Friday, July 25, 2014

Handling Online Hotel Reviews - Best Practices and Tips

With online hotel reviews now the most influential factor driving the hotel booking decisions of the traveling public, hotels need to stay ahead of the curve with effective online reputation management techniques.

Take a Deep Breath Before You Post
Think before you make a responsive statement regarding a negative hotel review. You will be stating a response in the name of the hotel, which will be heard by the public as the voice of the hotel. Remember, whatever you say will be permanently visible to online readers. Pause and take a deep breath before you post something you might regret later.

Respect Your Customer’s Time
Regardless of the opinion of any online hotel review, from the hotel’s perspective, their customers have taken the time to comment about their stay and that deserves a timely response. Timely means within a few hours, at most, from the time of the original post. A quick response will be remembered and shows the customer and others that the hotel is open to their comments, values their opinion and cares enough to really pay attention.

Respond to Each Review Individually
The customer took the time to write a review, the hotel needs to respond in kind. The use of templates and canned apologies or statements should be avoided. They can only show the customer a lack of concern and reinforce a feeling of impersonality. Remember again that the response to any hotel review appears to the public as if it is the voice of the hotel.

Ask Satisfied Hotel Guests For a Review
It never hurts to ask. Asking guests, particularly happy ones, at the hotel for a review can easily be accomplished by giving the guest a comment card at checkout and asking for a review either on the hotel website or TripAdviser. Providing an incentive or some form of reward will encourage participation and compensate for their time investment.

Avoid Openly Offering Discounts
Offering discounts or coupons openly to appease disgruntled online hotel reviewers is nothing more than an invitation for a flood of unwarranted, negative reviews. If a hotel feels it is necessary to offer an unhappy past guest a discount or coupon, it should be done offline, either through email or physical mail. If the public senses they can get something for nothing by simply writing a bad hotel review, the hotel will be inundated.

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