Friday, August 15, 2014

Improving Hotel Guest Star Ratings - 2

Improving Hotel Ratings With Social Media


The benefits and usage of social media to promote hotels have already been firmly established. However, the use of social network engagement as a customer service tool has not gained industry-wide acceptance. Social media can and should also function as an extension of a hotel’s customer service to their guests. But surveys have shown many hotels and chains are much slower to respond to social media comments than the public has come to expect.  Any hotel which desires an improvement in guest ratings must commit to incorporating social media into their overall customer service strategy.


This commitment requires a dedicated social media staff in the case of the largest chains. Smaller chains and independents must designate someone, preferably management, to handle social media. In either case, social media mentions, comments, and reviews must be responded to in a timely and professional manner. Any complaint posted by a hotel guest on a social channel during their stay that is swiftly and politely responded to, and then promptly followed up with a call to the appropriate department to rectify the issue, can create immeasurable customer loyalty.  In turn, that guest will probably tell others on social media about the positive turnaround in their experience.


Proactively there are many things a hotel can do to provide outstanding customer service via social media, even before guests arrive or while they are off property. Simply knowledgeably answering the questions posed by future guests on social media can leave a favorable impression on them. Giving guests the option of booking their stay directly from their social network of choice, is another. Excellent concierge services can be extended to guests during all parts of their trip by making suggestions, and answering questions before and after their stay, not just when they are on the hotel property.


The seemingly endless discussion that is social media can be overwhelming for any hotel brand, large or small. Some chains have taken to shrinking down the available platform space for comments to one individual brand channel; one for each social network. For example, a chain of hotels could have one Twitter feed for the whole brand, rather than for each individual hotel property. Many hotels and chains are still experimenting and trying different approaches to social service, and there certainly is not going to be a one size fits all solution.


Using social media as a customer service tool is still in it’s infancy, but it isn’t going away, as it is now expected by the traveling public. Hoteliers that can find their own solution that works for them and their guests will surely reap the benefits of improved hotel guest ratings.


Part 3 will look at how a properly crafted guest review or comment response from the hotel can lead to overall improved hotel guest ratings.


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