93% of travelers argue that online reviews play a crucial role when booking a hotel. Nowadays, hotel managers ought to pay great attention to such a high percentage.
The first direct consequence of this trend is represented by a power shift from the hotel, or brand, to the customer. Thanks to online resources, such as Tripadvisor, Zoover, Google Places and new travel social media, guests get more informed about your property, thus having the power to influence the choice of thousands of people.
As one might imagine, these changes have deeply modified the purchasing process in the world of hospitality. In this way, hotels need to change their approach as far as the management of online reputation is concerned.
A survey carried out by the Cornell University of New York has shown how a hotel is able to raise its prices by 11.2 %, keeping the occupancy rate at the same level, thanks to an even slight increase of its brandscore in online reviews.
So, there is no doubt reviews are relevant not only to the management of online reputation, but also to the implementation of revenue strategies.
This is certainly true for the hotel chains but it is even more useful for those medium-sized properties which can reach their sold-out goal only by cautiously analysing the competition’s prices as well as through an efficient strategy of brand valorization and differentiation.
Anyway, so far we have just dealt with positive reviews: what happens when a hotel receives one or more negative reviews? It does not take much to understand that travelers are much more affected by negative reviews than positive ones!
In fact, an only negative review can destroy your reputation, telling your potential customers their stay will be threatened by a rude waiter or a cockroach in the shower!
So here you will find some useful tips on how to prevent and deal with negative reviews.
1 Answer in the first person
A study carried out by Tripadvisor has underlined the fact that when the hotel gives a public and a first-person answer to a negative review, its average score and booking requests tend to increase.
Therefore, being kind and open to any problem resolution instead of simply ignoring it, can positively affect your future brandscore and reputation.
2 Giving specific details about the problem resolution
Of course when a property receives a negative review, apologising is not enough: the best solution is showing an active attitude by explaining what you are doing and what you have done so far to solve the problem.
3 Monitoring your online reputation
A single negative review could be a bad warning about how your property is perceived externally. So the constant monitoring of the Web becomes a crucial step to know what your guests think of you.
Are you afraid this research is a waste of time? There is some good news for you: there are some business intelligence tools that will allow you to monitor in real time users’ reviews, receiving an alert every time your property is mentioned.
Among these tools, there is Habout by Hotelbrand, an online platform which, by sifting through the Web, informs you about your average score obtained by putting together all the opinion of the users on the main online review websites.
4 Be one step ahead
Managing your online reputation is not just about cutting your losses. The best way to achieve a high brandscore in reviews is using all the possible channels to build a good relationship with your guests.
In order to do so, surely you might use your e-mail, website and social media channels: make the most out of them, they will allow you to get in touch with your guests before, during and after their stay.
You can do that by sending your guests an email in order to know their level of satisfaction as far as services are concerned (if you are interested in this subject, read the article “How to do a marketing email campaign for your hotel”). On the contrary, you might monitor in real time the level of satisfaction of your guests through virtual concierge services, by offering upgrade or additional services to those who might be a little upset (this strategy has been also dealt with in the post “How to use Mobile Marketing to promote your hotel”).
The use of these strategies could be relevant to best meet the needs of your customers, improving their opinion and thus positively influencing your brand reputation.