The reputation management of your independent hotel is a fundamental tenet of your online success.
Your hotel’s online reputation plays an important role in distinguishing how your hotel performs against the competition and also in direct bookings.
It involves monitoring and influencing the way your hotel is perceived on the web. This includes:
- Keeping track of review sites: monitoring TripAdvisor and Google My Business reviews of your hotel, replying as appropriate and asking your guests to post online their satisfaction with their stay at your property.
- Posting and engaging on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great channels for hotels.
- Adding accurate business listings with quality photos
Online reviews are a huge influence on browsers booking decisions.
As this article
references, 38% of bookers said that positive reviews are an incentive to stay at independent hotels.
Moreover a paper from Cornell University
found that increasing the average review score by 1 point on a 5 point scale (e.g. 3.5 to 4.5) allowed hotels to raise their rate by 11% while maintaining the same occupancy.
What happens when you have no or poor reviews?
Reviews offer an insight into what others have experienced and what they recommend. Potential guests are looking for a great experience.
Although they may enjoy trying something new and unknown, they still will feel unsure about making a booking at your property if there is no indication from previous guests of their experience in your hotel.
A lack of reviews will be as damaging for your brand and reputation just as much as bad reviews - it fosters a sense of mistrust.
Hotel bookers are becoming more savvy and know what to look for when it comes to hotel review sites.
How you reply to or deal with poor reviews reveals a lot about the service in your hotel and the tone of voice used forms part of your brand management.
93% of people use online reviews when they are planning to say at a hotel.
Because they provide social proof which is one of the most powerful psychological factors in human decision making.
When faced with difficult or a large number of choices, people will shortcut the decision process by looking at what others similar to them did and doing the same.
How to ask guests for reviews so that they are delighted to respond?
Who is asking for a review, and how and when they ask is a vitally important step towards success.
Train your staff to ask in a polite, unobtrusive, and professional manner.
Check in maybe as appropriate as check out – the guest will already have had several interactions with your hotel.
Display hashtags at suitable points (e.g. great sunset viewing points, cocktail bar) encouraging guests to post on Instagram.
You want to ask guests at their peak of happiness - don’t let these magic moments disappear.
What factors do you need to consider when asking for reviews?
1. Let them know what you’re asking is a favour and that it will help other people looking for a great luxury hotel.
There is a rule!
When you ask them to do a favour for you and they do, it’s more likely they will do additional favours as well.
For example, they might send on your vouchers or offers to their family and friends and generate referrals for you.
2. Let them know how you benefit from that favour.
a. It makes your business more visible on the internet.
b. It gives others an opportunity to learn about the property and its services.
c. It helps potential guests see your luxury hotel through the eyes of other guests.
Make it clear to guests that the requesting is optional but that it will help with your policy of continuous improvement and your future guests will benefit.
3. Let them know what they can expect when they write a review. Tell them the process is easy and will take x minutes.
If they say no, there’s no reason to push them. Simply ask them “Are you happy with our service?” to show that you care about your guests’ experience at your property.
If there’s no problem with your hotel or services and just a personal preference, thank them and move on.
If they say yes, make sure you have their primary email address and let them know you will never ever share it with anyone.
Tell them you’re looking forward to reading their comments and explain how it will be used by the customer service team.
4. Ensure you respond to online reviews
Show that you read posts and care about them by responding to online feedback. Best practice is to reply within 24 hours.
For negative reviews, research the circumstances quickly so that it doesn’t go visibly unanswered for long.
You may not be able to satisfy the unhappy guest, but you can minimise any reputational damage with a well-judged reply.
indicates that hotels which respond to more than 50% of social media reviews grow occupancy rates at more than twice the rate of properties that tend to ignore reviews.
What’s more, these responsive properties also grew occupancy rates faster than the hospitality industry as a whole.
The quantity and quality of your reviews, management responses, social media posts and photo uploads play a key role in your hotel reputation management.
We work with a large number of luxury hotels that benefit from our reputation management services.
If you need an agency to help build your reputation into a high quality, customer-focused, and responsible brand which your future guests will be proud of and advocate for, contact us
There is a companion Aró Digital podcast to this blog - listen here