'It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it' - Warren Buffet.
Everyone has right to express their opinions and expressions. Same goes for voicing their experiences about any brand or service. If they are happy with your services, they praise you; when not happy with the services, they have freedom to talk about it on platforms they find suitable.
Likewise, you too have freedom of choosing a type of response to it. However, there are certain boundaries that need to be respected. Let us talk about this in later points.
Firstly, as a hotel business owner or manager, you want more and more people to use your service and stay at your property. However, this happens only when you keep a check on what your guests think about you. Often times, guests turn to online platforms to talk about their experience with you. When you put efforts to maintain their opinion about you, that is; online hotel reputation management.
In this blog, you will find how important it is to maintain your hotel’s online reputation when hundreds of people are searching for you. When you are in a people’s business, what attracts them is your brand reputation.
What is online reputation?
Online Reputation is how you are publicly perceived, and how you can influence your image in people’s minds on internet. Your public image on online platforms drives public opinion about your business and services. Nowadays, when people plan travel online, they listen to what other fellow travellers are saying about hotels and accommodations.
All in all, factors that build a reputation of your brand are star ratings, online reviews; recommendations; posts on travel sites, social media or blogs; or any platform where you are mentioned.
Nowadays, when people plan travel online, they listen to what other fellow travellers are saying about hotels and accommodations. These statistics are enough to prove it,
93% of travellers worldwide say their booking decisions are impacted by online reviews.
51% of travellers have written a review of an accommodation after a trip.
Why does your hotel need a good online reputation?
For obvious reasons, when people want to book a room at your hotel; they will consider what other people are saying about you. If people love you and say it aloud on social platforms, you would easily get a constant flow of bookings. If your bookers find negative reviews about you, there are high chances that they would start considering other alternatives.
In a survey conducted by TripAdvisor, what they found was:
96% of travellers said that they consider reading reviews important when planning trips and booking hotels.
83% of travellers said that they “usually” or “always” reference reviews before deciding to book a hotel.
More than 50% of travellers said they will not book a property that doesn’t have any reviews.
This very well proves that Online Hotel Reputation Management is critical as well as unavoidable aspect in hospitality business.
You need to be on your toes to monitor how your brand is being projected and perceived by existing customers and potential customers.
What happens if your online reputation is not good?
Reputation = Revenue. In this competitive hospitality industry, online hotel reputation directly affects revenue and sales. Due to immense growth of social media and internet, bad or no online presence mean reduction in business.
How to master Online Hotel Reputation Management
To start with, try to search your hotel name on Google. See what it has to show about you. That is, how you appear online to your guests. Then, figure out what needs to be corrected about you. Build a hotel marketing and branding plan to create foundation of your online presence and work dedicatedly on it. This is how you can start,
Monitoring your online reputation on a regular basis
If people are talking about you or your hotel, you definitely want to know about it. If you are not present where your guests are; it will create a communication gap. With this in mind, you need to adopt a proactive approach to monitor your online reputation. Make it a daily task. From time to time, look for influencer opinions; filter social searches; track mentions; and more that you can think of.
Being present on all possible online review platforms
Be it Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Instagram, or all those platforms where your guests can review you; you have to be present there. Generate social media profiles in such a way that they are optimized and managed to rank higher in search engine algorithms.
Travellers are always connected to the social platforms while they are out on a trip
51% browse the web using mobile devices
39% upload the photos to social networks
34% post updates on social networks
33% find local activities using mobile devices
How these practices contain potential to benefit you? This is what you can follow,
Connect with your guests on internet.
You can ask them to write a review your profiles on Google, TripAdvisor, Facebook , G+, online travel sites and wherever you want them to.
The new location check-in trend on social media can increase your visibility and thereby your public familiarity.
Reviews on Online travel Sites (OTAs)
This is something different and important than reviews on your website or social media. Main reason is these reviews are verified and reliable. OTAs generally verify that guest who reviewed hotel, actually booked room at same property. Thus, someone cannot give a false review about you there. And yes, don’t forget to check and respond to these reviews.
Reacting to a review
Be quick and be polite. Always remember this rule of Thumb. If you are late in responding to a review, your reply might lose value later on. To catch all those reviews on myriad of platforms, you can think about investing in online hotel reputation management tools or services.
Obviously, negative image is not a good image. It is an art itself to deal with those negative reviews and people who made those remarks. Your efforts on hotel reputation management turn into damage control while acting on it. Always remember to justify pain points mentioned by reviewer.
Importance of user generated content
When your guests review you, it can be vital in increasing upcoming guest influx at your hotel as well as in enhancing your credibility. Why? Because simply your future guests will care more about other guests’ opinion about you than your own self-praise.
Accommodations are encouraging and responding to Online Reviews
81% accommodations invite guests to submit reviews
65% post management responses to negative reviews
50% post management responses to positive reviews
28% invest in training to encourage more positive reviews
55% congratulate or reward staff for positive reviews
Therefore, your hotel marketing campaigns should contain user generated content as a primary part of it.
Start with creating superior experience for guests (Because one happy guest might bring other two)
Solicit reviews from guests
Write case studies
Engage in social media discussions
Feature guests’ photos on your website or social media pages
These are just some suggestions. Develop your own strategy, try more things, figure out what works best for you and take it ahead.
Additionally, user generated content will work great for your SEO strategy too. Along with the unique and engaging content, it is also a great source for longer keywords. Eventually, it builds brand loyalty and success on digital platforms.
Learning from previous mistakes
If you have received dissatisfied guest reviews, you can stop it only by ensuring ultimate quality service. Ensure that your guests have a pleasant stay at your hotel and you deliver them excellent services. In the end, when they leave your place, you can ask them to review you. Thus, safeguarding your public image. Nevertheless, if your guest is very happy with you, then certainly they will spread it by word of mouth.
Be firm on illegitimate attacks
Sometimes, people tend to spread false information about others. If you come across such incident you should firmly fight it. Always make sure that you take necessary measures to prevent them and stop them from doing it again.
In the end, do not forget to calculate what result your efforts bring.
Have a chart of your ranking and rating improvements.
Figure out number of new and prospect guests you are receiving as a result of your hotel marketing and hotel reputation management efforts.
Keep a tab on guest satisfaction statistics.
Check who is reviewing you where. Maintain short response time.
In a nutshell
Keep a close track on your ratings on key review sites and determine your goal firmly where you want to be! Set an objective of what you want your guests to say about your hotel once they leave.
Assimilate these key points resiliently into daily operational plans of your hotel management, and you will see an upsurge in guest contentment, ultimately leading to enriched reputation of your company. Thereby, you can ensure a long-term success for your hotel business.