Every hotelier knows that online reviews affect the bottom line. In fact, when a hotel’s average rating improves by one star, demand can rise by 25% and prices by close to 10%. Negative reviews have the opposite impact, highlighting how important it is for all hotels to actively manage online reviews. Use these strategies to turn guest feedback into an ongoing asset.
Ask for Reviews
The more reviews the better, even if that includes some negative ones. Hotels with lots of reviews look busy and popular. Getting guests to review more often is as simple as asking. Make the request in person, through email or via social channels. Ensure that the process of writing the review is as easy as possible for guests, and avoid being too pushy in your requests. Paying for reviews could be seen as a bribe and should always be avoided.
Appoint a Reviews Manager
Technology can do a lot to automate and streamline how hotels manage reviews. However, even with technology in place, it takes a human hand to stay on top of the conversation. Replying to reviews with a canned response, for instance, will signal a lack of true engagement and probably have a negative overall impact. Someone must read each review and and create an appropriate and considered response, so make sure a staff member is up to the task.
Respond to Positive Reviews
Don’t treat a positive review as a “win” that needs no further action—it’s important to engage with happy guests. Responding to positive reviews shows that the hotel is paying attention and is grateful for the kind words. Plus, as one study showed, when hotels start responding to more reviews, the number of reviews submitted increases by 12% and overall ratings go up. The best way to respond is to identify yourself and offer sincere thanks. Don’t try to offer something in return, and don’t try to leverage goodwill to collect contact information or get loyalty program subscribers.
Respond to Negative Reviews
It should go without saying, but responding to every negative review is essential. So is striking the right tone. First and foremost, never get defensive or combative even if the reviewer is being unreasonable. Hotels should be apologetic while also stressing that the reviewer’s concerns are being heard. Ideally, the response should focus on how targeted improvements are being made to provide a better guest experience.
Track Reviews Across Platforms
TripAdvisor remains the dominant player in the online hospitality space, but there are dozens of other places where people leave reviews. Managing them requires you to track reviews across platforms, including general review sites like Yelp and Google Reviews. Careful tracking ensures that issues and opportunities are not being overlooked. It also allows a hotel to mine insights from their reviews, then leverage them to make improvements. For instance, if multiple people complain about the room service, it’s probably time to revamp the menu.
Learn How Each Platform Works
Most review sites have proprietary algorithms that dictate when and how reviews are displayed. The mechanics of each platform are a little different, meaning what works on one may not work on another. Taking the time to learn the rules and behaviours on a site like Yelp versus a site like TripAdvisor ensures that both platforms display the best reviews first.
Online reviews can work for you or against you. What’s important to remember is they are never beyond your control. A review is just the start of a conversation. Hotels that reply back with a heartfelt thank you or an honest apology demonstrate their commitment to service excellence—the cornerstone of the hospitality industry. Ultimately, it’s not the reviews that make or break you; it’s how you react to them.
RoomKeyPMS helps hotels manage every aspect of operations, improving the guest experience and the reviews that follow. Comprehensive tools for tracking and managing reviews are available as well. If you’re ready to reclaim your online reputation, contact our team to learn how.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Monkey Business Images