Your hotel’s online reputation is incredibly important. As recently as a few years ago, you could still rely on travel agents, books, and magazines to talk up your property to potential guests. Now, though, people use the Internet to find out everything. When they are booking their vacations, they’re using Google to figure out where they want to stay. This is why you need to do everything you can to make sure that your reputation is amazing (in a good way, of course).
Here are five ways to do that.
1. Monitor Your Reputation Very Closely
You need to do more than set up a Google alert for your property’s name. Monitoring your reputation means tracking reviews not just in Google but in the other major review sites like Yelp as well as through social media portals. It’s a full-time job—one you might not have the time or budget to do yourself.
This is where companies like Reputation.com and other reputation monitoring companies can really save you. They track your online reputation for you and let you know when something requires your attention.
2. Good Guest Service
You already know that the people staying in your hotel are supposed to be treated just as well as they would be if they were valued guests in your home. They require personalized service and care on every level. Make sure that you and your staff know how to give your guests what they want and need and, if you aren’t able to do it yourself, can get them what they want and need. The first and most important step in getting people to talk you up is to make sure they love you. Good guest service is how you accomplish that.
3. Negative Feedback Matters Just as Much as Positive Feedback
One could argue that negative feedback is even better than positive feedback in that it gives you the opportunity to step up and work to change the feedback giver’s mind.
No matter what the complaint, take it seriously. Follow up with the person who has said the negative things and let them know that you’re looking into improving. Ask them, politely and genuinely, for their input as to how you could improve. If their suggestions are things you can do and would make sense on a company scale, do them!
Another good thing to do is thank the person publicly for helping you become a better hotel (this is where social media is important).
4. Respond Quickly
Your customers want to feel like they have a personal connection to you and that they matter. This is why you don’t want to let comments sit and stagnate. This is where reputation management comes into play. Make sure that you acknowledge the commenter’s input within, at most, 24 hours of receiving it. By responding immediately, you prove to your guests (past, current, and future) that you value them and what they have to say. This simple step could spell the difference between booking a guest and having them choose a competitor.
5. Personal Connections Matter
Anybody can set up an automatic response for their email or even for their social media accounts. Taking the time to respond to someone’s questions or comments personally goes a long way toward building your reputation. By calling someone who has emailed in a question, comment, or complaint, you put a human face (or voice) on to your business. This reinforces to your guests that you see them as individual people, not just as numbers in a ledger. You can bet that when they write up their reviews of your hotel, they’ll mention that personal touch.
If you play your cards right, your reputation will rate all of those stars!
These are just five things that you can do to ensure that your hotel has the best reputation possible. If you’re still not sure of what to do, ask yourself this: How do I want to be treated? Take your answer to that question and apply it to your business and your reputation will soar.
About the author
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon, who writes about a variety of topics.