Word-of-mouth advertising remains crucial for the hospitality industry—travelers are four times more likely to pick a hotel with higher online reviews over another with lower scores. Creating an environment that encourages positive reviews from guests can help bolster the loyalty of your current customers while attracting new ones across your online channels.
Let’s take a closer look at how online reviews can help your hotel or casino brand.
Social Proof and Word of Mouth
Past guests’ opinions are an important data point used by potential customers to make their decisions, especially because traveling is considered a high-cost activity by many people. A Cornell University study found that positive reviews on OTA sites allowed hotels to raise prices without reducing demand.
Glowing reviews aren’t solely a marketing and branding endeavor—they’re based on your ability to provide a memorable experience for your guests. Delivering quality customer service should be your major focus in order to encourage positive feedback.
Risks of Bad Reviews
Bad reviews can be equally impactful on your hotel or casino—they can harm your occupancy rates and negate much of your branding efforts. Negative feedback can be difficult to avoid, as people who’ve had notably negative (or positive) experiences are more likely to post reviews than those who had only satisfactory experiences. What’s more, a good review might require everything to go right during your guest’s visit while a negative review may only take a single, frustrating mistake.
However, hotel management can take a proactive approach by responding to reviews in a timely manner. Doing so allows you to improve your online brand reputation and collect useful feedback about a customer’s experience.
Responding to Reviews
Online guest reviews have decreased the amount of control hotels have over their own reputations. You’ll need to respond to feedback across different channels publicly. Answering quickly can be effective—hotels that respond to reviews within a day gained significant increases in their occupancy rates, and that approach is likely to have a similar effect for casinos as well. It’s also important to respond to different reviews, not only bad or good ones, because potential customers may look at a variety of comments.
- For negative reviews: Maintain a positive tone, and clearly state how you’ll address the guest’s issue with your hotel or casino. Issue a simple call-to-action like inviting your guest to return so they can experience the changes you’ll have made.
- For positive reviews: Offer your gratitude, but also ask for any feedback they may have. This helps maintain engagement and keeps a longer, visible conversation going.
The content of your messages will often vary—what you write will depend on your brand’s tone and the specific nature of each review.
Guests won’t necessarily remember or feel compelled to leave a public response during their stay, but there are still ways in which you can encourage guests to create online reviews.
- Reminder notes: Leave friendly cards on nightstands, dinner tables, bars and other areas with consistent traffic to ask guests to share their opinions online.
- Mobile devices: Provide tablets at checkout areas, so that guests can conveniently post reviews.
- Social media: Publish a message on your Facebook, Twitter and other channels to prompt quick feedback.
- Email: Add a request for reviews in your post-stay email surveys, which can be effective as your guests are thinking about their experience while they complete your survey.
Encouraging more reviews ultimately entails two parts: 1) making your guests feel satisfied with your service and 2) providing opportunities for them to leave feedback.
Reviews are a powerful form of free marketing that can lead to more customers—or fewer. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll boost your brand reputation easily.
Looking to get a better response to your surveys? Check out our tips for crafting a customer satisfaction survey that will provide valuable guest information.
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