Reputation is everything for hotels. The whole hospitality industry revolves around reviews. You must have had conversations with your friends and family along these lines - “Hey, this place has great reviews, let's have dinner there”. Or, “This place has got a 3-star rating, I don’t think it's that good, let's check some other place”. That’s why hotel reputation management is essential.
Hotel Reputation Management: What It Is
Online reputation is the reputation a hotel has in the online sphere. It is the way in which the hotel is perceived by people online. If you have good reviews and ratings, your hotel has a positive reputation and vice-versa.
Your reviews and ratings across web listings will be taken and based on that, you will know your hotel’s reputation. Without hotel reputation management, you will not be able to get good reviews for your hotel, which in turn will impact your business.
Ways Of Measuring Hotel Online Reputation
Measuring online reputation is a key component of hotel reputation management. There are two ways of measuring a hotel’s reputation - NPS and NLP.
NPS means Net Promoter Score. It considers ratings in its analysis of the reputation of a hotel. It divides the reviews into 3 categories -
Promoters - Ratings of 4/5 or 9/10 and above. It means that these reviews are great for reputation management.
Passive - Ratings of 3/5 or 7 - 8/10. They are neutral reviews. They don’t promote nor harm your hotel’s reputation.
Detractors - Ratings of 2/5 or 6/10 or below. These reviews adversely impact your hotel’s reputation.
NLP means Natural Language Processing. In this method, Artificial Intelligence, or AI analyzes the guest sentiments for preparing the report. For example words like pathetic, bad, and horrible would denote negative feedback; words like great, enjoyed, and decent would show positive feedback.
Importance Of Reviews In Hotel Reputation Management
The reviews on OTAs, and Google My Business can determine whether or not your room inventory gets booked. If you have great reviews, and a lot of them, you will score higher on the search engine. The hotel guests will have confidence in your property.
It will also improve your ranking and visibility on the OTA platforms as well. Online booking platforms promote properties with great reviews, while they give lower rankings to properties with low ratings.
If you have fewer reviews, then your online reputation management will not be favourable because unless the guests get to read many reviews, they will not trust your property. In fact, reviews are essentially social proof. More reviews will give better insight into the property because hotels with very few reviews are not considered to be reliable.
Tips To Master Hotel Reputation Management
Now that we have discussed the concept of online reputation management for hotels, let us now understand the ways by which you can master it!
1. Respond To Hotel Reviews
One of the main tasks of online reputation management (ORM) is responding to reviews. It shows that you take the customer’s feedback seriously. Hoteliers need to respond to negative reviews especially to mitigate damage to their reputation.
Checking negative reviews will also help you understand the flaws of your hotel, which you can then work upon. The way you respond to the reviews will determine the brand’s reputation in the eyes of the guests. Hotel reputation management aims to avoid these situations.
Replying to positive reviews is easy, but negative reviews are a different ballgame altogether. If you sound callous and blunt, it will do more harm than good. You need to get in touch with the customers and resolve their issues. The next step is to ensure that the grievances are not repeated with the next guest.
2. Improve On Your Negative Points
The next step is to rectify all the negative points that got you negative reviews. Focus on improving the issues that got you a negative review in the first place. First, give attention to the most important ones i.e the ones that ruined the guest’s mood and experience the most. Once you have resolved the main issues, you can move to other minor issues. This is one of the ways improve your hotel's online reputation.
3. Fake Reviews: Navigate Them Carefully
Fake Reviews are as old as the hospitality industry itself. Many competitors and unscrupulous guests use fake reviews to slander the hotels and/or to gain additional benefits. As a hotelier, your job is to identify which reviews are fake and how to deal with them.
If you suspect that the hotel review is fake, you need to enquire further; ask them when they stayed and what they didn’t like. If you don’t get a clear answer, then it means that the reviews are fake.
4. Optimize Your Hotel Website
Your hotel website represented your brand. It should be well-optimized and well-organized in order to have a favourable standing in the digital world. A shabby website will turn the guest away from the property since the thinking will be “If a hotel website is pathetic, the hotel will be even worse”.
Use SEO i.e Search Engine Optimization to ensure that your website is visible among the top ranking pages among the SERP i.e Search Engine Result Pages. Hotel Reputation Management without visibility is as futile as running a hotel without room inventory.
5. Social Media Management
Social Media Management is essential for any business, hospitality being no exception. Make use of popular social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to engage with your target audience and create a rapport. Doing this will improve your hotel’s online reputation.
Especially on Instagram, there are many things you can do. You can use stories, reels, and social media influencers to increase engagement with the audience. Feel free to get creative, especially if are a new property. Social Media is the best way to make use of audio-visual media such as photos and videos. This will help in hotel reputation management.
6. Provide A Good Customer Experience
As they say, prevention is better than cure. You need to do everything you can to prevent any negative reviews in the first place. You can achieve this with the help of great customer service. You need to make sure that the hotel guests are happy with your service.
In case any issue pops up during your stay, you need to rectify it immediately and make up for it. There will be many mishaps that will happen, and that will be beyond your control. However, you need to take control of the situation and ensure that the guests leave content with your efforts at the end of the day.
Hotel reputation management has become an integral part of hotel management. With these tips, you will be able to manage your hotel’s online reputation with grace. The hospitality industry depends on ratings and reviews, and you cannot afford to ignore them.