The travel and tourism industry relies on online guest reviews to encourage new visitors to book a reservation.
With 81% of people always reading reviews before booking a hotel, it is crucial to invest in a reputation management strategy. Here's how to get more quality guest reviews to increase bookings and reservations.
That means the quality and quantity of guest reviews for your hotel or resort matter.
That’s why establishing an online reputation management (ORM) strategy is so important for this field. An industry that is dependent on the human experience needs to be showcased in the best light possible.
Keep on reading to fully understand how ORM can streamline the process of asking guests (and only those who had a positive experience) to share their feedback on popular travel review sites such as Expedia, Hotel.com, and Google.
Why Online Reputation Matters for Hotels
Managing your hotel or resort’s reputation online is like taking control of a conversation.
You can't make things disappear – when it comes to certain details on the internet, they last forever. But, you can do your best to hide that and focus the spotlight on the positive.
Especially in regards to travel and hospitality, everybody is making their booking decisions online.
Hotels are flooded with reviews every single day. Maximizing positive guest experiences as a hospitality organization is key in making other travelers feel more comfortable booking their stay with you.
When you purchase a product, you can return it–but you can’t “return” a negative experience.
How online reviews impact hiring
Engaging in ORM not only promotes future guests but also aids or hinders future hiring. It’s one of the best ways to showcase the internal operations of a hotel.
If guests are saying that they had a terrible stay given the staff interaction, then that will reflect poorly not only on a review page but on employee-centric websites like Glassdoor.
Someone who's looking for a job in hospitality and sees that will likely run for the hills. Employees will not want to work at a hotel/motel where staff is not treated well.
Learn more about online reputation management in this brief video.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Because traveling involves the actual human experience, versus just a product, negative reviews travel fast. Tales of bedbug infestations or poor staff interactions spread like wildfire. Being on top of your ORM strategy is essential.
How to Get More Reviews for Your Hotel or Resort with ORM
The process of getting more ratings is to start with a guest satisfaction survey.
Travelers who rate their experience are navigated to an online review website of the hotel's choosing.
Doing so allows your marketing or leadership team to rectify any wrongdoing in a non-public forum.
Here is a flow chart to describe the reputation management process in more detail.
How Often Should I Ask for Guest Reviews?
While how often you ask for reviews ranges by business type and how frequently you have customers, it's safe to assume you have guests checking out every day.
In that case, it's best to ask for feedback more frequently. This could be 24 hours after a guest checks out, or a weekly round of emails with a survey link, inviting recent visitors to share more about their experiences.
Doing so helps increase more recent online ratings. This is important because 83% of customers say reviews must be relevant and recent to be trustworthy.
💡 The Key Takeaway: Hotels and resorts regularly have new visitors coming and leaving each day. The best time to ask for feedback is soon after they've checked out from their room to assure their experience is fresh in their minds.
Factoring in Post-Pandemic Protocols
Before the pandemic, it was understood that where you were going to stay was going somewhere that felt clean and nice.
Think of it as a low bar that everyone assumed hotels hit. Now, people are looking to see if COVID protocols are being followed. A lot of reviewers are focusing on what was done to combat the virus, like if certain public areas in the hotel or motel are open.
If anything, the pandemic has increased the need for cleanliness to be top of mind when hospitality organizations consider running online reputation management.
💡 The Key Takeaway: We can all agree the cleanliness of an establishment is important when choosing your vacation getaway. Now more than ever, guests are prioritizing just how clean a lodging space is.
Mistakes to Avoid
With ORM, there are different ends of the spectrum that should be avoided.
Take into account the following factors:
- Priotizing positive reviews
- Ensuring reviews look and sound authentic
The core foundation of ORM is to feature positive reviews and outweigh negative ones.
However, you should also avoid flooding the internet with five-star, glowing reviews. Seeing reviews like “Great place!” and “Wonderful stay!” over and over again begins to look a little suspect. Making sure the reviews shown read authentically will make your organization seem legitimate.
You want future guests to see something that's real and credible, which is one of the main reasons why online reputation management is important. Make sure the reviews you're showcasing are going to actually offer something–not just a superficial statement.
We’ll tell you why it’s so important to use customer satisfaction surveys for the ORM process. When you ask customers what they like and dislike about your business–they’ll tell you!
From there, you can make adjustments to your practices–fixing what has a high rate of customer dissatisfaction. That way, when it comes time to direct customers to leave a review, you’ll have a much higher chance of receiving positive feedback.
💡 The Key Takeaway: When it comes to running online reputation management, prioritize reviews that appear authentic. Future guests may look at a group of generic five-star reviews and sense a scam.
Drive Research is a market research company based in New York that specializes in the travel and tourism industry. Our team of research pros has the knowledge and industry experience to conduct a reliable ORM project or other hotel and hospitality market research options.
Want to know more about our market research services? Talk to us through any of the ways below.
- Message us on our website
- Email us at [email protected]
- Call us at 888-725-DATA
- Text us at 315-303-2040
Devan's love for learning serves him well as a market research professional. With two years of both quantitative and qualitative research in the healthcare space under his belt, he knows what it takes to answer some of the toughest market research questions.
Learn more about Devan, here.