Thursday, July 19, 2018

Improving Hotel Guest Satisfaction And Reviews - Part 4

Request All Guests Leave A Review

As we have seen, past guests leaving online reviews regarding their hotel stays is really a positive thing for hoteliers, not a negative. Even if the review was less than complimentary, as long as the hotel responds positively. TripAdvisor for example prioritizes hotel reviews by how recently they were posted. If a hotel does everything else needed in order to garner highly favorable reviews, then it will not be long before they climb higher in the rankings for their location.

It is therefore in the interest of all hotels to have as many guests as possible to leave online reviews. Hotels should actively encourage this by asking for a review at checkout time. An email reminder and information can immediately follow this approach on their receipt. Gathering online reviews for any hotel property is essential since consumers trust the information provided by their peers over anything a brand can offer on a website.

Use Reviews As A Tool For Managing Guest Satisfaction

Online hotel reviews can provide hoteliers with valuable insight regarding valid issues requiring attention or improvement. In the process of monitoring the hotel’s reviews, look for patterns and certain specific issues that may be mentioned repeatedly. After making any necessary changes or improvements, be sure to inform the reviewers of the hotel’s affirmative response to their concerns.

Online reviews written by past guests afford hotels an opportunity to keep abreast of what customers really are thinking and feeling, both positive and negative, after their stay. This information can be of great help in making decisions regarding all aspects of hotel operations or the physical property itself. When guests read these positive responses, they will gain an impression of the amount of value they have as customers to the hotel.

Consider An Online Reputation Manager Tool

Technology offers a number of online reputation management tools, many of which will seamlessly integrate with cloud-based property management systems. Such automated tools make the task of requesting, tracking, and responding to online reviews much simpler. Doing so will naturally increase the number of online reviews the hotel receives from its guests, in turn raising the hotel’s standing on sites such as TripAdvisor.

Another marketing possibility for transforming guest satisfaction and reviews into increased bookings is to share the best reviews received across the hotel’s social media platforms. This is a great way to favorably highlight the property and drive social engagement with the hotel.

Effectively managing the reputation of a hotel is vital to its success and profitability. Much hard work is needed in order to build a reputation of excellence for any hotel.  But in today’s reality of online hotel reviews, it can only take a few unsatisfied guests to ruin the hotel’s prestige. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Improving Hotel Guest Satisfaction And Reviews - Part 3

No matter how hard hoteliers strive to provide their guests the best possible experience, negative online reviews are going to happen, even to the finest of hotels. Some customers simply cannot be pleased on any level. They might be having a bad day or suffering through a personal crisis. Or they might also have a legitimate complaint and the reason does not matter. What does matter is how a hotel responds to a less than complimentary review. This can determine how detrimental, or not, the guest’s remarks will be to the hotel property’s revenues.

Turn A Negative Into A Positive

Responding in a timely manner to a guest’s negative comments in a review is key in order to minimize their impact. Potential future guests are reading reviews, both good and bad, every day and will be watching for the response from hotel. The faster hoteliers own up and respond to any negative experiences, whether real or perceived, the quicker the negative review becomes inconsequential for the hotel. The negative review can become a means to highlight to readers the hotel’s customer service standards and responsiveness.

Always maintain a polite and professional manner when responding to any negative review. Thank the reviewer for their feedback and never disregard their issues, no matter how unfair the comments may be to the hotel. It is acceptable to politely disagree with the reviewer, but never dismiss them out of hand. Instead, graciously accept the comments and opinions, while offering apologies for any inconvenience the guest suffered. Explain how the hotel can and will do better going forward.

Never at any time in crafting the hotel’s response to the review should the reply seem either defensive or aggressive toward the reviewer in any way. Remember a wide audience of potential guests is scrutinizing the response by the hotel and attacking past guests will only drive away bookings in the future. A simple apology is all many people are ultimately looking for in the end. Offer the guest a resolution to their issue wherever possible, this will establish and build up trust with the hotel’s audience. Negative online hotel reviews can be transformed into powerfully positive marketing opportunities, if handled professionally.

In part four we will take a look at a few more methods that will improve hotel guest satisfaction levels and the online reviews that follow a guest’s stay.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Improving Hotel Guest Satisfaction And Reviews - Part 2

With all the online hotel choices confronting consumers, it is only natural that they would turn to their peers for experiential information about hotels they may be considering booking. Online reviews and ratings are transforming the everyday operations of hotels worldwide and can no longer be ignored by even the smallest of hotels. This reality mandates hoteliers adopt new strategies for effectively marketing and managing hotels through the world of online reviews by past guests. These measures will help improve guest satisfaction and ensure it is maintained at the highest levels possible.

Guest Satisfaction Begins Before Check-In

Hotel guests should have a smooth, trouble-free booking and hotel website experience across any type of device they use, most importantly mobile. The site needs to be fast and responsive, while featuring eye-catching appeal and offering content of value to all users. Social validation in the form of positive reviews from past guests should be readily apparent and prominently displayed for all users to see. On travel review sites such as TripAdvisor, make sure the hotel property’s profile is always up to date and that images of high quality always reflect the current state of the hotel. First impressions are crucial for establishing a connection between the hotel brand and a future guest, impacting in turn their experience upon arrival on property.

