How good is your hotel’s online reputation?
How many positive reviews do you have on the internet?
Whether you like it or not, people do check your hotel’s online reputation before booking your services.
While regular customers may check your online reputation for ensuring a smooth stay, business travelers often take your social status more seriously to pre-confirm a hassle-free experience.
Despite being helpful for your customers, your hotel’s online reputation also tells how successful you’re as a brand.
Even though a 5-star rating need not necessarily reflect the quality of your services, your online reputation, however, does matter a lot for most of your prospective customers.
According to a recent survey by TripAdvisor:
- 93% of people consider online reviews of a hotel before booking their stay; and
- 53% of people said they would not consider booking a hotel if it didn’t have any online reviews.
Hence, in today’s world, where the star-ratings and online reviews can make or break a business in no time, having control over your online reputation must be the number one priority for any hotelier.
So that brings us to the main topic of today’s discussion.
What exactly is a hotel’s online reputation? How to manage it?
Online Reputation Management or ORM is the practice of managing your brand’s online image while also influencing its perception on the internet.
When it comes to hotels, online reputation management can be explained as a process of monitoring and influencing the way your property is being perceived throughout the web.
The main intention behind this is to earn a favorable reputation while also reducing the possibility of any negative publicity.
Despite not being a new concept, the idea of online reputation management started with the onset of online review sites like Epinions back in the year of 1999.
Epinions served as a platform for anyone to share their opinions about a product or service with the entire world.
While online reputation management may seem like an easy task to do, the reality, however, is quite the opposite.
With the explosion of a ton of social media apps and various other online review sites, managing your brand’s online reputation has become a cumbersome process.
So this is where adopting a strategic plan of approach comes into the picture.
Following a strategic plan of action will help you in successfully managing your brand’s online reputation in the long run.
Many proven tactics like keeping an eye on various review sites, quickly responding to user reviews, encouraging your existing customers to leave positive feedback, etc. will help you in effectively managing your hotel’s online reputation.
Why does the online reputation matters in the hospitality industry?
The major selling point of any service in the hospitality industry is its reputation which can be both online and offline.
Hence, it is not surprising to know the fact that there is hardly any other industry, that is as much affected as the hospitality industry.
This is because not everyone can physically check and compare all the hotels in a short amount of time.
Also, not everyone has that friend or family member who might have visited the place you are going to visit the next.
Hence, this is where the internet services solve the problem by serving as the most convenient medium of exploring the hotels and other services, not just for a single place, but for each and every location across the globe.
These days, there is a ton of information available to the people online.
There are reviews, guides, walk-through videos, and more. Hence, the reviews have become the new norm of online reputation in today's market.
Also, there is so much variety available for the people in the market these days
Therefore, people can now easily take decisions after analyzing all the opinions and reviews available online. Also, they can book a hotel or any other service, just at the click of a button.
Hence, online reputation has become a new benchmark for any type of service in the hospitality industry.
How does a hotel’s online reputation impact its revenue?
You must have already understood the importance of online reputation held by any hotel or service provider in the hospitality industry. We’ll now tell you how it impacts their overall revenue.
Online hotel reviews can either be a driving force or a mode of self-destruction for your business.
In today’s competitive environment, the online reputation of any hotel has a direct effect on its overall revenue.
It’s common for your prospective customers to conduct a thorough research about your property before hitting that “Book Now” button.
Any professional in the hospitality industry knows the importance of positive feedbacks left by satisfied customers, as it directly affects their click-through rates and their overall profits.
Therefore, a hotel’s online reputation holds a great value both for the travelers seeking new destinations as well as for net flow of your overall income.
Travelers often check review sites and various social platforms, not only to hunt for the best deal but also to get a broader perspective of your property and services on offer.
Moreover, this is why, minute differences in the online ratings and reviews of your hotel, often determine the kind of revenue that subsequently flows into your business.
It has also been noted that higher the amount of positive reviews held by a hotel or service, higher will be their command over the prices while also having a professional edge over their competitors.
According to a recent study conducted by Cornell University, if a hotel’s online rating goes up by 1-point on a 5-point scale, say like from 3.5-stars to 4.5-stars, the hotel can literally hike its prices by an overall margin of 11.2%, and still be able to retain the same market share and overall flow of customers.”
How can hoteliers exploit technology to boost their online reputation?
In present times, the rate at which the information is exchanged online is quite astonishing to note.
For example, take the case of TripAdvisor’s platform. According to the company, its platform receives an average of about 230 new reviews every minute.
Also, note that TripAdvisor is just one of a dozen other review sites present out there, where the customers can post their reviews and feedback.
Hence, the kind of reviews left by your guests at several places online - be it positive or negative, or in any format - text, image, or videos, will be the face of your overall online reputation.
These, in turn, will be influencing the purchase decisions of your next potential customers.
Therefore, having a two-way interaction with the online reviews about your business should be an integral part of your overall online reputation strategy in 2019.
Quick replies and constant professional communication with your customers and reviewers will help your business in establishing a strong relationship with your current customers while also paving a new way for the next potential customers.
This can be effectively achieved with the help of software and technology that is available in the present market.
Because responding to online reviews has become such a necessary part of the reputation management strategy, investing in a robust software definitely helps your hotel business in the long run.
The best softwares available in the present market will have the ability to collect and aggregate every review posted on various sites on the internet, while also allowing the hotel management staff to respond to all of them at a single place quickly.
This improves the net response rate of your hotel management staff, which in turn increases the overall reputation of your hotel.
A robust software also performs comprehensive sentiment analysis on the overall reviews and thereby segregates them into various categories like positive or negative reviews or in terms of reviews about specific areas of service like the food quality, cleanliness, room facilities, staff behaviour, and much more.
The same software can also gather vital statistics about your competitor’s overall reputation in the areas as mentioned above, and thus, helps you to outperform them in the long run.
What your hotel can achieve with an effective ORM strategy?
Having an effective ORM strategy will benefit a hotel in a number of ways. These include -
- Improved response rates to all of your customer’s reviews.
- Improved social status of your property and services.
- Ability to curb the effects of negative publicity.
- Ability to take informed actions in various areas pertaining to your hospitality services.
- Ability to improve your overall marketing strategy.
- And finally, it allows you to completely understand your guest and thereby help them in getting the best experience at your hotel.
As said by Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
Hence, having an effective online reputation management is a key element in maintaining yourself as a competitive brand in the present market.
Intelligent usage of your customer’s feedback reviews, and using it to benefit your hotel’s reputation is one of the most effective strategies you can employ to influence your future customers.
Moreover, investing in a robust online reputation management solution allows you, as a hotelier, to concentrate effectively on improving other areas of your hospitality services.