Due to the enormous increase of user-generated content, such as reviews and feedback, consumers now frequently base their holiday booking decisions on online research. And, as visitors spread out their opinion and become informed from others’ reviews, hotel reputation management is an essential aspect of the hospitality industry.
The hospitality industry is one of the most affected industries when it comes to reputation management. More than 90% of consumers consider online reviews before deciding which hotel to book, while over half would avoid booking a hotel without consulting guest reviews, according to TripAdvisor – the travel website.
With customer feedback online influencing consumers’ decision making process so significantly, it is important for hoteliers to encourage satisfied customers to leave positive online reviews, while taking care to respond to any negative ones should they arise.
Positive reviews from satisfied guests can be extremely beneficial – and help boost bookings. On the other hand, just one negative review may ruin your online reputation within minutes.
In many cases, it is not the review itself that causes the damage, but how the hotelier responds. Reviews should be seen as an opportunity to improve. By not responding to guest reviews, hoteliers risk sending a message to guests that they do not value them.
Traditionally, hoteliers have focused their efforts on promoting their amenities and pricing their services in relation to their competitors. However the importance of reputation management is becoming an integral part of hotel marketing. Finding a balance between marketing and reputation management may also support hotels with revenue management and increase demand.
Careful management of a hotel’s online reputation can improve demand, and boost revenue. It has the potential to give businesses a competitive advantage in the market place. Presenting poor online reputation, on the other hand, may cause major damage to your business.
The reputation of a hotel significantly impacts on stakeholders. Uncomplimentary articles in the media, and a damaged reputation impacts on public opinion. Customers become skeptical, so too do partners and investors. Employees, who are essential to building and maintaining an outstanding hotel, are also likely to be less committed.
The secret to success is to be proactive. Offering incentives to satisfied customers to post reviews or feedback is one of the easiest ways to build a positive profile for your hotel online. When guests check-out, ask them to fill out a feedback form, or encourage them to leave a happy customer review online. And, remember, do not wait until the negative reviews appear, try to deal with them before it is too late.
It is not only a hotel’s reputation that matters, but the reputation of the owner is just as important. To maintain a strong reputation hoteliers need to be consistent in approach when it comes to promoting their online reputation. A PR strategy, contributing to blogs and forums, social media presence and relevant online content are ways in which a hotel can successfully engage with consumers.
As hotel managers are usually busy with daily responsibilities, hoteliers could consider hiring an online reputation management company to deal with online reviews and manage your reputation.
Once you have built a strong reputation, your business will be presented in a more positive light on search results. Guests will also be more likely to find the hotel online – resulting in more bookings, and ultimately increased revenue.