Hotels need to have reputation management more than most other companies. Think about it. Hotels have hundreds of rooms to fill daily, which means they have thousands of customers going in and out of their location every week. Every room that isn’t filled is lost money for the hotel. Throw in the process of people leaving reviews online and the massive competition in the hotel industry, a hotel’s reputation is everything.
The Importance of Hotel Reputation Management
One of the biggest problems with hotels is that they tell their visitors to leave reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp. While this may seem like a good idea at first, it’s actually not. Three of the main reasons why you shouldn’t have your customers leaving reviews on other popular review sites are:
- You have no control over the reviews – When you tell customers to leave a review on another web site you have no idea what reviews are being posted, if they are being accepted or not, who to contact about them and your ability to respond.
- Positive reviews might be removed – Yelp and other web sites have a history for not posting positive reviews on their sites. Negative reviews make them more money and up to 25% of all reviews on Yelp are fake!
- You don’t own the content – One of the most important reasons to not send your valuable customers to another site is that you have absolutely no control over their reviews. If you create your own review site or section for your hotel, you can not only actually own this content but you will improve your chances to own the whole first page of the search results for your hotel name and reviews. (Use the Brand.com Review Widget to collect authentic reviews for your business)
Hotel Reputation Management Tips
Now that you know why you shouldn’t be sending your customers to other sites to leave reviews for your hotel, let’s cover some other reputation management tips that you should also be using.
1.) Have a meaningful social presence. Just because it only takes a few minutes to create a social profile, it doesn’t mean you should go crazy and set one up on every network out there. Focus on the most used networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If you don’t have time to manage all of your social profiles then you may end up hurting your brand and reputation more than helping it.
2.) Engage with your audience through Twitter and Facebook. The internet is now social and instead of making phone calls and sending written letters, customers are now engaging with companies through their Twitter and Facebook Pages. This means you should be responding to all necessary engagements to your brand. In the hotel industry you will likely see a lot of questions, feedback and reviews from people who are interested in staying at your hotel or previously have.
3.) Know how to respond to negative feedback. It’s easy for a hotel manager or owner to take any negative reviews or comments personally, but the last thing you should ever do is attack one of your customers (especially online). If you aren’t sure how to talk with or handle negative feedback, there are plenty of guides and professionals out there who can do this for you. The important thing to remember is that once you put something on the internet, it’s there forever. You don’t want your potential customers to see an argument ranking in the search results when they are looking for reviews about your hotel.
4.) Respond to all customer feedback. It’s easy for a hotel manager or owner to receive positive or negative feedback when a guest is checking out, but when they take the time to send a written letter or correspondence through the internet, you should always consider providing a response or a thank you letter. Your guests spent their money to stay at your hotel and now their time to let you know how their experience was. Show that you appreciate their time and value their business.
5.) Create a mailing list for your hotel. Depending on the size of your hotel, this is something that may already be in place or may have to go through corporate for approval, but all hotels (big and small) should have a customer mailing list. This will allow you to build up a massive list of customers that have stayed at your location and allows you to send them the latest hotel news, promotions and discounts. This is an excellent way to increase your business while also giving you a way to stay in touch with your visitors once they leave your hotel.
6.) Keep your private offers and deals private. This goes back to responding to all customer feedback. If you have a customer that stayed in your hotel and had complaints about their stay, an excellent way to make this better is to follow up with a letter that offers them a discount or free stay during their next trip. The last thing you need is give someone a complimentary stay based on their feedback and have it show up on the internet for everyone else to see. This will lead to a massive amount of complaints from people just so they can get a promised compensation that you previously offered to someone else. Don’t post anything to the internet that you don’t want everyone else to see.
7.) Don’t look for a return on investment when focusing on your reputation. Whether you are hiring a social media director, an ORM specialist or spending your own time, don’t look for immediate or any returns on your reputation management. This is an area that is extremely important to the life of your business, yet can also be very hard to measure in a results aspect as well.
Think about the last time a company went out of their way to cater to you or solve a problem. That lasting impression in your mind is reputation at it’s best and a price can’t be put on it.
Running a hotel is serious business and while extremely competitive, it’s also very reputation and referral based. Almost no one picks a hotel just based off their location or name anymore.
Make sure the next time someone searches for your hotel in the search results, they get a positive response and find exactly what they are looking. Brand.com can give you the type of reputation management and exposure you are looking for.
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