Managing a hotel itself a complex and very difficult job with today’s ever-changing trends, technology and modern traveller expectations. Hoteliers also feel immense pressure on cost savings, re-structuring finance, revenue, HR, sales, and revenue functions to improve efficiencies. On top of this, you need to run the show with operations and provide exemplary service to your customers.
Like everything in life, there are things that you can change and control as well as things that you may have little or no influence. You have to work together with your owners, corporate and/or head offices, partners and influence the decisions to improve your property and results further. When it comes to content, marketing; specifically, online and on social media, you need to take responsibility and have a system to control.
Everything moves to online and mobile platforms in today’s market, most of the people make reservations online and even the ones that still use traditional methods, they still check the hotels and venues online prior to their booking decisions. Therefore, however you keep up in physical managing your property, it’s image and reputation are digital. And this forms a picture of potential customers mind by looking images, reviews and your responses to these reviews.
Online reputation has two important parts;
Actively improving your image by updating hotel’s images, content and services accurately
Managing reviews and comments openly and honestly
I will reveal keys to online reputation management for hotels, strategies to improve further and the ways to protect your hotel’s image in this article. I will share content related works in another article.
Reputation Management is the process of controlling and improving how your brand is perceived by others
Reputation management (sometimes referred to as rep management or ORM) is the practice of attempting to shape public perception of a person or organization by influencing information about that entity, primarily online. What necessitates this shaping of perceptions being the role of consumers in any organisation and the cognisance of how much if ignored these perceptions may harm a company's performance at any time of the year, a risk no manager or company executive can afford.
Specifically, reputation management involves the monitoring of the reputation of an individual or a brand on the internet, addressing content which is potentially damaging to it and using customer feedback to try to solve problems before they damage the individual's or brand's reputation. A major part of reputation management involves suppressing negative search results while highlighting positive ones. For businesses, reputation management usually involves an attempt to bridge the gap between how a company perceives itself and how others view it.
Why Online Reputation Management Is Important
It helps customers to make booking decision easily by making an informed decision. Customers are reviewing the hotel’s reputation at least three different platforms and 93% of people look for reviews when researching hotels
If you show confidence in your hotel, proactively respond to reviews for your hotel, build an impression that you seriously take guest comments and ultimately build the trust factor
Using reputation management as Competitive Intelligence Tool is really important. Constantly monitoring both your hotel’s and competitor’s reviews helps you to get to know your weaknesses and strengths over the competition. You can identify where you have a competitive advantage and use it to get better business.
By analysing guest reviews, you get to the core issues experienced by your guests and by implementing changes in your services you will Enhance Guest Experience
It will help you to build loyal Customer Base, happy guests can turn into your hotel’s brand ambassador and get more online visibility for you.
Reputation Management, an important aspect of marketing strategy. Good hotel reviews will influence travellers to book more often and it will boost hotel revenues and drive profit. According to researchers, 1-point increase your rating means; 6.5% increase in demand and 26% additional sales for rooms and 5% increase in Food & Beverage outlets.
Reputation Management prevents your hotel from future reputation problems and limits future complaints if you adopt a proactive approach to improve and enhance your services.
Five Easy Steps to Manage your Hotel’s Reputation Management
As we establish the importance of Reputation Management and it is time to reveal five easy steps to manage your hotel’s reputation management;
1. Monitor your brand: To manage your reputation, you need to know what people say about you. You need to choose the right tools to track anything related to your property. There are several tools available, some are free and most of them charging for these services.
Free Services: Google Alert / Google Analytics / SocialCount: Some may say it is outdated but remember, it is also free! You can easily sign up for it and start tracking what people say about you
Revinate / ReviewPRO / Reputology: With a single account, you can manage all guest comments and reply them accordingly. These services also provide key statistics with volume, segment and review site basis and you can compare it with competition and industry averages.
2. Have a detailed response plan in place: Whether good or bad, you need to respond to all comments. This helps you set the record straight and develop your reputation as a brand that responsible, responsive and open criticism. There are some paid companies who could do it for you, however, I would not recommend it. In simple terms, your customer has spent some time to put their comments, praises and complaints and it deserves your utmost respect by providing a personal and empathetic response. It is also important that instead of using generic Management Response title, you need to use your name and position. The customers are more likely to fell their views taken seriously when they get their response from an actual human being, not a robot. The key areas to look for:
Who will monitor for comments and reviews? Should be open to supervisor and management level for both investigating the issues and preparing responses as well as using these comments for training purposes. This will improve the services you provide and reduce similar occurrences arise in the future.
What should be the tone for your company communications
Preparing a pool of response samples to set the tone for different scenarios and reviews
Who will deliver the response? There should be maximum 3 people in Management level should response the comments to make it simple and effective.
3. Handling Negative Comments: Always remember that every company receives negative feedback. If you are quick to help people with their bad experience, they are much more likely to change their opinion about your hotel. It is important to get it right considering that more than 80% of unhappy customers are won over by the response. The key points to remember when you reply negative comments are;
Be polite, professional and friendly: You are there to solve your customer’s problem, not starting a war! And also, most customers understand that problems cannot be solved immediately, but they need to know you listened, and are doing your best to provide a solution
Reply the comments in a timely manner: Even if you need some time to investigate the issue, you need to approach the customer to inform what you are doing. The speed of response is very important, if you are late that means you are ignoring them and they may decide to take it further and it could damage your reputation further.
Show that you care: Use negative comments as learning objectives, make real changes in your hotel and communicate these changes publicly. This will honour the customer as their views taken positively and provides a positive vibe to any reader that you might make mistakes but you learn from them and develop your hotel accordingly.
Maximum two rule: You should be responding any comment once in extreme circumstances twice. Remember that this is not a blog when a customer shares their experiences, you either resolve or respond accordingly. If you notice that it is not easy to resolve online then you should continue the conversation in private. You could provide your email or phone number and ask your customer to continue more personal to clear things up.
4. Build on Positives: Good reviews are the gold and the more you can get, the easier it is for future customers to overlook the bad ones. Here are some key steps you should follow to get more good reviews:
Actively Manage all your online profiles: Search on the internet and wherever there are any accounts available for your company name claim them (google+, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Facebook etc). Make sure that content is relevant, images, product & services, contact details and branding are correct.
Actively ask for feedback: It would be much easier to resolve any potential problem before it goes online. Therefore, you and your team should be courteous and ask feedback from the guest during their stay. This will eliminate any problem go out of control, provide much better experience for your customers and make your staff feel confident doing their jobs. Some review sites have strict policies but if a guest provides a good feedback during their stay there is no harm in saying thank you and asking them to share their experiences online.
Create personable one-to-one experiences: Empower your staff to go the extra mile and provide a personable service to your customers. Customers always prefer to speak kindly about a specific staff member than the company itself.
Make it easy to leave reviews: Some sites such as TripAdvisor could provide free cards to give away to your guest which shows where to go and leave their comments. You could provide links to your emails and website to encourage your customers to leave their comments.
5. Measure your results: As mentioned in first step some companies such as Revinate not only allowing you to see any comment on major sites and also provide useful statistics to measure and monitor your progress. You can also use some useful websites which provide a snapshot of your brand online as well as compare with other brands on the presence, web traffic etc. You can also use “The Brand Grader” or “SimilarWeb” for these services.
Please feel free to contact me for any requirement to audit your hotel’s current status, advice on best tools and websites to use as well as training your key management staff on Reputation Management. You can reach me either contact tab on www.hospitalitycode.com website or via to email directly on email@example.com to arrange a private chat.
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