Today’s travellers have access to more information than ever before. Travellers have always used word-of-mouth reviews to make decisions about where to stay on their journeys. Today, online reviews sites make word-of-mouth testimonials much more comfortable to come by. Your hotel will have to be active on these reviews sites if you are going to win bookings and increase your revenue.
Indeed, online review sites tend to attract extreme reviews. The only people who take the time to review your hotel are going to be those who are really angry and disappointed or those who are really pleased. But this does not matter. For better or worse, online reviews are here to stay.
As a hotelier, you can’t afford to ignore online review sites. Here are some best practices for managing online reviews.
How to respond to reviews
When people review your hotel, you must respond. Whether the review is positive or negative, people need to see that you are engaged and active. It shows that you care about the experience that your visitors have when they stay at your hotel.
- Respond quickly. You have about a 48-hour window to respond to reviews to appear engaged.
- Respond regularly. You don’t have to respond to every positive review, but you do need to respond to most of them. Even if you say thank you, a response to most of the reviews shows that you care what people have to say.
- Train a small number of people to respond. You want to make sure that your responses have a consistent voice.
- Focus on the positive. If a reviewer has something positive to say, thank him or her for it. If nothing positive is said, at least thank the reviewer for their input.
- For negative reviews, show that you have taken steps to do better. Invite the reviewer back for another stay. Ask the reviewer to contact the front desk if a further conversation is needed.
- Don’t use your hotel name in response to a negative review. Search engines may pick up on this and show the negative review in search engine results.
How to increase your reviews
Responding to reviews is just the beginning. You also want to be proactive in generating positive reviews.
Reviews sites frown upon aggressively generating positive reviews. They would like reviews to be more spontaneous and natural. That is why some negative reviews are ok. It lends credibility to the review site as an authentic third-party site.
- Your best bet is to exceed expectations. If you offer excellent service, then people will respond with good reviews.
- Encourage guests to follow you on TripAdvisor and other review sites. You could post signs at the front desk and in any information that you have in the rooms.
- Send a post-check-out email. Let guests know that they can leave a review at the end of their stay.
With so many travellers using online review sites to make booking decisions, you can’t afford to ignore these sites. You have to be proactive in earning and responding to reviews. Managing your online reviews will ultimately boost your hotel’s revenues.
To learn more about managing your reputation, click below.