reputation management

Reputation management - Manet Mobile Solutions

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.

data mining for hotel reputation management - Manet Mobile Solutions

Start by Collecting Data

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.

hotel staff seminar

Educate Your Staff

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.

monitoring hotel reviews -

Monitor Customer Feedback

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.

reply to hotel reviews

Respond to Customer Comments

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.

Make the Most of Digital Reputation Management Tools

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.

hotel digital footprint

Build Your Hotel’s Online Presence

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.

Reputation Management Is a Long-Term Goal

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.

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The importance of reputation management for hotels - Manet Mobile Solutions

Managing the reputation of hotels in the digital age is its own animal. With multiple channels of engagement and bookings come multiple opportunities for strategic management — and, equally, the risk of having one important piece of the puzzle go awry.

With the industry turning to online sales and lead management systems for everything from bookings to traffic and marketing, it can be easy to forget that hotels operate in the hospitality industry.

But just because the primary sphere of operations and reputation management has shifted doesn’t mean that hotels can forget this one crucial rule. In fact, with the turn to digital operations, hotel reputation management stands to benefit from things like newly emerging review sites, social media platforms and search engines.

These simultaneous spheres of reputation management matter when it comes to the overall success of accommodation facilities.

The importance of reputation management for hotels - Manet Mobile Solutions
Photo by Bill Anastas on Unsplash

Revenue management

For hoteliers, B&B owners, vacation rental owners and the like, revenue management is intricately connected with review sites. Why? Like restaurants offering a unique experience through a combination of customer service, cuisine, and ambience, these accommodation facilities also promisean experience.

In simplest terms, hotels and other accommodation facilities must rely on bookings — which is, essentially, a volume of sales. They can certainly increase or decrease a price, based on availability and demand, for a room.

But their overall revenue relies heavily on whether their property’s reputation is one that inspires trust and confidence from a traveller.

Revenue management - Manet Mobile Solutions
Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

Review portals are where reputations are being built, burnished or tarnished. And this, of course, also has a longer-term effect of web rankings and search engine visibility.

Reviews matter. According to a study by TripAdvisor, more than half of global respondents say they won’t make a booking until after they’ve read more than a few reviews, figuring out what previous travellers thought of the entire experience.

In response to reviews, reputation management should focus on actually engaging with problematic feedback. The study also found that:

• 87% of users say that if management were to follow up with an empathetic response, it “improves
my impression of the hotel”

• 70% of users agreed that a defensive response, on the other hand, “makes me less likely to book
that hotel”

• Overall, however, any response is better than none: 62% of users say that seeing responses to
reviews helps as it “makes me more likely to book it”

Clearly, the key to success for managers of accommodations, when considering revenue, is to focus
instead on being proactive with their end customer — the traveller. Instead of a liability, it’s useful for
managers to look at the explosion of review portals as an opportunity to build relationships with
customers in a more direct way.

RevPAR

If reviews are intimately tied into revenue management and a hotel’s reputation, how can we quantify it in order to improve on it?

Luckily, there’s a KPI for that and it’s called “RevPAR”. As industry-insiders will know, RevPAR “is a measurement of both a hotel’s average daily rate and its ability to actually fill those rooms.”

Since RevPAR gives accommodations managers a sense of current performance while also making a recommendation on how much to charge for a room, this KPI is not only a measurement, it is a metric that can be used to optimise revenue.

While a low occupancy rate, for example, would tell accommodations managers to reduce the rates for a period of time, a higher RevPAR number might indicate room for increase. But it doesn’t rely on occupancy alone — it also relies on the overall revenue created per room. So, a larger hotel who’s margins are much larger might have a lower RevPAR but a higher overall revenue.

RevPAR - Manet Mobile Solutions
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A consistently low RevPAR number, especially for a smaller property, could prove to be problematic. But it’s the first sign of something needing to be addressed. RevPAR is the visible metric of revenue management which, as we’ve seen, is directly linked to “review” and “response” management.

OTAs

Part of hotel reputation management is managing, populating and updating OTAs. Online travel agencies, as they’re better known, are spots like Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Travelocity, and Priceline, amongst others.

Besides being able to book and find deals using these portals, travellers can also visit the reviews section or make use of a reviewing tool on any of these sites. How can accommodations managers decide which to respond to?

Even though many OTA sites say that they provide “verified” reviews, cutting down on the number of fraudulent reviews, the level of scoring is still quite arbitrary. This means that the experience of staying in a property could be quite subjective.

Because of this, hoteliers and property managers are encouraged to respond to views that are specific in their feedback, giving detailed information as to an incident or issues directly relating to the hotel (not necessarily other aspects of the trip).

OTAs - Manet Mobile Solutions
Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

OTAs, like RevPAR, can also be a useful metric — albeit, a qualitative one, rather than a quantitative one. If a RevPAR number returns low, for example, accommodations managers can use feedback posted on OTAs to check the pulse of their reputation, so to speak. In this way, they can use OTAs not only to funnel new bookings; hotels, B&Bs or vocational rental owners can list an extra room on major OTAs. Since the ranking online will be based on the overall authority of the OTA, not the hotel, a new listing can help override an outlier negative review.

Customer loyalty

Responsiveness is one way to capture a customer’s loyalty. But nothing beats a face-to-face, human- to-human connection.

When it comes to reputation management, it’s a good idea for accommodation managers of any format to go the extra mile and give it the personal touch. Take the time to walk around the facilities, interact with guests, and engage in conversation — online and offline.

Customer loyalty - Manet Mobile Solutions
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Customer loyalty, however, is built on multiple channels — both in the physical, experiential world and in the digital plane. As such, every manager’s in-person efforts must be supported with analytics software that is able to market effectively as well as offer incentivised bookings and customised offers that take the most granular details under consideration.

For example, a robust platform would be able to automate booking, capture the details of a guest’s experience within a room, noting down any discount initially offered, how quickly they booked, what they might have ordered, any preferences they requested and then create a compelling offer a few months down the road. It would also have to include a follow-up sequence — all from the vantage point of not just hooking the customer but having them return.

Brand equity

This all leads to one final and overarching goal: Brand equity and recognition.

Building a reputation online is one thing but managing and maintaining it is an everyday task that requires consistent actions.

A study by Hotel Advantage finds that there are three components to building a reputable hotel or
accommodations brand:

1 Listening and responding to guest reviews

2 Building your community and content

3 Upgrading your visual presence

Above this, ROI on social media, the study finds, only begins at 6 hours a week — and that’s six hours of meaningful and live interacting, content creation and commenting, besides strategic efforts like sponsorships and ads.

The study also finds that:

• Unfavourable reviews are the primary driver in lost bookings

• Companies that achieve the best customer service ratings are able to, through a combination of marketing and outreach, minimise the amount of time between learning about a customer’s needs and taking action on it.

At the core of every hotel’s reputation, then, is guest satisfaction. And even something as large as brand equity and recognisability can come down to employees, who are the frontline of a customer’s experience.

In other words, a brand does not only comprise a customer’s experience but its strength is also a
testament to an employee’s satisfaction and commitment toward the brand.

 

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