For many brands and organizations, especially hotels and restaurants... the thought of implementing a reputation management strategy into their business might just seem like an extra added cost. Instead, it should be thought as a minimal investment to deter any longterm and monumental issues down the road. With so many online reviews being posted to hotel review sites and through social media, there has never been a more crucial time to know what your brand looks like online.
In fact, one of the top priorities for hotel chains today is their online presence, what people are saying about them and especially how they are being reviewed on top sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.
In addition to the many benefits and resources that TripAdvisor offers to their audience and collection of hotels around the world, they also offer a TripBarometer report through TripAdvisorInsights. The data from these reports are compiled from surveys taken by thousands of hotels around the world. This latest report highlights how hotels are managing their online presence and what type of resources they are putting into these new areas of focus.
Investment in online reputation management by hotels is expected to increase by 60% this year compared to the previous 12 months. This is the largest increase by hotels across a number of investment areas. (source)
One of the major reasons why more hotels and brands are putting extra effort and money into their online reputation management and monitoring is that many are seeing such investments and ROI are in their favor.
For example... an advertising billboard will get you exposure, but it's hard to actually measure that ROI. With online reviews and monitoring, it's easier and more effective to know who is seeing and how it may affect their decision process.
5 Reasons Why Hotels Must Monitor their Online Reputation and Brand Mentions
1.) Survey & Reviews are Invaluable
The most important reason why every hotel needs to monitor and improve their reputation online, is simply because the results of customer surveys and online reviews are crucial to the decision process of your guests. When someone is looking for somewhere to stay during their next trip, they are going to look at online reviews. If your hotel has any bad reviews or a low rating that stands below the competition, you are going to quickly be overlooked at and not given a second chance.
2.) Knowing How to Limit Future Complaints
Speaking of complaints and negative reviews. By monitoring what people are saying in reference to your hotel, their stay and experience... this gives you the opportunity to see what customers are complaining about, what they would like to see improved and how their stay could have been better.
For example... if you see a lot of complaints stating that your breakfast buffet wasn't good quality food -- then you need to get a new chef, cooking team and/or food provider so more complaints like this don't come in. Don't just look at negative complaints as a problem, look at them as a way to improve your existing brand and business.
3.) Understand Your Competition Better
When it comes to monitoring reviews online, it's not just about seeing what people are saying about your hotel only. It would be a huge mistake to just monitor your own reviews and not look at the reviews of your competition as well. Just like we referred to checking reviews about your hotel for limiting future complaints, you should also be look at reviews of competing hotels to see what they are potentially doing better than yours. This way you can implement these same practices into your business and not lose customers to another hotel that already is.
4.) Making Your Wrongs into Rights
Customers leave negative comments and reviews because they are unhappy. It's easy for someone to say they will leave positive feedback, but most of the time they forget. It's the negative feedback that people never forget to leave. If no one addresses these issues (no matter how big or small), that customer will stay unhappy and probably never go back to your hotel location again.
Instead of letting this continually happen, hotel staff or management need to monitor what people are saying about their experience and try to make these negatives into positives -- whether it be apologizing, refunding partial or full payment, offering a complimentary or just reaching out to let them know you care. This small action can go a long way.
5.) Continuous Monitoring of Your Brand
The hotel and travel industry generates billions of dollars every year, however it is also extremely competitive at the same time. Not monitoring your online reviews and brand mentions can make up a huge percentage of your business -- whether you know it or not. Just a few negative reviews on a well known travel site can influence millions of potential customers over the course of a year. For this reason in itself, it's extremely important for all hotel brands to continually monitor their name, reviews and comments online.
Not matter what size hotel (chain or individual), online reviews are completely changing the way people decide where they are going to stay when on travel. By implementing these practices into your business, you will not only see improved results, but you will be rising above the competition in the process.