A frequently asked question is ‘What are the ways to improve my hotel’s online reputation?’. Gladly, the internet has many answers, but how do you find what works and what doesn’t?
Separating the facts from fiction, we have listed the ways to improve your hotel’s online reputation.
Improving your hotel’s online reputation
1. Keep track of review sites
A rudimentary step when it comes to improving your hotel’s online reputation is to keep track of review sites.
But, the question is how do you do it? By using review management or review monitoring solution.
It collects and aggregates reviews from all the review sites and makes it readily available in your dashboard.
In addition, you also should be monitoring your social media profiles regularly.
You can do this with the help of social monitoring tools.
a. Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a free tool that helps you in monitoring content relevant to your hotel. It can also be used to track your mentions, news related to your competitors.
Yet another tool that your hotel could use is Hootsuite. Though a paid tool, it helps in tracking messages and mentions on social media channels.
It is a handy tool if you want to analyze your Facebook page. It helps you in providing the stats, and competitors’ information through benchmarking.
Unlike other social monitoring tools on this list, Survaider not only gathers and analyzes reviews from social media channels but also from survey feedback forms, kiosks, and review sites.
A basic tool which helps you analyze the performance of your tweets. You can also schedule and track tweets with this platform.
f . FollowerWonk
If you want to build a community and reach out to influencers by the way of a social brand, then FollowerWonk is your choice.
Their free version lets you view the social authority rankings and see followers by location.
2. Respond to reviews
Online reviews are a key component in building your online reputation. Whenever customers post reviews on review sites, your responsibility is to respond to them.
If a customer writes a positive review, responding to them creates an impression that you value them.
If a customer has a good time during their stay at your hotel and they leave a review, respond to them. It doesn’t take much time.
Speaking about the response, your response time to reviews should ideally be 24-48 hours. If you can do it quicker, kudos to you.
3. Quick response to negative reviews
Online reviews wouldn’t have been dreaded if it weren’t for the negative online reviews. The reason for negative reviews is because customers are not satisfied using your product. Negative reviews serve as an outlet for them to express their dissatisfaction.
If your hotel has hygiene issues related to food or the way hotel rooms are kept, the customer will definitely post a negative review.
And, there is no stopping them.
Negative reviews are devastating. That is the reason why responding to them takes a priority over the positive ones. Why?
Firstly, customers are bound to see the negative reviews. Review sites work on the recency factor, where the newly posted reviews show up at the top.
Second, if you don’t respond to reviews, the disgruntled customer will continue posting reviews on other sites and resort to negative word of mouth thus even telling his friends and family to do the same.
Horrifying, isn’t it?
4. Encourage customers to drop reviews
Whenever you succeed in making your customers happy, request them to drop reviews. A satisfied customer will never say no to your request. This is by far the best way to generate reviews and improve your hotel’s online reputation.
A simple yet effective strategy. Start if you haven’t already.
5. Make it easy for your customers to leave reviews
Requesting reviews is only half the job done. If you don’t make it convenient for them to leave reviews, they definitely won’t drop in reviews.
If your customers are satisfied with their stay, reaching out to them with a tablet while they are checking out can get the job done. Personal interactions are powerful, aren’t they?
If for some reason they are in a hurry, send them an email or SMS with links to review sites, and you will definitely see an increment in your online reviews.
But be warned, don’t send review requests in bulk because solicitation of reviews through unethical ways is prohibited. It is a violation and will earn you a penalty or even worse a ban.
Key things to include in your hotel’s online reputation strategy
When trying to improve your hotel’s online reputation, you need to have a plan of action. This quote will help you realize its importance.
“No one plans to fail, but many fail to plan”
So, let’s look at the strategy tips for the same.
1. Be active on social media
Social media fever has gripped the customers ever since the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram broke out on to the scene. It is easier for customers to voice their opinions with the touch of a few buttons.
The hotel industry is one of the industries that has seen an influx of social media mentions and online reviews.
Customers would not be willing to tell certain key things in-person related to your brand. When this is the case, how will you ever come to know about your shortcomings and the areas that need improvements?
That’s the reason you need to be active on social media. Respond to Facebook requests, reply to tweets, and respond to Instagram messages.
Social media is where your customers are. You surely won’t come across an unhappy customer mentioning their bad experiences during their stay at your hotel.
Be it food, the rooms or the staff behavior, nothing is hidden once it is out on social media. How do you take charge before things take a turn for the worse?
Errrrr…! Don’t know?
Not to worry, you have social monitoring and social listening tools to help you out. Just so that you don’t aren’t misinformed, we will explain the difference between the two terms.
Social monitoring pertains to identifying and responding to individual brand name mentions on social media sites.
Social listening succeeds social monitoring wherein you collect data from those social mentions and gather insights from conversations to help your customers and improve your online reputation.
2. Don’t miss online and social media conversations
Online reviews are a result of the customer experiences which are usually offline. If they don’t see a product living up to their expectations let alone exceed them, negative reviews are inevitable.
While there is no immunity to negative reviews, the only way to take care of them is to resolve customer issues. Respond to the negative review politely and assure the customer of a solution.
If that needs professional intervention, forward the complaint to the concerned department. Depending on the time needed to resolve the issue, ask them to give a realistic timeline.
Also, frequently impart training to your hotel staff because operational excellence is the key to good customer service and better customer experience.
Best practices to follow
If you have you been in the hotel industry for long enough to understand that certain practices help in providing the best in class customer service, you wouldn’t dispute the fact that it is the same with social media.
1. Keep a tab on the news
People do read the news! It doesn’t matter whether the newspaper or daily is big or small. It isn’t uncommon for people to capture an image on their phones of a news article featuring a cockroach found in a dish or the toilet overflowing.
Thanks to the internet, brands now have websites that feature the same content as their print copy. This is why you got to keep a tab on the news.
2. Share the positive coverage
Not all news is bad. When you are devoted to providing the best customer experience for your hotel customers, they will surely praise you on social media and review sites alike.
For all that you know, a travel blogger or influencer could be staying over with plans to write a news article or a blog post. Now, that is only if they have a good experience.
Positive coverage not only help in increasing your online or brand reputation but, also boosts your brand’s health. PR coverage and press conferences are the other ways to get positive mentions.
3. Watch out for negative publicity
Publicity can either be good or bad but, what if its the latter and not the former? Your reputation is ruined. If your brand makes it to the headlines for negative publicity, the damage it can do to your brand is inexplicable.
Hiring the best PR agency is not always the best solution because everything comes at a price and that too a hefty one!
The best plan of action to recover from the damage is to issue a public apology on social media sites and through a spokesperson. Next, you work on setting things right.
4. Observe your competitors
Your competitor or a rival could have everything going great for them in their business. Their online reputation is enviable. They could have a massive social media following and an endless number of positive reviews.
When this is the case, why not take a leaf out of their strategy? Identify the tools that they use, publications that they are featured in and the campaigns that have helped increase their social media engagement.
5. Be aware of the industry happenings
Industry trends, influencers that are in demand, region-specific conversations and new entrants and competitors are the important happenings that you should be aware of.
Hotel conferences, both national and international, can serve as important avenues to position and brand yourself. Brand recall is what you should strive for.
Live tweeting and coverage of events and posting them on social media can help build the audience and keep your customers engrossed.
Online reputation is akin to quicksand in a desert. Take measures otherwise your brand will get sucked and fall prey to negative mentions which will hamper your hotel’s online reputation.