How important is reputation management in the hospitality industry? According to one recent survey, very: more than three quarters of travellers read online reviews before booking a hotel. In fact, only 22% book without reading reviews. Another survey showed that 84% of travellers consider online reviews as credible as recommendations—or warnings—from friends. Which all goes to show that today’s hotels need to manage their online reputation carefully if they want it to be an asset instead of a liability.
Reputation management software is designed to make that effort easy. It gives hotels a broad view of their online reputation, directing them to wherever guests are talking about them online. It also offers hotels tools to engage with guests to capitalize on a positive review or make amends for a negative experience. Considering how many travel review and social media sites exist online, it’s hard for hotels to own their reputation—at least without reputation management software. Use these strategies to get the most from this essential tech solution.
Use an Integrated System
There are dozens of tools for tracking your online reputation, from Google Alerts to Social Mention. While you could leverage a variety of tools individually and assess the resulting data, the better approach is to rely on a platform that integrates as many different channels as possible. Reputation management is complicated, fast-paced and high-stakes. Trying to rely on a grab bag of tools from different providers doesn’t make things any easier. Gather all your data streams in one place.
Make One Person Responsible
Reputation management software does a lot of the heavy lifting, but you still need someone to be responsible for tracking and managing your online reputation. Instead of giving the responsibility to the marketing department, appoint one individual. Give this person the time and resources to fit in reputation management along with their other duties. Making this a “job” instead of a “goal” ensures that your online presence does not get neglected even when other priorities crop up.
Apply a Human Touch
Reputation management software can show you when and where to reach out. After that, it’s up to you to engage with guests in whatever way is most appropriate. Technology will never be able to offer a heartfelt apology or a genuine expression of gratitude—only hospitality professionals with a deep understanding of service can. Best practices dictate that you respond to every review. If the review is positive, thank the guest and invite them to stay again. If the review is negative, apologize sincerely and outline how the hotel is taking steps to improve. Even if you can’t fix the damage, you can show that you care and are committed to constant improvements.
Think Bigger Than Reviews
Online reputation management is as much about how you look as how you act. Responding to reviews is important; equally important is developing and preserving your brand image online. Reputation management software can help with the details, but your marketing department needs to be involved as well—your brand should be clearly presented on your official website, your social media profiles and on OTA sites. Branding needs to be impeccably consistent across channels—today’s customer is a discerning one. Hotels have limited control over the reviews that guests leave, but complete control over how they present their brand online. Be proactive about cultivating your own reputation.
Reputation management software is just part of the equation. After all, a hotel’s online reputation is a reflection of the guest experience. If hotels want to truly take control of their reputation, they need to refine every aspect of the guest experience starting before booking and continuing long after. With this proactive approach, reputation management is one component of seamless property management.
RoomKeyPMS puts you in control of your hotel and its reputation. Master your efforts both online and in-person, then watch the impact on your bottom line. To learn how our reputation management software fits into our broader property management solution, contact our team.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Georgejmclittle