By now, everyone in the hospitality industry is aware of the impact that reviews and review sites have on your hotel’s online reputation and the first impression potential guests normally have of you. In fact, 88% of travelers cite reputation and reviews as the second factor in booking decisions. Now, we’re watching the trend of hotels making stronger investments in reputation management in 2015.
If you’re still getting your footing when it comes to managing your hotel’s online reputation, try starting with these three basics:
You don’t know what you don’t know, so to know what guests are saying about you online you’ll need to perform an audit. Now, you have two options when it comes to performing your reputation audit. You can invest your time and save your money by performing the audit manually, or you can invest your money but save time by using software or tools to perform the audit for you. It really comes down to personal preference on whether you want to be budget-friendly or tech-forward.
There’s plenty of software out there if you go that route, but when choosing a software make sure it has these three core capabilities: Monitoring, alerts, and replies. The system should be able to monitor a variety of sites and social media networks to ensure no review goes unnoticed. Alerts should be set up for scenarios that need immediate action. The ability to reply within the program and have that message post on the site for you can be a huge time saver and makes it easy to manage multiple replies at once.
Now that you know who is saying what about you and when, you need to actively participate. We recommend that our clients reply to every review, both positive and negative. This is where software helps you save time by using one central hub to access your reviews but posting manually is just as good. Bottom line: Be available and responsive to reviews. In an ideal world, we'd have time to respond to every review but if you're strapped for time, we recommend prioritizing responding to the negative reviews first as they are the most important. Responding to a negative review helps you control your hotel's image and allows you the chance to share your side of the story and shows other reviewers that you are paying attention. Even if the review is negative, thank the reviewer for their feedback, address the specific concerns they voiced, and share how you have or will fix the issue.
We all get excited by adding the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence to our website, but take advertising your positive reviews a step further. Use your exceptional reviews as content for your social media accounts. Post a snippet of the review, thank the reviewer, and provide a link to the full review and you’ve got yourself a social media post that shows the fans that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying and reminds other guests to leave their reviews.
You might be asking, how do I get these reviews in the first place? Many guests are happy to provide their opinion on their stay or experience and half the time all you need to do is ask. Have a link to your TripAdvisor listing and Google+ page in your thank you email and have a little blurb asking them for a review. You could also print business cards that ask for reviews on review sites or your social media pages and staple that card to the guest’s invoice as they leave. It’s also a common practice to post former reviews or ask for new ones on your social media accounts. There are a variety of ways to ask, you just have to do what fits best with your brand and your guests.
Have additional tips for reputation management? Share them with us in the comments section below!