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An online review survey revealed that more than 40 percent of consumers are more likely to leave a positive review after a great experience at a hotel. Those positive reviews are vital to every hotel reputation management strategy.
However, they are not the only way for hotels to control and increase their positive standing online. Other methods include:
- Claim listings
- Get and respond to reviews
- Utilize social media
If you want to boost your online reputation then just having one online listing for the hotel isn’t going to cut it. To have a strong online foundation, you’ll need to claim the business on multiple sites.
The most obvious sites for a listing are Google, Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor, but you can also claim the hotel across other related review sites. A listing on TripAdvisor is especially important because of its popularity among travelers. Before making a purchase, 70 percent of travelers will visit TripAdvisor.
To give consumers visiting your listings more than enough data to make a purchase decision you should ensure that each listing has correct and updated information. This includes general information such as address and phone number, and more specific details like amenities and parking availability. In addition, you can launch advertising campaigns on sites like TripAdvisor to increase visibility.
By claiming all these listings you make sure each has correct information. If an unclaimed listing (say your Yellowpages.com listing) lists an incorrect phone number, if can harm your reputation and make prospects less likely to visit you.
Updating these bits of information across multiple listings is tedious and takes up plenty of valuable time. However, there are a variety of citation tools available that can make the process easier for you. In addition to an easier and informative experience for customers, correct and updated listings will help the hotel rank higher in local search queries.
Get and Respond to Reviews
Reviews are – arguably – the most important facet of any hotel reputation management strategy, which means that you’ll need to find ways to get and respond to customer reviews.
Asking for reviews is important because it can give you a higher overall rating.
Reviews that come from requests have an average of 4.34 stars out of 5 as opposed to unprompted feedback, which has an average of 3.89 stars
Reviews also serve as valuable social proof to consumers, who are looking for more recent customer feedback. In fact, 69 percent see reviews as irrelevant if they are older than three months.
There are a plethora of ways to get reviews from customers. The most popular option is to send emails, which already accounts as a main source for 70 percent of post-transactional review requests.
You can also send SMS reminders, which are not only a popular option, but one that is gaining more popularity as a review source. In fact, 56 percent of all reviews now come from mobile devices.
If you prefer to ask for reviews in person, you can easily do so by integrating a review request function through your point of sale system at your check-in counter. You can also create custom handouts that encourage people to leave reviews on your listings or website.
Just keep in mind that not all review sites allow you to ask customers to leave a review. One notable example of this is Yelp, which wants its users to leave unbiased and unprompted feedback on the site so that it genuinely reflects the customer’s experience.
Respond to Reviews
As those hard-earned reviews come in to your hotel, make sure that you continue to engage with customers who leave reviews by responding to their feedback.
Not only does this show that you value each customer’s feedback, but it also tells future customers who are looking at the reviews that you are an active brand that cares about online reputation of the hotel.
When creating a review response strategy, make sure you have a procedure in place for crafting a response to negative reviews. A proper response not only empathizes with the reviewer but also opens a dialogue between the customer and the hotel for an amicable solution.
When done right, the right response to a negative also makes it 45 percent more likely that a customer will visit the hotel. The right responses not only increase your overall rating but revenue as well. Research from Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research revealed that hotels responding to about 40 percent of all reviews saw an increase in revenue. Another portion of the study showed that revenue increased by 39 percent when a hotel’s overall review rating increased by one point.
Utilize Social Media
Another option for important hotel reputation management tool is social media.
Hotels can use social media to promote current reviews, special events, or even behind-the-scenes content, but the best way to build a favorable reputation on social media is by responding to questions or complaints.
Research from Twitter revealed that people who “get service via Twitter” are 44% more likely to tell others about their experiences after they get a response from a business. Another side effect of responding to consumers on Twitter: customers are 30% more likely to recommend your business to other people.
By having an active social media monitoring strategy, you can stay on top of any complaints that guests are voicing via social media. Remember that some guests will lobby complaints on social media sites — and may not reach out directly to your customer service or front desk staff. Keeping an eye on these sites makes sure you don’t miss any complaints that could fester into dissatisfaction and damage your reputation.
The Benefits of Hotel Reputation Management
An overwhelmingly positive reputation online doesn’t happen overnight. Hotels will need to constantly engage with customers, have an appealing online presence, and utilize feedback to improve service and experience. In time, you’ll get happier customers who are willing to spend more money all because of your amazing online reputation.