Sure, you’ve heard the phrase ‘Customer is king’. While this holds true to all businesses, it has a whole different truth attached to it when it comes to the hospitality industry. When your hotel’s USP is delivering great guest experience, crowning your customer with kingship is the most logical thing to do. Here are a few other popular phrases that further validate the power that the customer has, in today’s world.
- 1. A customer’s perception is their reality
- 2. It is easier to keep your customers happy than attract new ones
- 3. Complaints spread like wildfire on the internet
- 4. No customers – No business
- 5. Brands win by how well they ‘Wow’ their customers
Having put that out there, let’s move on to the topic at hand- how you can make more money from online reviews.
There are 4.2 billion internet users worldwide as of 2019, which means more than 50% of the world’s population lives on the internet. Out of these internet users, Asia is the highest contributor. This point should drive the importance of online reviews and the importance of the internet, in general.
Why have reviews become the norm today?
Consider these stats…
86% of consumers read reviews online on both services and products and read an average of 10 reviews before putting their faith in any business.
40% of the consumers will take into consideration reviews that are written within the past 2 weeks.
So, it goes without saying that the internet is as important to your prospective guests as it is for you. For them to explore hotels and destinations to travel to. And for you to provide the information they need to encourage them to stay at your hotel.
Who are these internet users?
87% of travelers look to Facebook for travel inspiration, 75% use mobile devices, 85% of them check multiple sites before making a booking and 97% will share their experiences online.
Who are these people you ask? The millennials of course! The trendsetters, almost always looking for adventure and being omnipresent on the internet, and generally omniscient, when it comes to all information that is digital. Irrespective of whether millennials are corporate travelers, tourists or maybe even local travelers, the likelihood of them being vocal about their experience at your hotel is high. Even higher are the chances of the research that they will conduct on your hotel, provided you show up in relevant searches.
Provided you show up!
Now this is important. Having already seen that they’re present on social media platforms and are masters at leveraging the internet, your job is to ensure that when they search for an accommodation option in a particular region or with a particular set of amenities your hotel’s name crosses their screen.. But that is not all, they should ideally see the best virtual version of your hotel. What I mean by that is, firstly you should tick off all the boxes in terms of what they expect from their stay and secondly, you should have amazing reviews so that they take you seriously.
Well, it will be a while before the next generation, i.e. Gen Z becomes a disruptor in the industry. Starting 2019, the front runners of generation Z will join the workforce and we will see a new category of guests for your hotel. Having said that, the millennials will still remain a big contributor for the decade that is to come
Why is it important for hotels to respond to reviews?
Now that we’re clear on who your customers are, it’s very important for your hotel to respond to reviews online. The consequences of not doing so could be dire.
Your hotel risks losing up to 22% of its customers with just one negative review. This number shoots up to 59.2% with two or more reviews.
If your hotel is not active in the online space, these stats could be devastating and furthermore, ignorance could build a bad image in the mind of any potential guest.
Before you jump into the review sites to drag your hotel to the shore, make sure you know where to begin. Here’s a tip that can help you understand where you need to start when it comes to your online reputation.
Place your hotel in one of these 3 buckets that represent the stages of your online reputation:
- 1. Building: If your hotel is new and things have to start from scratch, this is the bucket you will fall under. This is a great place to start and with the added knowledge you take from this article, you could avoid a few grave mistakes that could tarnish your hotel’s online reputation.
- 2. Maintenance: This bucket will be yours if your hotel has been in operation for a good amount of time or has a decent online presence in the time it has been operational. Here your focus shouldn’t be on starting over and doing it right but taking what you have and refining it. It could be your messaging, adopting new online channels or even adding to your customer testimonials.
- 3. Recovery: This one is self-explanatory. If you’ve ignored your hotel’s online reputation and customer reviews have taken a back seat, the chances are that you will fall under this bracket. This bucket is a tough stage to be in but there’s nothing to fret about. Starting fresh is possible!
The best step forward for you would be to identify the problems that your customers are facing and address them. Follow that up with regular review requests from your guests. At the same time, start adopting social media as a medium to reach out to your customers. The results will speak for itself
Key Ingredients for a great online presence:
Irrespective of the bucket you fall under, here are a few key ingredients that are required for a great online presence:
- 1. A website
- 2. Social media handles
- 3. Listing on OTAs
- 4. Listing on review platforms
- 5. A brand statement
- 6. Consistency of information online
- 7. Lots of time and attention
Check out the webinar video here, to understand why these ingredients are essential.
This article is a guideline for the webinar that Hotelogix and RepUp conducted recently. One of the highlights of the webinar is the insights that Rei Matsuda, CEO of Kokotel Hotels brought us. Here’s a snippet of our conversation with Rei, on the topic of Online Reputation:
If there is something you must keep in mind in regards to the hurdles that you can face while managing your hotel’s online reputation, then these are it:
- Requires a dedicated person or a team
- Fake reviews and online trolls
- Inactiveness and it’s consequences
- Manual intervention
These hurdles, for the most part, are self-explanatory, but should you need help with an elaborate explanation, then here is a link to the webinar video.
Like I’ve emphasized time and again on the importance of your Hotel’s online reputation in the article, just reviews and an attempt to publish a few posts on your social media handles is not going to help you. This takes a combination of efforts to have a positive billboard effect in the online space. All this may look like a complicated activity and it is. It is no small task maintaining your hotel’s online reputation manually.
So what now?
Well, there is a fix for this problem. How about an integrated system? Yes, right from the Hotelogix Property Management System. The Hotelogix PMS lets you access and view the RepUp dashboard right within the system. Here’s an image to show you how it looks:
This way you will always have an eye on your reputation while you go about carrying out your daily activities. What’s better is that you can take a more proactive approach towards collecting guests reviews by sending review forms right from the console. If the tools we have mentioned here are of any interest to you, you can sign up here to take a quick demo of the product and get a hands-on experience of the Hotelogix PMS.
Hotelogix also integrates with a lot of other hospitality tools to make the task of managing your hotel all the more simpler. So why limit the possibilities for your hotel. Check out the Hotelogix Marketplace here! I highly recommend that you take a look at the webinar for better insights on the topic because there is a lot more covered in that as compared to the article.
For any queries on the topic write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org