There’s no doubt that online reviews are invaluable to hoteliers. According to a study carried out by TripAdvisor, online reviews remain a trusted source of information when booking trips. 86% of participants cited that reading reviews on TripAdvisor made them feel more confident in their booking decisions.
With such statistics, it is easy to see why online reviews have overtaken traditional advertising as key determinants in the decision-making process. In spite of this, not all hoteliers manage their online reviews in the right way. Their 3 biggest mistakes are explained in more detail below.
1. Very Little To No Requests For Feedback
With unhappy guests more likely to leave a review than your satisfied customers, it is essential that you implement a feedback program. Not doing so will mean you suffer the consequences of reviews that do not truly reflect your overall customer experience accurately.
Additionally, you are also missing out on an excellent opportunity to enhance your brand reputation online. Increasing your overall volume of reviews will help your hotel rank higher in search results and boost the establishment’s credibility.
What’s more, asking for feedback doesn’t require a significant injection of resources either. Common methods for requesting guest reviews are via email, survey links, TripAdvisor cards, and good old fashioned verbal communication at an appropriate time.
2. Poor Engagement with Reviewers
Ignorance is not always bliss. When you run a hotel that welcomes thousands of guests each year, you are bound to receive wide-ranging reviews. By responding to them promptly, and with a solution-oriented approach, you will show any potential customers that the hotel takes pride in what their customers have to say.
Avoid using generic copied and pasted responses at all costs. Savvy Internet users will quickly detect this. Instead, invest some time in responding to reviews individually on a near- daily basis. While this is time-consuming, it will greatly benefit your hotel’s reputation.
Delayed responses to online reviews – while better than none at all – can also reflect badly on hoteliers. If a customer has left a complaint and the hotelier responds months later, it shows a level of indifference. It reinforces the poor customer service that is pointed out in the review to your prospective guests and could inevitably cost you clients.
3. Not Paying Enough Attention To Constructive Feedback
No hotel is perfect. Online reviewers will regularly find aspects of their experience that could be improved upon. This doesn’t mean changing your entire menu every time a guest or two express their displeasure for a particular dish. Rather, strategically assess reviews consistently and come up with a system for highlighting the reasonable and repeated ones.
Discuss these with the team and make adjustments as necessary. These small changes accumulate and after a while will be the difference between a customer choosing to stay at your hotel or visiting your competitor’s.
When your hotel acts upon any feedback, it is good practice to respond to the relevant reviews outlining how issues have been resolved, including the changes that were made. This level of customer service will boost your reputation and ensure that prospective customers will look upon your hotel more favourably during the decision-making process.
Learning the Importance of Online Reviews
To avoid the pitfalls above hotels need to implement a reputation management strategy. Doing so will lead to better customer perception of your brand, increased trust among key stakeholders, improved online rankings as a result of your strategic approach, and ultimately higher occupancy rates and income for your hotel due to all of the above.
This article was written by The Northern Quarters, an apart-hotel offering fully-equipped serviced apartments in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter neighbourhood