Running a hotel can be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling job. Each day, you’ll have the opportunity to show your guests a great time while taking care of their every need. However, not all of your customers will be as satisfied with the experience as you hope, and they may turn to social media and review websites like TripAdvisor and Yelp to air their grievances. This can damage your hotel’s reputation, making it more challenging to bring in new guests to your property.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to boost guest satisfaction, respond to negative reviews and prevent future dissatisfaction so that you can maintain a favorable reputation. Here’s how to do it.
It will be difficult to manage your hotel’s reputation if you don’t know where you currently stand, so your first step should be to find out. Collect comment cards from guest rooms, and have a look at your property’s page on popular review sites. It is also a good idea to keep track of the most common requests your guests have, like additional pillows, in-room safes, and other amenities. This will give you a sense of which areas of your service might be in need of improvement. Going forward, continue to track all of this data to update your records and continue to improve.
Many customers won’t take the time to leave a comment card or review, but you’ll still want to know how they enjoyed their stay. Your staff can be invaluable in this regard, as they are the ones who engage with your guests face-to-face each day. Train your employees to report customer comments, both positive and negative, so that you can add them to the records you started in the previous section.
Part of your team’s training should also include teaching them how to anticipate potential issues. If they are able to prevent a problem before it occurs, your guests may never be the wiser. If a problem has already occurred, your staff should have the tools and authority they need to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. A speedy resolution to a problem could turn a negative review into a positive one despite the complications.
As you continue to collect information about the customer experience in your hotel through comment cards and online review portals, keep an eye out for any trends. For example, you may have had a lot of positive reviews in the past, but your most recent views may skew towards the negative. This could be a sign that the quality of your hotel is deteriorating in terms of customer service or the property itself. Of course, the opposite could also be true, with past negative reviews making way for more positive ones as you improve your level of service.
Even if your reviews are generally positive, it is still possible to get a negative review here and there. As hard as you might try, it is virtually impossible to please every single guest. Circumstances out of your control, like power outages, guests’ moods, supplier issues and other complications could impact the guest experience. Even if a negative review is an outlier compared to your other recent reviews, you still shouldn’t ignore it. Every negative comment is an opportunity to improve, so take advantage of that chance.
Each customer comment or review also presents you with a unique opportunity to showcase your hotel’s professionalism and responsiveness. When you get a negative review, take the time to respond to the customer, apologizing for any issues that arose. This is a great opportunity to explain to the guest how you have improved your hotel to prevent the problem from happening again. You can also invite them to come back at a discounted rate to see how much your property has improved since their last visit. This is your chance to turn a negative review into a positive one. If the review is on a public forum offer to take to conversation offline to resolve it.
Don’t focus solely on the negative reviews, though; your satisfied guests deserve some attention as well. Thank them for their patronage, and let them know how pleased you are that they enjoyed their stay. This small effort can go a long way towards strengthening your brand’s relationship with your customers, making it more likely that they will want to stay at your hotel again in the future.
There are a variety of free and paid tools available to you to make managing your online reputation easier. Sites like BrandYourself, or Customer Alliance for example, scour the web in search of any mention of your brand, hotel name or other keywords you choose in order to identify any negative results that turn up in the search engine results. You’ll then have the opportunity to address these issues. If you can find this information online, so can prospective customers, so it is in your best interest to ensure everything is as positive as possible.
Many of the strategies outlined above are reactive rather than proactive. With social media, your hotel’s blog and your brand’s website, you have the opportunity to tell your brand’s story in the way that you want it to be told. Posting regularly on your blog and social media makes it easier for potential guests to engage with your brand, solidifying your relationship with them. Don’t just post random things just to have something up there, though. Think through a strategy before you get started, and make sure that each post speaks to the brand and personality you are trying to convey and that you engage a conversation with your clients.
As frustrating as it might be, you can’t transform your hotel’s reputation overnight. It will take a concerted effort on the part of everyone who works at your hotel to provide the best possible service to your guests. Rest assured, though, that with consistent, focused effort, it is entirely possible to turn around negative impressions of your property, turning dissatisfied guests into loyal, long-term customers.