A hotel’s online reputation plays a major role in closing a deal. But many properties don’t realise that the lack of managing their online reputation is negatively impacting their event bookings. Hotels should always consider event bookings as a significant revenue stream, because there’s a direct correlation between the amount of event space a group books and the number of guest rooms they’ll reserve for their hotel block. If you’re currently losing out on chances to book events, it’s likely you’re losing out on chances to book room blocks, too.

By taking control of how your hotel property is perceived online, you can increase your revenue generated from direct event bookings and room blocks. Here are three ways your hotel’s online reputation is negatively impacting event bookings and the steps you can take to fix them.

1. Your visuals are subpar

When planners are evaluating your hotel property as a potential venue for their event, one of the first things they’ll look at are your property’s visuals. If your hotel’s photographs are subpar or set unrealistic expectations, it could be negatively impacting your online reputation, and therefore your potential to secure event bookings.

When you invest in high-quality photos, you’ll be able to easily showcase realistic event setups, highlight what makes your space special, and best of all, cross-post those photos across your social media outlets. These photos will serve as a positive representation of your space and will give planners a good idea of what their event could look like at your property.

If you’re not able to snap photos during an event, why not stage one? Showcase the various possible setups and ask or hire people to come in and appear in the shots, so that you show what a realistic event could look like. This will help prospective event planners visualise their event in your space.

Want to really take your hotel’s online reputation to the next level with visuals? Leverage a digital tool such as Georama to conduct live virtual tours or Convert to showcase your space on your website to prospective event planners.

2. Your hotel’s online reviews aren’t being addressed

A negative online review for your hotel that you haven’t noticed could be negatively impacting your online reputation, and thereby your event bookings. Worse yet: When your online reviews go without a response, it gives the prospective customer a hint of what they can expect on response times to their customer service inquiries.

Whether it’s a five-star or a one-star review, whenever a customer takes time out of their day to give you valuable feedback, respect it with a unique, timely response.

Did you know that 77% of event strategists research a potential venue space online before reaching out to the property? They’re looking at your website and your online reviews, and soliciting the expert opinion of their network connections before reaching out. So if your online reviews could use some attention, it’s time to show them some.

The first and easiest step in taking control of your hotel’s online reputation is simply to respond. Make sure your response is timely and genuine and addresses the reviewer’s comment, regardless of whether it was positive or negative. If the latter, stay calm and take a moment to apologise for the customer’s negative experience, make an offer to correct what happened, and outline what they could expect on a future visit.

By doing so, you’re showing you have fully invested in your client’s success, which will have an impact on prospective planners who are considering hosting an event in your space.

3. Your social media presence falls short

Millennials and Gen Z are the quickest growing demographic of event planners, but hoteliers still have yet to decipher the most impactful way to appeal to them. If you’re relegating managing your hotel’s social media presence to the staff intern, you might want to rethink this.

The easiest way is to reach this growing demographic is by leveraging visual marketing tactics. It’s a fact: Social media posts with relevant visuals receive 94% more views than posts without them. And with millennials gravitating towards more visual social networks such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest, what are you doing to make sure your hotel’s online reputation on social media resonates with these prospective customers and stands out from your competitors?

Major hotel brands such as Marriott understand the function of social media when it comes to managing a hotel’s online reputation and how it impacts its event-booking business. So much so that they’ve built proprietary platforms for planners to collect visual inspiration sourced from social media. Planners can then take their inspiration to participating hotels in the chain to design unique event experiences in their space.

Helping prospective planners envision their event being hosted in your space is one of the quickest ways to leverage visual marketing tactics. Imagery provides a better way to get your point across than text alone. You could describe the various event spaces in your property, their sizes, their flexibility, and the amenities unique to your property— but visuals can bring these features to life.

You can positively impact your online reputation by starting with event diagrams. Prepare a variety of event diagrams for the different spaces in your hotel, paired with high-quality photos of actual events with those setups. When you post these event visuals via your property’s social media outlets on a regular basis, planners will be able to see the latest events hosted in your space and garner ideas on how they can envision their event at your hotel.

What marketing assets do you leverage to supercharge event bookings at your hotel? Leave a comment or tweet to me @socialtables!

 

Laura Lopez

Laura Lopez is the Senior Community Manager at the Washington, D.C.-based event planning software company, Social Tables. The award-winning platform has been used to source, plan, and execute over two million events since 2011. The company has 4,500 customers in 100 countries and has been recognized as one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in Live Events in 2017.

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