We’re living in an information age. And at any time and any place, a potential customer can see what customers really think of your property via a hotel review. These days, online reputation management (ORM) is something hotels can’t afford to ignore. If you know you could use some rescuing when it comes to your hotel reputation management, we have four steps to get there.
Google your hotel
The first thing you should do when it comes to hotel reputation management is to simply Google your hotel. Skip past the paid ads designed by your marketing team, and scroll down to any search result that provides guest the ability to comment or review. This will show you a few benchmarks of where your hotel stands. While the goal is not necessarily to have 5 stars, you certainly don’t want to drop below 4.
Use these search results to create a list of review websites and platforms you should keep your eye on. Then, identify how you can (or if you can) sign up to the site to contact guests or at least comment, after they review or comment for your hotel. Check for new review sites every 4 to 6 months, and continue to Google yourself at least once a month—more often after major events, or in times of transition.
If you really want to keep your finger on the Google pulse, set up a Google Alert on your hotel or your hotel name and the review site to see when a new review is posted. You’ll get to see in real time when your property is mentioned in a review.
Delegate hotel reputation management to one person
If you fell into the trap of, “I’ll answer that comment later…” and forgot to respond, you’re not alone. At worst, you might have totally forgotten to respond to negative comments. Good news is, it’s not too long to rescue your hotel reputation management online.
Now that you know which sites you need to keep an eye on, it is time to develop an ORM game plan. This goes beyond just review sites, your website, and online marketing efforts—and includes how you engage with your guests online. Much of your online communication will be on a public platform like Facebook or Twitter. This means that above and beyond your posts, past and potential guests want to feel like there is a live person they can reach online. If you delegate hotel reputation management to one person while having a framework for team members to feel empowered to respond, this enables your entire team to get involved with reputation management responsibilities.
It takes many people to deliver an amazing hotel experience so why not duplicate those same efforts towards your digital experience?
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Respond to each and every negative comment
Timely response to all direct social media messages and comments is a must—both good and bad.
Remember that every negative comment is a potential opportunity to win a guest back. It is important is that you keep your ego out of your response, and whatever you do, avoid canned responses! Instead, respond in a manner that is personal, sincere, and apologetic. Then provide a way for them to contact you and invite the customer to reach out to you directly. Take the time to listen to the customer, figure out what went wrong, and offer a resolution.
Keep in mind that everyone looking to book a hotel understands that you aren’t going to have a perfect 5-star rating. Seeing that you respond to negative comments in a timely and sincere manner will show prospects reading your reviews that you are invested in quality customer service.
Show gratitude for positive comments, too
Don’t forget that you should also respond to positive comments. Your response can be short and sweet, but usually, a thank you for their review does the trick. And be sure to let them know you can’t wait to see them again the next time they are in town. That guest took a moment out of their day to show their appreciation, which always deserves a comment back.
Event planners and travelers alike will perform an online search before they reach out to you directly. So if your hotel reputation management could use some help, take these steps to clean up your act.
What other ways does your hotel manage its reputation online? Share your tips in the comments below or share them with us on Twitter.