Online reviews have become increasingly significant in influencing consumer booking decisions. Word-of-mouth is the most powerful marketing tools and online sites have provided wagging tongues a platform to voice their experiences whether good or bad. Businesses need to be on top of their online reputation in order to stay ahead especially since an added star to a hotel’s rating can increase demand by 6.5% and price by around 1.5%. Here are some tips to manage online reviews for your hotel business.
Businesses cannot start managing reviews if they haven’t got any. Hotels and other accommodations back then once viewed these as a liability that is bad for business but now, most people tend to think otherwise. The advent of review sites like TripAdvisor has actually created more demand for bookings so the industry did benefit as a whole even if a few individual businesses suffered slightly.
Places that receive lots of reviews look busy and therefore, popular. Still, it pays to use the right tone of voice in asking. Encourage guests to leave reviews. Do not push them into writing one. Refer them to popular sites or if using an in-house survey, make sure the process is intuitive for guests. And never, ever pay for reviews.
Respond to reviews; negative or positive
Reviews are an avenue for communicating with the audience; the guests. Businesses need to make an effort in responding to them. Responding to negative reviews, in particular, is essential for brand-building as it shows that the place cares. Use the right tone, empathize with the complainant and be sincerely apologetic.
It is through humble customer service acts like these which encourage even those who had a terrible experience to come back. Likewise, do not treat a positive review as a victory. Responding to positive reviews with a quick thank you note shows that the business values the guests. It also encourages more people to leave reviews.
Never offer compensation in online responses
Sometimes, compensation does need to be offered to the guest if warranted. However, it is best not to publicize this by announcing it in an online review. Offline contact between management and the guest is still the best way to settle complaints that require such compensation. Being discreet with it protects the business from exploitation through very extreme responses that bullies the business into complying with their unjust demands.
Study the different platforms
There are many platforms where guests can post reviews and it is crucial for review managers to stay updated with each one. Different sites tend to use different algorithms to determine which reviews do and do not show up. Knowing what strategy works best for each platform will not only optimize review management but also tell which of these platforms works best with the business and its audience.
Appoint a Reviews Manager
When it comes to responding to reviews, adding a human touch is still important. That’s because no two guests are alike when it comes to their preferences. Appointing a human hand to stay on top of the business’ online reputation will highlight that added layer of personalization to the service. People generally frown at canned responses. A personalized message, on the other hand, shows that the business cares and helps bridge the gap between it and the customer.
Personalized responses to the right market through the right avenue will be critical in maintaining a stellar reputation for hospitality. Part of this battle is ensuring a great reputation online where the most word-of-mouth marketing happens especially in social media.
Interested in learning how customer service tackles online inquiries or reviews? Give us a call today and see how we can help.