The internet has become a vital tool for anyone in the hotel business, just as word of mouth was the ultimate recommendation for an establishment, the internet now offers instant access to real reviews and opinions from guests. Positive reviews are incredibly important for any business, especially with sites such as Tripadvisor and dedicated business review sites encouraging all guests to leave accurate feedback. These sites are often the first port of call for those looking to make a booking, choosing to follow the lead of past guests instead of the descriptions found on sales-centric hotel sites.
If you have yet to encourage your guests to leave reviews, here are our reasons why you should start today.
Why hotel reviews matter
1. Reviews left on major travel sites impact visitors count
Tripadvisor is one of the biggest review sites in the worlds, boasting over 100m reviews. Over the last few years the site has evolved to offer even more options of those wanting to leave a review, including partnering with Tomtom to pinpoint exact locations.
Other sites that are emerging as big hitters in the industry include Hotel Me and Travelocity, both of which offer thousands of reviews for hotels across the world. The rise of these sites has also impacted on the initial search for a hotel via a search engine. Google has started displaying reviews under their search results, pulling in data from sites such as Trust Pilot to give an instant star based snapshot of a business before the user has even clicked.
So how can a business ensure that their online reputation is boosted enough to encourage visitors? There are many tips that experts believe will lead to positive reviews, however, they are centred around one main theme, ensuring that you are offering your guests the best possible experience.
2. Reviews – positive or negative – can be used in your favour
The majority of reviews are left by people who have had a strong reaction to your establishment, whether this is incredibly positive or negative is up to you. The first thing for any business to do is educate staff on the importance of online reputation, ensure that they are aware of the negative impact of a negative review and also aware of how to encourage visitors to leave a review of their stay.
Take the time to look at what review sites base their scores on, often the quantitative scores focus on the basics of a stay, such as cleanliness, friendly staff, location and noise. These are the areas that need to be your focus if you are going to be pushing for online reviews, if any of your guests complain about these, it is important that you know that their views are appreciated and that you are going out of your way to rectify any negative experiences.
If you do have a negative review appear on a site, this can be used in your favour with the right response tactic. In a recent survey, 84% of Tripadvisor users stated that an appropriate management response to a bad review would improve their impression of the hotel. With this in mind, ensure that there is a process in place to identify, rectify and resolve and negative comments about your business.
3. Hotel reviews + social media = online reputation boost
To encourage reviews, there are plenty of ways that you can communicate with your guests to push them towards leaving their (hopefully) positive feedback. Social media plays a huge part in online reviews and social content can offer great rewards for your business.
Offer incentives for those that leave reviews, and ensure that you respond to any engagement from your customers on your social profiles. However, you need to be very careful in doing so, as there’s a thin ethical line between thanking and bribing.
The downside of opening up your business to social media is the chance of a negative feedback, whether this is deserved or not. This can be managed better by ensuring that your business is monitoring your profiles and making the most of any opportunities that you spot to encourage feedback.
The importance of online reputation cannot be underplayed, especially within the hotel industry. The right management of your brand can ensure that guests are encouraged to book with you thanks to the positive feedback that you receive.
Trip Advisor state that 93% of users find reviews important when deciding where they want to stay and 53% of people would not book a hotel without checking out the reviews first. As a hotelier, these stats should push you towards investing more time in monitoring and building your reputation online.
As sites such as Tripadvisor and Trustpilot grow, and as social media becomes more of an influence on the results displayed in search engines and the search process that people follow to find a business, it pays to be on top of your reputation.