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Hotel reputation management is one of the most important tasks you have as a hotelier. This is because nowadays, your online reputation, both on review sites and on social media, is everything. Whether it’s a review on Google, TripAdvisor or on one of the many Online Tour Operators (OTAs), reviews and feedback are key to your success.
With the rise in user-generated content and with more and more people wanting a say in the digital conversation, having a well-managed reputation can make or break your business.
Many potential guests rely on this user-generated content to make booking decisions, so you need to make sure that you give them the tools to make an educated decision about why to choose your brand over the competition.
In this article, we will look at the importance of reputation management and top five strategies.
Why is reputation management important in the hotel industry?
Reputation management is important in the hotel industry because it’s a key way of enhancing your revenue by earning the trust of potential clients and nurturing relationships with past clients.
A positive perception of your hotel’s brand is paramount in order to impact sales and thus maximize revenue. Furthermore, there is a direct correlation between your hotel’s success and its online reputation.
According to a study that explores the impact of a hotel’s rating and reviews through online transactions, an increase in a review score by one point is equivalent to a 9% increase in ADR. Likewise, a 10% improvement in reviews can lead to a 4.4% increase in sales.
Judging by these numbers, and keeping in mind the competitive environment, it is therefore fundamental to have good reviews and to actively monitor your online reputation to ensure that a bad review doesn’t negatively impact your business.
Five best hotel reputation management strategies
With a robust reputation management strategy, you can be sure to maximize revenue. Just like a hotel property management system can improve your operations and make revenue management easier, having a strategic plan in place for how you will monitor your online reputation is a hotelier’s key to success.
Now let’s take a look at the top five strategies.
Respond to all reviews
It’s easy to respond to good reviews, but it’s as important to respond to bad reviews as well. While it’s only natural that not everyone will always be happy with their experience, responding to reviews is important in order to instill trust in your potential and past guests.
They want to know that if there was a problem, you fixed it, or you are working on fixing it.
The important thing when responding to bad reviews is not to make excuses, but instead to recognize what the guest has to say, and let them know it won’t happen again. More than anything, those reading reviews want to get a sense of assurance that your hotel is managing comments and putting their feedback in practice.
You can also consider inviting them back with an upgrade or giving them some kind of incentive to come back despite being discouraged by their bad experience.
Read more tips on how to respond to bad hotel reviews.
Have a protocol in place
Using templates helps to automate the process of managing reviews and your online reputation. Of course, you should be sure to customize the feedback to each individual review, but using templates with different suggested responses will not only help set the tone, but will also ensure you follow a protocol.
No matter how personal you take the feedback, having a protocol in place will ensure that negative comments don’t get the best of you.
In general, these templates should include a greeting, potential responses to different types of reviews, and a closing phrase. With this in mind, you can customize the message to suit your needs, making sure to always provide solutions, be polite, and timely in your responses.
Use social listening to your advantage
Social listening is a great tool for reputation management in order to connect with your community. You can monitor what people are saying about your brand online, and jump into the conversation when you see fit.
If there is some kind of critical situation, you can also be sure to have a crisis management strategy in place to avoid negatively impacting your brand.
Social listening tools will allow you to monitor when people tag or mention you on social media so that you can respond diligently. Social media is key to maintaining a good online reputation and keeping your audience engaged so that you can reach potential guests and keep guests loyal.
While surveys can sometimes be seen as a thing of the past, do not underestimate the importance of surveying your guests. A survey can be a useful tool in order to encourage guests to leave a review, especially when they are happy with their stay.
Ask a few questions about their degree of satisfaction, and then invite them at the end to leave a review. To incentivize guests to fill out the survey, give them a discount for doing so on their next stay. It’s a great chance to boost loyalty among your guests.
Create a buzz around your brand
Many hotels forget about the local public, but locals are an interesting target because they can recommend your hotel via word of mouth, and they are not affected by seasonality.
Attracting locals is not only a great way to combat seasonality, but also to create a buzz around your brand. Invite locals, especially those with a good social media presence, to a happy hour with live music, to enjoy a discounted stay, or even to take a tour of your hotel’s installations.
This is a great way to get them involved with your brand, and they are more likely to help spread the word online, thus helping to grow your digital presence.
Throughout this article, we’ve discussed the importance of reputation management, as well as given you an idea of the strategies you can implement to improve the process.
Reputation management starts with providing a top-notch service. The better the service is, the easier it will be to maintain a positive brand perception both online and offline.
That’s why it’s important to have your staff on board, teaching them to handle situations as they arise during the guest’s stay in order to minimize the possibility of negative reviews.
Read more about building and managing the perfect staff.
With the right strategies in place, such as sending out satisfaction surveys, responding to all reviews (both negative and positive), using social media to your advantage, and by creating a buzz around your brand, you can maximize your revenue and increase visibility online.
This is the key to success, and the secret behind a successful reputation management strategy.
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
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