Is a bad review (or two) getting you down? Are you working really hard to make sure everything goes smoothly, only to find that no matter what, there are some customers you just can’t please? Shying away from your online hotel profiles because online reputation management can be daunting? We hear you. It happens.
Rest assured, you’re not the only hotel manager with these concerns. So let’s get to work: we’ve got your hotel’s prestige to protect and promote—easily accomplished with a strategic approach and a few nifty tips. Armed with these suggestions you’ll be able to improve your brand image and even transform dissatisfied guests into ambassadors for your hotel.
Managing your online reputation requires time and effort, but it’s actually easier than you might think. By investing a few moments each day or week, you can make your online reputation work for rather than against you.
1. More often than not, great reviews are only a request away
Just about each and every company out there has had to deal with negative feedback. Bad reviews don’t necessarily mean your hotel is bad, though. They could just mean that you need to be a bit more proactive. It can be perplexing when someone leaves negative feedback online, because when you talk to them in person, many guests seem over the moon. Here’s why the discrepancy: Happy guests don’t always leave reviews; you need to ask them to. Don’t hesitate, either. When people tell you how much they loved your hotel, gently remind them about your most prominent hotel review sites. Then ask if they would take a brief moment to leave you a review. Trust that any guest who has enjoyed their stay will not be the least bit put off by your request.
How does this help?
The more reviews you have, the less impact each will have on your overall rating. This diminishes the effect negative reviews have on your business. Also, the more reviews you have, the more popular your property will appear to potential guests glancing through multiple options quickly.
TIP: Print logos of the review sites your hotel uses on the back of your business card. Place these cards prominently at the front desk or in suite and never hesitate to pass them out to departing guests. Not in the habit of handing out business cards? Consider printing the logos on brochures and including them in all hotel reservation and confirmation email signatures.
2. Keep your reviews up to date
Most algorithms on review sites and metasearches are not only based on the ratings you receive from guests, but also on the date of the review. Older reviews lose their importance over time. Therefore, it is recommended to keep the reviews coming in. There are various tools out there you can use. TripAdvisor ReviewExpress, for example, is a great way to remind recent guests of their stay and encourage them to review.
TIP: Sometimes it’s easiest to dedicate a few moments each week solely to this task. We suggest a time not likely to be postponed: perhaps Tuesday morning, after you’ve spent Monday catching up from the weekend.
3. Respond to both negative and positive reviews
According to PhocusWright, a global travel market research organization, over 85 percent of travellers say that receiving an appropriate response from hotel management to a bad review improves their impression of the hotel. But that’s not all—the same study found that 62 percent of potential guests agreed that seeing the hotel’s response to reviews made them more inclined to book at that hotel.
TIP: Be open minded, positive, and professional in your response. Actively read reviews so that any negative comments receive a quick response. The faster a hotel responds appropriately, the more significant the impact on reviewers and commentators.
In your initial response, keep the following in mind:
a. Thank the reviewer for their time in sharing their feedback
b. Acknowledge their opinion, i.e., “I can see how that may be…” or “We are sorry to hear that you feel this way…”
c. Tell them you would like to do what you can to improve the situation by connecting with them over the phone, through PM (personal message), email, or in suite if they are still at the hotel. This keeps the conversation professional, shows your willingness to take action, and guards you against further negativity on a public review channel.
Not overly fond of random opinions?
Do you prefer to have a more thorough evaluation from guests, rather than just an opinion about one aspect of your hotel? To this end, trivago developed Quality Test, a review method that identifies your strongest services and amenities based on thorough guest feedback.
Whatever you do, don’t ask friends and family to write fake positive reviews for you. It can be tempting, but more and more reviews sites are on the lookout for fraudulent reviews nowadays. And they have algorithms to help weed them out and rank down hotels that are paying for or encouraging false comments.
Instead, set aside a few moments each day and actively solicit feedback from guests; it can make a world of difference for you, your hotel, and your business success.