5 Easy and Essential Steps to Manage Your Hotel’s Online Reputation

March 27th, 2018 Kent Howard Hospitality Trends

The world’s a critic as the saying goes, and today all the world’s critics are online and many are commenting, critiquing, liking, sharing and recommending your hotel on TripAdvisor, right now! Hotels today can live or die by a star rating or an online review, and this means controlling your online reputation is a top priority.

What is Hotel Reputation Management?

Hotel reputation management is the practice of monitoring and influencing how your property is perceived throughout the internet. While that seems like an easy to understand description, there is much more to it. According to Forbes, in our modern world where most people are searching for everything on the internet, one should invest in how they manage their online trail. While it takes a great amount of time, effort and money to establish and grow your business, the long-term reward of reaching new customers simply outweighs all the challenges. Understanding reputation management will give you insight on how it can affect your placement in Google rankings and more.

Setting Your Goals

With 93% of the people using online reviews when determining which hotel they want to stay at and 53% of the people surveyed said they would not book a hotel that didn’t have online reviews, these key components of an effective online reputation management program recommended by REKnown just may be worth considering:

Set Objectives. Establish clear reputation objectives related to ratings, rankings and overall reputation score and a timeline for achieving them. Articulate a clear vision of what you want guests to say about your hotel after they leave, and identify the role employees play in shaping perceptions. Identify Strategies. Outline the activities you will undertake to achieve reputation objectives. Instill the importance of reputation in staff and provide them with the knowledge, guidelines, training and empowerment they need to achieve objectives.

Monitor. Set up alerts, notifications and reputation management tools like track mentions on review sites and social networking sites, including reviews, photos, videos and comments. Analyze. Mine reviews for insight into the needs and preferences of guests and key market segments, and use the data to identify patterns, competitive strengths and areas that require attention. Take Action. Share feedback with staff and use it as a constructive learning tool. Fix problems, using guest feedback to prioritize investments in staff training, services, amenities and capital upgrades.

Respond. Respond promptly to feedback when your hotel has something meaningful to add to the conversation, whether to apologize, clarify information or simply thank the guest. Measure Performance. Track progress toward achieving reputation objectives over time, and benchmark performance against competitors and hotels within your group and region. Recognize and Reward. Motivate staff to achieve objectives by keeping them informed of progress and recognizing and rewarding their achievements.

The competitive environment of the hospitality industry is intense and it will continue, online reputation directly affects bookings, revenue and can create a competitive advantage. Disregarding negative comments and reviews that appear on page one of Google will cost much more in lost revenue than putting sufficient resources into effective hotel reputation management. The key to success is being proactive, and utilizing hotel technologies like a modern Cloud PMS that is integrated to a hotel marketing platform like Guestfolio with a tool like TripAdvisor built in. A good plan combined with technology will help you win this battle.