Turn Lookers into Bookers.
Last week, TripAdvisor came out with Travellers Choice Awards 2017, based on millions of reviews collected in the previous year. I watched the results with a lot of interest – I believe the day is not far when hotel star ratings are no longer the sole criteria for quality, but are supported by and used together with guest reviews.
As more and more travellers turn to each other for advice on where to stay in hotels around the world, the impact of traditional hotel advertising is declining, while the effectiveness of online reviews is rising.
According to a study, more than 81% said that reviews were an important factor when deciding which hotel to book and more than 50% wouldn’t book a hotel that didn’t have a review on its site.
I know lodging operators are extremely busy people, and that’s why I have prepared a quick 3 step guide to the best practices in review management.
- Ask for reviews
According to TripAdvisor, the frequency and quantity of reviews influence the Popularity Index Ranking. Think of it – higher the number of reviews, higher the chances of good reviews overweighing the bad.
Why not ask your front desk staff to invite guests to review their stay at the time of checkout? You can even mail them post stay surveys to fill out. Don’t be pushy, a genuine request like “We hope you enjoyed your stay with us and request you to share your experience by reviewing us on TripAdvisor. Your feedback is much appreciated!” will work wonders.
#AskAviArya tip – You can use TripAdvisor’s ‘Review Express’ – a free review collection tool—that will boost your hotel’s review volume on TripAdvisor. Also try-out online guest relationship management systems like Revinate and Guestfolioto power targeted guest communications.
In some cases I’ve also seen some very smart hoteliers – they keep a track of people who walk with their cameras. So if you see a guest who is carrying a camera, you can ask them “I think you have taken some great photos of our hotel, may I request you to post some of them online?”
So more pictures of your property on reputation management channels may get you a higher ranking on these sites, while also help getting you more revenue.
- Reply ON TIME
Reply to reviews—positive or negative—timely, courteously and with a semi-explanation. According to TripAdvisor, around a whopping 87% of their users agree that appropriate management responses to negative reviews improve their impression of the property. And you know what; I even think that sometimes, replying with a little piece of advice and subtle marketing language can boost your revenue. All these channels won’t allow you to promote your property directly, giving out email IDs and phone numbers to book stays. But you can include subtle messages, something like “Thank you very much for staying at TheTajMahal Hotel, New Delhi. We are delighted that you enjoyed the poolside bar. We look forward to seeing you again!”
The people who have never been to your hotel will also be encouraged to visit it after going through such responses. Never forget, management responses are GREAT marketing tools.
This is a great example of the perfect management response.
- Take action on feedback
A sure-shot way of increasing positive reviews is to actually listen to your guests. What are the consistent complaints that keep coming up? Analyse shortcomings and make improvements. Trust me analysing reviews and feedback is an easy job these days. Online reputation management software provide a complete view of guest feedback through reporting and data analysis of surveys, reviews and even social media mentions to analyse consistent problems and improve service.
The real challenge is to actually act on the feedback. What’s a better way to stop negative comments than plugging the loopholes? Ultimately, your property’s reputation doesn’t depend on a comment itself, rather on the manner in which you deal with them.
There’s a plethora of reputation management sites apart from TripAdvisor, there’s Trivago, there’s Expedia, there’s IgoUgo and a lot more. The basic principles of reputation management remain the same, and don’t ignore one for the other.
So start by forming dedicated reputation management team, sending email to guests, and pick up the phone now! These small steps can take your reviews from one level to another.
Thank you so much for reading, and stay tuned because there’s a lot more to come!
Catch this week’s episode of the AskAviArya show here – https://goo.gl/TDhiiC