The accommodation market has never been more competitive so how does a hotel stand out and grab a guests attention? One way is their online reviews. In fact, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
A few bad reviews can have massive implications on your business, leading potential guests to look elsewhere for their accommodation. A visible selection of positive reviews on the other hand reassure the guest that their making the right choice and increase conversion and revenue for your property.
When managing online reviews, just a few solid tactics can dramatically sharpen your strategy. Read our 8 top tips here and make online reputation management part of your revenue strategy today.
8 Tips to Managing Hotel Reviews
- Ensure Guests Have a Great Stay
Building a solid reputation online starts with the guest experience. Make sure you hire the right staff and provide continuous training to ensure that amazing service is always at the top of the agenda. Front line team members also need to know how to handle complaints and offer support to guests during their stay, so that each guest leaves the hotel in a good mood and with only positive anecdotes to share.
- Identify Common Complaints
Hotels that pay attention to their online reviews will often notice a trend in the complaints or problems highlighted by guests. It might be the breakfast buffet was too limited, or the rooms weren’t clean on arrival. Isolating these issues can help the hotel formulate a sound response to the reviews and action any changes needed to prevent future complaints. Why not set up a regular internal meeting with heads of department to discuss actions to be addressed from recent guest feedback.
- Reply to Online Reviews
Time is always an issue for a hotel manager or owner but it’s essential you find the time to respond to hotel reviews. TripAdvisor found that 65% of their users are more likely to book with a hotel that responds to reviews (versus a similar hotel that doesn’t), and 85% of their users say a good management response to a poor review improves their impression of a hotel.
By responding to reviews, it shows you’re aware of the guest experience within your property. It also shows future guests that you care about what people have to say and that in the case of a negative review you are doing something to address the guest’s complaint. Remember it’s okay to admit to a mistake as well. People will appreciate your honesty.
Also, if you think that a review has been left unfairly, don’t be afraid to challenge this, although remain as professional as possible. There are also areas on review sites where you can ask for feedback to be removed if you think the review has been left for the wrong hotel or if you suspect a competitor hotel has left the review.
If you’ve been left a glowing review, make sure to reply as well. They’ve gone out of their way to leave you a good review. It only takes a minute to acknowledge them for taking the time and letting them know you appreciate their feedback.
- Don’t use Formal Language
If you’re using social media and OTA channels to communicate with guests, be careful not to sound too corporate. Future guests will respond better to a human voice and a personal touch. A potential customer would rather feel as though they’re staying somewhere that treats the guest as an individual. If your communications is too rigid, you’ll sound mechanical and it might sound like an automated response.
- Encourage Guests to Leave a Review
Whether it’s a friendly mention at the front desk or a post-stay email asking for feedback, encouraging guests to leave reviews is always a good idea. Front desk team members can identify when someone has had a brilliant stay and ask them would they write a review. Be careful about offering incentives to the guest though as this could be considered as buying positive feedback.
Do, however, offer incentives to hotel staff that get mentioned for great service in reviews. Encouraging friendly competition and offering rewards is a great tactic to drive service levels.
- Optimise Your Online Presence
Claim and update your profiles on key review sources like TripAdvisor, Google My Business, Yelp and online travel agencies. Add descriptions, imagery and contact information, and ensure content is kept accurate and current over time.
- Set up Monitoring Tools
With so much noise on social media, it’s virtually impossible to keep up. To ensure you stay on top of everything, set up alerts on review sites and social networks to be notified of mentions of your hotel. Appoint a staff member to monitor these reviews and distribute them to appropriate staff. A reputation management tool will help to automate this process. See Reviewpro and Revinate for two leading industry examples.
- Share Reviews on your Website
A customer can always consult a third-party agency to check your reviews so why not keep them on your website by showing them the information there. You can create content yourself on your website or use a company like The Hotels Network who will display a review widget for you that pulls in your reviews from across the web.
Reviews are obviously useful for the consumer but can also be very useful for a business. negative reviews can highlight areas for improvement in your hotel and should be used to start a conversation around enhancing the guest experience. Positive reviews can also help you define what makes your business special in your customer’s eyes and this can be used for brand marketing.
Make sure to develop a strategic plan for managing your hotel reviews and integrate these steps into the daily operations and culture of your hotel. In time, your guest satisfaction should improve leading to better reviews, more bookings and a more successful hotel.