In the hospitality industry, few things are more valuable than a rave review. With so many hotels to choose from, your potential visitors are turning to online guest reviews as a resource for selecting the hub of their next getaway.Yelp processes 26,000 new reviews per minute, and customers pay more attention to them than ever before. In one survey, 77% of travelers usually or always reference TripAdvisor reviews before selecting a hotel. All eyes are on you, and the way you manage these reviews could make all the difference between gaining a loyal guest and losing potential business.
How do you show you care? Here are three ways to kick-start your online guest review management.
Be Present and Consistent
Just by replying to reviews, you’re outshining much of the competition. Guests are looking to share their experiences but they don’t always expect you to be there when they do. In fact only 47% of people complaining in public expect a response. By jumping in and showing them you’re listening, you’re taking that extra step with proactive service and furthering the relationship. 62 percent of respondents to one survey agree that seeing hotel management responses to reviews generally makes them more likely to book.
- Find your guests online. Before you lend an ear, you have to find the commentary. Scour every review site and make it part of your daily routine to meet your guests online. If you aren’t looking for these opportunities to continue the conversation, you’ll miss out on the chance to listen and take action. Only 5% of unhappy customers complain in online platforms, so make that 5% count.
- Respond every time. If you pick and choose which reviews you’re responding to, you might as well not show up at all. Show every single guest they matter to you by responding to all reviews, good and bad. Answering one customer complaint increases customer advocacy by as much as 25%, so imagine the possibilities when you answer every single one.
There’s nothing more disappointing than writing a review and receiving a canned response. Copy and paste is not your friend when it comes to review management. Be human and respond with empathy. If someone had a terrible time at your hotel, don’t be afraid to say you’re sorry. Think of the person behind the review and view them as a reasonable, rational human being that just wants to be heard.
- Personalize. Have you ever received an email that screams copy and paste with your name thrown in a few times? Nothing shows apathy more than a generic response. Show your guests you truly took the time to read their every word and step into their shoes. The extra minute or two that it takes to make your responses personal will make all the difference. Mention specific details that they’ve touched on and acknowledge the points that they’ve made.
- Apologize. It can be tempting to avoid an apology for fear of admitting fault but dancing around a guest’s frustration with their experience will only fuel the fire. Showing you care about their feelings and apologizing for what they experienced only emits empathy and understanding, which can go a long way when they consider your hotel in the future. In one study, 87% of respondents agreed that an appropriate management response to a bad review improves their impression of the hotel. The downside: 70% indicated that an aggressive/defensive management response would make them less likely to book there. Is the apology sounding appealing yet?
See the Value in Feedback
One of the most common mistakes in review management is completely missing the value in negative reviews. It can be easy to cower from complaints but the truth is, negative reviews are an opportunity. They’re a chance to see what people are missing from the experience you’re providing so you can take action on-property and avoid repeat frustration in the future.
- Recognize the opportunity to improve. If an unhappy guest leaves your hotel and never gives you feedback, there’s no chance for you to turn the situation around. Rather than being disappointed in a negative review, see the value in it and recognize the chance it provides you to improve, not only for this one guest but for future guests as well.
- Take action. Since you have this gold mine resource of feedback in the form of online reviews, use it! Don’t take it for granted but instead notice trends and activate improvements on-property to improve the experience you’re creating and show guests that their feedback is not only being heard, but being used.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to listen, respond, and take action. Take this week to start finding your guests online and you’ll be on your way to review management success in no time!
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