Why You Need to Pay Attention to Your Hotel Reputation Management
If someone is going to pack their bags, leave their home with their family, swipe their credit card and check-in at a hotel they’ve never been to before, they are most likely going to be looking at finding a venue which gives them the most value for their money.
So how do they know if your hotel is the best option?
To stand out in an extremely competitive market, you need hotel reputation management.
What is Hotel Reputation Management?
Hotel reputation management is the process of managing, monitoring and influencing how your guests and potential customers view your hotel.
It involves monitoring customer reviews, mentions and ratings.
72% of new customers won’t book until they have spent time reading other traveller reviews.
The internet has now become an essential tool for people all over the world. Mobile phones are constantly in use, and with wi-fi access being widespread, most people are never more than a few swipes away from the information they’re looking for.
Slipping your phone out of your pocket and taking a picture of something cool is just as natural as taking your next footstep. So too is writing a long, scathing customer review on platforms such as TripAdvisor about terrible rooms or a receptionist who was too busy tweeting at a celebrity instead of serving their needs.
80% of customers who get asked to leave a review will do so, and 22% of people who write an online review will do so without being asked. This is why managing your reputation is a significant part of the hotel reputation management process.
Why Online Reputation Really Matters to Your Hotel
96% of people consider review to be important when researching a hotel.
One of the biggest influencers of human behaviour is social proof. When people see others saying good things about your brand online, it increases their confidence and trust in your establishment.
52% of consumers agree that they would never book a hotel with no reviews.
Excellent customer reviews don’t just make you look good. They give you an insight into what people like about your business, allowing you to clearly determine your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
By using online reputation management for your hotel, you gain information and analytical data that can inform your marketing, advertising, strategy and future plans. The happier your customers are, the better your reputation – which leads to increased trust, recommendations and bookings.
As a hotelier you should be monitoring and tracking all of your mentions, reviews and ratings. Make sure to share your positive reviews across your social media platforms to increase your reach.
Take note of the reviews which stand out, particularly ones that people have written that flatter and praise your venue’s excellent service and best qualities. Displaying these on your website (with permission of the author) allows visitors to see the fantastic things that are being said about you and shows that you care about your customer’s experiences.
How to Generate Excellent Online Reviews for Your Hotel
Your reputation is a continual work in progress, having an excellent online reputation doesn’t happen over night and it’s always at risk of falling if you stop paying attention. It takes a lot of work and training to make your reputation stand out above the rest and stay that way.
Here are some pointers to implement in your hospitality reputation management strategy to help you obtain more check-ins.
Firstly, the only way to get genuine positive reviews is to give exceptional customer service. There is no substitute for this, you can’t expect your guests to go away happy if they’ve not had an experience that has at least met their expectations.
Make sure to attend to your guests needs and sort any problems as quickly as possible. Even seemingly little things can make a huge difference when it comes to a customer writing their review.
Secondly, when a customer leaves a review, you need to respond, and do so in a way that is natural and engaging – copy/pasting standard responses with no personalisation and not addressing the topic of the review could actually damage the positive response your guest has had to you.
When you engage with customers, you are creating a personal connection with them and your brand. Knowing that you care enough to engage with them leaves a lasting positive impression. It also shows future visitors that you’re responsive and active, and when search engines index the review pages, they’ve got more content to show off in their results.
Negative reviews must be dealt with. If they’ve obviously fake or violate the terms of service of the review site, then they should be reported for removal immediately. Genuine reviews must be answered in a polite, honest and sympathetic manner. The worst thing you can do when you get a negative review is to leave a negative or defensive response, or no response at all.
Acknowledge the issue they’ve had and make it a point to fix the problem. If you’re contacting them privately, make sure you leave a public remark to say you’re doing so that the customer knows to be looking for it, and potential guests who are doing their research can see that a negative experience is not a normal state of affairs.
Thirdly, as part of your check-out process, ask your guests to leave a review on any of the review websites they prefer, having an email, scannable QR Code or a card with the correct account name for each of the major platforms will help get them to the right place (this is especially important if your hotel is part of a chain where the difference in name is the location only).
Don’t hesitate to reach out to past guests and request a review, if they were happy with your service they would be glad to leave you one, and if they respond with reasons why they won’t then it gives you the opportunity to fix their issues and regain their trust.
Key Thoughts About Hotel Reputation Management to Check Out
You may have the most beautiful rooms with the best towel swans and the biggest catalogue of luxury pillows to choose from, but if your reputation on the outside isn’t good enough – no one will want to check-in.
Getting your reputation management right is a keystone for any hotel that wants to be successful.
You must be intentional about how you want people to view your location and brand, you need to build up your online reputation and keep a close watch over it.
When you get your reputation management right, you’ll see more popularity, recommendations, reviews and the number of all-important bookings will increase.