signals

Last year the v1 additional bonus quality signals were introduced to the HT Score with binary static determination.  This v1 implementation did not factor in the vast differences across products and categories ultimately rendering the quality signals with relatively little importance due to the fact that they were not dynamic.  This update takes the old static variables and makes them dynamic within each category to ensure more accurate comparisons and assessments between products.

  • Dynamic scoring updates. The following bonuses will move from binary fixed points into a dynamic scoring system relative to other products in the respective category for more accurate comparison: Global reach, partner recommendations, staying power, company resources
  • Global coverage bonus.  Historically the geographic reach bonus only factored in # of countries with 5+ reviews.  The issue with countries is that some regions have dozens of countries (eg. Europe) and some only have a handful (eg. North America) but ultimately the key factor is likelihood that a vendor will be able to service a user in the global market place.  To improve the effectiveness of the geo bonus and remove potential country inequality, a regional coverage variable will be added to the global reach bonus to provide a more accurate view of global market coverage.  Regions include: North America, Europe, APAC, Middle East/Africa, South America
  • Ecosystem health bonus. A new variable will be added for app ecosystem health that factors aggregate HTScores and ratings of all verified integration partners.  Products with the highest quality app ecosystems not only have a higher probability of being able to effectively service more users in the global market place, but ecosystem health also serves as an indicator of engineering resources, company reputation and ability to deliver a more seamless customer experience through a holistically integrated tech stack of world class products.


The Good & The Bad (Examples of both)

Good🚫 Bad
Showcase lots of recent reviews and customer feedback on your profiles that is reflective of the current product experience and customer relationships.Few or no recent reviews with most reviews from a long time ago making it difficult for prospects to learn about the current user experience.
Collect reviews from a wide array of customers that provides a representative and unbiased sample.Collect lots of reviews from only a handful of customers that isn't representative of your overall customer base and indicates potential risk of bias.
Create a sustainable process to regularly collect reviews organically and steadily showing that customer feedback is at the heart of your organizational processes and that hoteliers aren't pressured to leave reviews.All of your reviews are collected within a short period of time indicating that feedback collection is not part of your team's internal processes and that hoteliers may have been bombarded with requests creating a stressful experience for users that can lead to bias and frustration.
Collect reviews from customers in each of the key regions you serve geographically to increase chances of having strong customer feedback that is relevant to HTR's global audience of hoteliers.Collect reviews from hoteliers in a single geography which signals to the algorithm that you are a regional provider that may not be able to service many of HTR's global audience of hoteliers.
List and verify all of your integrations and collect recommendations from lots of your partners to show that your product and team are highly interoperable and come highly recommended by other top partners in the global ecosystem.Only list and verify a few of your integrations and have minimal recommendations from other vendors in the community indicating to the algorithm and buyers that your company may be fairly nascent in the market and lacks a strong partner ecosystem.


Tips to Optimize Your Rankings for the Upcoming Update

  • 💡Tip #1: Make sure you have recent reviews that are reflective of the current product experience for buyers (Related to: Review decay)
  • 💡Tip #2: Make sure you diversify your review collection and don't have all of your reviews from only a small number of hotels (Related to: Client bias)
  • 💡Tip #3: Make sure you have a consistent and organic review collection process built into your team's workflows and avoid large burst campaigns that inundate and overwhelm clients (Related to: Erratic Collection Penalty)
  • 💡Tip #4Make sure you diversify your review collection across your customer base's geographic regions to maximize your global coverage and geo bonus (Related to: Global Coverage Bonus)
  • 💡Tip #5: Make sure all of your integrations are listed and verified and you have as many recommendations from partners as you can to maximize your partner ecosystem bonus (Related to: Ecosystem health bonus)

Note: Please note that as with Google or any other ranking methodology, HTR's algorithm is proprietary and full disclosure of exact calculations has the negative consequence of leading to users attempting to game the system which is why the exact algorithm is not shared publicly.  That said, HTR is committed to providing detailed documentation as well as the Reputation Report Card in the vendor dashboard to make sure it is simple and easy for your team to quickly assess the key drivers of the ranking methodology and identify ways to quickly and easily to optimize your rankings and presence.

🔌 The New Integrations Experience

Have you run into any of these issues when listing your integrations on Hotel Tech Report before?

  1. "We have a lot of integrations but listing lots of integrations at once takes forever"
  2. "I want to list all of our integrations to get them verified but some of our partners aren't listed on HTR"
  3. "How can I tell how many verified integrations I have and how many I need to meet the category average or most integrated in the category for the HotelTechAwards?"

Well, thanks to Laura @ protel and Thomas @ Revinate--you can sleep easy tonight with the all new redesigned integrations experience 🙌

Now you can...

  • Add dozens of integrations in seconds without leaving the search bar...
  • Easily add integrations even if the partner isn't listed with the new fast add flow...
  • Check your relative integrations counts within your category for the HotelTechAwards
  • Sort by integration status to quickly find unverified integrations and get them verified to get get verified credit
  • (BONUS) 🎸 Watch Jimmy Melt Faces @ Woodstock


I. Add dozens of integrations in seconds without leaving the search bar...


II. Easily add integrations even if the partner isn't listed with the new fast add flow...


III. Check your relative integrations counts within your category for the HotelTechAwards

IV. Sort by integration status to quickly find unverified integrations and get them verified


V. (BONUS) 🎸 Watch Jimmy Melt Faces @ Woodstock


Review Manager: New Guides & Sending Limits

Tips & Best Practices Front & Center Throughout the Campaign Setup and Launch Flow

While the review manager has always had in app messaging pop up with tips and tutorials and the help center has had best practices and templates, they now sit from and center in the campaign flow and review manager to make sure everyone on your team is able to optimize your campaign to follow best practices, save time and increase conversion.


New Campaign Daily Sending Limits to Improve Deliverability

With the rebuilt review manager and improved performance more companies have been sending more campaigns and larger campaigns.  To ensure strong deliverability new daily sending limits have been implemented which include (1) 250 users/campaign (2) 500 requests sent/day


New Pre-Written Base STARTER Templates

If its your first time sending a review campaign it might take you some brain racking to figure out what the heck to write to get users to leave reviews.  The review manager now has new pre-written base STARTER templates to save you to time.

Its important to remember these are STARTER templates and are meant to serve as a starting point but you ABSOLUTELY SHOULD CUSTOMIZE AND MAKE THEM YOUR OWN.  Remember, your goal is to follow all of the best practices but most importantly: 

  1. Make sure you are sending your campaigns from someone users have rapport with and will recognize in their inbox
  2. Make sure you customize your templates to sound like a personal 1-to-1 email to each user (not a generic mass marketing email!) 

You can also check out more pre-written starter templates in the help center and

Partial Reviews Displaying in Review Manager

As a way to monitor review form conversion and make sure we capture as much content as possible in the event of a reviewer having an issue with the review form we capture partial review content.

This is solely for internal monitoring purposes as these reviews cannot be published since they are (a) incomplete and (b) lack verification and approval from the user (since they did not finish the form and submit their review).

Last week when we rolled out a performance improvement to the automated review manager some partial reviews appeared as 'pending' reviews.

This issue should now be resolved but please feel free to reach out with any questions or if you are still seeing a partial review in your vendor dashboard.

We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

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