The latest joint webinar from trivago and Tnooz tackled the topic of online reputation for hotels: how it’s affecting their ability to drive bookings and what they can do about it.
In the session, entitled “Beyond Reviews: Defining Your Hotel’s Online Reputation,” trivago’s Industry Manager for English-speaking Markets Aly Thompson revealed the root causes of low ratings and damaging reviews, debunking the myths and demystifying the considerable role metasearch plays in reputation management.
Attendees gained insights into how hotels can proactively connect with travelers during the guest journey to encourage bookings and repeat business while building a positive brand image — beyond the reviews.
Key takeaways, as well as the full video of the event, can be found below.
Reviews are just the tip of the online reputation iceberg
The rise of digital word of mouth has lead to a preoccupation in the hotel industry with reviews: understandable, given the impact they seem to have on travelers’ booking decisions.
The danger of focusing entirely on reviews, however, is that hoteliers end up wasting all their time and energy trying to address just one aspect of their online reputation.
And it’s the aspect they have the least control over.
“Although a vast majority of online users engage with reviews, it doesn’t mean you [the hotelier] should spend the majority of your time on them,” warned Aly. “On the contrary, you should spend the majority of your time taking actions elsewhere, which in turn influence positive reviews from your guests.”
A strong online reputation needs to be built from the ground up
“Your [hotel’s] online reputation is already established well before any guest leaves a single review for your hotel.”
So then what is a hotel’s online reputation made of, if not the reviews?
“It’s the culmination of your entire online presence,” affirmed Aly: The content found on the official hotel website, on booking and travel sites, on metasearch, and on social media. Hoteliers actively contributing accurate and attractive content to these sites are able to show the world their own professional hotel image, to complement, elevate, and in some cases, contradict the content guests contribute.
There are also actions hoteliers can take to influence the content coming from guests, including reviews.
A positive guest journey translates into positive guest-generated content
There are specific actions hoteliers can take (and pitfalls they should avoid) at the different stages of the guest journey:
- Before the stay: Set clear and accurate expectations
- During the stay: Keep the promise and address issues
- After the stay: Stay engaged and facilitate feedback
It’s also crucial that hotels are able to find and reach the travelers whose expectations are aligned with what the hotel has to offer, as mismatched expectations are often the downfall of a hotel’s online reputation.
The key takeaway: By understanding and contributing to the full picture of their online presence, and by taking purposeful actions to effectively set, meet, and exceed traveler expectations, a hotelier is indeed able to shape their hotel’s online reputation.
A hotel’s online reputation can be monitored and monetized
The webinar ended with a look at how hoteliers can maintain a comprehensive overview of their online reputation to ensure it remains strong and positive across the Internet.
More important, hoteliers learned how they can wield a strong online reputation to attract and convert a growing segment of reputation-conscious hotel guests.