Highly Rated Reviews Follow High Quality Service

Not every hotel guest read reviews before they clicked the booking button or writes them after each stay. A guest may have booked the hotel with price or locale being the only criteria for example. But excellent service, which exceeds their expectations, may just compel them to write their first ever review. At every face-to-face interaction make the most of the opportunity by being proactive and asking guests if there is anything with which they need assistance.

Keep the hotel staff completely focused at all times on one goal, to provide guests an outstanding hotel experience from beginning to end and beyond. Even the smallest of personalized details will be long remembered by the guest and reflect well on the hotel property. Staff training regarding customer service should be ongoing and part of the culture of the business. Hotel staff that always provides an excellent level of customer service should be acknowledged and rewarded accordingly.

Of course, the reverse is true regarding expectations, which remain unmet upon check-out time. Unsatisfied guests are usually the most likely to passionately write a scathing review in order to vent their frustrations. The key is to maintain a consistent level of service excellence with an understanding that there will always be some guests who just can’t be pleased.

In part three, we will see how to turn those unsatisfactory online reviews into a positive for the hotel property.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Hospitality News For The Week Of 7/13/18

Occupancy hits 30-year high in U.S.

According to the second quarter National Hospitality Report published by Marcus & Millichap, the occupancy rate for the U.S. hotel industry has reached its highest point in nearly thirty years. During the first quarter industry-wide occupancy rose to 61.1 percent, bringing the annual occupancy rate to 66.1 percent for the past twelve months. During the past twelve months, average daily rate was 2.1 percent higher at $127.36 and revenue per available room rose higher by 2.9 percent to $84.17. Full Story Here:

Six Tech and Traveler Trends of 2018: What Travelers Are Looking for From Booking to Stay

MicroMetrics recently published a report uncovering customer expectations called The Strategic Guide To New Tech & Traveler Trends. Six key travel trends for 2018 were identified in the report including the accommodation decision-making process. The report highlights the importance of customer research via mobile, primacy of experience for leisure travelers and just how crucial for travel brands to provide simplicity in the booking process. 95 percent of all travelers trust the opinions of other travelers, whether in online reviews or people they meet in person, more than published information. Full Story Here:

Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index drops 4% in June

Despite positive performance metrics from the hospitality industry, the Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index is down 0.5 percent for the first half of 2018 after falling 4.0 percent in June to a level of 4,863. The decline is accredited to macro-economic forces influencing investors, including the strong U.S. dollar and lower interest rates. According to STR, the busy summer travel season should bolster growth from the already peak performance levels. Full StoryHere:

US Hotel Occupancy Down 3.1 Percent To 63.5 Percent - Week Ending July 7th - 2018

The U.S. hotel industry reported mixed performance results for the week of 1-7 July 2018 compared to the same period last year, according published data from STR. In year-over-year measurement, industry-wide occupancy dropped down by -3.1 percent to 63.5 percent. Average daily rate was +1.1 percent higher at $123.59 for the week. Revenue per available room was lower by -2.0 percent, finishing the week at $78.47. Full Story Here:

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Improving Hotel Guest Satisfaction And Reviews - Part 1

How guests perceive, and tell others about, their hotel experience is vital to the success and profitability of any hotel property. It has become a well-established fact of the hospitality industry that guests are greatly impacted in the making of their travel plans by the online reviews they read. Such sites as TripAdvisor,, and a host of others feature the everyday comments and reviews of hotel guests that have become paramount in the decision-making process. In this age of digital word-of-mouth, hotel guest satisfaction and the resulting online reviews, the reputations of all hotels are at stake everyday.

This current reality of the hospitality industry can be just as much of a blessing for hoteliers as it can be a potential curse. The most important determining factor, as to which direction, are the priorities of the hotel. Achieving the highest levels of guest satisfaction must be a fundamental principle that is put into practice everyday. Every guest who feels compelled after a hotel stay to leave an excellent rating or review, on a review site or any social media, about the hotel becomes a marketing beacon for the property. This naturally results in further bookings coming in for the property from those who read the complimentary remarks.

In placing such importance on hotel reviews, consumers are seeking social validation from other travelers before they spend their hard earned money. This is especially true regarding hotels they have not previously stayed. Of course any guests suffering negative hotel experiences will potentially have a detrimental impact upon hotel bookings. Often, these are the guests most likely to feel the need to tell the whole world of their troubles with a hotel and vent their frustrations. How the hotel property involved responds to such negativity is a crucial test and very telling to other consumers.

Guest satisfaction ratings and reviews also provide management with a window into how well the hotel staff and the property itself are achieving the guest experience goals set forth for the hotel. Awareness on the part of hoteliers of any issues, which will inevitably arise, is a powerful tool for ensuring their timely correction.

Ultimately, the nurturing and building of hotel brand loyalty with past guests by providing them a great hotel experience will lead them to tell others about your hotel. In today’s hospitality industry, guest satisfaction ratings and online reviews are directly impacting the revenues of hotels around the world every day.

In part two of this series we will examine some measures hotels can take in order to improve guest satisfaction levels at their properties.