21 Jan 5 best practices to manage online feedback about your hotel
Let’s analyze what happened in 2010 by looking at some of the online comments that users posted about hotels. It is clear that it was something that hotel owners hardly paid attention to and as the data shows, only 4 % of hotels bothered to respond to comments. Nor did hotels use social networks as a customer service communication channel to provide extra information and build trust amongst users. Also, no studies were conducted to determine the significance and relevance of these elements.
The first studies show how online comments and reviews about hotels are becoming increasingly important, and how they build trust among users. TripAdvisor, Forrester and other travel sites have conducted studies to analyze this situation and show that today more than 25% of hotels make sure to respond to comments posted about their establishment.
In 2012, a new study, this time by “Cornell Center for Hospitality Research” shows that hotels with better reviews and interaction with users can set higher prices, bringing an increase in revenue. This demonstrates that clients prefer to pay more for a hotel with good reviews and active interaction with the staff than opt for cheap hotels with bad reviews or an absence of online activity.
Today, the discussion focuses on what techniques are best to respond to comments posted by users. Below we offer five best practices:
1. CORRECTLY DETERMINE THE DATA
The importance of online comments and ratings is often not considered because its impact on the hotel’s revenue is not taken into account. It is important to establish an efficient measurement system that analyzes the largest amount of data to optimize the results. Since 2012, these measurement systems have become so successful and hotels have improved their online reputation to such a degree that their revenues increased by almost 10 %.
2. CONSIDER IT AN ENGINE FOR GROWTH
A lot of hotels use a part of their budget to improve their online reputation. Once we understand that a better online image of the hotel can lead to increased revenues, we should adapt our budget and management accordingly. The permanent improvement of our online reputation deserves its own dedicated budget and staff.
3. GET THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THE JOB
One thing hotels have not yet understood is the importance of online community managers, the person responsible for managing their social profiles and their online reputation in general. There are a lot of cases in which serious errors were committed by online community managers that harmed the corporate image and were difficult to rectify. That’s why hotels should carefully choose the person who is going to be in charge of online communication with users and manage the hotel’s online reputation.
4. USE THE SOCIAL NETWORKS TO HEAR WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT THE HOTEL
Not only should you pay attention to the comments and how you answer on the hotel web site, but you also have to monitor what users publish on social networks. There are a lot of tools that allow you to run search and warning systems to detect these comments.
It is important to detect these comments quickly because the strong viral ability of social networks can turn a customer’s minor comment into an uncontrollable nightmare that can seriously damage the hotel’s online reputation. Thanks to these strategies, minor complaints can be quickly detected, resolved and turned into a positive rating.
A common practice in hotels that organize big events is to follow the hashtag of the event for comments and respond quickly.
5. SURPRISE YOUR VISITORS
Social networks are very useful as a customer service channel, but also allow the hotel to establish a close and trusting relationship with its clients. To encourage loyalty, hotels use social networks to surprise users by offering them a special little something. A photo taken during the guest’s stay at the hotel or a little reward sent through Twitter or Facebook are generally appreciated by customers, and will often be shared with the rest of his contacts and followed by a good rating.