Now we all know the importance of lots of recent and great reviews. With those reviews we can:

  • Command higher rates
  • expect increased occupancy rates
  • enjoy higher employee morale

But even if you are doing everything “right” those reviews sometimes just don’t happen.

That was happening to us. A few years ago, we had guests who seemed very happy with our product but when it came to waiting for reviews they were barely trickling in.

We had a brainstorming meeting with ALL employees. At that time, Trip Advisor, was the go to platform. (At this writing, they still are. However; Google is making huge efforts in this area and in fact reviews from the platform increased by 309% between 2016 and 2017 and by 2018 realized an additional 114% increase.

We began by realizing that this was a hotel-wide call to action. In order to get the buy in of everyone however, we knew we had to use a bit of a carrot in front of the horse’ strategy. But how do you do that and not break the ‘rules’ in regards to the Trip Advisor guidelines?


We decided to pay bonuses to our employees for every 5 star (5-bubble) review that we got on Trip Advisor. Now, this didn’t violate any guidelines as there were no incentives given to guests for their reviews and employees were not to mention the program to guests.

For each 5 star (5-bubble) review received, we handed out a crisp $5 bill to each employee. When it was time to hand out the $5 bills, I, or my GM (if I was not available), would travel the property to hunt down and surprise our employees with lots of praise, thank you’s and of course a high five for a job well done!

This really energized the staff. High fives became a driving force behind guest satisfaction and employee moral. When employees saw that they had a direct impact on the incoming reviews – the enthusiasm was palpable.

High fives became a driving force behind guest satisfaction and employee moral. When employees saw that they had a direct impact on the incoming reviews – the enthusiasm was palpable.


What does this mean to you? Each review AND YOUR RESPONSES are SEO friendly. Their links remain stable and searchable long after the review is posted. This could potentially mean lots of traffic to your online profile and the potential for a great impression. Each review acts as a mini-ad that plays for you over and over, 24 hours a day. Everyone searching hotels in your area will read these reviews and the impact is difficult to ascertain, except that we know people are more likely to book at hotels that have consistently great reviews.

That’s the key…consistent! They not only check how many reviews you have but they want to see how recent your reviews are. We found when we implemented this fun program – everyone won! Including our guests who were greeted with smiles from everyone from not only the front desk associate but the maintenance man and housekeepers.


  • I only give out $5 for 5 star reviews. In other words, no, I do not hand out $4 for four star reviews. Nothing short of perfection earns this bonus!
  • The staff learns quickly how important each one of their jobs impacts a guest’s stay.
  • I also would often print off a copy of the actual review to hand to the employees so that they could see for themselves and take pride in what they had helped to achieve.
  • When printing reviews for employees, I used google translate so that my Spanish speakers could read the review in their native tongue. They loved this!


Implement some version of the high fives at your hotel and watch the enthusiasm increase as the reviews start coming in. Then, when the reviews start coming, the smiles get that much bigger across your organization.

We would love to hear your success stories!