Online reviews for hotels are a major force in the hotel selection process. This is triggered mainly by travelers, who love to post their feedbacks across online sources like social media platforms and Meta search engines. Prospective tourists follow these posts and eventually modify their decisions. While some influential posts are regarded as trustworthy information sources, others help travelers form a better picture of the property. In most cases, hoteliers treat negative reviews as a handicap. Instead of nurturing disconsolate notions, hotels must embrace these feedbacks as opportunities for constructive exchanges and drive business through hotel online reputation management.
In conjunction with timely monitoring and respond posting, hospitality providers must improve upon the core reasons behind a poor rating, to reap long term benefits. Contrastingly, hospitality providers doubt the process of monitoring and responding to online reviews. This unavoidable circumstance can be overcome with the help of additional measures. Some large hotel operators engage dedicated teams to monitor and improve online reviews as well as respond directly to guests. Often, these operators have KPIs that determine how quickly and by whom individual properties must respond. Both positive and negative comments are an opportunity to start a conversation and engage guests.
However, external responses to actual comments is generally a part of a smart hotel’s response to web posts. The second part is internal learning wherein further measures can be taken. In order to gauge the need for both types of responses more easily, a review-response cycle needs to be implemented.
Guest expectations are the starting and end points of a cycle, because these individuals enter service situations with certain preconceived expectations. Such opportunities are engendered through previous experiences of specific products, start ratings, brands, marketing communications, word-of-mouth, prices, as well as guest online feedback. Guests book hotels that are expected to meet their needs in a particular trip. Higher their expectations, more the hotel has to offer in order to satisfy a guest.
While analyzing hotels online reviews, the question that crops up is ‘how to do online reputation management?. Below given are points that need to be studied before starting out:
1. These posts must be used wisely as resources to improve business and guest loyalty.
2. Written responses and internal comments help keep a brand ahead of competition.
3. Management must coordinate with responses across departments so that employees can meet guest expectations now as well as in the future.
Through the period of stay or service, guests have a tendency to check whether their experiences are being met, exceeded or failed. Just one negative experience in an otherwise smooth hotel stay could blot the entire memory leaving a poor overall impression. Such an evaluation can be highly subjective and perceptions about how well these services were delivered, is generally based on certain service aspects. While some of these perceptions are individualistic, negative comments can be further broken down into certain large categories namely:
• Physical – poor quality of facilities, missing amenities, and equipment non-functionality
• Service – Delays, missing services, and unprofessionalism
As outlined previously, guest satisfaction is linked to the way an expectation is met in the entire online reputation management service process. Therefore, the very first query revolves around whether the dissatisfaction was a consequence of over expectations due to vague communications.
Deploying brand communication powered by actual experiences, helps to address the root cause of a shortcoming as well as collaborating the same while tending to a negative review. This step in the review-response cycle can eventually help mend a guest’s relationship with the hotel. Subsequently, through honest replies to a negative comment, one can outline the main concerns highlighted by guests. Hence, a reliable solution for time-efficient online reputation management tools would help a hotel crunch statistical data as well as deploy automatic invitation systems. Ultimately, this strategy increases positive guest posts across important portals and help a hotel maintain online presence with minimal interference.