Travelers share everything online these days, both good and bad. They’ll tweet about a positive customer service experience at their favorite hotel just as quickly as they’ll share photos on TripAdvisor of cringe-worthy hotel maintenance issues. Within minutes, the posts can be seen by thousands of people, some of whom may be potential customers researching their next trip. Bad word of mouth can quickly impact a hotel’s bottom line if the property has no plan in place to respond to complaints or fix the issue at hand.
88% of TripAdvisor users say reviews have an impact on their accommodation choices, while 96% of hospitality brands worldwide agree that reviews are influential in generating bookings. Social media and online review sites have given consumers a powerful platform that should no longer be looked at solely as promotional tools. Instead, these sites are influential customer communication channels and a critical part of any savvy hotelier’s revenue strategy.
The Consequences of Not Managing Online Reviews
As online reviews have moved customer service into the public eye, travelers’ expectations have risen as well, and they expect assistance from hotels faster than ever. What’s at stake? Not answering a comment (especially if it’s a complaint) on social media has proven to decrease customer advocacy by 50%.
On the flip side, hotels and properties that respond to reviews enjoy 17% higher levels of engagement and are 21% more likely to receive a booking inquiry than those who don’t respond to reviews. The bottom line – the more engaged the business owner, particularly when it comes to responding to online reviews – the more interested the consumer will be in your business.
3 Tips for Managing Online Reviews
Monitoring your online presence does take effort, but it shouldn’t feel overwhelming. Here are the top three tips that you can start using today:
TIP 1: Respond quickly
By monitoring and responding to your social media and online accounts as fast as possible, you show guests that you take customer service seriously. Particularly for negative reviews, a quick response can help solve a problem before it goes viral and provides damage control for your business.
TIP 2: Maintain your brand voice
Whether your property is part of a large chain, management company portfolio, or an independent, you likely have a brand voice that aligns with the guest experience you offer. The communication style you apply to your website and in-person interactions with guests should also be evident in your online response. Make it cohesive and authentic to your brand but personal enough that it sounds like it’s coming from a real person.
TIP 3: Say “Thank you”
These two words go a long way in showing gratitude and humility towards your customer, conveying that you value their feedback, regardless of sentiment.
For much more, download The Hotelier’s Guide to Managing Online Reviews, our mini-toolkit packed with tips for managing your public pages as well as templates for responding to customer feedback.