Reputation is hard to measure. Review sites like TripAdvisor have provided new ways to find out what people are saying and the power of these sites has transformed the way guests choose their accommodations. But even with the ubiquity of these online resources, quantifiable metrics that capture exactly what people think about your hotel can be elusive. Similarly, ADR and RevPAR reveal little about the actual success of your reputation management efforts.
There are, however, ways to qualitatively evaluate your reputation. Reflecting on your management efforts will allow you to create a better strategy for achieving the excellent reputation that your hotel deserves. When measuring your hotel’s reputation, ask yourself the following questions:
What Are the Critics Writing?
It can be hard to remember a time before customer review sites were the go-to source for booking decisions. But as successful hoteliers have pointed out, TripAdvisor doesn’t necessarily provide a thorough indication of the quality of high-end hotels—because most guests only visit a handful of nice hotels in their lifetime and are unfamiliar with industry standards. Also, there’s no pressure for online reviewers to write eloquent or thorough reviews. Be sure to seek out what travel and lifestyle publications have published about your hotel—professional opinions will be more respected by potential guests and the hotel industry at large.
What Do Our TripAdvisor and Yelp Reviews Tell Us?
Online reviews sites have immense influence over where travellers choose to stay. Sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp both have complex algorithms that take into account the quality, recency and quantity of reviews to provide hotels with an overall popularity ranking. These powerful engagement tools can greatly impact your business, as these rankings directly affect your bottom line. In fact, research has shown that a 1% increase in your hotel’s reputation on TripAdvisor typically results in a 1.42% increase in revenue.
When assessing the feedback found in individual comments, remember that not all reviews should be taken as equal. As mentioned, many online reviewers won’t offer the most informed or insightful reviews. Some reviewers might even be scathing competitors in disguise. Instead, look for patterns and common guest pain points so that you can identify and prioritize areas where your hotel can improve the guest experience.
How Are We Responding to Reviews?
The way you respond to reviews demonstrates to the online world your hotel’s true spirit of hospitality. Decide how to respond to different scenarios, and critically evaluate the promptness, thoughtfulness, tone and follow-up actions promised in your replies. Consider using sentiment analysis technology to gain deeper insights into guests’ true feelings about your property based on their online reviews. If you’re taking guests’ feedback into account and making operational changes accordingly, let them know—and don’t make any promises you don’t plan on keeping. Finally, the choice of who responds to guests should not be taken lightly. A sincere note from the General Manager goes a lot further than a response from a social media coordinator.
Are We Being Recommended as an Alternative?
Check out the reviews of comparable hotels in your city and see if your hotel appears in any of the comments. One of the greatest indicators of a strong reputation is if people are recommending your hotel over your competitors.
You should also take note of who you’re being compared to. OTAs often group similar hotels by price, size and review ranking. Pay attention to sites that recommend “Similar Properties” to users making a booking. Is your hotel grouped with properties that offer the same services and amenities?
Are Our Staff Members Ambassadors of Our Brand?
Do your employees love your hotel? Are they likely to rave about it when they speak with their family and friends? Many of your guests will experience your hotel for less than 24 hours, but some of your staff might have been observing your hotel for decades. Take a survey among your employees and find out what they’re saying. Are they enhancing the hotel’s reputation in your city? If not, it could be time to recruit enthusiastic ambassadors who can genuinely recommend a stay at your property.
Critically examining your hotel’s online and offline reputation takes time and research, but it’s a worthwhile pursuit. Asking these questions will give you a strong idea of your how your current reputation management efforts are working, and will guide your future efforts to ensure that your hotel’s reputation is consistently outstanding.
Having a good reputation is essential to running a profitable hotel. Learn more about the power of online reviews and how to encourage positive guest feedback.
Photo: Shutterstock / Dragana Gordic