News of bad customer service reaches twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.
~White House Office of Consumer Affairs
We do not need anyone to tell us just how competitive the hotel industry is. We are probably all too aware of that fact. Of course, the exact nature of the competition you face depends on factors such as your location and the markets you are in. But given the current scenario, a single poor review can have a damaging effect on your business.
A recent TripAdvisor survey also emphasized this:
- 65% of respondents are more likely to book hotels that win awards from TripAdvisor.
- More than half of respondents (53%) will not book a hotel that does not have reviews.
- 1 in 5 (20%) travelers read over 11 reviews before making a travelling decision.
How it all started?
The hotel industry as we know it today really got its start at the beginning of the 15th century when the French law required that hotel managers keep a register. English law quickly followed suit, and more than 500 inns began to crop up in the two countries.
The true transformation of the hotel industry began during the Industrial Revolution. More hotels came up everywhere and the competition among hoteliers, to win customers, grew ever more. Hotels began to advertise their services with signage, and began to appear detailing their cleanliness and cuisine more.
With the passage of time, just a simple ‘thank you’ and ‘welcome’ was not enough for the customers. They wanted more and this search for excellency is what drove customer to share their experiences and opinions.
Reviews usually were in the form of a magazine article, a critic’s opinion or just plain word-of-mouth. But with the advent of internet and sites like TripAdvisor, sharing experiences and opinions in the form of user reviews became popular. Now, users can easily write a review or refer reviews by other past guests about the hotel during their decision making process.
This change in consumer behaviour rapidly shifted the focus of hoteliers towards newly emerging review sites, social media, and search engine results. Today, the importance of maintaining the reputation of your hotel online is more than ever.
What is reputation management?
Reputation management comprises 3 stages:
- Building: forming or developing a good reputation for a new hotel.
- Maintenance: keeping the positive and already established image of existing hotel to be superior in the public eye.
- Recovery: amending the hotel’s reputation when it goes bad through self-promotion and marketing in order to reverse the negative and achieve a good reputation.
As a hotelier, it is precious to obtain positive feedback from satisfied guests who share their experiences with a hotel. On the other hand, there should be an attempt to diminish negative reviews and instead use them for improving the quality of the hotel in question.
However, the main challenge for hoteliers is tracking all the negative reviews updated by users online and answering their queries one by one. It is one thing to engage actively in the promotion of a hotel’s reputation once in awhile and another to constantly monitor recent developments while keep interacting with the guests.
It is easy to get sucked into the operational vortex of the hotel’s day to day affairs while your hotel’s online reviews get neglected. Good reputation management can open new revenue channels for your hotels.
The impact of guest reviews on your hotel’s reputation
According to a study by Go Fish Digital, reviews given online have a significant impact on the consumers’ buying decisions. The study states that-
- 67.7% of consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by the reviews that they read online.
- About 54.7% of the surveyed audience also admitted that online reviews are an important part of their decision-making process.
- Businesses run the risk of losing as many as 22% of customers, even if a single negative article is found by users who are considering making a purchase. In the same way, if three negative articles pop up in a search query, the potential for lost customers increases to 59.2%. If the negative reviews are more, a hotel will likely lose 70% of potential customers.
In today’s online market, every company is in search for a unique, organic, and interesting content that will position the company’s web site on the top of Google search. Hotels can take advantage of guest reviews and use them in their marketing mix.
Good reviews not only push up hotel’s rankings and visibility. Increased visibility means more exposure to business and better reputation that pushes up both bookings and revenue.
Instead of spending hours monitoring social media comments, advertising campaigns, blog comments and mentions across the internet, a smart move would be work with reputation management companies that automate listening and monitoring for you so that you can act quickly.
At Repup, we make managing a hotel’s online reputation more efficient and effective. Proactive steps in building up your hotel’s reputation is an activity that heavily pays off in the long run.