Travel and hotel review aggregators like TripAdvisor and Yelp are designed to streamline the feedback process for service-oriented venues. In their effort to simplify the user experience, quite often they do a disservice to larger hospitality venues designed to offer an array of services: from conventions to golf tournaments and everything in-between.
If a facility is fortunate and disciplined enough to have all strengths and no weaknesses, a one-stop-shop for guest opinions may not be so bad after all. The only loss will be the inability to capture nuances and the decreased likelihood for a guest to comment on the specific service they utilized. For example, a day user of a spa may not be qualified to make an assessment of the room experience in a hotel. But in many instances, online review platforms will be measuring metrics associated specifically with lodging.
(Check out: “Cornell Study on Hotels: More Reviews, Higher Ratings”)
For larger venues, the challenge is two-fold. Filtering feedback to understand weaknesses and implement targeted solutions – then overcoming the financial and branding impact that comes as a result of consolidated venue assessments – requires considerable effort. Experienced hotel execs and hospitality leaders have implemented simple but effective solutions to address both issues.
Pinpointing the Venue
Many larger hotels and resorts commonly neglect venue-specific branding and marketing, and view their lateral products to be simply add-ons to the lodging experience. This is reflected in less than exciting naming given to food and beverage venues or recreational venues.
By investing talent, time and resources in creating separate but cohesive branding for lateral venues, large facilities can now isolate the restaurant or spa as a standalone unit, allowing for customers to provide separate feedback specific to the experience. If a lateral venue is not listed in the main online review sites, it is important to be proactive and add it as soon as possible. Once each venue has a separate online identity with clear associations to the umbrella brand it is possible to move to the next step.
Elevate Weak Performers
As consumer feedback accumulates online, property managers should be able to identify problem areas and challenge area-specific leaders to raise their standards to the highest common denominator. Remind weak performers that they are held to a star rating standard, and provide them with the tools and knowledge to work toward improvement. Track feedback trends and reward progress.
As a property transitions and begins to separate the units to facilitate the capture of their own feedback, it is important to remain cognizant that, even with the best efforts, many guests will consolidate their feedback on the first entry they find in search. This should not be a discouragement. With the right filters, it is possible to still identify problem areas and provide solutions aimed at improving your overall product and service ranking.
Hospitality review management is complex and is impacted by endless factors from occupancy to seasonality and times of renovation. With the right tools and the right attitude, it is possible to implement ways to measure performance and push solutions, by simply filtering the business intelligence freely provided by guests. Take charge and begin delivering five-star hospitality.