Sometimes we in the hospitality industry rely on the comments that we receive from the guest. It is also interesting to see that only those departments that interact with guest are mentioned. Yet those other departments that support the people departments are rarely mentioned. I bring this up because every person that works for a hospitality business should be aware of the importance of the hotel's reputation. When the traveling public decides to take a vacation, or a short trip, where do they look first? The internet no less, and your property should be there in all of its glory. Well, is it?
If you are a hotel operator then will your reputation be everything? How are your reviews on your site? Negative, or positive? Are your sites up to par? Who is handling them? A negative review can mean the difference between a booking for your property or a dismissal of the site. Your choice? Today when a customer complains, the world hears about it, the night clerk in Zimbabwe will know about it. You don't want to be the news at 6pm do you?
Some things that might help
Become active on social sites, there are millions of users around the globe if not billions. These users navigate the major social networks, and you should not ignore them. To do so is just plain asking for the sign that reads "Closed for lack of business" Being active on your page engages your customers and answers reviews both good and bad. Customers need to be able to find you with ease and if a response is required, given on a timely basis.
Focus on your content
If customers are going to search for your hotel, whether it be on Google, Bing, or a host of other sites, what will they find? Will your site be easy to navigate? Will it be up to date? Will it be of a professional quality? Perhaps most of all, where will it be positioned? How many pages will the customer flip before finding you? If you don't have anyone on site to do this for you there are companies that will provide this service for you. It is well worth the investment to look in to it. I apologize for not mentioning them, my contractual agreement prohibits recommending one over another.
By using your internet reviews, and or comment cards you can increase your business. Ask your customers for a review, good or bad and respond to them in a timely manner. There is nothing worse than ignoring a comment and pretending that it will go away. If you property does not have a social network concierge, train one. Do not ignore your customers. The travel business is very competitive so you don't have a lot of leeway. The last thing you need is a bad review on your site that could possibly dissuade the customer from booking your property.
I have written articles in the past concerning the reputation of our industry, but it is necessary to refresh the idea from time to time, for changes occur almost on a daily basis.
About the Author
Alan Campbell has been in Las Vegas for over 30 years and has worked for the major strip hotels. He has spent some time in California, Los Angeles where he worked for the Radisson and Sheraton hotels. Alan considers the hospitality industry the best job in the world - it is the only place that both king's and Paupers will visit you.