A hotel’s reputation is largely based on the reviews that it receives and the manner in which they are responded to. Gone are the days when a traveller blindly trusts their travel agent in making the right decision for them when it comes to booking the hotel.
Today’s traveller compares ratings, pricings, reviews before finalizing on the property. Hotel owners need to be aware of the reviews that they receive and look at ways in which they can work the reviews to their advantage by maximising bookings through them.
A research conducted by Medallia indicates that engaging in reputation management can have a direct impact on the hotel’s occupancy. Best Western chain of hotels showed a 6.4% occupancy growth in the hotels that started to respond to more than 50% of social reviews. This was more than 2X the growth rate experienced in hotels that were non-responsive to online reviews.
For small and mid-sized properties, it may be time consuming to manage their online reviews and they may not always have the budget to hire a reputation management firm. We present to you a few tips by which a hotel can effectively manage their hotel’s reputation and in turn maximize their profits:
1. Real time response to guest query:
Many guests may be posting in real time, especially during the times when they have a complaint to make. Hotel’s should ensure that they track postings about their property with the help of online alerts and respond in an effective manner to the reviews, especially if the guest has a complaint or is facing a particular issue.
Quick responses also give hotels the opportunity to engage with their guests and make them feel that their feedback is valued and acted upon.
When potential guests are considering hotel options, they check whether hotels had responded to the reviews posted by previous guests.
2. Avoid generic responses:
Hotels should ensure that their response to feedback are customized for each one of their guest.
Mention the guests name in your response, list the problem or commendation that they gave. It need not be lengthy; it should just convince the reader that a person and not a machine is responding to any reviews. If every response uses the exact same language then it seems that the hotel is not genuinely listening to the feedback received by them.
3. Ensure the following sites are tracked:
78% of all online reviews come from popular OTAs like Booking.com, Tripadvisor, Google and Hotels.com. Hotels should ensure that they track these sites and ensure that they are aware of any posts that are made regarding their property.
These sites provide ratings for hotels and has a significant impact on the final choice that a guest makes. Hotels need to make sure that their ratings are high and encourage their guests to contribute to these sites.
4. Don’t ignore positive reviews:
Many hotels feel that only negative reviews should be addressed. Hotels should appreciate the positive reviews also and thank guests for taking the time to reach out to them. This is a fantastic opportunity for hotels to connect with a satisfied guest’s circle of contacts and drive more bookings.
5. Take ownership:
Hotels should be accountable for any reviews that they receive, whether it is good, bad or ugly. Individuals are willing to forgive a mistake if they see that a hotel takes ownership of them. In a service based industry mistakes are bound to happen, but the manner in which they are handled ensures whether a hotel can maintain their reputation. A past or potential guest will be more likely to book with a hotel that accepts their mistake, apologizes and suggests corrective measures in which the problem shall be dealt with.
In a competitive industry like hospitality, online reputation plays a vital role in influencing sales. It’s essential that hoteliers adopt the right system that helps them optimize on the power of online reputation management."5 simple ways independent properties can step up their review management",